Preparing for the long haul flight
Getting ready for the long haul flight is for many (me included) the less attractive part of the whole trip planning. It takes time and knowledge because of many variables that have an impact on the flight. When you fly for long hours there are three things you need to consider:
A. what to wear on long haul flight.
B. what to can carry on an airplane and what not to take with you.
C. the implications of crossing time zones.
It’s crucial that you pack your handbag with all long haul flight essentials that not only comply with the airport rules and airline baggage restrictions but also allow you to survive the long flying and be self-sufficient on the plane as well as on transition time at connecting airports.
A long haul flight means sitting long hours, so it’s hard not to feel exhausted and sleep-deprived, get a stiff neck, a tingling in your feet, swollen ankles and suffer from conditioned air.
That’s why proper clothing and a healthy plane practice matter and can truly make the difference.
While I am always on the lookout for new garments that add more comfort to my long flights, over the years I have created my own plane outfit that works well for me.
Here are some great tips to help you choose what to wear for flying long distance.
How to create the best outfit for the long haul flight
There isn’t one solution fits all, unfortunately. However a universal golden rule is to avoid tight clothing that clings around your chest and legs. Functional clothing is what I recommend wearing on the plane. The most important thing about wearing functional thermal clothing is that it helps regulating your body temperature and keeping you warm all the time. There is nothing worse that feeling cold when sitting on a plane for long hours. With the change of cabin air pressure the temperature changes from warm to cold within a short time.
Best clothes for travelling long haul flights
One important thing to consider is wearing clothes in layers that you can easily remove or add. The best way of creating this type of long haul flight outfit is to wear a micro-fleece long sleeve T-shirt and a warm jumper on top. I love to wear a zipped fleece jumper with side pockets.
Lightweight comfy pants is what I recommend wearing for a long flight. Choose loose soft pants if you wear compression stockings underneath. Many underestimate the fact that flying at high altitudes in a pressured cabin for long hours can make lots of damage to your legs and veins. Clogs in your blood can form and lead to DVT too. So if you care for your veins health, you should always wear compression socks or medical stocking, as a woman and as a man too.
It’s only 10 years ago when I started using compression stockings and since then I never fly without my Mediven Elegance stockings.The protection medical stockings provide to my legs is priceless.
Alternatively you can wear a thermal base layer underneath your clothes, but while this is an excellent way to keep you warm, it will have no protection for your veins though. Stretch leggings is another great piece of garment for an airplane outfit. Choose thermal leggings to keep your legs warm and protected from conditioned air.
Also don’t forget to protect your head and neck by using a soft warm silk scarf. This is another garment that completes my personal plane outfit.
As for the shoes, flat shoes is a must. My walking boots used to be my first choice to save space from the checked luggage, but any comfy sneakers or training shoes is a great option for long flights.
Travel gear that improves comfort on the plane
Wearing the proper clothing is a crucial step towards a comfy long flight, however there are more travel essentials that will improve the comfort on a plane.
First of all an airplane travel pillow will provide head and neck support thus helping you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Choosing the right travel pillow for the long haul flight isn’t easy because it depends on many factors like individual needs, travel style, space and weight.
Inflatable pillows are the most used on planes but while they work well for some, for others they are simply useless. Foam U-shaped pillows can be a great option, but while these perform better, you need to consider if you can carry it in your bag though.
On this article you can find in depth tips on how to choose the most suitable pillows for the airplane.
The importance of sleep on long flights
Sleeping on the plane is truly important because it helps you naturally combat jet lag, the longer you manage to sleep on the plane the shorter the less you suffer jet lag at your destination. If you manage to sleep, you naturally adjust your internal body clock. A long haul flight means crossing several time zones and the more time zones the longer it takes to recover from jet lag.
I usually don’t get much sleep on the plane. I used to carry an inflatable U-shaped travel pillow that didn’t help and because I want to travel as light as possible and prefer a minimalist packing list I decided to take it off of my packing checklist. However I know that a good travel pillow on the plane can make the difference and improve comfort on the plane.
What to pack in your cabin bag – long haul flight essentials
Next to wearing the proper clothes and having the right gear like a travel pillow, noise cancelling headphones, packing all personal travel essentials is key. As cabin luggage I pack my multi-functional daypack, that I also use for all my outdoor activities as well as laptop bag.
This is my checklist when packing my bag for the plane.
Essential Toiletries for the long haul flight
In a foldable bag I place all my plane essentials, this is practical when using the toilets on the plane. Keep it stored into your cabin carry on. In a small zipped bag I put my toiletries such as face wash and cream, teeth brush and toothpaste, eye drops, face and hand wipes, hand-sanitizier, hair brush, lip-balm, lavander essential oil.
Food on the plane
Can you take food on a plane? Yes, you can, provided it is dry food and in a package. I never travel without my organic fruit bars, dark chocolate, crackers, herbal tea bags and food supplements like Vitamin C.
These items are in my cabin bag: soft socks, eye-mask, earplugs, painty liners.
The average length of long flights ranges between 8 to 24 hours, with 1 or 2 layovers at international airports. Prefer booking flights with connecting airports that you know well and offer maximum comfort.
I love Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Dubai Airport. On my upcoming trip I will be using a different airline and a new connecting airport for the first time, so something to add to the long haul flight experience.
Stay tuned for the updates and pin this photo for later!
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