Okay, this is kind of more of a life hack, and should be used in so many other situations, not just while you’re travelling. But for the sake of the blog, PLEASE ask questions when you travel! As an example, I always make sure I ask for the seat I want when checking in, and ask the airline staff to check if there’s an available spot without anyone next to me, or for an emergency exit seat, etc. I like my space on planes and I’ve learned very quickly, that if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
AISLE SEAT = EPIC STRETCH SESSIONS
This kind of ties in with the above tip, however I understand that everyone is different so this may not suit you. I always aim for an aisle seat on the longer section of my trips, so that I can get some mad stretching sessions in. I make sure I’m up roughly every 2 hours to walk down the plane, or take a trip to the bathroom. I’ll even simply hop out of my seat and do some fun, yet awkward twisting in the minimal space provided in aircrafts. On the shorter section of my trip (if there are any layovers), I’ll usually request a window seat instead – so that I can suss out the view as I land in my new temporary home!
WEAR COMFY SHOES
Thongs, heels, wedges, steel-caps – probably avoid these ones when you’re flying. Although it may seem to match your outfit nicely, or just be what you’re feeling like at the time, let me give you the quick reasoning as to why I’d suggest something else.
Thongs – frostbite on your toes. Need I say more?
Heels/wedges – yeah have fun getting through the airport at top speed to catch any of those close connecting flights.
Steel-caps – this is just super unnecessary, uncomfortable and not an international flight requirement.
I’d go with something comfortable like a decent pair of Nike’s, Converse, or Adidas – but that’s probably because I’m a little biased and have about 20 pairs to myself. Maybe you’d prefer some Ugg Boots or slippers.
TAKE AN EMPTY WATER BOTTLE
Water bottles at airports are super expensive, so you’re better off taking your own. Make sure it’s empty so you can get through security without being accused of something super shifty, then fill it up before you board, or ask the flight attendants to do so for you once you’re seated. There’s usually little water coolers at each end of the plane too. If there isn’t, that’s a pretty shitty airline, and I’d suggest using a different one in future.
EYECOVER & EARPLUGS
This should probably be at the top of this blog, as I think it is the MOST important little piece of advice I have for you. These are the TWO THINGS I will never do a long-haul flight without. Eye covers are a complete blessing when you want to get some shut-eye, but that neighbour of yours has their reading light on shining all over your space. Slip on the eye covers and you will slip into complete darkness! There’s also uber cool designs you can get. Even though you won’t see them…
Next thing I’d suggest is to NEVER. TRAVEL. ANYWHERE. WITHOUT. EARPLUGS. Think of all that turbulence, crying babies, chatty foreigners, toilets flushing, people coughing and talking and sneezing and laughing – I’m sorry, but these just aren’t noises anybody wants to focus on when sleep is on the cards. So, before you leave, grab some earplugs from your local chemist, and keep them in your travel bag at all times! I’ve found they’re also helpful when sleeping in hotels, as you never know what noises might keep you awake in foreign lands.
LIQUIDS/CREAMS IN A CLEAR BAG (before you get to the airport!)
I don’t know what it is about security points at airports, but people usually find it way more stressful than it should be. I think it might have something to do with the constant “laptops out of bags”, “all liquids in plastic bags” being shouted at you before you go through. People get all fiddly and stressed because the line is waiting for you to get yourself sorted. So, here’s my advice – get yourself unflustered before you even get to the airport. Pop all your liquids, gels and creams into a clear bag at the top of your carry on, so that you’re not running around like a criminal trying to hide shit at the security points..
REFRESH 50-60 MIINS BEFORE LANDING
Depending on which airline you’re flying with, you’ll usually be alerted to your landing time when you have approximately 45 minutes to go. This is that moment when most people will get up, go for a stretch, take their toothbrush, spend 30 minutes in the bathroomand then settle back down.
Get up just prior to that time, and you’ll beat the rush. Grab your toothbrush (use your own – “soft” is best, not the hard or medium ones the airlines give you), take some deodorant, a hairbrush, whatever you need to feel clean, and duck to the loo for 5 minutes. You’ll feel funky fresh when you land, and not all manky, tired and rocking horrible breath.
PACK SOME SNACKS
I’m a huge food-lover, and always need to make sure I’m prepared on flights! I’m usually hungry waiting to board, hungry 20 minutes into the flight, hungry while I’m eating the meals, and hungry every hour after. I do go prepared though, and take little snack packs to get me through those hungry-monkey moments. The airlines will usually provide you with crackers, chocolates and their newest trend, ice-creams, throughout the journey, but sometimes it’s best to have your own goodies to live off.
The best way to think about it, is to try to keep eating the same way you might if you were at home. Don’t just eat the food you’re given at random times because it’s there. Pack some extra little healthy snacks – fruit pieces, nuts, rice crackers or protein slices/bars. This will give you good energy instead of just a huge sugar crash during or after the flight.
SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEIGHBOUR
If you were one of the ones who didn’t ask for a row to themselves, and are sitting next to someone – get chatting! Don’t be that weird person that sits down for hours next to a stranger and never even tries to communicate. That’s just so unfriendly and strange! You’d be surprised who you might end up meeting and the friends you can make on airplanes. Everybody has a story to tell, and you never know what you might learn.
CARRY A PEN
Another tip that will reduce your stress, save you time and is super basic. Usually you’ll need to fill in an arrivals or departure form to get you through customs and you’ll get it on the plane. It’s so easy to just whip out your pre-planned pen and get it done, rather than asking around to borrow one, or waiting until you’re landed to quickly fill it in somewhere. Heck, then you’ll even be known as that cool prepared person that came with a pen, which others will admire.