Long Haul Flight Must-Haves

 

Essentials for long haul flights

The spring and summer term has finally come to an end. The summer holidays is a great time for traveling, and weather you are going back home for the break or heading out on an adventure, there are some things you need to make sure you keep in your carry-on to ensure that your travels start out and end in the best way possible.

Let's start off with the perhaps more obvious: the bag. It doesn't really matter what style of bag you choose to take as a carry-on (as long as it complies to your airlines standards for size and weight). One thing that I think most people have not realized yet, however, is the concept of a bag in your bag. Hey, what's that about? you might wonder, but let me explain. Instead of always having to get up to get your stuff, having a small tote or toiletry bag containing just the essentials can help save you a lot of frustration and unnecessary moving about. Make sure that the bag is small enough that you can comfortably keep it under the seat in front of you; then just put the rest, like your computer, wallet, jacket, extra sweater and change of clothes in your larger bag and stick it in the overhead compartment.

Hydration hydration hydration

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One of the most important things on a long haul flight is to keep hydrated. The air in airplanes gets very dry, so it's important to keep yourself moisturized both on the outside and inside.

Bring a bottle of water

Make sure to have a bottle of water with you on your flight to keep by your seat. It is easy to forget to drink when you are stuck in that weird sort of “time-is-standing-still” feeling that an airplane can provide, but you should always make sure to stay hydrated. Even if you can't carry a big bottle full of water through security, you can always refill an empty PET bottle or a water bottle at a drinking fountain by the gates to bring with you if you don't want to pay airport-prices for your H2O.

Face and body wipes

If you have ever taken a long flight, you know that you usually end up feeling pretty grimy and gross after even just a couple of hours. Some face or body wipes is a great addition to your inflight toiletry bag. It's a great way to just freshen up either at the end of the flight, or just to pick yourself up during the flight as well.

Masks and moisturizers

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As I mentioned before, the air inside an airplane is very drying. Whether you have oily or dry skin, keeping your skin moisturized and clean is an important step to avoid any travel-related zits and dry flaky patches. The increasingly popular sheet masks are really great on long haul flights, but if you feel a little self-conscious just a regular cream mask or hydrating pack really comes in handy. I usually apply sheet masks up to two times during my 9 hour flight back to Sweden to keep my dry skin hydrated and happy. To get rid of the sticky feeling you can rinse your face in the bathroom or wipe the excess off with a face towel.

If you are not a fan of masks or still feel a little dry after your impromptu inflight spa-session, a few drops of facial oil or any thicker face cream(I always recommend the Weleda brand moisturizer called Skin Food to my friends) really help protect your skin during the flight. Another nice way to freshen up and add some moisture is any kind of floral water, like rose water, in a small mister. It can help not only with dry skin, but also with dry eyes and airways. Make sure however not to bother others with any strong smells or by misting them by accident.

Another item I always bring with me is moisturizing or cooling eye-drops, as well as a packet of masks to ward off any airplane-colds. They also help keep my airways from drying out too much.

General hygiene

I don't know about you, but I always used to end up getting sick from flying. Without fail, I would end up with a cold. I have since then come to learn my lesson however, and come prepared. One of my already mentioned musts is a mask. It keeps your airways from drying out, allows you to sleep with your mouth wide open, but most importantly it helps to protect you from any bugs circulating inside the aircraft. Another helpful thing is something like a hand sanitizer or an antibacterial spray. Some might think that this is too much, but those are the people that have never gotten an airplane cold.

It is also always a good idea to bring your toothbrush and some mouthwash on the plane, just to freshen up either after landing or between inflight meals. Deodorant is also something I like to bring with me, just to freshen up after a nice and refreshing body-wipe shower. 

Comfort

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Some people, like my family, tend to make what I find to be the inexplicable choice to wear 'proper clothes' (in many cases this means full on suits) for long haul flights. And that is of course perfectly fine. However, wouldn't you rather just cozy up in something soft and wonderful and just be comfortable for your flight?

