Yesterday, a friend of mine landed in Australia after a 29-hour trip to Europe. Being exhausted, jet jagged and desperate for a shower, he asked me: ‘how do you survive these trips all the time?’. Last year I travelled to Europe and back three times. I also went to the US and Bali – that’s about 180 hours of SITTING in economy class.
Ok, here’s how I do it and what you need:
Nothing is worse than arriving to a different country, wanting to make a call or look up accommodation details on your phone – and it’s out of battery. Let’s admit it: These days we rely on our phones way too much. Once, I got asked by an immigration officer to show him my return ticket out of the country. I had it, of course, but it was on my phone. And of course, it switched itself off the second I gave it to him. Luckily, he let me through, but I can only recommend to play it safe. Even though some airplanes have a USB plug, carry your battery bank with you!
If you travel a lot, it’s worth investing in a good universal travel adaptor. Just leave it in your bag, and wherever you jump off the plane, it fits. Sure, you can usually buy an adapter at every airport or in every tourist town, but you’ll pay way too much for it. These single adaptors might not last as long, either, so pay that extra bit and you don’t have to worry about charging your devices.
Absolute MUST-HAVE on long-haul and night flights. I believe that anyone who has been on a plane for more than 8 hours knows what I’m talking about. And I’m pretty sure that if you have been, you also know what it’s like having a screaming infant in your cabin. Yep, not very pleasant at all. Take some good ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones.
There is a whole wonderful world of travel pillows out there. Some even combine an eye mask and a travel pillow, and kind of look like an astronaut helmet. I’m sure they are super comfy, but for me usually a simple neck pillow is fine. You can use it on either a window and aisle seat, for back support and there are some blow-up ones, that don’t take up too much space. Check out this article ‘The Best 14 Travel Pillows for Every Type of Seat Sleeper’.
Your travel wallet should be filled with your passport, boarding passes, any incoming or outgoing passenger cards, a pen and a bit of cash. To keep things tidy, try to find a wallet with a lot of pockets. I have found an inexpensive but very convenient one here.
Ladies, you probably have a small makeup bag that you could use for your toiletries on a flight. It needs to fit a toothbrush, toothpaste, a mini deodorant hand sanitiser and any medication you need. There are some great bags for men on the Bag World Website. Remember, that you usually can’t take more than 100mls of liquid, so consider filling your sanitiser and other liquids in a plastic container.
Especially if you’re like me, travelling with the same bag all the time, you might want to invest in a luggage belt. It’s not for security and in my opinion doesn’t need to have a lock – it’s just to make sure that your bag doesn’t pop open. This can happen quite easily, if you (also like me) pack waaaaaaayy too much in your suitcase.
I bet you didn’t think of this one! You need to keep dehydrated to beat the Jet Lag quicker, so drinking plenty of water is very important. At the airport, we regularly have to throw away and buy new bottles of water. That adds up! Most airports have drinking fountains, and you CAN take an empty drink bottle through the security check. If you’re tight for space, consider getting a Flexible Water Bottle.
You might not need those, but I am an expert at overpacking. I always get so close to the 30kg weight restriction, that people ask me how I could possibly fit in that many clothes – or whether I carry bricks in my bag. The answer is – vacuum bags! They’re not expensive and you can find some here.
Sitting on a plane for long periods isn’t only uncomfortable – it can also be unhealthy. Anyone who’s pregnant, has a blood clotting disorder, is overweight, or is a senior citizen is at greater risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a condition in which a blood clot develops, usually in the legs, during lengthy periods of inactivity. One way to prevent DVT – in addition to getting up to walk throughout the flight – is to wear compression socks, which increase circulation in the legs. These are socks made of tightly woven fabric that puts gentle pressure on the calves. A pair should cost $10 to $20.