Posted in Travel,  LUXURY 

If you’re a champagne traveller on a beer budget and are about to embark on one of the many unbearable long-haul flights around the world, these tips will come as welcome to you as the moment you are back on solid ground.

It’s not an easy task getting from A to B, and when you add tiredness to the mix, we could all use a little help. From someone who has survived countless long-haul flights and is a self-confessed “terrible flyer”, here are my ten most valuable tips for long-haul flying and believe me, it’s all about being prepared before you take off.

1. Your personal entertainment kit

Having a stash of bits and bobs to pass the hours is a must for any traveller. If movies aren’t your thing, stash your carry-on bag under the seat in front of you for easy access and store an ipod, a book, magazines, and any other potential hobbies in it. Whether it’s a Sudoku puzzle book or simply a notepad for jotting and doodling, having personal items at your disposal will help the time fly that little bit faster.

2. It’s all about the fashion, darling

Even with a background in fashion and beauty I am all for travelling in comfort. I’m talking loose pants, a soft loose tee, a cashmere cardigan and even a snuggly white vest with a hood that I bought at a day spa and which resembles a bath towel. In fact, I’m pretty sure is only meant to be worn at home, but when it comes to long-haul flying, nothing is out of bounds. I even wear compression socks because these make the world of difference in the air and stop swelling and restless leg syndrome, which then prevents you from sleeping. If you aren’t comfortable, your body will not relax, so make sure you are wearing loose, breathable clothing and don’t forget to pack warm socks as well to ward off that evil air conditioning.

3. Wind that watch

I always work out what time it is at my final destination, the moment I get on a lengthy flight. Winding your watch forward or back is a trigger for you to get into that new time zone and adjust your behavior accordingly. If it’s nighttime where you are going, try to get some shut-eye right away. If it’s morning, try to stay up as long as you can so when you land you can fall asleep along with everyone else and then get more time to enjoy your holiday. If, like me, you find sleeping on planes almost impossible, read on to tip number 4…

4. A little melatonin goes a long way

Melatonin is a hormone your body creates when the sun goes down each day. It is what makes you sleepy and prepares you for rest. You can get a prescription easy enough if your doctor knows you will be flying, and the good thing is, there are no nasties like what you will find in pharmaceutical sleeping pills, and therefore no yucky grogginess. Pilots and frequent travellers swear by melatonin to ward off jet lag and get them on to the local time quickly. I take one as soon as the destination hour for sleep comes around to get onto the right time zone straight away.

5. A pillow to rest your head (and back) on

Make sure you invest in a comfortable travel pillow. Gone are the days of the inflatable U-shaped plane pillows; now there are dozens of more comfortable pillows you can choose from and it’s all up to you to discover what is the best option for you. When it comes to pillows, use that flat pillow provided by the airline behind you, in the small of your back. If your back and your neck are supported, your body will be relaxed and more likely to switch off for a nap.

6. Noise cancelling is worth the pennies

Some articles have discussed how the constant humming of the plane while in the air is one of the biggest contributors to preventing rest while flying. To counteract this, invest in a pair of good noise cancelling headphones. They completely shut out the world around you, including the awful plane noises, and make a massive difference on long haul flights. If you’re a regular traveller, the cost is worth it.

7. Window seat is prime real estate

If you plan on sleeping on the plane, opt for a window seat where possible. Being able to rest your head on a pillow on the window will make a world of difference if you’re trying to get some shut-eye.

8. H20 over wine

Although alcohol sounds like a good idea if you’re trying to make yourself sleepy, more likely it will make you restless when all you want to do is switch off. Opt for water instead, and lots of it because we lose fluids rapidly when up in the air.

9. Stretch

Get up and go for a wander around the cabin where possible. If you’re in a window seat and it’s a little harder, do stretches in you seat, especially stretching your legs and feet out in front of you. Getting the blood flowing will help prevent restless legs and of course DVT.

10. Meditate

This is my best kept secret to long haul flying and one that I cannot stress enough. If you can meditate, do it as much as you can when flying. Even short haul flights are extremely hard on the body and meditation will re-energise and give you the much needed rest your mind and body need. I practice a form of vedic meditation which promotes 20-minute bursts of meditating on a personal mantra. The rule of thumb is, meditate as soon as the plane is up in the air and prior to the meal service, mediate when you start to get tired or if you want to sleep but can’t, and during long haul flights, meditate as much as possible. Meditation gives you more rest than sleep, so it is a great tool to have on hand if you need to rest but struggle to fall asleep in the air.

If you’re a Sydney local and are interested in learning this technique, try www.davidgilesmeditation.com

A sneaky number 11 if you’re a woman…

Don’t forget your beauty bits: face wipes, moisturiser, lip balm and hand cream for when it’s time to get some sleep. Going through a shortened version of you nightly beauty routine will help beyond belief in winding you down and getting you in the head space for sleep. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a full face of makeup and without a hot shower, and preparation is key to tricking your busy brain that into thinking it’s bed time.

share this