26 ways our travel experts prepare for long-haul flights

6th June 2016 | by Guest author

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With only four days until the entire Selective Asia team hightails it to Bangkok to celebrate the company’s 10th birthday, we’ve decided to share our hard-won secrets for making long-haul flights more comfortable!

Avoid caffeine, before and during your flight

Although it’s tempting to indulge in a latte whilst waiting to board - and to swallow as many free hot drinks as the flight crew are willing to give you - caffeine should be avoided. Wait until the first breakfast of your stay before your next hit.

Remove all the bumf from the seat pocket and put it in the overhead locker

After reading the safety card thoroughly, of course! This’ll give you a little extra knee room, less clutter and more space for your own book / mag / tablet etc.

Uncaffeinated ‘bedtime’ tea with valerian as an ingredient can help you sleep on your flight

Valerian affects people differently, though, so test it out in advance - it can cause odd dreams and make people feel groggy the next morning. Pukka and Clipper both do good ones. Nytol also contains valerian - again, test it out before you fly to make sure it suits you.

Don't eat on the flight

This one can be hard to do because eating on the flight relieves boredom, but a scientifically proven way to avoid jet-lag (according to Ed!) is to eat the appropriate meal for your destination’s time zone before you board the flight (eg, eat breakfast if it’s morning in Bangkok) and try not to eat too much on the flight. When you arrive, eat the first appropriate meal as soon as you can.

Always take moisturiser on board and keep applying it throughout your flight

Hygiene got several mentions...

Many of the team carry antibacterial/antiviral hand foam or gel, and wipes to clean the seat, screen, armrests and tray table - apparently these are sometimes not cleaned properly for weeks at a time.

Don’t forget your toothbrush!

Nearly all our travel experts say to take your toothbrush and a mini toothpaste on board. Cabin air-con can be very drying, and a quick minty brush-up helps keep you fresh on the flight. And if your hold luggage goes missing, you will at least have nice clean mouth while you wait for it.

Take face-cleaning stuff in the cabin with you for similar reasons

Everyone said to take a spare change of clothes

Different reasons were given - some said it's because they tend to spill food down themselves on the flight, and some because they’re afraid their luggage might go missing, although this rarely happens!

Neck pillows

The consensus is that you should definitely take one, but the inflatable ones don’t cut the mustard. Many of the team own U-shaped microbead neck pillows that sit around the neck, but ex flight attendant Ed recommends the J-pillow, which tucks under your chin as well. We’re testing it out right now, and it’s very snuggly and supportive!

If you're stopping over en route, look out for airport showers

Whilst not in every location, they do exist and will revolutionise your state of mind when landing.

Set up Skype / Facetime / WhatsApp / Google Hangouts on your phone for making calls home

Take ibuprofen or aspirin before and during the flight

It helps stop swelling. Make sure you don’t take it on an empty stomach.

Drink lots of water

Not just on board the plane, but in the days and hours leading up to your flight as well.

If you don’t like aeroplane food, take a good quality pot noodle!

 The crew will usually be happy to top it up with hot water for you.

Another food tip is to take a little bottle of tabasco sauce

Tastebuds are numbed at high altitude, so it’ll add a kick to any less-than-flavoursome meals.

Anti-indigestion tablets can help prevent that high-altitude post-plane-food bloated feeling

Do your currency homework

Before you fly, familiarise yourself with the current exchange rate if you plan to withdraw from the airport ATM on arrival - post-flight brain fog can make maths hard.

Take a plastic bag for rubbish around the seat

This stops packaging mounting up on the tray table before the crew come round again to collect it.

Mouthwash

To quote one of our experts, it ‘properly sorts out the dry pappy mouth on arrival’.

You heard it here first.

Take a USB charger for any devices you bring on board

Many newer aircraft have USB charging ports next to the TV screen.

Comfy clothes to wear inflight are a must

Think elasticated waists, tracksuits or leggings, and comfy socks. There’s no need to dress up!

Not just a fashion tip...

Lou pointed out that a long cotton scarf often proves useful for wrapping up against fierce air-con, and for lying or sitting on, as well as covering up in temples and against the sun.

Noise cancelling headphones will be better than those provided by the airline

If you feel rough, ask the crew for oxygen

Works for nearly any ailment. Apparently it’s also ‘the best hangover cure in the world’.

Some of the team may find this useful on the way home...

Pack a strip of antihistamine tablets in your hand luggage

 A big thank you to the team for their input!