Over the last few years, I have truly racked up some serious SkyMiles. I’ve been flying the friendly skies to places from Thailand, to Hawaii, Italy and France. Flying has become much easier and effortless for me in terms of being prepared the more I do it. Plus, with more travel on the horizon, I thought I’d share some of my long-haul travel tips with you all so you can get through those long brutal travel days feeling a little more put-together.
Tips For Getting Through A Long Flight And Travel Day
After traveling to Europe a handful of times and even Thailand for my big 3-0 birthday, I learned that long haul flights can be HARD. But there are tons of great little tips and tricks to make yourself feel a little less miserable. From how you pack your carry-on personal item, to what you wear, and what you do before, during and after each flight. These are my best tips for getting through a long haul flight and travel day.
What To Pack For A Long Flight And Travel Day
I usually check my bag whenever I travel because I pack way too much. But I like to always have a personal bag that’s full of essentials no matter what.
If you’re carrying on, you won’t need to worry about having all of your toiletries on hand, extra clothes and so on as they’ll all be in the bag that you bring with you. However, I do recommend packing your toiletries and change of clothes for your travel day in a more convenient spot for easy retrieval. Not only will it be easier to grab when you need them throughout your long haul flight, but if your bag does get gate checked (which happens often) you can grab these to take with you on your flight.
Here’s what I always pack in my personal bag for long flights and travel days.
You won’t need the WHOLE thing if you’re checking your bag, but make sure you at least have your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wipes or wash and regular wipes. Anything else that you swear by every single day and have to use, add that too.
Two Extra Outfits
Since I usually check my bag, I want to cover my ass for any luggage delays and the travel day. I like to pack two easy outfits for the destination (just top and bottom, or a dress, whatever, just keep it simple) along with extra underwear.
I also pack a few things to have to change into in case I want fresh pants or tees and during the course of the travel day. This may not be entirely necessary for a simple 8 hour flight to Europe. But when you’re on a 24 hour travel day, a fresh outfit is truly life changing.
Planes get cold. I’m a hot-blooded person and I am always freezing on these long flights, so believe me they get cold. Pack a sweatshirt and maybe even a long sleeve tee as well to be safe. The more layers the better.
Neck Pillow & Eye Mask
I got stuck in the middle seat for a total of 16 hours of flying thanks to missing one of my connecting flights and getting rebooked. Window seat no more. I relied heavily on getting some shut-eye with a good neck pillow and eye-mask. These are essential for long haul flights.
Some airplanes have little foot rests, but none in the US it seems. I love this feature, but since it’s not a guarantee, you can bring your own! A foot sling is ideal for helping you sleep a bit better, and is just more comfortable for sitting for so many hours. It just hooks over the tray table and adds an extra layer of comfort.
Cords And Things
I always pack a bag (using little jewelry bags work great) with headphones, extra headphones, cords, extra cords and an external battery. Having them easily accessible makes traveling so much easier.
Snacks & Water
Airplane food is fine on Delta, but once you get into the Asian airlines as I learned on my Thailand trip, the food was not as great. Plus, I wasn’t necessarily hungry at the exact time they wanted to feed us (3am for me, was 3pm for them and I wanted sleep!). So having a few things to snack on when hunger strikes are important.
I always travel with some kind of protein bar and other sweet or salty snacks to have. In addition to snacks. I am never without a water bottle. Easily refill throughout your trip. Staying hydrated will also help you recover from jet lag faster.
Depending on what you fancy, keep the necessities on hand for emergencies. You never know when a stomach ache, headache or allergic reaction is going to hit. I love this pill container for traveling. Also, if you like to take something to help you sleep, make sure it’s in your bag and ready to go!
Now that Netflix lets you download some things to your device, I like to pack my iPad so I have some entertainment whenever possible. I also bring a book to have in case you want to read instead of binge.
Plus, with jet lag, I have found myself up at weird hours at times, and these both come in handy for getting me to wind back down again. I also swear by my music and use Spotify religiously. So be sure to download your songs and shows on wifi prior to getting on the plane.
I usually use a large wallet in my normal day to day life. But for travel, I like to keep things as small and simple as possible. I started using this mini wallet and love it. I just bring the necessities. ID, Amex and Visa (most widely accepted cards in the world), my debit card and cash.
For really long flights, having compression socks on can help with circulation. This will also prevent swelling once you land. If you can’t get up to move around much on your flight, these may be helpful for you. I like to force myself on a few walks around the plane, and some stretching in the galley when I can.
What To Expect On A Long Haul Flight And Travel Day
Well, being tired is a given. But feeling disgusting is also very real. I made sure to brush my teeth as often as possible. It’s amazing how fresh you feel after a good teeth brushing. And actually, it’s more impressive how quickly your mouth feels disgusting. You could even use these if you like if you don’t want to deal with water which is super convenient.
Change your clothes! Let’s get real here. After even 12 hours of traveling, I am ready for a change of clothes. Underwear, pants, shirt, gimme all the fresh clothing. Change your clothes before your longest leg (if it’s last) if it’s your first leg, change once you get off your long leg before boarding your next few shorter flights.
Fresh panties, these wipes, and maybe a fresh tee, deodorant and you’ll feel like a new woman. And I also like to bring panty liners with me and change them throughout the day. This can sometimes be easier instead of changing your underwear.
What To Wear On A Long Haul Flight
For those people that wear jeans, button-downs and dress shoes on a 14-hour flight, I don’t get you. We can’t be friends. I want to be comfortable, not cute. I opted for my favorite lululemon leggings that kept their shape after 24 hours, my favorite tees, and sneakers. Sports bras are ideal, and I even went for my more comfortable ones that are more of a lazy day bra than a keep the girls in check bra. This SKIMS one is my favorite for travel days.
I brought my backpack with me on the plane, and then also packed my small crossbody with the essentials. Passport, wallet, chapstick etc. This way I could easily access the things I needed often without having to get my backpack out a million times. This allowed me to throw my backpack in the bin above me so I had some extra legroom with just my small crossbody.
Other Things To Think About For Your Next Long Haul Flight
A few things that you should consider bringing to ensure a smooth travel day.
- Passport – duh. But seriously, don’t forget it
- Extra ID. I keep my old driver’s license in my Passport holder.
- Cash – Always have my home country’s currency on me and enough money to transfer to the country you’re going to. I prefer to just pull money out of an ATM once I get to my destination, but sometimes you may not find one, or your card may not work for whatever reason, so just always have enough cash to change over in an emergency. I recommend always having around $200 total. Also, I always keep an emergency $20 in my passport holder.
- Charge your devices!
- Change your watch – I always turn my watch to the time of my destination. I know what time I’m usually landing, so it’s an easy way to see how much time is left in the flight. Plus the sooner you can get your brain on your destination’s time zone, the easier it’ll be with jet lag.
- Screenshot Everything – I like to screenshot my hotel info, flight info and anything else like car services and such. You never know when your phone may not have great service and you’ll need to access these important things.
- Speaking of phones – Get your cell phone internationally ready. Either by buying an International SIM card or upgrading your phone plan for your trip.
- Fresh hair! I like to wash my hair right before I leave so I’m not feeling even greasier than I need to be half way through a long haul travel day.
There you have it!
All my go to tips for long flights and long travel days. I’d love to know if you have any other travel tips or questions for me. I’m working on a few upcoming posts on how to combat jet lag (I think I’ve mastered it!) and tips to traveling solo and staying safe. Stay tuned for me!
PS My tips for keeping jet lag at bay & how to look cute when you travel (on shorter flights obviously!)
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