Travel in Comfort – Long Haul Flight Essentials
Gearing up for a long-haul flight? Whether it’s for work or play, traveling can be exhausting. And let’s face it, for the majority of travelers, unless you’re in business class, flying can be seriously uncomfortable. When I worked in consulting, I traveled every week. I was flying to and from my client site every Monday and Thursday – sometimes from coast to coast. During that time, I became very familiar with making long haul travel as efficient and comfortable as possible. I learned how to navigate airports, hotels, and the world of credit card points and travel loyalty programs.
Although I switched jobs a few years back and no longer travel for work, I still make a point to travel as often as I can – now for fun! Traveling can bring out the worst in anyone (dealing with delays and other cranky people doesn’t make for the best experience), but I always try to keep my cool and make the flight itself as comfortable as possible. I’m fortunate that I’m relatively petite so I don’t have too many issues with the seats, but even then long-haul flights can leave me feeling depleted and less than 100%. Over the years, I’ve developed a bit of a “travel pack” – a set of items I consider to be my long haul flight essentials that I seriously will not get on a flight without.
But first, a few general rules of thumb I always follow when I travel.
Tips for long flights:
+ Drink water!! And then drink some more water.
Flying dehydrates your skin and body like crazy. Ever notice how sometimes your digestive system gets all funky after flying? It’s partially because we become so dehydrated during our flights, making it more difficult for food to digest and move through our systems. I try to drink at least a cup (8 ounces) of water for every hour I’m on a plane, but truthfully the more the better. Splurge on a 1L bottle of water at the airport or bring your own refillable bottle. If there’s one thing I always do on planes, it’s drink a TON of water. I’ll usually choose the aisle seat too so I’m not that annoying person that keeps getting up to use the bathroom ; ).
+ Avoid eating plane food.
As a general rule of thumb, I won’t eat the food on planes. Airplane food is loaded with sodium and preservatives, not to mention your taste buds are totally different at a higher altitude (meaning you can’t taste food the same way you do normally, hence why plane food has so much sh*t in it to make it taste palatable in the sky). Also, fasting during long haul flights supposedly helps with jetlag. Sometimes I’ll bring my own snacks but usually I just try to wait until I land to eat. Same goes for alcohol – 9 times out of 10, I won’t drink on a plane.
+ Dress comfortably.
Or at least pack a change of clothes for the plane. It is so worth it. Sometimes I’ll grab the slippers from my hotel room and wear them on the plane. The more comfortably dressed you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep – that’s my rationale at least!
+ Bring your own entertainment.
The last thing you want to be on a long haul flight is bored. You can hope for the best on the in flight entertainment (which I will admit usually occupies me for the majority of the flight), but it doesn’t hurt to pre load some movies or shows on your laptop or tablet, download all of your favorite music from Spotify, and bring a book or two. You know, options.
Then of course, you want to be Mary Poppins with everything that’s in your bag. Noise cancelling headphones, a water bottle, and a toothbrush aside, here are some of the things you will always find packed with me on a long haul flight.
Travel Bag Essentials for a long flight:
Sleeping on planes can be hard. A luxurious silk eye mask helps. Keep out distractions with headphones and this luxe eye mask. You might even forget where you are and temporarily drift off into a peaceful state of sleep…
Back when I lived in Chicago, I relied on this stuff to get me through the crazy cold winters and the nasty dry and chapped hands that came with them. The formula is super thick and hydrating – one of the best hand creams I’ve come across ever. Also, yay for Sephora carrying Kiehl’s now!
Forget the strange looks you’ll get from your seatmates, your thirsty skin will soak up a sheet mask and thank you for it. There’s no better way to fight dry skin and fake looking fresh and wide awake (and pretend you’re at a spa and not on a plane) than with a sheet mask. Opt for a hydrating, soothing mask to calm your skin down.
The last thing you want is to get sick on a long flight. Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, so even if you don’t normally take any vitamins or supplements, consider bringing some along when you travel. Call it a placebo effect or not, but I notice a tremendous difference in my ability to fend off the beginning stages of a cold or illness when I take vitamin C. I’ll down a couple Emergen-C packets in a day and with proper rest and nutrition, it’s usually enough to nip a cold in the bud.
In the same vein of staying hydrated, I usually try to drink a cup or two of tea on a flight. No matter what I’m wearing, I ALWAYS find myself super cold on planes. Hot water helps (you could even bring your own lemon to make hot lemon water), but a couple herbal tea packets of your choice will usually come in handy at some point during your trip.
I’ve shared my love for Glossier before and I’m doing it again now. This balm is so reliable, comes in different tints and flavors, and is like vaseline on crack. SUPER hydrating, keeps your lips and any other dry parts of your face or body moisturized, and travels well.
Yes, Evian facial spray is a little bougie. But flying just sucks all of the moisture out of the body, you know? Between the altitude, time change, and any food/alcohol you may consume on the flight, your body is screaming for water inside and out! After you’ve chugged all the water you can handle, refresh your skin with a super hydrating face mist. You’ll feel better instantly and look more awake. Try to avoid heavy makeup on planes (you wouldn’t go to sleep normally with a face full of makeup on, would you?) and opt for an au naturale, dewy glow from this face mist instead. Bonus: it comes in a travel friendly size (less than 3 oz!) so you can bring it on the plane in your carry on.
What are your long haul travel tips and essentials? I’ll take any advice and recommendations I can get to make the journey a little easier and more comfortable : ).
Safe and happy travels, everyone! xx