6 Travel Tips for Your Long Haul Flight
written on November 19th, 2017 by Rusty Jorbina
Traveling long haul can be a daunting experience. A flight is normally considered long haul when it is more that five hours. The longest I have ever done was a 14-hour flight from Hong Kong to Chicago. I thought I’d lose my mind sitting for so long in such a small space.
Long haul flights can lead to restlessness and boredom, not to mention jet lag at your destination, so here are some of the few things that I have learned from my occasional long haul travels:
Prepping is key.
Aside from packing your checked-in luggage, make sure to pack the essentials in your carry-on bag. Make a travel list of everything you need. Here are the items on my list: My passport and a pen (in case forms need to be filled up) in a document pouch; my gadgets such as my cameras, phone, and power bank; electronics that can easily be removed (some airports require them to be out of the baggage when passing through the final security check); and my toiletry or amenity kit to freshen up during flying, in between connections, and upon arrival (I always try to look my best before the immigration officers even if I have not slept at all).
Take note that some airports require gels and liquids to be placed in a transparent container when passing the security check. Make sure you can easily take them out of your bag and just transfer them afterwards in your toiletry kit. Keep the plastic container for your next flight. If you are flying business or first class, airlines usually provide you with their designer toiletry kits so you may not need to pack your own.
Wear comfortable clothes.
My favorite flying outfit is a cotton shirt, leggings, and slip on rubber shoes, but it can be whatever you are most comfortable in. Remember, you will be sitting in a chair for more than five hours, so it should be something cozy.
Even if they seem chic, avoid wearing high heels. You’ll regret it the moment you have to run from one gate to the next, which in some countries, can go up to a kilometer or so.
Bring a light coat or jacket as well. Don’t rely on the airline blankets. Some low cost airlines don’t even have any and it can get really chilly in the plane.
Sync your sleeping cycles to your destination.
This is the best way to avoid jet lag and maximize your sight seeing time. Try to do this even up to a few days before your flight. Try to sleep and wake up as if you are in your destination country. On the day of your flight, try to sleep in the plane if you arrive at your destination during the day or stay up if you arrive at night.
Six hours can get boring easily (heck, one hour can get boring easily), make sure to bring along things to keep you entertained. International airlines like Emirates, Korean Air, and Cathay Pacific have a good selection of in-flight entertainment, so this should be something that you need not worry about, unless you’d rather read a book.
However, some budget airlines do away with that, so make sure to check before you travel. If in-flight entertainment is not available, pre-load your gadget with options to keep you amused during your flight.
My entertainment hub of choice is a low-cost 7″ tablet. It is small and light enough to carry with me everywhere, but can also store a lot of books and movies. Perfect to read or watch whenever I travel.
Invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones.
Noise canceling headphones are a godsend, especially if you travel often. I have tried taking a six hour flight with a screaming (yes, not just crying) baby ten rows up. Not only did I stay awake, the sound was unwelcoming to say the least. Noise canceling headphones tune out all the noise around you, ranging from crying babies to over-chatty seat mates.
Bring extra underwear and tops.
This last tip is one that I have always done but (thankfully) never had the need to use. I’ve been packing extra underwear and tops ever since a friend of mine told me about her nightmare experience.
One time on a flight from the US, their connecting flight to the Philippines left them and she was forced to spend a night in a hotel before flying out again. Since she did not have her clothes with her (it was all in her checked-in baggage), she had to sleep in the hotel robe (fortunately there was one) while she washed her clothes and hung them to dry for the next day’s trip.
There’s also the possibility that the plane loses your luggage in transit (hopefully this never happens to you and this has never happened to me), so having a change of clothes for the next couple of days can give you a chance to shower before you go and retrieve your luggage at the airport.