*This post contains affiliate links
I don’t like flying (not that I ever mention it), so a long-haul flight to me is quite the production. I have family in the Philippines and I love it there, so I try and visit as often as I can. I’m someone who likes Southeast Asia in general actually, so it’s a bit inconvenient that I live a 16 hour flight away. On the plus side, this means that I have accumulated loads of travel tips for someone who may not have travelled long-haul before, or someone that has and wants their experience to be a little better.
Book the airport lounge
I’ve mentioned airport lounges a few times on my social media channels. I appreciate not everyone can afford to splash out on them, but you can sometimes get deals where they are around £25, and if you are going to buy food and drink at the airport you would probably spend this in the Wetherspoon’s. Food ad drink in lounges is unlimited, and although my last visit was the first time I have visited an airport lounge since I gave up alcohol, I still think I got my money’s worth with the amount of food I ate and tea I drank. If you are about to board a ridiculously long flight a full stomach and the use of the nice toilets will probably be invaluable to you.
It may sound strange, but people do genuinely change their seats for whatever reason in the run-up to the flight. I plan my seat meticulously around where I will get given food first. Since I started visiting the Philippines on a regular basis I have gained enough knowledge about fights with Qatar Airways to know where the “food” seats or the “toilet” seats are. If you keep checking back on your seat selection.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
On my recent first flight to Doha, I got stuck next to a woman who was quite clearly going to elbow me all journey just for the s&g’s. Not that I wouldn’t have put up with it because that is what you get when you spend all the money you were supposed to have saved to fly business class on Ubers and food, but realistically speaking I didn’t trust myself not to start some form of row. The last thing I needed was to be chucked off of my flight for causing a ruckus, no matter how much I would have enjoyed the extra time off work. I called over a member of the cabin crew discreetly, made a subtle but pointed look at the woman and asked her if I could perhaps move if any seats become free. Sure enough, the same member of staff came to find me shortly after take off and I had a lovely new seat near the toilet with a free seat in-between myself and the guy next to the window. My Nan always taught me “if you don’t ask you don’t get” and Jean sure was right on this occasion. She also told me to marry for money, not love. Wise woman was Jean.
Take your own bottle of water
Long-haul flights dehydrate you big time, and although they come round with water really often, it’s still only small bottles with your meal or little cups. Buy yourself a big bottle once you clear security and trust me, your skin will thank you for it in the long run.
Think about your clothing and use your hand-luggage space
I always take a tracksuit to wear on the plane because it’s comfy. But on my most recent flight because I had booked the lounge that was smart dress I couldn’t just rock up to it in a grey tracksuit. But then also a dilemma was the fact it was winter in the UK but very very NOT winter once I got to the Philippines. As mad as it might sound when you are travelling to the airport and it is close to snowing, take some shorts and flip flops for when you arrive. I managed to fit in a tracksuit and a change of clothes in my hand luggage, as well as my MacBook, some make up, a book, and all of my chargers. The truth is that you can fit loads in if you purchase the right hand-luggage bag. Just make sure you can carry it across the airport on your stopover.
Sheet mask for a long-haul flight #notcare
So yeah, this one will get you a few looks. I am going to level with you, I actually had a row of three seats to myself on the flight over. This meant that I could lay back and do my sheet mask in peace. But don’t think for a second I wouldn’t have done it if someone were next to me, or I won’t do this on the way home. Recycled air is horrendous for your skin, so giving it a bit of extra moisture is an absolute essential if you want to look and feel fresh when you arrive.
Move with the time zones
If you are going to travel through a lot of time zones, it is worth noting which one you are travelling through and trying to adapt to it. If your second flight is an overnight one, try and get some sleep, even if it isn’t night-time in the UK. If my time-zones are out, I always take a herbal sleeping tablet or tea to try and make myself sleep with the time zone. This is another thing that will help you to feel fresher at the other end. If you are using a sleep tea the cabin crew will get you some hot water so that you can make it.
Make your own “amenity kit”
For flights over 6 hours, you usually get a pretty snazzy amenity kit that contains lip balm, an eye mask, earplug, the socks and a toothbrush and toothpaste. But there are probably a few little extras you’ll need to ensure you look and feel fabulous when you arrive. I always grab a foundation sample from Estee Lauder as this meets the liquid requirements. If I am on a stopover that allows me to book into a lounge with access to a shower I also take sachets of shampoo and conditioner, which also fit the 100ml liquid requirements.