This year is turning out to be one of my most travel heavy ever. Between my first trip to Asia back in January, and now mastering the overnight flight to Europe, flying has become easy and effortless for me in terms of being prepared. With more travel on the horizon I thought I’d share some of my long haul travel tips with you all.
Let’s start with Thailand. One of the only hesitations I had about traveling to Asia was the actual travel to get there. I was dreading spending that much freaking time on an airplane and how miserable it would be. I thought it would be a tragic experience that I would just detest to the point where I don’t know if I’d be able to get on the last leg to get my ass there. Or get back on the plane to return home. I wouldn’t have been opposed to eating pad Thai for the rest of my life and enjoying 90 degree temperatures in January. So the latter was not a huge issue. But missing Pork was a big deal.
After traveling to Europe a handful of times, I learned that 9 or so hour flights aren’t ALL that bad. But a 14 hour one, combined with a 3 hour and another 5 hour sounded intimidating. I decided to make this as enjoyable and tolerable as humanly possible. After picking my friend’s brain who heads to Asia almost once a quarter for her day job, and combined with my own 9 hour flight experiences, I think I’ve come up with the best tips to surviving a 24 hour (plus) travel day. Yes, plus, both travel days were around 30-33 hours total with delays. This also works for any flights over 8 hours if you ask me. My flight home from London was close to 10 hours and it was a doozy and all of the below still pertained to that trip. Here’s what I learned.
What To Pack
I usually check my bag whenever I travel because I pack way too much. So since I checked my big bag for my Thailand trip it meant packing my backpack for the plane had to look a little differently than if I had carried on. If you’re carrying on, you won’t need to worry about having your toiletries on hand, extra clothes and so on as they’ll all be in your bag that you bring with you. I do recommend packing them in a better spot for easy retrieval though. If your bag does get gate checked (which happens often) just be sure to pull out a few things before they take it from you. Here’s what I packed in my backpack.
Toiletry Bag – You won’t need the WHOLE thing, but make sure you at least have your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wipes and regular wipes. Anything else that you swear by every single day and have to use, add that too. But this was all I cared to bring.
Extra Clothes – Since I checked my bag, I wanted to cover my ass for any luggage delays. This may actually be my new travel rule going forward. I packed 2 easy outfits (shorts and tanks) along with extra underwear. I also had a few things to have to change into in case I wanted fresh pants, tees and such during the course of the travel day.
Sweatshirt – Planes get cold AF. I’m a hot blooded person and I am always freezing on these long flights, so believe me they get cold. Pack a sweatshirt and maybe even a long sleeve tee as well to be safe. The more clothes the better.
Neck Pillow & Eye Mask – I use this one and it is a GOD SEND. I got stuck in the middle seat on a total of 16 hours of flying thanks to missing one of our flights and getting rebooked. Window seat no more. I relied heavily on getting some shut eye with this bad boy. As for the eye mask, I was never into using one until I tried it in NYC last fashion week. It’s a game changer! There’s even a pocket in the neck pillow to hold it so it’s readily available and doesn’t get lost in my backpack.
Chords And Things – I always pack a bag (using little jewelry bags work great) with headphones, extra headphones, chords, extra chords and an external battery. If you want to be super organized and fashion forward, I am totally wanting to buy these leather chord tacos. They’re currently on my wishlist.
Snacks – Airplane food is fine on Delta, but once you get into the Asia airlines, the food was suspicious. Plus, I wasn’t necessarily hungry at the exact time they wanted to feed us (3am for me, was 3pm for them and I wanted sleep!). So having a few things to snack on when hunger strikes is important. I always travel with Kind Bars and ThinkThin bars period. They’re tasty, filling and travel well. I also packed a few fruit snacks, instant oatmeal packets (easy enough to grab hot water from a coffee shop in the airport) and some candy. I also made myself buy a bottle of water at every single airport. Drink up!
Drugs – Depending on what you fancy, keep the necessities on hand for emergencies. You never know when a stomach ache, headache or allergic reaction is going to hit. I love this pill container for traveling. Also, if you like to take something to help you sleep, make sure it’s in your bag and ready to go!
Entertainment – Now that Netflix let’s you download some things to your device, I packed my iPad so I had some entertainment whenever possible. I also brought a book that I don’t think I ever read. It’s still something I like to bring just in case. Plus, with jet lag, I found myself up at a weird hour one night and these both came in handy for getting me to wind back down again. I also swear by my music and use Spotify religiously. So be sure to download your songs on wifi prior to getting on the plane.
Travel Wallet – I usually use a large Hobo wallet in my normal day to day life and it’s HUGE. But for travel, I like to keep things as small and simple as possible. I started using this mini wallet and love it. I just bring the necessities. ID, Amex and Visa (most widely accepted cards in the world), my debit card and cash. Lots of cash!
What To Expect
Well being tired is a given. But feeling disgusting is also real. I made sure to brush my teeth as often as possible. It’s amazing how fresh you feel after a good teeth brushing. And actually, it’s more impressive how quickly your mouth feels disgusting. You could even use these if you like if you don’t want to deal with water which are super convenient.
Change your clothes! Let’s get real here. After even 12 hours of traveling, I was ready for a change of clothes. Underwear, pants, shirt, gimme all the fresh clothing. Change your clothes before your longest leg (if it’s last) if it’s your first leg, change once you get off your long leg before boarding your next few shorter flights. Fresh panties, these wipes, and maybe a fresh sports bra, deodorant and you’ll feel like a new woman.
What To Wear
For those people that wear jeans, button downs and dress shoes on a 14 hour flight, I don’t get you. We can’t be friends. I want to be comfortable, not cute. I opted for my favorite lululemon leggings that kept their shape after 24 hours, my favorite tees and sneakers. Sports bras are ideal, and I even went for my more comfortable ones that are more of a lazy day bra than a keep the girls in check bra. I wore this OnGossamer one and love it.
I brought my backpack with me on the plane, and then also packed my small crossbody with the essentials. Passport, wallet, chapstick etc. This way I could easily access the things I needed often without having to get my backpack out a million times. This allowed me to throw my backpack in the bin above me so I had some extra legroom with just my small crossbody.
Other Things To Think About
A few things that you should consider bringing to ensure a smooth travel day.
- Passport – duh. But seriously, don’t forget it
- Extra ID. I keep my old drivers license in my Passport holder.
- Cash – Always have your regular money on you (from your country of origin) and enough money to transfer to the country you’re going to. I prefer to just pull money out of an ATM once I get to my destination, but sometimes you may not find one, or your card may not work for whatever reason, so just always have enough cash to change over in an emergency. I recommend always having around $200 total. Also, I always keep an emergency $20 in my passport holder.
- Charge your devices!
- Change your watch – I always turn my watch to the time of my destination. I know what time I’m usually landing, so it’s an easy way to see how much time is left in the flight. Plus the sooner you can get your brain on your destination’s time zone, the easier it’ll be with jet lag.
- Screenshot Everything – I like to screenshot my hotel info, flight info and anything else like car services and such. You never know when your phone may not have great service and you’ll need to access these important things.
- Speaking of phone – Get your cell phone internationally ready. Either by buying an International SIM card or upgrading your phone plan for your trip.
There you have it! All my go to tips for long flights and long travel days. I’m thankfully staying home most of March and just have one weekend trip to Hilton Head. But the schedule gets crazy again for April and I’ll be relying on these tips regardless of how far my flight is.
I’d love to know if you have any other travel tips or questions for me. I’m working on a few upcoming posts on how to combat jet lag (I think I’ve mastered it!) and tips to traveling solo and staying safe. Stay tuned for me!