Tips for a long haul flight
Like every other English chick living in Australia, we tend to fly home on the regular. Next week is my mum’s 60th birthday and two of my best friends are getting married. I personally quite enjoy a long haul flight. That’s fortunate because when you choose to live in Australia, you learn very quickly that overseas travel takes a long time. You need 6 hours alone to fly over Australia from Sydney to Perth! However, if the thought of sitting on a plane for an extended period of time worries you, here are a few long haul travel tips I have picked up along the way…
Food for a long haul flight:
I am one of those fussy people. Not only am I gluten-free, but if something isn’t topped with chia seeds, mixed in maca powder or served on a bed of Kale, I’m not interested. Almost through osmosis I’ve become healthier, making the superfood choices that most girls on the Gold Coast opt for.
Plane and airport food is not for me (pro surfer Codie Klein also take her own food on a long haul flight).
Being high in salt and sugar and lacking in freshness, I fear airplane food will both dehydrate me further and zap the goodness from my body when I need it most. My number one priority for a long haul flight is food preparation. I get in the kitchen the day before flying to make sure I can have healthy snacks at the ready.
These are a few of my favourite long-haul flights snacks and recipes:
- I love Kale & Chocolate Bliss Balls; fantastic recipe here from Sporteluxe
- Activated Almonds. Buying activated nuts is much easier on your digestion. Put simply this means that the nuts have been soaked in water and salt for a period of time, then dehydrated at a low temperature. Both increasing the nutrient value along with breaking down the problematic compounds to help enhance their digestibility.
- Paleo Granola (try to stay away from dried fruit). I like to take a batch with me and eat in on the plane in the morning as it is much healthier than the powdered “scrambled” eggs.
Drinks on a long-haul flight:
Honestly alcohol is not a good idea. I have thought that surely a few glasses of wine will relax you and help you fall easily to sleep. Oh, I was wrong. On short haul flights you can get away with it, but 10 hours in, when you wake up groggy, dribbling over your own shoulder or the person beside you, you will regret it.
You need to stay well hydrated on long flights (they say you should drink a pint of water every three hours). The lack of humidity and fresh air in the cabin can lead to dehydration, giving you head-aches, dry skin and a sore throat. Having enough accessible fluids is one of my main concerns on a long-haul flight. In an ideal world I would bring my own tea flask… herbal tea for hours, but the 100ml carry-on luggage restrictions, really dampen that idea. However you can and should ask your stewardess for as much hot/cold water as you like.
Bearing that in mind I always pack:
- Herbal tea bags. I love chamomile (calming), vanilla chai (anti-inflammatory) and peppermint ( to aid digestion).
- Protein powder / Vital Green Powder Sachets. When you are nutrient depleted these little sachets are essential to deliver optimal health and energy.
- A stainless steel water bottle to fill up before you get on the plane. 2 litres would be best!
You don’t have to try and fight jet lag alone, or put up with the dreaded travel bloat. These three supplements are key to keeping your body at its optimal level:
- Proboitics. To maintain good bacteria in the gut. You can pick these up from your local chemist.
- B vitamin. Helps with stress and jet lag.
- Spirulina. To help cleanse and protect our bodies from germs that may be circulating on the plane.
In-flight lotions and potions:
With a baby crying and old-mate sneezing in the seat next to you, having a nice face wash or body moisturiser at the ready means you can immediately feel refreshed and clean. So for a little pampering mid-flight I always take with me:
- Bathroom essentials – tooth brush, toothpaste, face wash, face wipes and moisturiser. (You can buy cute 100ml travel sizes bottles from the supermarket that won’t be robbed off you when you go through bag-check).
- Lavender Oil – with its calming scent lavender oil actually induces sleep. Just dab a small amount on your temples every few hours.
- Rosehip Oil – air-conditioning on a plane dries out your skin. Rosehip oil will nourish and rehydrate your face and it can be used on your body as well.
Reading and writing:
I find it hard to find time to sit down and read a book. Of course, I would always rather be surfing! However the thing I love about long distance flights is just that. I personally always bring two books: one that takes you away; a fictional or historical book and the other, one that will inspire you and get your imagination going. For me, these books are on heath, fitness, surfing, or the online digital world that I work in and love.
While your mind wanders in anticipation of your holiday or new destination, long-haul flights can also be a great time to come up with new blog ideas, or even write notes about things you want to achieve or do this year. Packing a pen and notepad is a must. With all the time and nothing else to pre-occupy your thoughts, you can really get your creative juices flowing and get lost with your own thoughts on paper.
Now that you have got the preparation out the way, there a few other tips that I believe that make the journey that much better. These are:
Know your timezone:
As soon as you get on the plane, change the time on your watch and mobile phone to that of your final destination. If it’s day time, stay awake! Otherwise try to sleep. Just try immediately to match the time-zone of where you are flying to. Do not try and work out what the time should be where you just departed from. As soon as you get on the plane it is whatever time your destination country is… don’t think about anything else. Clock in!
I am not one to march up and down the aisle or perform a vinyasa flow in the exit row however, I would recommend going to the bathroom at least every 2-3 hours to keep your blood flowing.
Squeeze in a workout before you board your long-haul flight. I find a 5km run or a body-pump class knackers me out, allowing my muscles to relax and induce sleep. It also helps me mentally which is handy as you will be sat with your own thoughts for the next 24 hours. This is easier said then done!
The ideal airline will provide you with a blanket, eye mask and cosy comfy socks but don’t count on it! Airplanes are cold, always. No exception. They circulate air over and over, sucking the humidity out making it feel like you’re in flying fridge of minus 10 degrees. Luckily I am somewhat hot blooded but experience has told me to always pack a warm pair of socks. As soon as you get on the plane take your shoes off, pop them in the overhead locker and put on a big pair of warm bed socks. Not having tight footwear on will also help your circulation and help prevent your chances of getting DVT (deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that can occur when sitting cramped, for long periods of time).
I love travelling. Choosing to live in Australia, I know it is part and parcel of ‘getting about’ that I have to fly long distances. Some people look at the long-haul flights as a hindrance but honestly, I love it! Long haul flights give me the opportunity to turn my phone off, lock away my computer and have time to myself without interruption, except for the stewardess offering me more hot water for my tea! So that’s me, ready to go….
I hope you find these tips helpful and if you have any other long-haul tips, please share them with us below. We can always do with one or more helpful tips to make sure we’re all set to fly to new destinations and have nothing stand in the way of seeing new places and surfing new breaks.
More great articles on surviving a long haul flight:
Editor’s note: If you are after travel insurance for your next adventure, Still Stoked recommends World Nomads. Prices are really reasonable and they insure actions sports (including heliskiing!) without charging a mega premium. You can also purchase the insurance after you have left home for your trip and extend the trip online during your trip; something that is quite unique to World Nomads and really helpful if your plans change as you travel.