Being a kiwi who lives in London, with parents in Australia, I end up doing a lot of flying! I don’t enjoy flying at all – I have had a phobia of it for a long time, so I like to try and make the whole process as stress free as possible. When I first started flying, I would be a total write off for at least a day when I got to my destination – but over the years I have learnt some lessons and become much more prepared – leading to my top tips!
1 – Pre Flight – give yourself a break and buy something nice!
This may seem a bit strange but I think when you are doing a huge flight (such as the 22 hour London-Sydney which I just did!), it isn’t going to be a great experience. I found if I plan to buy myself a little treat when I go to the airport then I have something to look forward to and do before my flight which helps take my mind off my anxiety! I usually don’t like to spend a lot on my beauty products so when I fly I allow myself to splurge on one item – this time i bought the Big Easy BB Cream from Benefit (which I will report on soon!).
2 – Seat Selection
If you are a nervous flyer then I definitely recommend pre booking your seats – on some airlines it does cost a little extra but in my opinion it is always worth it. I find turbulence, airplane noise and general congestion tends to be better between the wing and the front of the plane. The back of the plane will always feel turbulence more which I don’t enjoy! I would always suggest an aisle seat – I know that the window is tempting but it is important to be have the freedom to get up and down as much as you want – ideally every hour. I find moving about during the flight always makes me feel so much better when I get off, when you are not on an aisle you are much less likely to get up and move about as much – putting you at risk of DVT.
3 – Carry on luggage – compartmentalize!
Usually it can be a pain to be getting up and down for your bag, I find it hard to reach! – so I will usually bring a large bag onto the plane with lots of things (such as change of clothes etc) but then have smaller bags inside which I will keep at my seat such as these two – the heart case is my travel case with all my passports and documents, the front is my amenities bag where I keep my toothbrush, moisturiser, ipod, earplugs etc so things won’t get lost around my seat.
4 – Hydrate!
If you take anything from this blog post then this would be it – you need to drink more when flying. You need to push the fluid through your body and ease your digestion as you won’t be moving. It’s easy on flights to think that you are drinking enough as you will drink something each time the air hostesses come around – but the airplane drinks are a lot smaller than normal and you won’t be taking in much fluid. I aim to take a 1L bottle on with me and fill this up a couple of times on the flight – if you are going to have alcoholic drinks then up this!
5 – Earplugs
I have two pairs I always take, the foam ones you are usually given on the flight which I will wear when sleeping during the flight. The plastic pair are designed to reduce pressure on take off/landing and can be bought at any pharmacy – they are useful if you are congested or get sore ears when flying – they make the pressure change more gradual and allow you to acclimatize to the altitude – just make sure you put them in before you take off or land.
6 – Look after your face!
Airplanes dry you out – the circulating air is not good for skin. I always take a really strong moisturizer which sits on the skin to lock moisture in – at the moment this is Dr Lipp lanolin which I will put on my lips and nose. I also love to take an eye roller ball – the cool formula helps depuff my eyes and stops me looking extremely sleep deprived when I arrive (even though I am invariably always am!). I will also usually take a body butter and some eye drops with witch hazel to stop my eyes stinging .
7 – Attempts to sleep?
I am terrible at sleeping on planes – I am usually uncomfortable, anxious and extremely tired so I need to try and make it as easy as possible. I take a neck pillow which I put around the front of my neck to support my head, an eye mask which you can see in the picture above and my ear plugs. I put together a music playlist on my ipod of quiet songs which I put on over the top of the earplugs to try and stop my thoughts from moving to worry. With this I can usually sleep around 5 hours on a flight which is a lot more than previously!
8 – Medicating?
When I first starting flying, I used to take strong prescription anti anxieties but I found that these knocked me out and wiped me out for days after I landed. Since then I do usually take a little bag with some medicines in there:
- Rescue Remedy – this is a herbal spray which is meant to calm you – it is like a placebo but I find it works quite well at making me at least stop and try to calm myself down.
- Nytol – This is valerian and passionflower to help you sleep – it does work for me on land so I take it on the plane – I don’t think it is strong enough to have a huge effect on my sleep but better than nothing.
- Paracetamol – I usually take a couple every 8 hours to ward off headaches and general aches.
- Indigestion/Immodium – sometimes flying can throw off your stomach so I like to bring these as precautions!
- Sudafed – I had a cold this time when I flew and this does a good job of getting my congestion cleared for take off and landing.
I hope some of these tips are useful! Let me know if you have any tips for calmer and more comfortable long haul flights!