Oh, yay! You’re going on a holiday! How great for you, you must be so excited. Where are you going? Vancouver, wow, all the way from Sydney. So, you’re going to be jammed into an aluminium tube with 500 strangers, confined to a 76cm x 91cm space for 18 hours, sounds peachy. Your chances of scoring an exit row seat are very small and you won’t get one of those nice seats behind that wall thingy, with all the extra leg room, cos that area is for babies and babies need their space, don’t you know!
Okay, so your holiday in Vancouver IS going to be great. You’ll eat lots of Tim Horton’s and meet a heap of friendly Canadians and their pet moose, but first things first, you have to survive your long-haul flight.
I always forget about the flight part, I book my holiday and get all excited, then I show up to the airport and all of a sudden I remember how shit it is to sit on a plane for five million hours, which is the exact flying time from Brisbane to Japan, as I learned recently. But this isn’t my first time at the rodeo, kids, oh no. I’m not saying there’s any way to avoid jet lag or make your flight a breeze, but there are things you can do to make flying easier and I’m going to share my tips and tricks with you.
Do not get drunk and do not carried away with all the free soft drink and juice they’re offering you. The main contributor to jet-lag is dehydration, so it’s very important you drink a lot of water while flying. Whenever you see the flight attendant, ask for another bottle, have water with your meals and snacks too. You’ll notice a huge difference between flights where you’ve gotten wasted and flights where you’ve drunk water consistently throughout, and it won’t just be the in-flight hangover.
You ain’t sleeping, homie, so just embrace it and accept your fate. The position in which an aeroplane seat puts your body is not a natural position and it is not conducive to creating a soothing sleep environment. So, what can you do about it? BYO pillow, that’s what. Don’t get one of those stupid U-shaped pillows from the airport, all that does is thrust your neck forward and make you sleep with your mouth open like a loser. Pack your own pillow from home and carry it on the plane with you.
If you’re lucky enough to get a window seat you’ll be able to push it up against the wall and nestle into it. If you get stuck in an aisle or middle seat, you can use it as a buffer between you and the stinky stranger next to you. Alternatively, you’ll be able to clutch it to your chest and let your chin rest on it. Either way, it gives you a lot more support and comfort than those crappy little U-shaped pillows or the tiny ‘fun-size’ pillow the airline supplies.
3. Comfortable clothing
An 18-hour flight is not the appropriate environment to be wearing your Olivia Newton John ‘Let’s Get Physical’ outfit or your Kylie Minogue gold hot-pants and midriff top. It’s not a fashion show, it’s a long-haul flight that will test the limits of your mental and physical endurance, so take it seriously. Football players don’t show up to the Super-Bowl wearing tight jeans and a leather t-shirt, they show up in their game outfit, ready to bring it and so should you.
My favourite flying outfit is full-length Lorna Jane tights, sneakers and socks, a t-shirt and a very baggy, very comfortable jumper. You need to choose an outfit that allows you to move comfortably, keeps you warm and does not dig into your body anywhere. Don’t be ashamed to wear your favourite track suit or sweats or get changed into your pyjamas after the flight takes off.
4. Routine and hygiene
Just because you’re crammed into an airborne sardine tin, doesn’t mean you let your personal hygiene slip. When flying, I stick to the same routine I would if I were at home and visit the bathroom at regular intervals to freshen up. This keeps me feeling fresh and clean, which helps you cope mentally and psychically with being stuck in the same spot for so long.
Things I keep in my travel kit are:
Toothbrush and toothpaste – a small tube of extra minty Colgate and my toothbrush, to use before I ‘sleep’ and when I ‘wake up’. Note: there will be no sleep.
Face wash/cleanser and moisturiser – a small tube of cleanser and a non-greasy moisturiser, I prefer the Body Shop, to use before I attempt to sleep and when I ‘wake up’ feeling like death warmed up. Nothing compares to the layer of scunge that builds up on your face during a long-haul flight.
Hair brush – to use throughout the flight to stop me looking like Gary Busey.
Lip balm – a tube of paw-paw ointment to use throughout the flight to stop chapped lips.
Deodorant – an aerosol can with a lid or heavy-duty roll-on to keep you smelling and feeling fresh the whole way.
Mints or lollies – a pack of eclipse mints or hard boiled lollies to stop your ears from hurting during take off and landing.
Eye drops – a bottle of Visine eye drops to clear and relieve red eyes, just helps you freshen up after such a long time on the plane.
Medicines – paracetamol, ibuprofen, decongestants and allergy/hay fever tablets, because you never know what might happen while you’re up there and, should you find yourself in the real life version of ‘Lost’, you don’t want a nasty headache slowing you down.
Face wipes/Wet ones – in case you can’t get to the bathroom or just need an in-seat refresher, you can use these to wipe your face and neck and give you a quick freshen up, they just smell so good!
So there you have it, my tips on how to survive a long-haul flight. Do you have any in-flight travel hacks or things you bring with you to make flying easier? I’d love to hear your tips, share in the comments below or on the Little Grey Box Facebook page.