Nantucket to India, Nantucket to Africa, Nantucket to Hawaii…I’ve been on a few “long-haul” flights in the last few years (10 hours plus in my opinion but this definition varies person to person!), and I’ve since learned a thing or two about what it means to forget some creature comforts when you’re staring down the starting line of a 10 hour flight.
For me, I really used to enjoy flying. I would actually look forward to it! Now, I don’t know if the seats have actually gotten smaller and more squished together, or I’ve just gotten bigger and older (ugh. age.), but I definitely bring along a few tried and true essentials to make it through long-haul flights comfortably.
So if you’re at all interested in what I pack on long-haul flights, keep reading!
The Holy Trinity: Eye Mask, Ear Plugs, Neck Pillow
CAN’T. SLEEP. WITHOUT. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who can fall asleep anywhere, anytime but that’s not me. If you’re on a long-haul flight, chances are you will want to get a couple hours of shut-eye before reaching your destination. Any chance of sleep for me would be impossible without these. It also ensures, I can achieve some kind of deep/comfortable sleep for a longer period of time.
On long-haul flights some meals are still included, but what I get in economy usually leaves me feeling less than my best. I still partake in a meal service, but I try and stick to any vegetarian options they have and rely on some healthy snacks I’ve packed to refuel and reenergize me…especially if I’ll be landing in the morning! I like to start as energized and refreshed as possible. Some of my “healthy” snacks include justin’s peanut butter packs, a crisp apple cut up, nuts, and any super fruits like dried goji berries.
A lot of new planes will have usb ports and even an outlet, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to my seat and mine doesn’t work. I always like to have a backup just in case! And for older planes that don’t have usb ports or outlets, if you’re reading for 10 hours plus on a phone or e-reader, you want to be able to have a charge for the whole flight and some to spare when you land!
Every once in awhile I will bring a light paperback on a plane once past security because it’s a nice break when I feel like I spend 90% of my life in front of a screen. But a tablet is essential if you want a variety of entertainment options to break up the flight, or if that $20 book you picked up in the airport is a waste of paper and ink and you seriously can’t read another word (I’ve been there). Download some magazines, tv shows you need to catch up on, and some good books and those hours will fly by if you can break it up with some various entertainment!
Sorry this item isn’t very glamorous, but it is honest to god one of my most prized possessions on long-haul flights (though they’re a relatively new addition to my list). On my flight to Africa I made the horrible discovery that my feet swell when I fly for long periods of time. I tried to put my shoes back on when we landed and I was barely able to zip up my boot. I then had to spend the next 12 hours hobbling around London until my next flight.
I now can’t imagine boarding a flight without them, let alone a long-haul flight. I bought a pair of compression socks for my next flight, and now I always discreetly slip those on once I get to my seat.
Honestly, I use these more to let my neighbor know I’m ready to relax and that I’m done chatting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a friendly person! But I don’t want to spend the following hours talking about my life’s existence. The first 20 minutes, maybe, but on a long-haul flight I like to keep to myself for the majority of the time.
Hydrate: Water, Moisturizer, and chapstick
Hydration, hydration, hydration! This is also a new one for me because I’ve always had oily/sensitive skin, but as I’ve gotten older my skin has changed and it definitely needs more attention in the moisturizing department. As we all know, humidity levels in the aircraft can drop to 10 to 20 percent causing dehydration which can take a toll on your body for the duration of a long-haul flight. The one I always seem to forget is chapstick and chapped lips are one of my biggest pet peeves! I went on accutane in high school, and I still feel like my lips never fully recovered and are chapped most of the time.
Facial wipes, baby wipes, and disinfectant wipes are great to have on hand. I usually bring at least one of these, but I thought I’d mention all three.
I usually don’t wear makeup when I fly, but if you do and you’re coming up on the 8 hour mark on a long-haul flight, it’s always nice to be able to take your makeup off around the same time you would after work.
I like to bring baby wipes because if you’re crossing time zones and the hours just keep whizzing by it’s always nice to keep up with the hygiene routine…if you know what I mean! 😀
Disinfectant wipes are great to wipe down your whole seat area, touch screen tv, armrest buttons, and recline buttons so that you don’t transfer germs from your hands. I don’t know why, but airplanes are just so grimy to me! Again, I have sensitive skin so I like to clean my seat area before I touch everything with my fingers. I also always have a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer that I use when I travel. I break it out on public transit and long haul flights the most! … I never knew what a germaphobe I was…but I swear it’s only when I fly!
This may seem like a no brainer…Long-haul flights usually mean international travel, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten a pen when I need to fill out my customs form and the flight attendants are handing out only 5 pens like it’s the hunger games. I have a lovely little travel wallet that has a slot for a pen and I now keep one there permanently!
How about you? What can’t you live without when flying?