Long-Haul Travel Tips to Take to the Sky
Here at Tourism Media, we write a lot about destinations, but doesn’t the saying go that it’s the journey that counts? Over the past 5 years, our writers and photographers have visited thousands of places around the planet from Moscow to Cape Town and from Bundaberg to Baton Rouge.
Between them all, they’ve travelled many a kilometre, so who better to ask for advice than these long-haul veterans.
Some tips might seem obvious, but the simplest oversight can mean the difference between a successful flight and a miserable one.
Here are our team’s top tips:
Before you leave:
Try to squeeze in some exercise. Trust us, you’ll miss being able to move your muscles after hours of being sedentary. It needn’t be a marathon, a brisk walk will do it.
Creature Comforts and What to Wear:
Speaking of sedentary, the seat is already uncomfortable, so don’t let your clothes be too. Forget your tight jeans and remember to layer. When you travel, you’ll be moving from car to airport, to plane, to tarmac etc. and layers makes accommodating temperature change easier.
- Pack a scarf or shawl for this reason too, and use as a pillow, or to keep out next door’s screen light.
- Or, opt for a travel pillow and eye mask, and even noise-cancelling earphones.
- Compression socks combat swelling.
- Soft, thick socks keep your feet toasty.
Choose your seat wisely:
It really makes all the difference.
- Window seats are perfect for world-watching and taking advantage of the wall as a headrest.
- Have easy bathroom access from an aisle seat.
- For the travellers that can’t stand turbulence, a seat close to the wing is said to be smoothest.
Here for a good time AND a long time:
Entertainment makes the hours slip away.
- Charge all of your devices at home, and top up at the airport.
- Bring backup portable chargers in case the airline ports are faulty.
- Download movies ahead of time; those provided may not be to your fancy.
- Don’t overlook music and books, they’re a great way to zone out and pretend you’re not in a metal tin hurtling through the air.
- Also, BYO headphones; we’ve all spent too many a flight frustrated by a set with only one ear working.
You won’t want to hear this, but long-haul flights are ideal for working. When else will you have such a long stretch without distracting texts and emails? Open up your laptop and dig-in to what you’ve put off.
Sleep is key:
It’s the very best time muncher in travel. Don’t stay up the night before hoping to crash from exhaustion mid-flight, it’s been known to backfire. You’re better off minimising the nights of sleep in jeopardy.
- If you’re taking a prescribed or natural sleeping aid, test it pre-flight.
- Being light with your carryon luggage means you won’t be competing for legroom.
For your carry-on:
You want to be sure you have the must-haves.
- Include protein-rich snacks if you’re prone to the munchies. There’s nothing worse than forking out more money to fund your rumblings because you can’t wait for the next served meal.
- Chewing gum can help unblock your ears when changing altitudes.
- Bring an empty water bottle to fill on-board. That way you can stay hydrated in what is an extremely dehydrating enterprise. Lay off the caffeine and the alcohol and boost your water intake to mitigate dry skin and headaches.
This one gets its own section:
Don’t forget toiletries. Repeat, don’t forget toiletries. Arriving fresh feels best.
- Pack toothbrush and paste;
- Lip balm;
- Makeup if applicable;
- A comb to tame your travel-mussed locks.
Remember all liquids must be in amounts of 100mL or smaller.
Miscellaneous mistakes not to make:
Let’s get down to it, shall we?
- Feet swelling: we’ve got a lot to say here! The first thing you’ll want to do once on board is take your shoes off, but often they won’t fit at the other end. Feet can swell massively during a flight. So either leave shoes on or opt for ones that can lace up looser. Another tip is to roll your ankles a few times every hour to keep them mobile and stop puffiness.
- If you’re struggling to sleep up against the headrest, try putting a pillow on the fold out tray and resting that way.
- If you’re not hungry enough to finish your in-flight meal at the time, hang on to the packaged snacks for later.
Just a few more:
- Claim your armrests as soon as you sit down. Sometimes your neighbours really like to spread out and cut into your elbow room. It’s the worst.
- Pre-empt your need for the bathroom and go before they turn the lights off so you don’t disturb anyone.
- Keep all your important documents safe but easily accessible to you. You’ll be getting them out a lot and don’t want to have to dig every time.
- If you’re traveling with kids, let them entertain each other. Something as simple as a deck of cards, a crossword book, or starting a 20 questions game can cure their boredom for hours.
If all else fails, just leave your worries on the ground and let your excitement to arrive get you through.