Having great hand luggage is somewhat of an art form, and one I’ve worked on for many journeys. Today I’m sharing some tips for essential items to bring along with you on any long haul flight to make the experience a bit more pleasant and ensure you arrive at your destination as fresh, well rested and relaxed as possible. Let’s assume we’re doing this old-school and economy, without wi-fi or lay-flat bed capsules.
Let’s dive straight in, yeah?
First of all, Dehydration is your biggest enemy (bigger than stiff legs or the person in front who keeps reclining) on a long haul flight, especially if you’ve set off super early in the morning. Coffee after coffee combined with cabin pressure and other peoples’ germs can really mess with your skin, hair and general wellness. Pack a nice, thick moisturiser (I use Superdrug Vitamin E range) , face spritz (Mine is home-made – DIY coming soon), lip balm (Burts Bees) and bottle of water (pick up from a shop after security). Apply generously before and throughout the flight.
If you wear contacts, bare in mind your eyes will likely dehydrate too, so I always bring along some glasses and give my peepers a break.
Speaking of having a break, snoozing on a flight is one of my favourite ways to while away the hours. I’m a solid sleeper, but even the lightest dozer can take a few steps to enjoy peaceful(ish) slumber. Aside from taking some sweat pants and a slouchy sweater to change into after take-off, I always pack a sleep mask to block out surrounding bustle from the cabin, plus I’d recommend investing in some SleepPhones. I reviewed them here, but since then I’ve used them on many long journeys. I put together a playlist of relaxing tracks and use them to totally unwind into sleep.
If you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t be sleeping (I guess it depends on your schedule) then entertainment is paramount. A good book is my fix, while you might prefer a handheld gamer or puzzle book. If you’re in a pair or group playing cards will be a great way to pass the time – why not have a few little flutters against each other to make it interesting?
Of course most planes come with in-seat entertainment systems that have heaps of new films and TV series as well as various levels of cool flight tracking tools and real-time news. These are great entertainment and probably only get old once your eyes are stinging from being too close to the monitor.
Finally, the best way to end a chilled out, reasonably enjoyable flight is by leaving the aircraft feeling fresh and prepared for the rest of your journey. To be sure this happens for me, I also bring along tinted moisturiser and some basic toiletries (deodorant and toothpaste) to freshen up before landing. In terms of staying chill, I also keep all my travel documents in a separate pouch inside the cabin bag – it eliminates the “omg where is my passport/license/boarding pass???” moment at customs, which is the least desirable thing to have to deal with at the start of a kick-ass holiday.
Finally, I always pack a few miscellaneous comforts too. Mints (they help with ear-popping and flight-breath), cotton socks (aircraft carpets can feel absolutely horrendous on your feet sometimes), Pen and paper and ibuprofen, just in case dehydration does strike with headaches.
So, go forth and enjoy the longest flight you can book yourself onto – these tips should help it be a bit less grotty.