I won’t pretend I’m a professional traveler, neither a frequent flyer. But I’ve been on enough long-haul flights to share my tips and tricks on the subject. Here’s the long-haul flight survival kit !
What you will carry on depends on your destination and the length of your stay. I start from the fact that you don’t need more than a backpack for a 8-10 hours flight. The reason is the following : you want to limit the total amount of bags at your arrival.
A practical solution I have found to bring more on your flight back home is the folding carry on bag: Newfeel 35l Folding Bag – Cabin size (Decathlon). It fits everything too big for the backpack (spare clothes for one day, travel pillow) and can be put back into your main luggage upon arrival. It’s also a cabin bag you can easily squeeze in the overhead bins, unlike that trolley everyone uses.
You also want a small backpack in case you are carrying small electronics (which is probably your case). Mine is a Thule Paramount 24L. I use it as a day pack upon arrival and it’s great for under the front seat. It has a lot of zippers, it’s built to last and the roll-top gives it an extra capacity (to stuff a travel pillow for instance). You can easily access computer and tablet thanks to the side zippers. It also has a secure spot for important stuff, such as your passport. If you like biking, which I do, there’s a daisy chain to attach a bike light, and two light reflecting strips.
For the things you want reachable at all times during the flight, without a bag under the seat in front of you, a small zippered bag like this with come in handy.
Food & drinks
First thing is: a long haul flight will provide food & drinks. Transit area won’t. You’ll bring an empty water bottle like the Bobbl, which, in addition to its great shape, will filter chlorine and other contaminants. Another clever choice is an insulated bottle to keep your water cold or your tea warm.
Speaking of food, I would suggest individually wrapped & sturdy foods. Cereal bars, small Pringles boxes, dry fruits & meats are your best bet. You can also get a sandwich before you leave.
Forget fashion here (or not necessarily). You want to combine comfortable and practical. The ultimate companion are the sweatpants with zippers such as this one by H&M. Plenty of space between your legs and your valuables will always be safe. Trust me, you don’t want your phone to fall behind you when that person on the seat is sleeping. It still looks like a regular pair of jeans. Pair it with lightweight slippers.
Your other best friends on board are a hoodie, an (inflatable) neck pillow (I love this one from Muji) and a sleeping mask. Speaking of sleeping masks, I recently discovered something incredible from Japan: the hot steam eye mask ! It is a sleeping mask that acts as a warming pad. It feels so good and I usually fall asleep with it right after dinner.
Speaking of personnal hygiene, it’s not a bad idea to bring a manual/disposable toothbrush & toothpaste, roll-on deodorant & moisturizing cream in a ziplock bag on board. In some airports, you can even shower in transit (Abu Dhabi) or in the baggage hall (Taipei Taoyuan). You’ll regret you didn’t bring a emergency shower kit : a travel towel & 100 ml liquid bottles.
The best thing you can do on long haul a flight is to sleep and try to approximately adapt to your new time zone. You can improve your chances by booking a night flight. Since it’s not realistic to sleep throughout the whole flight, let’s have a plan B.
My equation involves movies, tv shows, writing & music. The offline mode on Netflix is terrific, except for some content you can’t download. What I also like to do is to create a new music playlist. It gives a new perspective and ultimately, will create the soundtrack of your entire trip. Spotify offline playlists come in handy for this. As you’ve guessed, I’m also going to write draft posts for this blog. I do this using Evernote or the WordPress app. In flight wifi remains pricy, so I like to do things that won’t require an Internet connection.
To run all this (movies, playlists & writing) I simply use an iPad hooked up with a bluetooth keyboard. No battery nor space issue with that setup. To ensure the best experience, I’ll make sure to bring my favorite pair of noise cancelling headphones, the Bose QC 35. I use them to sleep and disconnect from the aircraft noise. A good thing is that I don’t have to put the volume up to maximum to hear the movie I’m watching.
That’s all folks ! Anything you thing I forgot ? Tell me in the comments section 🙂