Traveling is fun, exciting, and always unforgettable. One of the most common ways to get to your travel destination is by plane. Travel flights can be short-haul, medium-haul, or long-haul. A short-haul flight lasts anywhere from 30 minutes up to three hours, whereas a medium-haul flight lasts between three to six hours. On the other hand, a long-haul flight may extend beyond six hours.
Long-haul flights are non-stop, direct flights, typically flying only one or twice a day, offered by widebody aircrafts. This type of flight can be exhausting and boring for many people. That’s why it’s important to prepare the essential things needed to make the most out of a long-haul flight.
Are you looking forward traveling for vacation abroad with a long-haul flight? Check out the essentials you need to enjoy your long trip.
1. Travel Pillow
If there’s one thing that symbolizes comfort sleeping during a long-haul flight, it’s a travel pillow. Frequent travelers carry travel or neck pillows with them to support their neck and head when they sleep in a sitting position, especially in long-haul flights.
What are the benefits of using a travel pillow in a long-haul flight? Here are the remarkable benefits of travel pillows:Promote Utmost Travel Comfort: A travel pillow promotes comfort and relaxation as you sit and sleep in a long-haul trip. There are many styles and material types of travel pillows that travelers can choose from nowadays. For instance, you can find a travel pillow with organic buckwheat hulls or Sobakawa beads that promotes proper air flow when you sleep.
Prevent Fatigue And Neck Pain: When flying long-haul, neck pain is very common, especially if you haven’t rested well enough beforehand. When this happens, you may experience fatigue. A travel pillow helps relieve and prevent neck pain, headache, and back pain, positioning your head better in a sitting position. Travel pillows provide stability against sudden movements or motion transfer, preventing dizziness while on long-haul flights.
Promote Proper Posture: For your body to maintain a comfortable sitting position in a long-haul flight, it’s important to have good spinal alignment, in which your head, neck, and back should be aligned in a straight line. However, sitting makes this position difficult because of limited space for movement. Luckily, travelers can use a travel pillow to prevent postural issues during and after the flight.
Reduce Sleep Issues: Snoring can be a major disturbance. It can be a nuisance to other passengers, not to mention embarrassing. Sleeping with a high-quality travel neck pillow can help reduce snoring, sleep apnea, and other sleep-related issues. Because your posture remains straight when using a travel pillow, your airways won’t be obstructed, which normally causes snoring.
You may check out the video below to find out more about the recommended travel pillows for long-haul flights.
2. Compression Socks
Long hours of sitting when traveling on a plane can cause blood to pool in your lower extremities, which may cause deep vein thrombosis, a serious condition aggravated when sitting in cramped positions for prolonged periods. Your calf muscles send unoxygenated blood (used blood) from the lower part of the body back to the heart.
If your muscles don’t constrict, circulation becomes inefficient, causing tingling, discomfort, and swelling. When blood circulation is compromised due to inefficient blood flow, there’s a risk for blood clots and pulmonary embolisms.
Compression socks help guard yourself from this condition, reducing swelling and risk of blood clots. You can practice wearing compression socks before your flight date. Get them on your feet to get used to the socks in preparation for the travel. The best time to wear compression socks is before you board.
Aside from using compression socks, you can also avoid blood clots from developing during a long-haul travel by wearing loose-fitting and breathable clothing, as well as stowing your things in overhead compartments to maximize leg room. You also need to drink plenty of water and avoid salty or high-sodium foods before the flight. You can ask the steward if standing up and walking in the length of the plane is allowed so you can do them every hour during long flights.
You should bring your own headset in a long-haul flight. Headphones are an effective and cost-effective way to manage noise inside the plane. It’s best to have a pair of headphones to reduce the hum of the plane and block a huge part of cabin noise, minimizing high volumes. You can use a headset if you’re listening to any form of media without disturbing your seatmate.
Headphones block out noise and improve how music sounds while protecting the ears. Travelers tend to turn the music volume up on an airplane to hear the sounds clearly. By using a headphone with an active noise cancelling feature, you can get rid of the background noise while listening at a lower volume, which saves your earbuds from a lot of stress.
Your snacks during a long-haul flight can make or break the reaction of your body when traveling longer distances. First, you need a bottle of water available at hand. You can infuse water with cucumber, lemon, mint, or green apple to make an infused concoction, which will ensure proper hydration and supply your body antioxidants for long-haul trips.
Light snacks, such as nut mix, crackers, cheese, and fruits, are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which are the best for long-haul flights. This way, you avoid causing annoyance to your fellow passengers due to frequent flatulence caused by eating high-carb foods.
You should avoid the following foods before your long-haul flight:
- Gas-Forming Foods: Avoid gas-forming foods that cause intestinal expansion. Pressurized airplane cabin causes further bloating, so you need to avoid cauliflower, cabbage, onions, beans, and lentils. These foods can make you feel you’re having a distended stomach.
- High-Sodium Foods: Food high in sodium content retains water, which further adds to bloating during flights.
