Now that I am going flying in not too long, I thought I’d share my tips on how to make the long haul more comfortable (because we all know that those LONG hours on board a plane are anything but.). I have done the 24 hrs plus to Europe quite a few times now, both alone, with child alone and in a group. This will, however, be the first time alone with THREE kiddos…
These tips are not necessarily easy with children in tow, these are more for adults or people travelling alone (I’ll share my travelling with kids tips later.).
- Bring a fresh pair of underpants.
I know after several hours cramped up in a tiny seat makes everything feel… eh… yucky. (Pardon the honesty, but it is true). As much as we can all find a place to give ourselves a wash, being able to put on fresh undies halfway through is just awesome. If you wear some old ones you can just chuck them as well instead of bringing them with you in your bag, but if that puts you off, I’d recommend putting your used ones in a zip-lock bag and put them in a bag. Also, you can buy the wipes that you can flush, and are made especially for that ‘area’ which will help you feel fresh.
- Get a map.
Whether you travel internationally lots, or never have, you may find yourself in transit somewhere completely new. I like airports, and always love looking around in them. If you’re like me, but may not have that many hours to explore, getting a map of the airport terminal might be a good idea. Well, I think it is a good idea anyway, there is something about that bladder that just kicks in just as you’re about to step of the plane, so needing to find a loo straight away might become your biggest task. Maps can be useful for finding your favourite shop, or a place to eat, or, if you are nervous about being late for your next flight, it will give you some help in finding your gate. Most of the big international airports have a map or guide on their web pages.
- Pamper yourself.
Now, I am no beauty expert in any way, but I do know I feel lots better and fresher if I take some time to do a full skin routine. When flying, as I said above, it is easy to feel un-fresh and ‘yucky.’ If you have time in transit, find yourself a less crowded bathroom and do a full cleanse, followed by a good cream. Maybe even a face mask to make it even better (I’d suggest a clear one, though, as someone walking in may not expect a green-faced person standing there..). Some airports have spas as well, so if your budget allows it, that is an option as well, but you’ll go far with just your own (And if you are smart, you can go to the pharmacy and get some samples just before you leave, so you can just chuck them out when you’re done:)) And then if you do like it, airport duty free sections often have the good stuff cheaper!). Obviously, you can do this still in the aeroplane, but let’s hope you sleep most of the time, so you don’t have time! 😉 Also, dry shampoo or one of those dry hair treatments will work wonders when you feel less than fresh.
- Bring food.
You know, one of the worst things that happens to me while flying, is getting hungry. I once flew while pregnant. All. The way. To Norway. With tiny amounts of food on the first flight. If the company you’re flying with allows it, bring something extra. Fruit, a sandwich, preferably stuff that is not very noisy or smelly. The worst thing that happens is you have to chuck it out if you don’t eat it, which is better than starving.
- DO care.
I often hear people saying that they ‘don’t care about other people; we should all mind our own business.” While I agree to that while on the ground, in the air, I find it difficult to agree. Please do not bring nuts. Someone could have a severe allergy. At least wait with opening that packet until you have landed and have walked off the plane. Please be courteous when you lay your seat down. We all want to sleep, so we get it. But if you can, communicate with the person behind you and ask if it is okay, they may just want to finish their food first, or maybe they just need to go to the toilet before going to sleep. Maybe they have an infant or child on their lap right when you lay your seat back. It is amazing how ‘caught in our own world’ we get when flying. Please remember that a helping hand is worth ten thousand more than the hundred angry eyes if someone is struggling. Someone getting their bag down, and then it opened up in the aisle and everything spread out. Help out. The mother with the baby who waved his hand so her water spilled all over her things and clothes. Ask her if she needs a hand. Someone is behind you in line for the toilet and you can see they are busting, and you only need to go ‘sometime soon’. Let them in before you. Care. You’re all in the same boat (well, aircraft…).
- Try something new!
When in a new country or airport, there is bound to be something to eat or drink you haven’t tried before. To make your transit that little bit more interesting, try something you wouldn’t normally try. A different type of beer, maybe. Or a tea. Or that funny-looking salad?
- Buy something!
Even though this is not your final destination, while walking around you might find some interesting artefacts, and they are often cheap as well. Maybe a last minute present to someone, or something for the pool room. Last time we flew to Norway, we transited in China, where we hadn’t been before. Our next leg was to Stockholm, and I don’t find Sweden very exotic, so picking up a thing or two from the Chinese airport was much more interesting.
- Bring your charger.
It might sound logical, and with today’s electronic world, one should not be without. Bringing the USB charger for your devices will help you out in that situation when you have run out for some reason, because it does happen. I would hate it.
- Sleep. And hydrate.
Say you have a six-hour layover. Wow. There are only so many interesting things to look at. Find a spot where you can lie down. It’s not always allowed, but it is not illegal as far as I know, and the guards may just wake you up. Put a blanket (or something that works as a blanket) over you and close your eyes. If you’re alone, you might want to hook your arm into your carry-on or use it as a pillow, as people do steal from sleepers. Also, drink lots of water. Flying really dehydrates me, so make sure you drink lots!
- Go out!
If you have a really long layover, and you’re somewhere you don’t need a visa, leaving the airport for a few hours to check out the sights can be awesome. I did this when I had six hours spare in Amsterdam, I just got on a train, got off when other people did, then walked down a street to a cafe. It was great, and then I walked back and hopped on the train again.
So these are my TEN most important tips to making your long haul heaps better. As I said, not all would be suitable for travelling with kids, (like sleeping and leaving the airport, YIKES) but stay tuned for my post on that subject as well.
What is your best tip for a more enjoyable flight?