Survival guide for long haul travel

Comfort is the key to surviving long haul travel. Here are some tips to having a stress free – and even relaxing –international flight...

Arrive at the airport three hours before your flight

A minimum of two hours is needed for international flights, but that extra hour could really make a difference. Not only will you avoid panicked dashes to the gate, but if you’re one of the first in the queue you could be allocated a better seat. Once you check in, locate your gate so you know exactly where you have to be and at what time. Relax, have a light meal, do some shopping and use the bathroom before you board.

Hydrate well before your flight

Dehydration can be a major problem with long haul travel, but the idea of frequent bathroom trips is far from appealing. Guzzle plenty of water (and stay away from caffeine and alcohol) in the ten hours before your flight so you’re well hydrated. Then just sip a bottle or two throughout the flight.

Get organised

Have your hand luggage well organised so that you don’t have to rummage around frantically for your passport. Once you’re seated on the plane, organise the things you’ll need for the flight in the seat pocket – like a pen for filling in departure cards, your water bottle, snacks, and any gadgets or reading material you’re going to use. It’s a good idea to have sucky sweets to prevent popped ears.

Dress comfortably

It goes without saying that comfort is more important that style for international flights. Wear a comfortable top (cotton is ideal) and loose fitting trousers – cabin pressure can make you bloated. Bring a pair of socks so that you can slip your shoes off and a fleece or shawl to fend off the harsh cabin air con. Ditch your contact lenses for glasses – eye irritation is common and you’ll be able to nap more comfortably. Avoid tying hair in high ponytails as this can be uncomfortable against the seat.

Bring the right accessories

It’s the little things that can make all the difference to long haul travel, like a luxury facial mist and lip balm. Eye drops can provide relief from dry cabin air, and a neck cushion can make sleeping a lot more comfortable. Take along an iPod with a fresh playlist, a couple of magazines and a good ‘light reading’ book.

Stay healthy

Remember to do a few light exercises to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis. Before you go to sleep, walk the length of the craft – it will help you relax.

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