On a long haul flight, what you pack in your 'carry on' is key to the comfort of your journey.
I have spent many years and many trips with trial and error trying to master what is essential and what is not to help me enjoy those long flights around the globe. These are a few ideas of what I think are helpful tips and tricks to help with the art of travelling comfortably...
This is a big one. I have never been a 'bag chick', I was always more into shoes. However, having a decent carry on can completely effect your experience through an airport and on the plane. I've used cheap tote bags, and had handles snap off mid journey. I've used wheelie bags where a wheel has buckled or the 'pull out handle' has got jammed and therefore wouldn't fit in the over head lockers. Believe me, you don't want this to happen - not only is it embarrassing having impatient passengers tutting at you - having pity looks from air hostesses looking down at your now 'gaffa-taped together bag' is not what you want. I had enough of the trials and errors of 'bag gate' and invested in some good quality ones in 2014.
I never looked back - they are still serving me well now and I'm sure will continue to do so. I found having a bag that will fit under the seat in front of you is always very beneficial - as it saves you time when disembarking the aircraft. It also means you can dip in and out your bag whenever you so please, without disturbing other passengers. A comfortable back pack bag works well for walking around the airport (or running for your connection you are about to miss). Also a duffle style bag is the perfect shape, size and great for accessibility in flight - they tend to slot in under the seat in front of you as if they were designed just for that.
So, around the year 2000 the 100ml liquids rule was enforced in hand luggage. This changed the process of going through security for everyone, as now you could only take 'travel sized' small bottles and it all had to be displayed in a 1 litre clear plastic bag. After a fair bit of practice on long haul travelling to and from New Zealand and Australia from the UK, I've put together a 'liquids list' I believe to be essential to pack in your hand luggage for a long haul flight...
1. Mouth Wash 50ml - There are lots of different branded travel sized mouth washes available out there. On long haul you eat and drink at funny times, coffee in flight is VERY average unless you're lucky enough to be in an upper class - be kind to those around you (and to yourself) mouth wash after you eat and drink. You also sleep at random times and get 'fur ball mouth' - mouth wash saves the day for this.
2. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask 30ml - Flying often can be very dehydrating for your skin - this is a brilliant face mask for flying long night flights. It goes on like a moisturiser (so don't worry, you don't have to sit there with a peel off face mask on!) and you leave it on to soak into your skin. It is perfect for those with sensitive skin, and smells divine!
3. Hand sanitiser - you can get this in a spray or gel - either work well and are great for before and after meals to keep your hands clean. On an aircraft, there are no windows to open...so you are locked in (often surrounded by people with coughs or colds) Keep your hands clean to keep away nasty bacteria.
4. Toothpaste 25ml- This is super useful as the toothpaste they usually hand out with your sanitary packs on planes is often gross.
5. Quietude Travel Spritz - This one was highly recommended by my beautiful best friend who was a long haul air hostess for British Airways for many years. It is a calming mist for your face and your space. It has a soothing, calming aroma to help promote a restful nights sleep and deepen your breathing. Its the ambiance of a spa...in a bottle!
Hand Luggage Goods.
There are a few things you can pack that can really help with the comfort of your flight and sleep on a aircraft. Here are some of my top picks...
1. Ear Plugs - VITAL. VITAL. VITAL. I can't express enough how important this is. Crying or screaming toddlers are no fun to listen to when you're trying to get some shut eye on a long haul. Boots do amazing foam ear plugs or silicone ear plugs - I've found these the best sound blockers, plus they are re-usable so good value for money.
2. Burts Bees Lip Balm - due to the constant air conditioning on flights your lips and mouth can get really dry - Burts bees do a great range of moisturising lip balms to keep you puckered up and those lips super soft.
3. Thick Cosy Socks - I am always way too cold on flights - the socks they give you are as useful as a pair of 10 denier tights - pack your own wooly ones to keep your feet toasty, and so you don't have to wear shoes around on the plane.
4. Usb chargers for phone / lap top - Nearly all modern A380'S and Boeing 777's have usb ports for you to charge your devices. Pack your USB wires.
5. Empty Water Bottle- Getting a 100ml cup of water every few hours is not enough to keep you hydrated - bring your own water bottle and the air hostesses will fill it up for you. It also means you don't have to keep your tray table stowed as you can put the lid on your bottle and store it in the seat sleeve.