Having recently come back from a trip to England and also having just re-vamped the blog, I thought I would start fresh with a travel post. Unless you can afford to travel in first or business class (which I can't...yet), long-haul flying can be stressful, uncomfortable and if you happen to be seated next o a screaming child, something close to torture. Even if you are about to brave a long-haul flight in economy class, flying doesn't have to be a complete pain. Here are my top tips to make flying just a little more bearable:
1. Choose your seat wisely
The best way to get a decent seat is to check-in online as early as possible OR be friendly and polite to the ground staff when you check-in and ask what seats are available. I usually go for the second option and have been pretty successful, sometimes even scoring a whole 4 seats to myself. You can head to sites like seatguru.com which highlight the best seats (those with ample leg room and space to stretch out) and those to avoid (ones near the toilet that don't recline). Once you're in your seat of choice, respect the Golden Rules of Air Travel. Don't hog the arm rests, don't drool on your fellow travellers while sleeping and don't recline your seat without letting the person behind you know. Trust me, it makes for much more pleasant flying!
2. Dress smart
You might give Kim Kardashian a run for her money in your stiletto heels and skinny jeans as you waltz through the airport. Trust me though, three hours into a 12 hour flight with those skinny jeans digging into your hips, you're going to be really regretting your outfit choice. If you do want to look good as you check-in, make sure you pack a more comfortable second option to change into later. Also keep in mind that you'll be taking off jewellery, belts and shoes every time you go through security so leave the statement necklaces at home. It's also pretty frosty on-board so layering is key.
3. On-board essentials
Four things you need to have in your cabin baggage: noise-cancelling headphones, earplugs, lip balm and a scarf. The headphones will be infinitely better than any of the budget variety that are handed out on board and will also be able to cancel out the drone of the engines. Ear plugs will help keep you sane between screaming babies and snoring seat-mates. You'll be grateful for the lip balm in the super dry cabin air and the scarf can be used as an extra layer or even a blanket. Try and have your essentials ready to tuck into your seat pocket, no one likes the person who has to get things out of their bag in the overheads every five minutes.
4. Know your stopovers
Doing a little research on your stopovers can help make your transit a breeze. You can find out lots of handy tips like places to catch up on sleep, the best places to eat and where to find a free shower. Sites likes Trip Advisor are absolute gold mines for things like that.
5. Sign up to frequent flyer programs
A lot of people think frequent flyer programs are a bit of a gimmick but they can be lifesavers for long-haul travellers. If you do managed to make it to the higher status levels, you can enjoy food, showers, free wifi and a whole host of other perks too. You don't even have to fly with the same airline all the time as most airlines have partner programs so you can pool your points and get access to perks from other frequent flyer programs.
What are your best long-haul travel tips?