Clothes

Somehow most flights end up turning either ridiculously cold or hot; cold being the more common for the longer flights. Because of this, dressing in a way that allows you some variety is key. All I can say is layers, layers, layers. You can always take things off, but If you can't wear that hoodie or cardigan you might end up regretting it later when the ventilation seems to be taken straight from the North Pole. A good addition is something like a scarf. A scarf can act as an extra blanket or pillow just in case what is provided is not enough for you; Or if you're like me, you may prefer to keep the provided pillow at the small of your back for some added comfort. An extra pair of warm socks is always great in case you end up feeling cold.

Compression socks

Despite what you think, this is not only for old people. If you are suffering from swollen feet , cramps or stiff muscles during flights, just getting a pair of compression socks or leggings might be a good solution for you. You can find pretty standard ones from Dr. Scholl at stores like Don Quijote, and they come with varying degrees of compression as well as styles, varying from just covering your calves to full on leggings and stockings. It is easy to put on under sweatpants or leggings, or can just be worn on its own with a dress or skirt, or a pair of shorts.

Sleep

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If you stay awake throughout your overnight flight, or just prefer to sleep the hours away rather than staring at the inflight entertainment for hours on end, there are some absolute lifesavers that need to have their place in your carryon.

Eye mask

When asking the people at my share house and my friends what they feel is the most important thing to bring with them on a flight, without fail they all said an eye mask. Blocking out light really helps with sleep, and helps keep you asleep. Be it from outside, the overhead lights or your neighbors tv-screen, shutting the world out for a bit can really help improve your inflight snoozing experience.

Earplugs, or noise canceling earphones

Even though noise canceling earphones are an amazing and wonderful addition to any tight just for watching movies, it can also help you get a more comfortable sleep as it shields you from any loud sounds that might disturb your slumber. If you are not prepared to spend the money or just don't feel the need, just a pair of earplugs can really save you a lot of trouble and help give you that well needed rest so you are prepared to face the real world after your flight.

Sleeping aids

Some people swear by sleeping pills or other more natural remedies for both aiding in getting a restful sleep on the plane, as well as helping  with readjusting to another timezone when arriving, warding off jet-lag. If you want a medical grade sleeping pill make sure to consult either your doctor or some personnel at your local pharmacy. Personally I take Melatonin to help me fall asleep on flights and for fighting jet-lag, but you should talk to your doctor before taking any sleeping aids, especially if you are on any other kind of medication, pregnant or breastfeeding. Natural remedies that might help with a more restful sleep can be magnesium, essential oils in the form of a balm or roller to help you relax.

Entertainment

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Most flights nowadays come with great entertainment in the form of movies, tv-shows, radio and games. However, if you want to make sure you don't run out of things to watch it can be a good idea to bring a tablet or phone with some downloaded content. If you have Netflix for example, you can download the things you want to watch to the app and watch it even without the use of wifi or data. I also recommend bringing your own earplugs or earphones, because sometimes the ones provided by the airline are not quite up to par.

If you get motion sickness easily like I do, reading materials can be quite hit or miss. Audiobooks, like audible, however can be both great entertainment and help lull you to sleep as well. If you enjoy reading however but don't have that much space in your carry-on, an app like Kindle where you can buy or download books for free from Amazon is a great alternative since you can read comfortably on your phone or tablet.

Emergency kit

I have at three separate occasions had the misfortune of having my luggage either being left behind, or shipped to the opposite end of the world. Luckily for me this has only so far happened when arriving back in Tokyo, so it is more of a blessing in disguise(an annoying blessing), where you get your bags delivered to your home at a later date. However, it does not hurt to plan for the worst, and I always keep a change of clothes in my carry on just in case. This might also be of help if you wish to change out of your inflight-pjs and into normal human clothes again before heading out to the world outside the airport.

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If you have a vagina, it might be a good idea to pack some supplies in case you get a surprise visit by your period. Just a pad or some tampons can really help save the day, if not for you than maybe some other poor soul that was out of luck and in need of some help. Bringing medication for indigestion, allergies, and headaches is also something that can end up saving you from having a very bad time in your flight.