Tips to make your next long-haul flight a little easier

There are a few simple things you can do to help make your flight easier. Photo / 123RF
There are a few simple things you can do to help make your flight easier. Photo / 123RF

It is something New Zealanders have to live with: long-distance flying. But there are ways to make it a little easier.

Having had some pretty extensive experience in travel, I have learned that before getting on the flight, it helps to be prepared. These tips should help you:

• Always take a wrap or big, squishy shawl: It's like your own blanket (and can double as a pillow or a barrier between you and your on-flight neighbour). The large scarf is also perfect to use as an everyday wardrobe piece especially in unpredictable climates. I found a great one at a Tree of Life shop for $50 in Byron Bay, but the likes of Zara, Uniqlo, Myer and DJs have them too. You could consider a luxury designer brand, and go cashmere, but as you will be throwing it around a lot, it is best not to spend too much money.

• Small-size moisturisers: These are perfect as your regular face and skin creams and shampoos can get very heavy.

And you just won't need that much, even if you are away for a few weeks.

• Socks: Yes, if you are not already wearing them (and most female travellers usually don't) remember to take some with you as they will keep your feet warm throughout a flight. (If you are fortunate enough to receive an airline amenities kit, you will find some in there. Ditto earplugs, toothbrush and eyeshade. Take them all.)

Make sure you grab that eye mask that the airline hands you. Photo / 123RF
Make sure you grab that eye mask that the airline hands you. Photo / 123RF

• Learn to enjoy you own company and remember to put your phone down(for a while at least): Take in your surroundings. Oh, and make sure you sort out your global roaming situation and buy one of those travel passes with your existing carrier. Use free Wi-Fi whenever and wherever you can - you won't regret it.

• Pre-plan as best as possible: Remember visas and health jabs you may need, and have a vague itinerary in your head, especially if you are going on a holiday that you are totally planning yourself and time isn't an issue. Also don't forget power adaptors.

• If you like the place you are in - and time is no option - stay a bit longer: Don't go back to the place you thought was 'just OK' the first time - there are so many more exciting cities and towns that you could spend your time seeing.

• Avoid work as best as possible: If you are on a 'real' holiday - as opposed to a business trip - make sure you put your Out of Office Assistant on your computer. I tend to never do this, so end up receiving a zillion emails and go on and answer them like I am still in the office. Yes, I think I am mad.

• If you are flying economy take a blow-up neck pillows: OK, they may look dorky - If. You. Wear. It. Around. Your. Neck. Already. Blown. Up. Before. Boarding. But they do save you lots of potential neck ache.

• Dry shampoo: This can be your best friend, especially if you don't have the time to wash your locks every few days. And forget taking a hairdryer - you can cope without one for a short time and just think how grateful your hair will be.

• Pack carefully: All those big beauty essentials need to go in your checked luggage. Ditto, all those little pointy objects - scissors, tail combs, tweezers. How many times have you seen that big plastic box full of rejected items (and cans without lids) as you make your way through the security check?

• Fill in your immigration card as soon as a flight attendant gives it to you on board: There is nothing worse than waking up, searching for a pen and trying to quickly fill it in before you face a long customs queue.

Be sure to pack carefully. Photo / 123RF
Be sure to pack carefully. Photo / 123RF

• Water, water and more water: Flying can sometimes make you feel like you have aged five years after a 24-hour flight, so keep as hydrated as possible.

• Use a (credible) ATM at your location once you land: I always seemed to get slightly ripped off when I changed money in my home town at one of those airport changers, so if possible, wait until you land at your destination.

• Always roll your clothes as opposed to folding them: I can't believe the difference this makes at the other end. You won't have any obvious creases - win. And who wants to waste time actually ironing on a trip away? Not me.

• Avoid posting pictures of your boarding pass on your social media platforms: The personal information that can be gleaned from these is extraordinary. So if you do, make sure your #humblebrag post covers up any frequent flyer numbers, your full name and important bar codes.


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