As a luxury travel blogger, it sometimes feels as though I am constantly in the air or on the move. My frequent travel schedule means that I have got long haul flights down to a fine art. Along with a bag full of flight essentials, there are rituals and tricks I swear by and use on every long haul flight. I’m now pleased to share these exclusively for Spabreaks.com. So sit back, relax and read on to find out my top 10 tips for a stress free long haul flight.
This may seem like an obvious one, but forgetting something important en route to the airport can be the biggest cause of stress before a long haul flight. I make a list of the essentials on my phone the day before I fly and check everything off before I leave my house.
Everyone knows to check-in online before a long haul flight, but are you choosing the best seats for a stress free flight experience? Families with small children and babies are always seated on the front rows of each seating section, normally behind the toilets. This is because the walls can have cots attached to them.
If you don’t fancy a screaming baby on the next row, try and book your seats far away from this section. If you want to run a higher chance of scoring an extra empty seat, choose the seats at the back of the plane (the check-in stewards fill the plane from front to back so there is usually always spare seats at the back). If you’re travelling in a pair, you can also risk booking your seats 1 space apart in hope that nobody will be sitting in the middle of you. Usually the risk pays off and you’re left with a whole lot of extra space for your long haul flight.
My friend and I once flew to the Maldives and each got a row of four economy seats to ourselves. This is because we took our chances and booked our seats right at the back of the plane. Once the plane doors closed, you can move around for more space
In the unfortunate event that your flight is delayed or cancelled, it’s much better to know about it before you arrive at the airport. If it’s delayed, you won’t feel the need to rush and if it’s cancelled, you may not need to leave the house at all. Checking the flight updates means there won’t be any nasty surprises when you walk into the arrivals hall.
My ethos is that you can never be too early for a flight, especially if you’re trying to avoid stress. There are so many variables that could put you behind schedule, from traffic jams to long queues at bag drop and security. Account for them all and try to get to the airport 2-3 hours before take off. If you pass security with plenty of time to spare, start your holiday early with a pre-flight glass of fizz or a bit of retail therapy. It all adds to what should be an enjoyable experience.
I learnt this tip the hard way. My friend and I were driving to the airport once when we got stuck behind a road accident that caused gridlock on the motorway. We had aimed to get to the airport only one and a half hours before our flight to Madeira and caught the flight by the skin of our teeth. That extra 30 minutes in bed wasn’t worth the stress!
Although everyone knows it’s important to stay hydrated on a flight, airlines can be notoriously stingy with handing out water. It’s usually served in small plastic cups that can be glugged in a few mouthfuls. Avoid the hassle of having to constantly ask for more water by buying a big bottle of water at the airport. Make sure you buy it after going through security though, otherwise you’ll have to throw it away.
I religiously buy the biggest bottle of water I can find in Boots at the airport before getting on board the plane. Even if water is provided free on board, having your own bottle takes the hassle out of having to keep on asking for it.
The air conditioning system on planes can seriously dry your skin out. I take my make-up off as soon as I get on the plane and moisturise my face 2-3 times throughout the flight. This should help you counteract the harsh environment and the cleansing ritual can help to relax you.
I always take face wipes on the plane with me and then use the After Dark Face Oil by Kiss the Moon. I discovered this product when I tested out their inflight beauty sleep kit and fell in love with it. The oil is deeply moisturising and has a gorgeous aromatherapy scent which makes you feel like you’re closer to a Balinese spa than a dehydrating plane. It also helps me to relax before I sleep.
I used to find it impossible to sleep on night flights until I created a little bedtime ritual. It may sound silly, but following your usual ‘going to bed’ routine can psychologically help you to wind down and trick your body into drifting off. Before trying to sleep, I go to the plane bathroom and change into comfy bottoms, bed socks and a warm jumper. I also brush my teeth. For me, an eye mask absolutely essential for falling asleep, as the cabin lights are constantly being turned on and off. Earplugs can be handy too.
The first time I committed to doing this ritual properly I slept for a whole 8 hours on a return flight from Mauritius. I now swear by it for every long haul night flight.
In order to beat jet lag, try to convert to your destination’s local time as soon as you get on the plane. For example, if you’re destination’s local time is 6 hours ahead, try to fall asleep for the first half of the flight. If your destination’s local time is 6 hours behind, try to fall asleep for the second half of the flight. But as a general rule, staying up longer than you usually would will tire you out and help you get some sleep.
If you’ve travelled back in time and are having trouble sleeping post flight, do something to tire your body out. Whether it’s a bit of yoga, a light jog or an intense gym workout, getting physical will release tension and loosen your body after sitting still for so long. You know your body and what it needs to get tired out.
I’m a runner so my favourite form of light exercise to beat jet lag is by hitting the hotel treadmill. If there isn’t a gym at the hotel, I will do some lengths in the pool instead. I always try to take the first day at a leisurely pace as jet lag can sometimes take 2-3 days to really kick in.
The worst thing you can do when you land in your destination is to keep thinking about what time it is ‘back home’. Try to slot into eating at usual meal times so that your appetite doesn’t take too long to catch up.
Face wipes / make-up remover (under 100ml)
Sleepwear / comfortable clothing
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Moisturiser (under 100ml)
Bottled Water (after security)
Portable Charger / Battery Pack
An Extra Jumper
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.