December 21, 2014

Your Guide to Long-Haul Flights

As anyone who has ever flown for a steady day without breaks can tell you....without a plan you're lost and your 'day' will not end up with a smile. After 26 hours, 3 flights, 2 layovers and 2 continents....I'm finally home! Being a seasoned veteran at these type of flights, I'm here to help you.
#planeselfies (Find this photo on Instagram)

Pack Smart

Depending on how long you're staying in x destination, the amount of things you pack in your checked bag varies. However, I always recommend using one rolling suitcase as long as possible--2 large suitcases you're tugging behind you, your carry-on backpack weighing on your shoulders, and your carry-on purse hitting people in the face (if applicable) not to mention any jackets, phones, passports etc. is not a good situation. You want to stay as compact as possible, and should always be able to carry every single thing you have with you yourself. 

A few more tips for your checked bag: 
  • Invest in a good quality rolling suitcase with plenty of space, strong wheels, and a pattern/fabric that you won't get tired of (a hard case is another option)
  • Check the weight limit of your airline and don't be afraid to pack up until it, but make sure it's not too heavy for you to handle on your own 
  • Always wrap a luggage strap around your bag, making the process of claiming it a lot easier 
  • Put bag tags on your bag for the same reason as ^
  • Shoes, toiletries, and bulkier items should be the last things you pack in the suitcase, leaving the clothes and anything else tucked below 
Work the Carry-Ons 

Your carry-on is an essential key to a happy traveler as it carries everything that will keep you distracted, pacified, moisturized, hydrated etc. during your travels. You are allowed a handbag as well as a carry-on and there are items that work well in both. 

For a handbag: 
  • Wallet, passport, travel documents (itinerary, boarding passes etc.), phones/iPods/kindles etc. as well as their cords
  • Find a cord that fits multiple purposes, my US phone charger fits my Philippine phone, and my Kindle--this eliminates 2 cords and frees up more space
  • Take a Ziploc bag and shove all your liquids in it, I keep this in my purse so when I go through security it's easy to take in and out
  • Keep a notebook/sketchpad along with plenty of pens and pencils so it's easy to access 
  • Liquids: perfume, lotion, face cream (night cream suggested), hand sanitizer, wet wipes, lip balm, toothpaste (optional), zit cream (optional)
  • Put all your electronics in a large Ziploc bag so they're easy to pull in/out for security as well
  • Get a plastic pouch to put your passport and all your travel documents plus your pens in so you can pull it out and hold it when going through customs etc.
#denim (find this on Instagram)
For a backpack: 
  • Laptops and chargers
  • Magazines/books
  • Jacket
  • If you have a 'professional'-esque camera, I wouldn't pack it--I always put mine in my backpack and even though it's bulky, I know it's safe
  • Jewelry--I always take my jewelry in my carry-on so if your luggage, travel gods forbid, ever gets lost you'll still have the expensive stuff 
  • Inhalers, medicines, tampons/pads, extra underwear
  • SOCKS--planes are cold ALWAYS bring thick socks to wear, not only does it keep you warm, it helps reduce any swelling that may occur 
  • Pashmina/scarf to wrap around your neck and use as an additional blanket that you know is clean 
Final Notes: 

Try to not over-pack when preparing for a long-haul flight because at the end of the day you're the one adding bulk and weight to your bags that you have to schlep around for hours and hours.

Long lines through customs, security, even check-in can all add to the aggravation and stress that will only mount during the long day and that stress coupled with exhaustion (which brings its own set of annoyances) will leave you pissed off, likely starving, and not in the right frame of mind to return home.

Be patient with everyone: fellow travelers, flight attendants, airport workers, TSA workers etc. because everyone is trying to get somewhere or simply do their job and your frustrations shouldn't be taken out on them. 

Drink only water if you want to avoid bloating and a general sloggish feeling. Also try to avoid salt as much as possible on those airline meals.
I don't wear any makeup on these long flights because they'll only smudge, sink oils into your skin that cause pimples, and make you look really unkempt at your final destination. (The horrible air that circulates through an airplane cabin does nothing good for your skin and, in fact, I break out nearly every time I fly unless I bring preventative measures: zit cream and night cream with me on board, water will help battle pimples as well)

Keep your family/designated airport pickup person updated as you make your way through your travels because if there are any delays, on either side, it will benefit you both to let the other know ahead of time 

Try to check in online for your flight so you don't have to stand in terribly long lines at the airport, normally they have an 'online check in' line where you can simply drop your bags and go.

Finally, never forget the reason you're traveling and, even if it's for work, keep a positive picture of it as the end goal in the back of your mind all day: it will make staying positive easier.

What are your tips and tricks to dealing with long flights?

#homeagain (find this photo on Instagram)

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