If you are a frequent traveler, then you likely experience long flights quite often. Long flights are always stressful for your mind and body, especially right upon arrival, when you start your journey. And sometimes, right after your long flight, you need to take a smaller local flight to your destination and begin your journey immediately.
Once, when traveling to Tanzania, I had a long flight from Dusseldorf to Dar-Es-Salaam (arriving at 2 in the morning) and then a few hours later, at 5 AM, we had a flight to Arusha. Immediately upon arrival in Arusha, we loaded up the jeep and started our 11-day safari! It was a bit extreme, but when you’re limited with your days for traveling, you want to fit in everything you possibly can! Yeah, sometimes traveling is hard work :)
So, to make the flight more comfortable and relaxing, I’ll tell you here what you need to have with you. The Ultimate Long Flight Checklist consists of several sub-kits: a comfort kit (pillow, ear plugs, eye drops, etc.), clothing kit, food kit (healthy snacks), gadget kit (headphones, extra batteries, etc.) and entertainment kit (audiobook, music).
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This is a must! If you’re not traveling in first or business class with all their sleeping facilities, you need to organize your sleeping space as best as you possibly can. A great variety of pillows exist for sleeping, and you probably already have one. If not, then I recommend that you not only bring an inflatable pillow - as this requires less space and is easier to clean - but also a few novice pillows, which might even be a better choice.
Some airline companies do provide you with these two essential things. But let’s be honest, most of them are not at all comfortable. It’s better to have your own mask, one that is well-made from a nice fabric. To complement the mask, it’s nice to have a pair of ear plugs, since infants on board or noisy neighbors can disrupt your sleep.
Do yourself a favor and don’t wear your contact lenses on board; it’s much better to switch to your glasses for a long flight. The air on planes is always extremely dry, so even if you don’t wear glasses or contacts, your eyes may very well get dehydrated and itchy during the flight. To avoid this, simply buy a small pack of natural tear drops to moisturize them every hour or two during the flight. Keeping in mind that these drops have a short expiration date, it makes sense to buy them right before flight.
Some people simply cannot sleep well aboard a plane. If you’re one of them, you’d benefit from buying a sleeping pill beforehand so that you’ll be able to enjoy a nap.
Alternatively, you can try a motion sickness pill, as these have some sedative effects which will help you ease into a nice nap.
Travel size toothbrushes and toothpaste will allow you to freshen up and feel better between flights or at the end of a long flight.
This is another important item to bring along. Since the air on planes is dry, your skin will become dehydrated. To protect it against dryness and itchiness, simply have a small pack of hand creme on hand.
Your hands aren’t the only things that need protection from the dry air. Use some moisturizing lip balm to prevent dry lips.
Though traditionally used for makeup removal, men might also find these useful for cleaning their faces. They’re easier to use than alternatives, since you won’t have to think about storing a small container of facial foam.
I personally always have a small container of thermal water with me. After cleaning your face, it feels so nice to refresh it with the water. And if you like to take good care of your skin, it’s important to use this frequently during the flight, again due to the dry air... did I already mention that?
Ok, this is probably an item for women. There are plenty of super hydrating transparent face masks, so that even if you fly in economy class, you won’t look like a freak with a green face right next to your neighbor. Instead, right after takeoff, you can put these transparent masks on your face and you’re good to go! There are plenty of these masks which are used as cremes.
Well, just in case.
If you wear glasses, don’t forget to have a small pack of cleaning wipes or a cleaning cloth.
You never know when you might need a small container to store some foam, cream or maybe moisturizing liquids for your eyes.
If you are a frequent flyer, you might already have some quality headphones. If not, then you should! Try noise canceling headphones with ear plugs, and you’ll forget that you’re on the plane. No incessant buzzing engine, no shrill crying babies, and absolutely nothing which can distract you from sleeping or listening to music. I know they are not cheap, but it’s sort of an investment in your comfort - and that’s priceless, right?
Not all the airplanes are equipped with USB ports, so it’s wise to have a portable charger on the plane if you like reading, watching movies or listening to the music on your phone or tablet.
Long flights most likely mean travel to a different country, region or even continent. (Well, unless you’re flying to Vladivostok from Moscow!) Your home country socket may not be useful, at any transition points, your final destination, or both. Make sure to check before you fly, to see if you’ll need an adapter on the go.
Magazines are a must-have for plane reading. They don’t take up a lot of room, and if you want to, you can even just buy one once you get to the airport, carry it in your hand or carry-on, and simply leave it behind when you’re done.
Some flights are so long that you’re bound to get through your magazine stash and still be bored. Here’s where books come in, but make sure you can stash them anywhere in your luggage. Time passes by quickly when you’re immersed in a great story!
Maybe there are multiple books you want to read during your travels, but you really don’t want to waste space packing them all. A Kindle is the perfect solution! Load whatever books you want onto it beforehand, or even during the flight if the plane has wi-fi. Make sure to charge it fully before you take off.
The sounds of a plane can be quite unappealing. However, if you also have an aversion to silence, music is the perfect companion. Like a good book, time passes by quickly if you’re listening to your favorite tunes or audiobooks. It’s useful to make some playlists before you go, especially ones that can help you relax or fall asleep.
Since every flight, no matter how short, brings a lot of stress upon your body, I’m a big fan of comfortable clothes. For example, jeans are definitely not the best option for your legs, and they’re maybe even the worst. They are firm and don’t have much wiggle room, so you have a limited ability to bend your legs. As a result, your veins struggle with blood movement, and this causes feelings of heaviness and tiredness. That’s why it’s better and wiser to choose looser and somewhat stretchy clothes, made with natural fabrics.
Basic and comfortable, a shirt like this shouldn’t irritate your skin at all. It’s the ideal travel uniform.
Airplanes are notorious for their on-board climate. It can get pretty hot before the plane starts moving, and then unpleasantly cold once you’re in the air. Dressing in layers prevents this, and bringing a comfortable hoodie ensures that you’ll be warm enough to sleep.
Sweatpants are the leg version of a hoodie. If you are taking off from a warm place and want to wear shorts, leggings, etc, you can always throw a pair of sweatpants in your bag to put on over these or change into mid-flight. Their level of comfort is unparalleled, and as mentioned above, it will ensure that you’re warm and cozy when trying to sleep.
We don’t think about it, but even if we’re blissfully comfortable in a hoodie and sweatpants, underwear can still be a cause of discomfort. To maximize comfort, choose to wear cotton underwear that fits well, but not too tightly.
Some airlines will provide you with socks, but have you seen the quality? Not to mention how they look...
The good news is that many airlines now provide a wide range of food you can pre-order to have on board. Still, it’s better to have a healthy snack than cookies or salted pretzels. I also honestly don’t understand people who drink alcohol on board. Alcohol expands your blood vessels, but then in a couple of hours makes them narrower. This causes dehydration, which is intensified by the plane’s dry air. You certainly don’t want to end up with a hangover or headache upon arrival, especially if you are starting your journey immediately.
So, with all these things you shouldn’t do, what should you bring? Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are great options. They’re all healthy, and nuts are especially good at filling you up. Since you’re on a plane, you want foods which will be friendly to your stomach and digestive system - and perhaps the most nourishing snack out there is fruits and veggies! Boiled chicken and cheese sticks are also great options for protein, and cheese sticks are nice and compact. As an alternative to airplane cookies, pack some whole grain crackers or cookies - a much healthier alternative to a traditional snack.
You can either use food containers or zipper bags to keep your food with you.
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