Sunday, April 10, 2016

Travel Essentials: 8 tips to survive a long haul economy class flight

Flying over Dubai. IG: @littlemisshappyfeet
Can you imagine how terrible it was when I had my first long haul flight experience at 18 years old without any decent preparation? That was a Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Volgograd, having to transit 2 times in London and Moscow. After that, no way I am going to do this ever again! That was my inner thoughts but hell do I have a choice? Of course not! 

Frankly speaking, there are no ways to make a long-haul flight fun, but at least, there are ways to make it bearable. Here are 8 things I learnt after 10 long journeys within 5 years time. 

on the way to Osaka, Japan. @littlemisshappyfeet

1. Food

Being hungry on flight is one of the worst thing that can happen. It is either you giving in to the crazily expensive snacks or risk getting gastritis 5 years down the road. Travel smart by bringing your favorite snacks onboard! Peanuts, low-fat cheese, turkey slices, crackers and energy bars are some of the best energy boost. 
If you want to get served first, request a special meal: Vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher….etc. Even if you are feeling really hungry, it is a bad idea to fill up as it is harder to digest in the air. Experts say that carbs hold water, making you feel bloated. So instead of Pasta, go for the seafood set or chicken meal. 

2. Water

Stay hydrated! Air travel is notoriously dehydrating, so drink a lot of fluid! However, try to avoid coffee as caffeine will dehydrate you further. So next time when a flight attendant come asking “Coffee or Tea? ” Choose water! Other than then, take it easy on the free booze! Although I find a small cup of wine helps me to fall asleep faster, it can also disrupt your ability to sleep and dehydrate you further. 

Sweater+ T-shirt. 

3. Clothing 

Try to layer your clothing, so that you can adjust accordingly later. Sometimes when the air-condition is working at full blast, it will be freezing cold in the plane. But sometimes, somehow, it gets stuffy and uncomfortable during the day. Usually I’ll wear a T-shirt and a sweater while keeping a scarf in my handbag, just in case. If you are unable to put up with cold or extremely vulnerable to falling sick, you might want to consider bringing a jacket. Last but not least, wear comfortable socks (cashmere is the best choice)!  

4. Bring 

A neck pillow is a staple carry-on item for any overnight journeys, no matter its a bus ride, train journey or flight. It is crucial as it provides support to your neck. I personally bring an inflatable pillow to save space (a good investment). Besides, you can also turn your scarf into a lumbar support. Noise-canceling headphones are just god-sent but if you do not have the means to own one, earplugs will get the job done. This will certainly make your flight more enjoyable and stress free, especially when you are sitting near to a crying baby. You’ll need that. To have better rest and sleep quality, download white noise and wear an eye mask. Also, don’t forget to bring some disinfectant tissues, they come handy when you are forced to use the toilet (no matter how unwilling you are to go in, it is unavoidable.) 

5. Exercises

You seriously won’t want your blood to clot from staying in the same position for too long. I am not joking, deep vein thrombosis do happen and it can be fatal! Stand up once in a while from your cramped-up little space when the seat-belt sign is off. Straighten your back, extend your neck, stretch your legs. It helps to learn some in-seat foot exercises: rotation, extension, flexion… or simply wear compression socks to avoid DVT. 

6. Entertainment

Some airlines provide exceptional inflight entertainment. So far, Qatar and Emirates please me the most. However, that is not the case for some other airlines. I’ve been on a long haul flight which to my horror did not even have a small screen in front of every seat. All they have, is a flat screen TV at the very front. Seriously it sucks when you realize that you are going to stuck in this entertainment-deprived aluminum canister for more than 10 hours. That is why, you should always have a plan B: load up your iPad with some good movies, bring a good book, download some addictive games your friends had been telling you to start playing…. but on top of all these, make sure you have a power-bank with you just in case there is no charging outlet near your seat. 

7. Seat

For maximum comfort, pick a window seat, where you will have a wall to lean on and you won’t be disturbed by passing carts. (But if you do, remember to pack in a small tube of lotion with SPF because yes you do get sunburnt on planes). Moreover, because you are the one in charge of the window, your circadian cycle tends to adjust faster than those sitting on the aisle seats. I personally love to sit by the plane's wing. Some say those seats experience less turbulence, but honestly, I just enjoy taking photos of the wing. 

My favorite brand yet: Donkey mask. @littlemisshappyfeet

8. Beauty

Your skin will be dry, you haven’t bathed in 16 hours, your quality of sleep for the past 10 hours was terrible…and so you thought: How can anyone expect me to look fresh when I get off this plane? Well think about it this way: 10+ hours on a plane, apart from back-to-back movies and occasional write-ups on your career goals, you have all the time in the world for a pampering beauty session. 
Step 1: Wipe away your make up with a wet tissue (after all, it is more comfortable to go makeup-free!)   
Step 2: Do a moisturizing face mask (Use sheet mask)
Step 3: Wipe away all residue using a wet tissue and apply night cream to lock in all the juice
Step 4: Beauty sleep
Step 5: Reapply fresh make up before getting off the plane. 


Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your friendly neighbor. However, excessively long/ endless conversations are not always welcomed , simply because, you know, a long haul flight is dreadful and everybody needs their beauty sleep (see point 8).  

Thank You for Reading! 
Have anything to add? Let me know by commenting below!

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