Long Haul Travel: Onboard essentials

Travel is the only thing you spend money on which makes you richer

This quote sums up how I feel about getting on a plane, whether it’s for work or a holiday, I always have a real sense of excitement booking a flight and then the morning of going to the airport.

I’m fortunate that I’ve been on a lot of amazing trips and despite going through a phase of dreading every take off, there’s no way I’d give up flying because of it. It allows me to experience new cultures, eat fantastic food, visit friends and find new perspectives.

Over the years, I now have my in-flight routine down to an art. As a child, my backpack would be filled with books and barbies. Now it’s as much as I can get under 100ml in a bag.

Social media, particularly Instagram is a great source of inspiration for how other people travel (the main difference from a major influencer and me is I’m sitting in economy) and so I’ve incorporated some of these tips into my own routine.

While I write this, I’m sitting on a 10.5hr flight to Los Angeles and this is probably the most prepared I’ve been for a flight- I’m talking skincare right through to podcasts. I’ll share it all and hopefully this helps on your next flight.

Skincare

The drying effects of air on a plane are well known so it’s all about the moisture. These are the products I brought:

  1. Bioderma Micellar Water (50ml) (used at least twice on a flight this long)
  2. Mario Badescu Rose Water and Aloe Mist (spritzed Shakira-style ‘Whenever, wherever’)
  3. The Ordinary Niacinamide & Zinc (used once)
  4. Shiseido Ultimune Power infused concentrate (used once- alternated with the Ordinary above)
  5. Primark Beauty x Alex Steinherr Sleep Mask (use as an intensive moisturiser)
  6. Burts Bees Lip Balm (mine always get cracked on a plane)
  7. Claus Porto Favorito Red Poppy Hand Cream (beautiful fresh scent and a gift from my husband- so also for sentimental value)
  8. Cutex Hydrating Nail Oil (like lips, don’t forget these)
  9. Blink Intensive Eye Drops (I get super dry eyes)
  10. Toothbrush and toothpaste (to be a hygienic neighbour)
  11. Mio Liquid Yoga Space Spray (to go anywhere but your face! I use this on my travel pillow to create a calming space particularly if you need to sleep or it’s bumpy)
  12. First Defence Nasal Spray (like my eyes, my nose gets really uncomfortable up in the air. This also stops me picking up germs)
  13. Tissues (self-explanatory)
  14. The Cheeky Panda Biodegradable Bamboo Handy Wipes (I rarely buy wipes – just watch any environmental documentary- so I’m hoping these are actually biodegradable. I like to wipe down my whole seat area, not because I’m a germ freak, but planes often have quick turn around times so I just like to make sure everything’s wiped up!)

I didn’t bring a sheet mask on this trip but I have been known to before. You’re most likely never going to see these passengers again and especially if it’s a night flight, no one can see you anyway!

I keep everything in the Space NK clear travel bag- very handy to see everything and so far (touch wood) I’ve never been asked to decant everything into a plastic bag.

Food

Plane food (unless you’re sitting in Business or First I imagine) is fine but it’s nothing special. Depending on the airline, I often request a special meal to have something lighter (the added bonus is you get it before anyone else).

Repeating my previous point, dry air means that drinking more water than usual is important. I’ve learned that you can bring an EMPTY reusable water bottle (any size) through security which is great. When I recently travelled to Paris for the weekend, I didn’t have my own water bottle and going to the supermarket to buy plastic bottles, made me feel guilty. Most airports now have water fountains where you can fill these up and it also means you can have bottled water to hand on your trip. In flight, I find most cabin crew are more than happy to fill up your bottle (it’s less time for them to come back to fill up a plastic glass repeatedly).

In terms of snacks, I have:

  • Missfits cacao protein balls
  • Corn cakes with Pip & Nut peanut butter (I made these at home)
  • Sour Watermelon Candy Kittens

I like to have things to hand, not only on the plane but also whenever I get to my destination: immigration lines and waiting for ground transport do not go well with a hangry passenger.  I also like to choose things which aren’t going to make me feel bloated or thirsty.

I also bring a herbal tea bag so I can have my own tea during the flight as well as having them throughout my trip. This might sound excessive but I think having comforting things when you’re far from home is really helpful. It could be your favourite body lotion, slippers, or a particular scent.

Finally alcohol. I almost never drink on flights because it’s dehydrating, it’s going to make me feel groggy and especially if I have to be up for the rest of the day or drive when I get to my destination, it’s just better for me to skip it. I think the only exception I would ever make is if it’s a short haul evening flight and it’s a special occasion or (and this has never happened to me) if I ever sat in Business or First Class- I mean it’s champagne!

Entertainment

In a 2-week holiday I can easily go through 3-4 books so an e-reader is the only option for me and the Amazon Kindle is great. I bought 3 books before I left for this trip because of the long flight and reading helps me sleep:

  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz- Heather Morris
  • An American Marriage- Tayari Jones
  • Believe Me- JP Delaney

This is also the first trip I downloaded some podcasts:

  • On the Line with Estee Lalonde- Estee Lalonde

Influencer and content creator Estee Lalonde interviews different guests on a variety of subjects including beauty, work, health and relationships

  • Who the hell is Hamish- The Australian

From the same authors as ‘The Teacher’s Pet’ (see recommendation below), an investigative podcast on the true story of a conman.

Others I’ve listened to recently and can recommend:

  • The Teacher’s Pet- The Australian

Investigative true story into the disappearance of a young woman in the 1970s

  • Three Girls One Keith- Amy Schumer

If you have a vulgar sense of humour, this has had me howling with laughter in the street

  • Happy Place- Fearne Cotton

Guest interviews with people and their experiences with happiness and mental health

So that sums up my in-flight routine…I’d love to know what other people recommend for short or long flights, whether specific products, books or travel tips in general- comment below!

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