Long haul is a bittersweet experience – nothing rivals the exhilaration of travelling to a far-flung destination for the first time, but sometimes lengthy flights can be uncomfortable and downright off putting.
I’m no stranger to long haul and thought it’d be interesting to share a few hand luggage must-haves when travelling to ensure your trip is as comfortable as possible!
1. Travel Pillow & Eye Mask Absolutely essential. It’s imperative that you get yourself a good travel pillow – the eye mask is more down to personal taste.The pillows provided by airlines have no support and can often leave you with a really stiff neck, plus they are pretty ineffective unless you have the window seat. I have invested in a memory foam one from Amazon for £10.99. The above eye mask is from Etsy but can be obtained as cheaply as £1 from most supermarkets.
2. Extra Layers Imagine going home from a long day out and leaving your jeans on to sit and watch TV! Obscene! Try to envisage your flight time as chillout time, and dress accordingly. I never board a long haul flight without some jogging bottoms and cotton socks to throw on after takeoff to optimise comfort – especially important when you’re aiming to get some in-flight shuteye.
3. Freshen Up Kit Words cannot describe how grubby and stinky you can feel during the restless hours in the air. The pressurised cabin and filtered air can make you dehydrated, and enhance odors (hello, bad breath!) It can also make your face and hands feel crispy, your hair feel greasier and contribute to a feeling of immense grogginess. I like to combat this with a “Freshen Up” kit – consisting of mini toothpaste & mouthwash, toothbrush, lip balm, face wipes, paracetamol, hand cream and the ultimate travel tool, Caudalie Beauty Elixir. This is a refreshing face spritz which makes groggy visages feel alive again within seconds. It contains peppermint oil, meaning it’s also effective in settling travel sickness.
*Don’t forget you can only take 1x clear bag of liquids on board any flight. Any bottle inside that bag must be no greater than 100ml, but you can take as many bottles as you can get into that bag – as long as it will still seal up.
This rule includes Lip Balms.
We are flying with Emirates, who apparently have the greatest in-flight entertainment system ever. That’s awesome, but I would still 100% recommend bringing your own entertainment. I favour bringing a couple of books & a magazine – even though I have a kindle, I prefer having a paperback for a flight. The iPod is an absolute must, too. There’s nothing nicer than throwing on your “relaxing” playlist to drown out cabin noise, and having a snooze. Or, indeed, blasting a bit of feelgood to wake you up before landing!As we often travel in pairs, I usually pack playing cards too.
Finally, my last travel necessity is of huge sentimental value. When I was very small my Nan bought me a Russ bear in Duty Free on our way to Spain. I named him George, and he became my travel companion. He has travelled the world an unreal amount, and been my partner in crime on many trips to many beaches, theme parks and other international wonders. He has also become a mascot of Safe Travel within the McGee family. Now I’m 24 and I still bring him on holidays with me. He is photo shy, but here is a picture of one of his (many) twin brothers:
The real George is much more majestic – having been such a longstanding member of the McGee Travelling Circus, he is bobbly and floppy from weariness. As my mum says, he looks loved.
He really can’t wait to visit China, either.