Travelling to amazing locations far away from Australia is exciting and a dream come true for many. However, while many people look forward to the destination, the flight can sometimes be the most unpleasant part of the trip. So it makes sense to be prepared and embrace the trip as well as the destination as best you can.
Fear not, though, mighty travellers. There are steps you can take to make a long-haul flight more pleasant and less daunting. In addition to the fact that many of today's international flights are carried out on very comfortable aircraft with hospitable crews, following a few practices can calm your nerves and help you sit back, relax and enjoy travelling in the air.
Preparation: What to bring
Taking into consideration limitations for weight, number of bags and so on, these products can help you stay comfortable on an international flight:
- Travel-sized toiletries. A little personal care at the end of a long haul or between flights can make you feel like a million bucks. A toothbrush and paste, a comb, deodorant, some facial cleansing wipes can really help you freshen up.
- Spare undies. They're another great way to freshen up right after landing (head to a loo to change, of course).
- Neck pillow. If the little airplane pillows just don't do it for you, this option can be a convenient way to help you rest.
- Lotion and lip balm. All that air circulation can dry out your skin, so pack something to moisturise.
- Eye mask and ear plugs. For those who have trouble sleeping, these items can make a big difference.
- Medication. In addition to any regular meds, bringing a sleep aid might come in handy.
- Entertainment. Most long-haul flights have great movies and and music, but some people prefer books, puzzles or iPads – choose something that will captivate you.
Plan to wear comfortable clothing with removable layers. Don't forget about footwear: Choose comfy shoes and compression socks or tights if you often find your ankles swollen after a lengthy flight.
Warm ups: At the gate
After you've made it through ticketing, baggage check and security, you might be tempted to just sit down and chill before your flight. Keep in mind, though, that you'll be sitting for many hours as you make your way across land or sea.
Therefore, walk around, peruse the shopping area and make sure you've used the loo before boarding time. It's also a good idea to organise the things you want to use on the flight since you may have shifted them to less accessible locations.
Avoid caffeine so you can sleep (and sugary foods, too, if they keep you up). Also, choose electrolytes, not alcohol: These drinks will help you stay hydrated and more comfortable on the flight.
Game time: During the flight
When you board the plane, get settled and try not to crowd your foot space any more than necessary.
Importantly – and this is something many of us skip – get up and walk now and then during the flight. Long-haul flights can cause you to develop deep vein thrombosis, and moving your legs is the best way to prevent it. A good stretch will also help your legs feel less restless and sore.
Finally, get in the right mindset. Once you've made peace with the fact you're spending hours in a plane, you're more likely to just settle in and just ride with it.