Hello my friends! Can you believe Tom and I head off to Australia tomorrow?!
The past 24 hours has been a mad rush of getting organised for the trip. At the moment our living room is a mess of bags as we try to cram in gifts for family and friends and enough clothes and shoes to tide us over until I can hit Big W for some cheap summer essentials at the other end. It's been hard getting our heads around packing for warmer weather when we've walked home in sleet for the last two nights!
This will be the third time I've done this trip in the past four years, and I've picked up a few tips that make the never ending stretch of hours on a plane a bit more bearable. I thought I'd share my long haul essentials with you. I'd love to hear your tips too, from you frequent flyers out there!
1. Comfortable clothes
Now is not the time for skinny jeans. If I could wear pyjamas on this kind of flight, I probably would! My outfit of choice is yoga pants, layers of light cotton tops, topped off with a warm cardigan or jumper. Comfort is the key word here. Don't worry about looking a bit daggy, there are no papparazzi waiting at the other end for you!! Have some killer sunglasses or a nice handbag to offset the dagginess if need be ;)
2. Tiger Balm and Rescue Remedy
Having always had dodgy ear drums, I find Tiger Balm a wonderful astringent for clearing the airways (nose and ears!) on a long flight. You can sniff it straight from the jar or put some on a hanky or tissue and breathe in. You could also use olbus oil.
I don't find flying stressful - it's more the whole getting to the airport and getting checked in, through security and on the plane that stresses me out - but it's nice to have something calming readily at hand if I need it. I'm a big fan of Bach's Rescue Remedy. I have needed a drop under the tongue at bed time nearly every night for the last month (a story for another day) and I don't know why it works, but it seems to do the trick for me. Before I discovered it, I used to take a small bottle of lavender oil on a long flight with me. Lavender is one of my favourite smells in the world, and it is a lovely, comforting thing to inhale when you're feeling a bit stressed out.
4. Writing implements
Journal and pen, and my netbook will be with me, it's a given. Make sure it's not one of those pens liable to leak easily, and that your laptop is fully charged!
5. iPod or music player
Fill your iPod or music player with some new tunes. Put on some lovely easy listening music on that helps your mind wander. Or you could download heaps of interesting podcasts to keep you entertained. One of my favourites is Conversations with Richard Fidler, from ABC Australia.
I think it's essential to have something to look forward to on the plane so go on and get yourself something nice to enjoy to make those long hours go just a little bit faster - a travel sized glossy magazine perhaps, a book you've been waiting to read, or a box of Lindt chocolates from duty free :P
7. Order a vegetarian or gluten free meal
It's brilliant because 1) it's always healthier and usually chock full of vegetables, salad and fruit and 2) you get served first! And drink lots of water. It's tempting to load up on all the free booze, but you'll pay for it at the other end! Start the flight with a nice drink if you want (depending on the time of day of course) but keep drinking water to keep hydrated.
8. Do yoga at the back of the plane
9. Make friends
10. Baby wipes, hair brush, tooth brush and moisturiser
You normally get a little pack when you arrive at your seat, which contains things like toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, etc, so don't worry about bringing your own unless you really want to. I find travelling with baby wipes is very useful. They can mop up spillages on your tray or on your clothes, remove makeup, or be used to refresh your face, neck and hands.
11. A good attitude
It amazes me how grumpy some people can get when they travel. A long haul flight usually does test your patience; even the most seasoned of travellers find themselves antsy and cranky sometimes. It does sometimes feel like you're never going to get there. But it is only a temporary situation, and something you have to do in order to get what you want (a holiday in an exciting place, or in my case, seeing my family and friends again for the first time in years!). Remember, everyone on your plane has the same goal, to get to the other end. So try and plaster a smile on your face if you can, even if it's the last thing you feel like doing. It really does help.
Sometimes you get a shit seat or get stuck next to a misery guts and there's usually not much you can do about it. All you can do is settle back, try and relax and think about all the fun you're going to have at your destination. Don't rise to any bait - if people are being rude or unhelpful, counteract it by being extremely polite back. It always works. If it's really that bad, just put your iPod on, order a large gin and tonic, and think about all that is waiting for you at the other end! As in lots of other areas of life, getting through a long haul flight has a lot to do with your mindset and your ability to go with the flow!
Well, I'd better get back to my packing. Catch you on the flip side :)
What are your long haul essentials?