Happy July Fourth my fellow Americans!
Below are my Top 11 flying tips, particularly for long-haul.
1. Bring eye shades. It’s amazing how much movement and light eye shades can block out during a flight. This is my most important accessory to bring onto an airplane. It makes the flight much more comfortable for sleep and blocks sunlight, cabin light, and things moving in the cabin.
2. Ear plugs. While not as important as eye shades, this is another important item I bring on flights to block out ambient noise within the cabin and the jet engines themselves.
3. Neck pillow, this is amazing at increasing the comfort of my head and neck while I sit and sleep. I’ve been using an inflatable one which compacts nicely when not in use. (I can’t stand those people who carry pre-stuffed neck pillows or even real full-size pillows onto an airplane, as if we don’t have enough luggage.) Some airlines don’t even provide pillows on short flights these days, or might provide cheap pillows on long flights. A neck pillow, while looking funny, provides ample direct support for your head and neck, a must for the economy passenger who has to sit and sleep upright. I also find the inflatable ones to be firmer than the airplane ones, which I consider better for support as well.
4. Noise cancelling headphones, or the newer earbud style headphones. Similar to earplugs, these cut out the noise while listening to music or watching a video. I’ve found the newer earplug style headphones, which have a moldable rubbery tip, act like noise canceling headphones without the high price.
5. Toiletry kit; while some airlines may provide this, others may not. Be sure to bring a toothbrush kit, some mouthwash, and lotions to keep yourself smelling fresh and skin mousturized in the dry cabin air.
6. Slip on shoes, I like to wear a pair of slip on shoes, it’s just easier to take on and off. Plus shoes are usually bulkier than sneakers so I’ll wear the dress shoes on board and pack the sneakers.
7. Light backpack; it’s amazing how much more enjoyable an airport experience can be if you’re not toting around a heavy carry-on and a fully stuffed backpack. I’ll try to check my luggage when possible, but I know this can’t always be done due to cost or luggage allowances.
8. Laptop / Ipad; I don’t have an iPad, but I have a laptop who’s battery easily lasts 6 hours, which is enough time for the longest flights since I won’t be watching movies the whole time anyway. One pluses of the laptop vs. an iPad is that I can plug in a USB cable to charge my cell phone and not have to bring a phone charger.
9. Water; depending what airline I’m flying (particularly if I’m flying a basic service airline), I’ll try to bring a bottle of water with me in case I get thirsty before or during take off. A lot of the times the plane’s air conditioning isn’t turned on at the gate and you can get pretty dehydrated in the hot stuffy cabin. (Keep in mind on flights to the US you’re not supposed to bring on liquids, even if bought at the airport.)
10. Hang out at the galley; of course your legs will need a stretch after 10 hours, so I’ll hang out by the galleys, grab a drink and a snack. (Please don’t walk around the cabin in circles and disturb every person on the plane with your movement, it isn’t a walking track.)
11. Sweatshirt or light jacket; it can get very cold on an airplane, particular if it’s a long haul flight while you sleep. You’ll want to layer some clothes so you remain at a comfortable body temperature. Not to mention the more you wear through security, the more you can stuff into your carry-on luggage.