- Alcohol: Don’t drown yourself in alcohol the night before your long-haul flight. While some people usually drink to make themselves fall asleep better the night before, taking excessive amounts of alcohol isn’t good. It’s because alcohol can aggravate dehydration, a common concern during flights due to salty meals and dry air in planes.
- Carbonated Beverages: Taking a long-haul flight can be compared to being an athlete because of the increased risk of dehydration, annoying seatmate, and boredom. So, you shouldn’t take soda or any carbonated beverage in an athletic contest. Instead, drink more water. Drinking carbonated beverages can also contribute to cramping and bloating.
A good travel scarf doesn’t take up plenty of space, keeping you warm as it covers your head and shoulders. A good scarf for a long-haul light can also be used as a blanket. You don’t have to settle using gross airplane blanket when the air conditioning is blasting.
Hiding your handy valuables and covering your face while sleeping are also possible using your good-smelling scarf. If you like the idea of leaving your purse behind, you might want to consider purchasing an infinity scarf that comes with a hidden pocket. Make sure to wear something comfortable for the long-haul flight.
Here are some tips on choosing the perfect scarf for your long-haul trip:
- Choose An All-In-One Scarf: You can find a scarf that can serve as a blanket, a wrap, and a scarf at the same time. A versatile option has a hidden pocket with an air-activated neck warmer to keep you cozy and warm in long flights and in chilly travel destinations.
- Check The Fabric: Choose one with an eco-friendly and hypoallergenic modal fabric that’s extremely soft and machine-washable. You can also choose a scarf made of ultra-soft cashmere, a generously sized pashmina that you can wear as a travel blanket, wrap, or scarf available in a wide variety of colors and designs.
6. Hygiene Kit
Travel-sized toiletry bag is a necessity for any flight. For long trips, you need to add some items on the list, such as a moisturizer, a dry shampoo, and deodorant. It’s also crucial to bring a face mask, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer to safeguard yourself from the risk of COVID-19.
7. First Aid Kit
Bringing a handy first-aid kit is essential when travelling long distances, especially if you have children with you. Check the following must-have essentials you need to have in your first aid kit:
- Thermometer: You’ll never know what will happen in a long-haul trip, so this diagnostic tool will help determine if you or a loved one is sick.
- Nasal Spray: A saline nose spray should be included in your first aid kit when travelling with kids. Because of temperature changes and recycled dry plane air, nasal spray helps relieve blocked nose.
- Medicines: Keep your medicines in your carry-on, including a few anti-histamines and pain relievers in travel-sized containers. You also need to bring motion sickness medications for long-haul flights. It’s a good idea to include some food supplements, too, during long-haul flights in your first aid kit, such as magnesium glycinate for sleep.
- Teething Gel: If your child is cutting a tooth, bringing a toothing gel is highly recommended.
Long flights can be productive by devoting yourself to reading a book. Reading is one of the best things to do when on a long-haul flight. You may not have a chance to enjoy reading your recently purchased books at home because you’re too busy with work and your family. Hence, you can continue your favorite long-missed hobby on a long journey.
You can bring your favorite book and enjoy reading for hours, or carry a library of books using your smartphone and e-reader. Choose a book that’s light and fun, such as a classic novel, comic book, the latest thriller, or a business book, if you want something productive. A pocket book is a perfect reading material that’s light on your bag and provides amazing details and stories.
You can even add newspapers and magazines to your e-reader for a variety of reading materials you can enjoy in a long-haul flight. But, don’t bring real magazines and newspapers with you on a long trip because they can take up a huge bag space, and they’re easy and quick to read.
9. Laptop Or Tablet
You can use your laptop or tablet as a source of entertainment inside the plane. If the airline allows it, you can bring your own tablet or laptop so you can watch movies during a long-haul flight. While you may have a smartphone, watching movies or series on a bigger screen is more enjoyable.
Here are some tips when watching movies inside the plane:
- Download In Advance: You can download TV shows or movies in advance. This way, you don’t need to worry about connecting to a Wi-Fi when you get on board, and you’ll have access to plenty of options to watch, keeping yourself entertained during a long-haul flight.
- Avoid Non-Fiction: As much as possible, avoid movies or even books tackling airplane crashes or any form of accident that can cause stress to yourself and your seatmate.
- Avoid Excessive Watching: Choose to watch movies up to two hours, and then rest or sleep before you watch another to avoid fatigue, headache, and eye strain.
If you’re a person who loves to write things down, then don’t miss your journal in a long-haul flight. You can write poems, essays, stories, and anything you can think of, making your journey creative and productive.
Starting a journal in a long trip is a great opportunity to explore your innermost feelings and thoughts. It’s also a great time to take note of all your future plans, such as the following:
- Investments you want to pursue
- Steps you can take to attain your short-term and long-term goals
- Reviewing your milestones, including your strengths and weaknesses
- A prayer, quote, or an inspirational message for your next public speaking engagement
- Your travel plan to make it more memorable
Now that you’ve learned the complete guide of the essential things you need in your next long-haul travel, you’ll be able to prepare yourself and enjoy every minute of your stay on board the plane until you reach your destination. Think of long-haul flights as opportunities for you to be with yourself, think, reminisce, relax, and even become more creative.