Over my years I’ve traveling, I’ve done quite a few lengthy days (and nights!) on planes. Especially at the end of 2017, when I did six transatlantic or transpacific flights, including the longest day of travel I’ve ever had in my life. And with that, I’ve learned a lot about how to survive a long-haul flight without A. ruining the first few days of the trip you’re about to go on or B. wanting to die. As such, I wanted to share my advice for handling long flights. I decided to separate this information into two posts, because I think what products to bring along only tell half the story when it comes to traveling long distances.
Products, of course, are essential. My mantra when it comes to long flights is to make the experience as easy on yourself as possible. To me, that means focusing on two things: Making yourself as comfortable as possible, and making sure you’ve got plenty to occupy your time.
As for comfort, it obviously all starts with how you’re dressed. I never used to undersetand the Lululemon obsession — I thought their products were overpriced. And while they’re definitely expensive, a few pairs of align pants are worth the investment. You seriously feel naked (but in the best way!) and now I really won’t travel in anything else. I snagged a cashmere travel wrap during last year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I seriously wore it constantly during my first trip to Europe last fall. It serves as a blanket (one that’s way softer than whatever the airlines are giving you!) and then once you arrive, a very warm, very chic scarf. On top, layers are key. I usually wear one of the jackets I’m taking with me on top (but stow it under my seat) and a cozy sweater or cardigan. This waffle tee has become a go-to of mine as well — it’s thick but still cozy and breathable.
They’ll likely serve you food on the plane (unless you’re flying Norwegian Air or another budget airline!) but still, either bring a snack from home or pick something up at the airport. You can also buy a big water bottle or bring one of your own, like a S’well. The perk to the S’well is you’ll be able to use it throughout your trip. Another comfort essential? Lip balm! Literally, having dry lips on a flight that you still have another six hours to go on is TORTURE. Save yourself the heartache.
And then there’s the not-so-little task of occupying yourself. Thankfully, modern airplanes have solved a lot of this conundrum with their touch screens with dozens of movie options. However, older planes are still in circulation. Last fall on my flight from Paris to New York, my plane only had the screens that hang from the ceiling. In that case, come prepared. Download a movie or two onto your laptop beforehand as well as several books onto your phone, iPad or Kindle. Options are key here people!
But when it comes to how to spend your time on a flight — particularly an east coast to Europe flight — you’re going to want to sleep for most of the flight, if not the entire thing. On a long flight, you’re going to want to sleep as much as you can. This travel pillow makes it so much easier to do just that. It blocks out light and (some) noise. And, it gives you a cushion so you have something soft between you and the plane wall. (Anyone else a window seat lover for this reason?!) At the very least, make sure you have an eye mask to block out the light in your carry-on.
And where do you put all this stuff? My favorite carry-on is the MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote. It has lots of interior pockets, is very spacious and has a zipper. Although if you’re going on a really long trip that involves a lot of moving around, I’d also recommend a North Face backpack, as it’s easier to carry around heavy weight on two shoulders rather than one. (I still have mine from high school!) Sometimes, I’ll bring a smaller crossbody bag with me to have my essentials — passport, wallet, phone — close and easy to access.
Also, a note on passport cases. I use one, and while they can be very chic and make for a nice ‘gram, they’re actually incredibly unpractical. You constantly need to remove it from the case to go through customs, security, etc. I’d love one day to invest in this travel wallet as it’s chic and looks very practical, but I have yet to take the plunge on that purchase!
Any questions — or any products you’d recommend yourself? Let’s talk in the comments below! And stay tuned for my advice and tips on surviving long flights, to come later this week!