Tips for Long Haul Travel Journeys – Tips for long haul travel and how to make the best of it, how to travel light as well as stay hydrated and comfortable.
Flying long-haul can take its toll on your body, as you’re sitting in the same place for a long time, and the recycled air drys out your skin and makes you dehydrated. Plus, long haul tends to mean a drastic time change and that can make you feel pretty exhausted, especially if you’re unable to sleep on the plane. Luckily, there are numerous things that you can do to help you feel better on a long haul flight, and a lot of it all comes down to what you pack, as well as making sure you grab a couple of bottles of water once you’ve cleared security and are “airside”.
You usually have a checked baggage allowance when you have a long haul flight, which is different to a short-haul flights where you might only need to pack and use cabin luggage. When you have cabin baggage allowance only, it can be difficult to pack all you need for the flight, as all the space is taken up with what you need for the rest of your trip. But, you can usually pack all of the essentials you need to take on the plane when travelling long haul, as these following tips will hopefully show.
Think of Comfort
Planes and public transport in general are not the most hygienic places. So making sure that you are able to be comfortable is really important. There’s usually some items on the plane that can help (like a pillow and a blanket), but a few of your own things are a good idea too. These are a few items I always travel with:
- Hand Sanitiser and Hand Wipes: These help you and the whole family to have a bit of protection against any germs that you may pick up on arm rests, toilet door handles and much-used glasses and cutlery etc.
- Moisturiser: The air conditioning on a plane can wreak havoc on your skin, especially if you are on the plane for a long time. Just remember to have a moisturiser that is under the 100ml limit.
- Lip Balm: Like moisturiser for your skin, lip balm is something that can really make a difference when you are on a plane for any length of time.
Most long haul airlines are going to have some form of entertainment to help you to pass the time and enjoy yourself. But if you don’t want to just sit and watch movies all of the time, then having a few other things packed in your hand luggage that can keep you entertained is a good idea. Here are some things that I like to travel with:
- Kindle: A Kindle or an e-reader is something that you can pack that is lightweight, and takes up less space than packing several books would take up. You can load a few different books on them before you travel, so you can dip in and out of reading as you fly. I also download my favourite magazines onto my e-reader or iPhone before I travel too.
- Portable Charger: You won’t be able to have your phone on as normal on a flight, and can only have a laptop on at certain parts of the trip, but they can still be used in flight mode, especially if your plane does have WiFi. So if you like to play games or scroll your social media channels, then having a portable device charger in your bag, that is fully charged and ready to go, is a quick and easy idea to keep you entertained, as not all planes have a USB charging point.
- Headphones: There is nothing worse than travelling and hearing someone’s music blasting out. So although you are likely to get given headphones on some airlines, it pays to pack some of your own noise cancelling headphones, so that you can enjoy some peace and quiet.
Being able to make notes or write things down is really important when I’m travelling, so I like to have a pen and paper (or notebook) to hand. Plus, on a long haul flight you are likely to need a pen to complete immigration or declaration forms before landing too. Make sure that you don’t forget to pack things like any visa information if needed, the accommodation address, as well as essential medication, travel money, and most importantly your travel insurance documents.
There are so many things that make travelling long haul easier and more comfortable. Are there any other things that you never leave without, or that you would be adding to the list?
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Loving the wet wipes suggestion – my daughter-in-law, who travels with two small children, always takes anti-bacterial wipes and cleans all seat trays, arm rests – anything that is wipeable. And she then uses them to wipe her own hands at the end – it’s not a substitute for soap and water but definitely better than nothing. As well as helping protect against colds and viruses, it just makes you feel better about it! May I add a suggestion to your list – take Vicks First Defence with you when you are travelling (Boots do their own brand too, which is usually slightly cheaper). If you get even the first tiny sign that you might be going down with a cold, use it. If you catch the cold in its earliest stages, it really works. I travel a great deal and I can’t remember the last time I had a cold. It tastes horrible, but it’s worth it.
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks Jayne, I am a bit of a stickler for wiping everything whilst travelling! I do know about the First Defence stuff too, as my mum and dad used to use it a lot to try to prevent colds and flu’ etc as dad was prone to bronchial infections. Karen
Liz Thomas says
Ha Ha! Off on Sunday from Langkawi to Manchester so this is well timed. My Kindle is my life saver on long haul so make sure I download plenty of stuff to keep me going.
My other essential is plenty of tissues as I do tend to nosebleeds — I once arrived in Beijing in a bloodstained T shirt — has to be the fastest immigration formality of all time. I was whisked through the VIP line! Anything to get rid of me I suppose.
Karen Burns-Booth says
GREAT tip about tissues Liz, I always travel with a little packet too. OH NO about arriving with a blood stained t-shirt! Karen
Rachel Lucas says
Some great tips here Karen. I’d add a couple – I always stash some plain almonds/brazils/hazelnuts in my hand baggage as it stops me raiding the chocolate/crisps they usually leave out for you to graze on in the galley during the night. I also use loo trips to do some exercise in private! I do some squats, and stretch out my calves by alternating feet on the loo seat (I put a cover on it for hygiene) and stretch up to the ceiling as far as I can, and twist my torso. It really helps. Also one last tip – if you’re visiting the US or Australia, buy some Melatonin tablets (3mg is all you need) at the pharmacy (freely available and not expensive) It’s the ONLY thing that helps with jet lag (for me) – it has saved me so many times, allowing me to sleep through without the ‘eyes popping open at 2am’ syndrome. It’s what air crew use (also my nurse sister after a night shift!) xx
Karen Burns-Booth says
LOVE the idea of stashing some nuts in your hand baggage Rachel – what a great tip. I have used loo trips for exercise myself too, and often walk around the cabin when people are asleep to get the blood circulating in my legs and to stop getting too stiff too. I was air crew many years ago, and remember some of my colleagues talking Melatonin tablets on long haul flights, so I may dip back into that again. Thanks for your handy tips, Karen