I’m not a big fan of flying. All the hanging around and sitting down makes me anxious. I recently wrote about how I get through the airport experience, but this means little if you’re miserable on the actual flight. Me and LT are off to Houston to start our annual road trip this weekend and the length of the flight is already on my mind. These are my tips on how to make that journey a little bit less stressful.
Depending on who you’re with and where you’re flying, you might get a pillow from your carrier, but they pale in comparison to what you can pick up on Amazon. ‘
Even if you’re not planning on catching some sleep on your journey, a comfy AF pillow can make all that sitting so much more relaxing…’
They come in a dazzling variety of sizes and shapes and can often be inflatable to allow easy storage in your hand luggage. My personal favourites are those from the kids section that come in the shape of animals. The Travel Bug demanded I get this one… Yes, I’m 39 and, yes, I have absolutely zero shame. Why buy a gun-metal grey pillow when you can cuddle up to this little guy?? Exactly.
TV and Movies
Again, most airlines will provide this for you, but I’m a fussy bugger and, despite all my letters and emails, Singapore Airlines is point-blank refusing to show Season 14 of When Flights Go Wrong during my trip. How selfish. Anyway, to combat this, and now that Netflix and Prime both allow you to make downloads, I tend to store up shows I’m desperate to see and then make myself wait until the flight. This means that I’m often, dare I say it, even slightly keen to board so that I can catch up with something new and exciting. My flight to Houston is all about ‘The Keepers’ (yeah, I’m so behind…) and brand new documentary ‘Long Shot’. I figure I also have time to fit in ‘Mission : Impossible 5’, because why not.
Books/Music and Podcasts
As much as I’m looking forward to setting down with my Netflix queue, brushing up on my Spanish with Pablo Escobar and watching Tom Cruise clinging on to the sides of buildings and stuff, I do tend to get quite easily bored. Because of this, I always have some new tunes and a book on hand so that I can have a wee change every now and then. At the moment, I use Apple Music, so I’ve been collecting some new country albums, and I got two vintage Agatha Christie books in the local charity shop to keep my brain active until my feet are firmly on Texan soil. As riveting as the inflight magazine is, there’s just no substitute for Miss Marple. I am also obsessed with true crime podcasts (Minds of Madness, Canadian True Crime and Small Town Murder being my current favourites).
‘I like to listen to my podcasts before sneaking looks around to suss out who I think is the most likely serial killer on my flight…’
I’m not even kidding.
I live in the coldest stone cottage this side of the Arctic Circle, so I own quite a range of snuggly blankets. I like being wrapped like a burrito, watching Narcos, pretending I’m on my couch at home. Although I’ll likely get one of those scritchy numbers from the airline, I much prefer to take my own. It makes me feel so much happier and, if I’m all toasty and settled, my journey is always better. Amazon has a decent range which are reasonably priced and can be squished neatly (although not in my case…) into your carry on bag.
Now, I love my shoes…all 108 pairs of them, but flying demands that I wear flats with no laces so that I can take them off and on instantly. I used to wear boots or trainers, but I can’t be bothered with the hassle of trying to distort my body like Eugene Tooms from X Files while I attempt to squeeze my head into the space between my seat and the person on front in order to untie my laces. If flats aren’t something you’d usually wear, you can get amazingly bendy ones that are made for travelling and take up next to no space in your luggage. I wear normal flats for most of my travels and tend to pick them up in my local charity shop for a few pounds. That way, I don’t feel bad about paying for them and recycling them to the same store when I get home. Alternatively, if you have to buy them new, Dr Scholl has a great range of travel friendly flats to choose from.
There are few things more important in life that snacks. As much as I have a sweet tooth, I tend to steer away from sugary snacks on long haul flight because I don’t want to feel even more shattered by the time I land. That said, I also don’t want to be eating carrot sticks for the entire journey. I simply refuse to buy my snacks in the airport lounge because they’re extortionate, so I often take them with me. Between LT and me we generally opt for rice cakes, boiled sweets, and packets of fruit slices. Obviously, don’t take anything with nuts in order to avoid killing the guy with the peanut allergy sitting in 15B.
‘It goes without saying that you should definitely wear clothes when you fly. Otherwise, where will you store your passport?…’
I freely admit to being a traveller who treasures comfort over looking good, but I still like to be dressed somewhat appropriately. I don’t travel in my rather fetching dalmatian onesie, for example. I tend to stick to leggings (although I suffer from chronic IBS, so I wear them a LOT) and something loose on top that isnt too thick or heavy, in case it’s really warm. I always take a cardigan or wrap so I can cover up if I’m chilly under airplane air conditioning. I’m also aways mindful of my destination and don’t want to be layered up disembarking a plane in Houston when it’s 80 degrees outside.
How do you cope with flying long haul?