In the past year, I’ve jumped across the pond to the other side of the world 4 times. I’ve been to Europe, Asia and the Middle East and taken my ‘countries visited tally’ up to 24.
Whilst the travel has been fun, it has also been exhausting. I’ve spent countless hours roaming around airports, sitting on planes and battling jet lag – but thankfully after a bit of experimentation I’ve found the best way to survive a long haul flight unscathed, so I’m here to share my top 10 tips with you.
1. Rest up
I’m a very light sleeper at the best of times, so I always take a sleeping pill on the night legs of my journey. I know these aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I find they make the flight go a lot quicker and I actually feel well rested when I arrive at my destination. I also always ensure that I have my neck pillow (an inflatable one to save space) and an eye mask to help block out any unwanted light/annoying fellow passengers.
2. Pack the essentials
Don’t you find it interesting how much better you feel after a shower, washing your face and cleaning your teeth? Air travel is no different – in fact I think it’s more important to look after your skin, eyes and teeth when flying because you’re more susceptible to dehydration. I generally remove my makeup when I get on a plane (face wipes are a god send!) and I double up on the moisturiser. I also pop on some hand cream, pop in a few eye-drops so my eyes don’t dry out and of course – paw paw ointment to keep those lips soft!
A few other essentials to take with you: toothpaste/toothbrush/mouthwash – brush your teeth with bottled water if you can and always use your antibacterial gel/hand sanitiser after going to the bathroom. As OCD as it sounds, I have been known to use this to wipe down my tray and arm rests when I get on board as a flight attendant friend of mine told me that these rarely get cleaned!
Some ’emergency’ extras I normally take with me include: hydralyte, tissues, strepsils/throat lozenges, some pain killers and some healthy snacks (mixed nuts are a favourite of mine).
3. Get comfortable
It goes without saying that if you’re comfortable, it’s going to be an easier flight, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear your ratty pjs in public (yes I am judging you). Invest in some lightweight trousers – there are loads of soft printed pants in the shops right now and they are perfect for travelling – plus they look great with a singlet or t-shirt and a longline cardigan, which is a must if you get cold on planes and the blanket just doesn’t cut it for you. For night flights, I prefer to wear workout leggings with sneakers or slip-ons, a soft t-shirt and a light cardigan. I often find that a scarf comes in handy when they turn the cabin temperature down too!
4. Compression is key
Now it’s not very sexy but I highly recommend wearing compression tights when travelling long haul. Pop them on just as you get on the plane and voila! no swollen feet when you arrive. I do this every single time I travel long distance and swear by it.
5. Stay hydrated
Drink Water. I know it seems glamorous to have a bunch of alcohol and sure, a glass of champagne can be lovely, but don’t go overboard before you get on board! It will dehydrate you further and I guarantee you won’t feel particularly fresh when you arrive at your destination.
Read, watch movies, do a crossword. Flights are great opportunity to take some time to yourself. Sometimes I just like to look out the window and watch the world go by.
Who doesn’t love a stopover? Even if it’s only for a couple of hours, try to make the most of it. Remember when we were talking about ‘feeling fresh’ up in point 1? This is your time to have a shower and change your clothing and underwear, have a drink and a light bite to eat. Airport lounges can be pricey but it can also make a long journey much more manageable. I often book into a lounge and have a shoulder massage and I recently also got my nails done at Changi Airport during a 7 hour layover. You could also take the time to explore -whether it’s a day in Zurich or an mini-break in Bangkok or Israel.
8. Get moving
You’ve been sitting on a plane for 6+ hours so tell me why are you now sitting in the airport lounge? Get up and walk around, explore the duty free shops – heck some airports even have gyms so you can get your blood pumping! Our bodies are designed to move and I can guarantee that even just a little bit of walking in between flights, or after a long haul will make you feel much better. I always try to do some exercise when i get to my hotel as well – even if it’s just a few push ups, squats and star jumps – it’s a great mood enhancer and helps to shake off the ‘lazy’ feeling I often get when I fly.