HOW TO FLY LONG HAUL WHEN YOU TRAVEL ABROAD
In my opinion, regardless of the destination, a long haul flight is tiring, and a little boring. That is unless you travel First Class! Lucky for some. It is also somewhat arduous for those who work or have previously worked in the airline industry - there is no mystery left and the saying 'ignorance is bliss' no longer applies. I've had my fair share of long haul flights and over the years I've learned a few valuable lessons along the way. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination with a heavy case of jet lag (see my tips for dealing with jet lag here) so I thought I would share some of my tips for ensuring a comfortable long haul experience.
Location, location, location Many international airlines now offer online check-in where you choose your seat before you arrive at the airport. Make sure you check with your airline when you can do this; most allow check-in 24 hours before departure. Everyone has their personal preference for where they would like to be seated on a long haul flight; many of my taller friends prefer to sit in the emergency exit row for the extra legroom. However, these seats are always right by the lavatory door. Not fun when you are trying to sleep and you are constantly jolted awake by the toilet flushing, the bathroom door opening and closing, and the smells emanating from the general lavatory area. Without fail I always choose a window seat as far from the lavatory as possible and as close to the flight deck as possible so I am not waiting an hour for everyone ahead of me to disembark when we arrive at the other end. I also like the extra space which comes with sitting at a window seat as I am able to create a little nook with the complimentary pillows and blankets.
Stay hydrated With some long haul flights you can be in the skies for up to 14 hours, so you can imagine how dehydrating the same air circulating in a plane can get. Stay hydrated by avoiding alcohol, drinking lots of still water (soda water will make you feel bloated), use eye drops, invest in a good lip balm such as Pawpaw Ointment and moisturise.
Eat well Foods high in wheat or sulphur are the worst to digest when flying. Your stomach bloats which can make flying extremely uncomfortable. Where possible, request a gluten free meal before your departure date and avoid snacking on junk food. Your stomach will be thanking you at the other end. Poor nutrition whilst flying will depress your immune system so pack your own nutritional snacks such as almonds and a couple of apples.
Flying aids I never fly long haul without my iPhone to listen to music, a good book, a couple of magazines, basic toiletries such as my toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, light make-up, face wash, moisturiser, ear plugs and an eye mask. These assist in having a comfortable flight, and the latter two essentials are necessary for enjoying a quiet and comfortable sleep. If you have trouble sleeping on planes and absolutely need to take sleeping tablets, I would only recommend a mild herbal variety. I don't use a neck pillow as most international airlines offer pillows, however if you need the neck support then definitely invest in one.