To be honest, the best thing about a long-haul flight is that it gets you to the place you want to go. But for most of us, sitting on a plane for upwards of 10 hours can be a daunting prospect. Here are eight tips that will help make your journey more comfortable.
When you fly, the temperature can go from hot inside airport buildings to relatively cool when you’re in the air, so layers are the name of the game. Start with a T-shirt and make sure you have a light jersey in hand. Another handy item is a pair of mohair socks, which you can slip on once you’re in the air, as they will keep your feet comfortably warm but not hot. Also very useful is a pashmina or scarf that can double up as a pillow or a light covering.
2. Sleep aids
You may wish to get your doctor to prescribe a sleeping tablet to help you doze off (with the added benefit of making the flight seem shorter). Other useful sleep aids are earplugs to cut out the ambient noise, an eye mask to cut out the light and a travel pillow to cradle your head.
Take some mints, fruit drops or Gingerbons to suck for take-off and landing. If you’re a serial snacker you might wish to stash some nuts, dried fruit or trail mix in your bag to keep you going. Buy a bottle of water once you’ve passed through security, so that you don’t have to wait for the in-flight service to start before you can quench your thirst. Chewing gum works too but dispose of the gum in a tissue so as not to create a sticky mess.
If you take regular medication, remember to keep it in your hand luggage and not send it off to the hold with your suitcase.
5. A bag for your computer and camera
With hand luggage requirements becoming more restrictive, it makes sense to purchase a combination bag for your camera and/or computer. Specialist camera stores stock several versions, but check the weight before spending the money, as you want something light and compact that doesn’t eat into your weight limit. Lowepro is a good brand name to look out for.
6. Electronic devices for reading and entertainment
Books and magazines are bulky, so if you own a Kindle or an iPad, download some of your favourite reads and take it along. You might also wish to pack your own headphones so that you can listen to your favourite music or watch a movie on your device if you don’t expect the in-flight entertainment offering to do the trick for you.
7. Freshen up
Take along a tube of moisturiser and lip balm to counteract the drying effect of long flights. Also handy is deodorant, a travel hairbrush, toothbrush and travel toothpaste so that you can freshen up before you disembark on the other side. Avoid heavy perfume as your fellow passengers may not be as much of a fan of Opium as you are.
8. Pick your seat
One of the most important factors in long-haul travel is a comfortable seat. Seat Guru (www.seatguru.com) has tips about the seating in the aircraft for your particular flight. All you have to do is put in your flight number to access a seat plan to see where the most comfortable (and least convenient) seats on that particular aircraft are, so that you can pick wisely.