I have a confession to make: I hate long-haul flights. Think about it. You’re being forcibly confined to a small space, with hundreds of strangers, for hours on end. No thanks. But then, you arrive at your destination. You experience the thrill of seeing somewhere new, or the joy of revisiting a place you love. It’s all worth it in the end. We put up with it.
I knew I had to make the best of long plane journeys if I wanted to embrace my love of travel, and have found them pretty painless when I make an effort to prepare. So, these are the six things I do to ensure a (relatively) pleasant flight.
1. Dress comfortably
Loose fitting or stretchy clothing is essential. I know it can be tempting to dress well for your flight, especially if you won’t have time to change at the other end, but there’s no reason why you can’t look presentable and be comfortable. I find that black leggings and a nice blouse works pretty well. Also, don’t bother applying make-up. Trust me, it won’t survive the journey.
2. Keep your documents safe but accessible
Whether you’ll be boarding a connecting flight, or going straight onto arrivals, you’ll need to have your passport and any other documentation ready to present at customs when you land. It’s no fun rooting in your hand luggage when you’re in a rush, tired, grumpy, or all of the above (I’ve been there). It’s a good idea to ensure that you know where everything is before you land.
3. Stay hydrated
Bottled water is expensive in airports. There’s a reason for that: you’ll need it. It can get very dry at high altitudes. This explains the blood-shot appearance that greets you when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror of the airplane bathroom. Try to avoid drinking alcohol, as it will only dehydrate you more. Hand cream and moisturiser will also come in handy if you suffer from dry skin.
4. Keep your laptop handy
Long-haul flights are boring, and if you don’t have something to keep you occupied it will drive you crazy. I recently flew with British Airways on a Toronto to London Heathrow flight, and was lucky enough to have my own in-flight entertainment, including a pretty extensive choice of movies and TV shows. Not all airlines will provide this though, so it might be worth downloading some to your laptop. If you have a blog, or enjoy writing, a long flight also provides the opportunity to get creative. Just remember to charge your laptop fully before you fly!
Nothing helps the time go faster than a nice, long nap. If you’re travelling to a destination with a time change you may benefit from a couple of hours of rest, especially if you’re like me – I don’t deal with jetlag all that well! It can really make all the difference to how you feel when you land, so take a blanket and a travel pillow along to help you drift off.
6. Take a good book
How many opportunities are there in life to simply sit down and read, for hours and hours? You have an excuse, so enjoy it! I tend to choose a book that I’ve already started reading, or that is a continuation of a series I am already familiar with. That way, it’s easy for me to become immersed and forget where I am for a little while. If the writing is addictive enough, a book can prove an ideal time-killer.