There aren’t many people who love flying – but can you blame them? Boredom, dehydration, selfish fellow travelers, less-than-average food, and sleep deprivation are all some of the super fun things that you have to deal with on a long-haul flight. So how do you cope when you’re 10 hours into an 18-hour flight and you’ve lost the will to live? I’ve put together some handy tips to get you through and ensure you arrive at your destination without having a nervous breakdown.
Before the flight:
Don’t over-pack: Yes, yes, I know. Packing loads of clothes and other ‘necessities’ can be super tempting but your travels will be so much less stressful if you have less carry-on luggage. Yes, you’re allowed an extra seven kilograms of hand luggage but do you really want to be lugging seven kilos of unnecessary junk around the airport with you? Trust me, that 8-hour layover will be so much easier to handle when you’re not dragging a massive bag around the airport with you
Limit yourself to a medium sized over-the-shoulder bag:
All you need is a small bag that can fit your travel documents, entertainment, and in-flight toiletries.
When it comes to toiletries you only need to pack the following:
– Travel-size roll-on deodorant.
– Travel-sized perfume.
– Travel toothbrush.
– Travel-sized toothpaste.
– Hand cream
– Facial cleansing wipes or a Smitten (I never travel without a Smitten! It removes makeup easily and leaves skin feeling beautifully clean without any face wash needed!)
– Tinted face moisturiser (this 2-in-1 product is a life saver and allows you to ditch your tube of foundation!)
– Lip balm.
– Face mist (I love this Vitamin E Mist from The Body Shop)
– Ear plugs.
– Hand sanitizer or wipes (to cleanse your hands and tray before and after eating).
Top Tip: instead of buying travel-sized versions of your favourite products I recommend collecting as many samples as you can get your hands on. Keep an eye on the magazine racks at the supermarket for free sample with the magazine. I’ve collected everything from travel-sized deodorant and perfume samples to face creams, toothpaste and more from magazines in the months leading up to my trip. Another great option is to ask for sample sachets from your local beauty counter. You’d be surprised what you can collect for free and these little sample sizes will allow you travel with a teeny tiny toiletry bag!
If the airline you’re flying with has in-flight entertainment then you might want to consider leaving your tablet and laptop at home. I usually take my cell-phone and tablet in my carry as my tablet is loaded with books. I also found my tablet came in handy when I had long layovers as I could watch series on my tablet while I waited but if you don’t enjoy reading or don’t have a long layover in-between flights then leave it behind. I also found a travel-sized adult colouring book and pencil crayons was a great way to pass the time on a long flight and it helped keep my stress levels down too!
Dress the part:
Make sure you dress as comfortable as possible. Forget the jeans or fancy-pants outfits that will start to feel like a straight jacket after a few hours. Rather opt for leggings, stylish sweatpants, roomy T-shirts or tank tops, sweaters, hoodies, trainers, or anything else that makes you feel super comfy. And, as you’re planning your travel outfit remember that the key is layers, layers, layers! I like to wear my comfiest leggings and layer a waterfall cardigan over a slouchy T-shirt. I then pop a light-weight buff in my bag for added warmth when I need it. A buff is a great alternative to a scarf because it can be used as a scarf, headband, eye mask, and so much more! I bought mine from MRP Sport but you can also get them from Cape Union Mart here. As for shoes, I love to wear trainers when I travel – especially when I know I’m going to be trekking around the airport during layovers! But if you’re not into trainers then make sure you wear comfy shoes you can walk in.
Top Tip: This might seem excessive but I always slip a pair of slippers into my bag! You would be amazed at the difference it makes to your comfort levels on a flight. But, I’m not talking about packing your biggest, fluffiest slippers. I usually go for an affordable ballet pump-style pair (see picture below) that is easy to fold inside my bag. You can find them for a steal at PNP Clothing stores! Once I’m on board. I slip off my shoes and pop these on over my socks. That way you still look like you’re wearing shoes when you pop to the loo and you save your neighbour from having to stare at your smelly feet!
Get your snack on:
Let’s be honest, you’re going to get snacky and they don’t feed you nearly often enough on flights! So, make sure you pack a few healthy snacks in your pack. I like to pop a few bags of small nuts, dark chocolate, dried fruit bars, and mini rice cakes into my bag for when the snack bug bites.
Of course, there are loads of other little gadgets that can make flying a lot less stressful. Typo has a fabulous range of travel accessories and must-haves to get you ready for your next holiday. From carry-on suitcases and travel wallets to water bottles, travel pillows, travel diaries, and more, they’ve got everything you need.
During the flight:
Get some shut-eye!
Sleep is super important so make sure you get some sleep while you’re on the plane. You might be tempted to watch every movie and every episode of your favourite TV show available to you but you will regret not sleeping when you arrive at your destination! To get myself to dose off I usually pop on my buff (as an eye mask) and try to listen to some light meditation music on my phone or tablet. I’ve also found a great white noise app that offers various sounds of nature and other white noise options – I set the app to ‘rainstorm’ mode and usually fall asleep within minutes! Click here to download it on Android now.
With all that sitting your body is bound to become a little stressed – it’s terrible for your blood flow and is part of the reason your feet tend to swell during the flight! I try to do some in-flight chair yoga every few hours to get my blood flowing and my body moving, even it’s only a little. Try these seated yoga moves to make you feel human again! Straighten one leg and hug the other to your chest while flexing the foot of your straight leg. Repeat with the other side. Then hug both knees to your chest. Press your hands against your shins as you lengthen your spine by lifting the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Then bend your left knee and place your left ankle on top of your right thigh. Interlace your fingers under your right thigh. Sit up straight and draw your left knee down towards the ground. Repeat on the other side. To stretch your neck and shoulders inhale and look ahead, exhale and look right, inhale and look ahead, exhale and look left. Repeat before inhaling and raising your shoulders toward your ears. Exhale, and completely let go.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the flight! Staying hydrated is super important for your body and will also keep your skin looking great during and after the flight. I make sure I order a glass of water along with my drink every time the drinks trolley comes round, and, if I’m in an aisle seat I make sure I get up every hour to get a drink of water. This will keep your blood flowing and your body suitably hydrated!
What tricks do you use when travelling? Let us know in the comments below!
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.