When it comes to long haul flying, I’d like to think that I’m now somewhat of a pro. Annual holidays to Hong Kong and Malaysia from England mean that I easily overcame travel sickness with a little luck and practice, and can now quite comfortably navigate the whole cabin baggage, security check and in-flight entertainment like an amateur professional 😉
There are so many stages to flying and so many little things that can either easily be missed from your list or that you overthink and end up becoming incredibly anxious about. Honestly? I used to be the worst flyer. I’d clam up in the car ride to the airport, refuse to eat or drink (for fear of getting sick), keep my hands touching my travel documents at any given moment, suffer from day-long jet lag and sickness… You name it. As you read this, I’m just wrapping up my last-minute packing for a whistlestop, dreamy holiday to Bali, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong with my boyfriend and so here are my flight tips:
Packing For The Cabin
Packing for the flight itself is, I find, key to flying like a pro. I’m the sort of person who gets extremely anxious when travelling on public transport and although flights aren’t actually so bad for ;me, I find nailing my packing helps with the process of getting to the airport.
I like to pack in sections: a canvas drawstring bag for my iPod, earphones and tablet, my travel wallet for travel documents, spare cash and passport (I also like to keep a loose written itinerary of my flights, times and numbers in here to refer to!), my clear toiletries bag and another drawstring bag for chewing gum, my Tiger Balm, Kalms and other medication.
For your clear toiletries bag:
- Use a Ziplock/sandwich bag from home to avoid having to move things about whilst you’re in the airport.
- Lip balm
- A my-lips-but-better lipstick for post-flight wear
- Sheet mask OR Origins Drink Up Overnight Mask
- 100ml makeup remover & cotton wool pads
- Travel mascara
- Hand cream
- Hand sanitiser
If any of this is going into your carry-on, be a doll and keep your electronics and toiletries bag in the top of the main compartment or in an easily accessible pocket. This’ll help you out a tonne when it comes to going through security. You don’t want to be ‘that’ guy holding up the queue by rummaging in the bottom of your bag or suitcase, after all. Simply unzip, slip out and pop into the tray when the security guys hand you one.
Breeze Through Security
I hadn’t really nailed my security routine until I moved to Hong Kong in 2014, the move meaning I spent plenty more time doing back-and-forth flights and layovers and all sorts. Travelling with minimal… things is really going to help you but for peace of mind, these will all help too:
- Whip cardigans/jackets off before you pass through Departures. When you go to take your passport and boarding pass out from your bag to get through the first Departures desk, remove your jacket too.
- Take a few moments to unpack your electronics from your carry-on and place these with your phone.
- Make sure your toiletries are in a clear plastic bag and also within easy reach.
- As you near the security check belt, simply retrieve the relevant bags, fold your cardigan/jacket and place all in the boxes provided.
- I also like to travel sans belts and excessive jewellery – these are often key culprits when it comes to setting off those dreaded security gates!
The Flight Itself
Now I’m going to be completely honest here and admit that I used to be a complete nightmare on flights. I’d be super prone to travel sickness, worked myself up a storm in the airport and would then become so anxious once on those 13-hour flights that I’d hold my breath for several hours and/or refuse to eat for the entirety of the flight. Great. With 25 years under my belt, I’m actually not too bad on a plane now. I’m happy enough with some music, coffee and plenty of Tiger Balm (my ultimate anxiety placebo) at my disposal. Things that often help me, though, include sitting on a plastic bag to get rid of travel sickness, taking deep breaths and making a marked note to observe the friendliness and calm disposition of the wonderful cabin crew and focusing on arrival. Like I mentioned before, I write down a mini itinerary which really helps me to visualise the journey as a whole and manage my expectations, focusing on time of arrival and how many hours left.
What are some of your best travel tips?