Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a first time flyer, it’s always worth planning what you’ll need to wear and bring along for a flight. One (tiny) thing I hate about travelling is not having everything I own to hand if I need it, so I need to be particular about what I bring on-board with me. I’m used to going on short flights, but in the past few years I have (luckily) been on two long-haul trips, one to Australia and another to New York.
I’ve written about my holiday essentials for carry-on luggage before, but this is about what’s best to have on hand when you’re actually on the plane. Whereas on long haul flights you have the luxury of movies/TV shows to watch, and unlimited alcohol at your disposable, there are a few extra things I tend to bring with me to make the experience more enjoyable.
Okay, this may seem a bit obvious but it needs to be factored in, whether your flight is short or long haul, comfort is everything. No skinny jeans, no structured denim – stick to nice stretchy materials, leggings if you prefer or jeggings if they work for you.
When I travel I always end up wearing my slightly loose dungarees, they’re slightly over-sized so there’s no tight waist band to contend with. It also has a really handy pocket at the front which I used for my phone, card holder and passport. I’ve recently bought a paid of the LuLuLemon Align Pants which are meant to be the holy grail of travel wear, so I’ll let you know how I get on with those…
Sorry to say it, but I really don’t like plane food. Not sure if it’s my past experiences with it, from the foamy scrambled eggs to a weird egg/cheese sandwich for lunch, it put me off doing it again. Now I usually say yes to the food options, and only take the drink, water bottle and snack and steer clear of the stodgy concoction offered as the main meal.
Before you set off, work out the timing of your meals, taking into account the time of day when you take off in compared to when you arrive to see how your meals will work out. Especially when getting connecting flights in different time zones if you say yes to every meal you might end up eating 6 different courses. This might sound like a dream scenario, but your stomach might not agree!
If you work out the timings of when and what to eat before you go you can work out if you can just eat at the airport, and pack snacks for the journey if you get really peckish.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, and the joy of discovering new ones is often you’ve got a haaauuuge catalogue to go through. Before take-off I load my phone up with some podcast favourites, and even some old editions I’ve heard before. It’s something I do everyday when I commute to work, so I like to think it keeps my body feeling as normal as possible.
A few personal favourite podcasts are Desert Island Discs – the back catalogue is absolutely huge – The Adam Buxton Podcast, The High Low, The Daily and How To Fail with Elizabeth Day. If you have any pod recommendations please let me know! I’ve got a 22 hour flight upcoming that I need to fill!
Eye Mask & Ear Plugs
This was an idea I didn’t subscribe to until my last long-haul flight but they definitely make the difference. If you’re on a journey that requires you get some sleep within it, it’s best to bring all the essentials to make sure your body can get to sleep as best it can.
Good quality sleep pillows, ear plugs and eye masks make a huge difference when it comes to trying to drift off when you’re up in the air. The sounds of your fellow passengers and the plane itself can be hard to sleep through. A good eye mask is essential if you’re trying to sleep during the sunnier hours, and my memory-foam neck pillow has been an absolute gamechanger.
If you’re really bouji and can afford the luxury, try Bluetooth headphones which have noise-cancelling technology. I treated myself to a pair last year and they make commuting in London a dream, let alone airplane flights. Blocking out the low hum of the airplane engine is a tiny difference that makes a huge impact on how you can feel in the air, I wore mine all the way back from Copenhagen and it was easy to forget I was even on a plane at all…
As much as I’d love to be the kind of travel blogger who can sit with a face mask on during a flight, I’d be too scared of terrifying everyone around me. Have you seen someone with a sheet mask on? It’s a bit too ‘Silence of the Lambs’ for me.
With this in mind, I do like to take moisturiser, cleanser and lip balm with me which I can apply several times throughout the flight. The thing about being stuck in an airplane for a large amount of time is the dehydration really gets to you and your skin.
Not only that, but I like to keep my deodorant, mouth wash, toothbrush and toothpaste with me in my carry-on bag, so I can brush my teeth or top up whenever I need to. A long time on a plane can really make you start to feel fuzzy, so a little freshen up really helps you to feel fresh when you need it.
Can’t sleep? Have back up plan. Books/a kindle or a games console (I have the Nintendo Switch) are absolute lifesavers at killing time on planes. Also, if you’re going on a long haul flight the majority of them already have films, TV shows and even music albums on their system to enjoy. If you’re really keen you can check what film/TV shows are on offer before you board the plane so you can line up what you want to see.
Another thing I like to do is load up my iPad with Netflix and YouTube downloads (you can now download YouTube with their premium service) so I have a load of entertainment of my own to enjoy if the plane options aren’t to my taste!
And there we have it, my in-flight essentials round up. I hope this might help anyone with a flight on the horizon – whether long haul or short haul, it’s best to be prepared.
My next big flight journey will be Australia in a couple of weeks and I’ll be following the above when I pack my carry-on. If I forget anything essential I’ll update it here, but int he meantime let me know if I’ve missed anything in the comments below.
There will be blog posts going up whilst I’m in Australia, but in the meantime, there’ll be new photos going on my Instagram @GrundyTravels!
Thanks for reading x