Like many Australians who love to travel, I’ve battled a fair few long-haul flights. I’ve been envious of classmates flying back to Switzerland or Croatia in only a few hours from our school in Paris, while dreading two long flights home. Even when I book with a maximum two-hour stop over in Dubai, it’s generally a minimum of 24 hours in transit.
Of course, travelling is a privilege and I’m lucky to be able to take international flights to visit the destinations of my dreams. Still, a little bit of preparation can go a long way towards making a much more comfortable trip.
In 24 hours, a lot of things can happen. There are a lot of unknowns and you can feel a little stranded without your safety blanket of your usual things. A few things are certain, such as getting cold, bored, swollen feet, dry skin and eyes on the plane and feeling gross when you land. Plus, there’s the risk of getting stuck at a stopover for longer than expected, among other things. These are all just minor costs of being lucky enough to travel, but with a little preparation you can negate the impact of all of them.
In-flight essentials for long haul flights
- Compression stockings to minimise swelling. Not sexy, but significantly sexier than having sausages for legs for the first few days of your holiday.
- Lucas Papaw Ointment – only the best multi purpose balm known to man. It’s the only lipbalm I use. Update: New favourite – Lanolips!
- Hair brush
- Toothbrush – sometimes you will get these on your flight. Don’t assume you will, I still can’t figure out their system.
- Neck pillow – reduces the risk of drooling on the shoulder of the stranger beside you, or sleeping with your head out into the aisle. I’ve been woken up by a flight attendant ramming her metal drinks trolley into my head more than once.
- Rose hip oil – a deeply nourishing organic moisturiser that does wonders for your skin
- Concealer – the combination of cabin air, poor sleep and extremely salty plane food is enough to make anyone break out. Also handy for hiding the circles under your eyes when you land and face the world
- Glasses – if you wear contacts, you’ll need your glasses. I keep contacts with me so I can put them in when I get to my destination, if I’m feeling fussy
- Eye mask – Sometimes I need help keeping my eyes closed when there are little kids crawling under my feet. Relax relax relax!
- Three pairs of underwear – If you get stuck at a stopover, the last thing you want to be worrying about is fresh underwear. It rolls up to be tiny.
- Change of clothes – As above, but because clothes are bulkier I just pack one set. Mostly for when I land and want to put fresh clothes on ASAP.
- Sunglasses – I think I’ve established that no one is at their best getting off a plane. I’d wear a paper bag with eye holes if I could, but sunglasses are a more socially-acceptable second choice.
- Scarf – A general multi-purpose travel essential, scarves are useful on planes for when it gets unexpectedly cold. You’re more at risk for getting a cold on the plane, which is the last thing you want when you’re starting your holiday or coming home to go back to work. A scarf is a miracle worker at keeping your neck cosy, warm, and healthy.
- Noise cancelling ear phones – I wish I’d had these last time. I don’t know what the child sitting in front of me was saying, but she said it in a whingey voice at least eighty times.
- Notebook & pen – Alleviates boredom, at least for a little while.