Top 10 tips to survive long haul flights

Some of our family arrived from the UK last week, and it was very exciting to wait in the airport for them (I made a colourful sign to welcome them, which Mr S was too embarrassed to hold).

After taking them on a little tiki tour of the Eastern suburbs in Welly, we started talking about the dreaded jet lag and shared our best tips for surviving a long haul flight. Here they are in handy list form!

1. Set your watch to the local time in your final destination – This is one you’ll probably find on most flight survival lists, but it really does work. Getting yourself into the right time zone from the beginning on the flight is a great way to kick off the journey. Just make sure it’s a 24hr watch, you don’t want to arrive expecting lunch at midnight.

2. Have a shower – This is a future tip for me, as when I got off our third and last flight of the journey here, I felt MINGING. There are great shower facilities at most airports (I had a good nose around at San Fran and Auckland) and I think that could be the key to retaining my status as a human for 30 hours of travelling.

3. Bring PJ’s – Carrying on from the shower tip, I really wish I’d taken a change of clothes for the actual flight, more specifically PJ’s. Those of you that know me will already be aware of my emotional connection to PJ’s, they are the best clothes ever. I feel like wearing them on a flight will require some socially acceptable PJ’s, that perhaps look more like regular clothes and less like I dressed in the dark (stripy red and grey bottoms and narwhal slippers are probably off the list).

4. Comfortable headphones – Mr S purchased me some swanky headphones at Heathrow, and I feel awesome when I wear them. Noise cancelling and comfortable will be useful – these bad boys will be fantastic if you need to block out the murmurings of other passengers for a well earned nap.

5. Don’t drink too much alcohol – Confession time. We may have told pretty much all the airline staff that we came into contact with that we were emigrating. Not only because we were pretty proud of the huge step we were taking, but also because we believed it would lead to free champagne. AND IT DID. But we quickly realised that maybe some water would wash that alcohol down nicely and we didn’t really want to be tipsy for 30 hours. Yikes.

Also, from a ‘staying healthy’ point of view, alcohol is a depressant and it dehydrates you – both things that will not make for comfortable and enjoyable travelling. Drink lots of water, being on a plane is already massively dehydrating without chucking a cocktail or two down your throat.

6. Be nice to the flight attendants – See above regarding the free champagne. Flight crew are doing their jobs, this is where they work. Which passenger will get extra crisps and better service, the grouchy complaining one or the smiley nice one? Also, the best outcome of this is a potential free upgrade – the holy grail of surviving long haul travel.

7. Think about your clothing – Wear something loose and comfortable, take a soft jumper you can cosy up in, and some lovely thick socks. It’s true that if you are dressed smartly, you are more likely to get an upgrade, but smart doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable.

8. Ear plugs and eye mask – If you’re hoping to get any sleep at all (and you probably should if you’re flying to NZ!) then these little beauties will be your saving grace. Shutting out the rest of the plane with a comfortable eye mask and ear plugs will ensure you go off to dreamland without any interruptions, like fellow passengers shining their reading light in your eyes or some such nonsense.

9. Foot rest – At a hobbit-like 5ft 2″, I struggle to put my feet on the ground in most seats that are designed for adults. Mr S enjoys reminding me on a weekly basis that there are penguins that are taller than me. This can cause some leg pain when sitting for long periods, so my plan for next time is to have some sort of footrest. Whether this is in the form of a leg hammock or an inflatable pillow, I’m not sure, but I think that sitting with my little legs stretched out in front of me will make a more pleasant flying experience.

10. Be 13 years old – This is a tip from my step son. He is 13 and has not suffered one small jot of jet lag, the rascal. Oh, to be young again 😀

That’s all the tips from us! Right now we’re getting ready for an adventure on the South Island. We’re leaving bright and early tomorrow morning, look out for a full write-up coming soon!

In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of the Wellington-based fun we’ve had in the last week…

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Looking for ‘horse-fish’ in the ‘seapools’
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The view from Oriental Bay
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Not scared of Orcs.
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Dinner at home together 🙂
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