The ultimate guide (mile-high club tips not included).
As a child, hopping on a plane was incredibly exciting to me. It was a chance to venture to another land. An opportunity to bug the sh*t out of my mother about getting novelty chocolates in duty free. To date, not much has changed. My mood soars when I head through the gates and yes, I still prowl duty free for certain novelties. Two for $55 liquor type novelties.
As my need to reach more faraway lands increases, unsurprisingly so does the length of the journeys. What hits an all time low is my ability to stop neurotic mid-flight thoughts and get some sleep. So here’s what I’ve found helps.
This is the everyman’s guide to long haul flying. If you’re flying first, you have no business here. Enjoy racking up off your cabin’s bidet.
Do not go gentle into that lazy night
Keep on top of things before your big trip. Really straddle that to-do list. Ensure you’re well rested, too. Skipping sleep because you think you’ll catch up on z’s during the flight will end only in devastation.
Be sure to pack wisely and check in with time to spare. You don’t want to start your journey as a damp mess because you a) are sweating through the 20 layers of clothing that clocked in over the weight allowance, or b) had to run Forrest run through all the gates because you reckon the Uber driver made you late.
Ticking these simple pre-flight boxes will have you in a better position for the journey ahead. Also, less people will hate you.
I try to get wasted on whiskey a very respectable red wine buzz going before every long haul flight. If not before, then during will also suffice. Of COURSE, if booze isn’t your thing, then why not pop a valium. Or a melatonin. Or solidified possum tears. Look I won’t pretend to know what the kids are taking these days.
Do actually hydrate
On that note, keep your second most important fluids up. Chug that water. This is essential because the air filtration up there is robbing you BLIND. The system supplies air with 20-45% less humidity than what you’re used to, so moisture evaporates from your hot bod faster.
That being said, you must also keep your skin hydrated, you disgusting mess. Wash your face, use facial wipes, apply rosehip oil or give yourself a once over with an Evian or Avene aerosol. These two are my favourites even though I get teased for paying top dollar for what is basically nitrogen + water in a can. Oh well, to yourself be true.
Set to work on those lists, squire. Flop down that tray table, fang on that crowd-pleasing overhead light and put your back into it! Really pour yourself into your step-by-step plan to success. There’s nothing like a trip abroad to help you put things into perspective.
If you suspect that the man next to you – who you also suspect is called something like Hans – is so out of his mind bored that he’s reading everything you jot down, start writing some freaky stuff! Draw a human head in a jar of brine as an add-on to your list. Extra points if that head bears a likeness to Hans’. Your mission is now not only to list your goals, it’s to scare Hans.
Trim the fat
If you’re like me and you’re pretty tall for your age – I’m a lofty 5’4” – you won’t want a semi-trailer of belongings at your feet.
So Babushka doll your carry-on bag. Let me explain. In your main carry-on you should have all you’ll need for the flight, plus a smaller lightweight bag with the essentials: phone, passport, wallet, book. You’ll keep this sack at your feet while the big boy rests up top.
Also, stick to those pesky liquid allowances. This will lighten the load and will make going through security a breeze. Really evaluate whether your “road trip restroom makeover” necessitates you packing all that purple hair dye.
Keep ‘em juiced
Ensure all your devices – phone, laptop, Tamagotchi – are amply charged and bring along an also juiced portable charger. If you are without, Kmart sells decent ones for $5. Waiting until you get to the airport to purchase one is not a pennywise idea. I have three now and I’ve had to mortgage my house eight times.
C H I N W A G
Start a conversation with your new seatfellow. You never know who you could be sitting next to. A distant relative, an Australian Idol runner-up, the Zodiac killer – sky’s the limit!
Take it in
If you’ve scored a window seat, don’t just sit there and act like you totally don’t have to pee because you don’t want to inconvenience the rest of the row. Rise above the stereotype. Stare out the window and marvel at your surrounds. Seriously. It sounds basic but how often do you get to be in the clouds, aligned with the rising sun? Okay, this is reading as a Chinese proverb right now.
Go on, snap that Insta photo you know you need. Extra points if you get the wing so that your fans know you’re on a plane, and not just like, up in the clouds consorting with Zeus again.
While most folks binge on a backlog of TV shows, I prefer podcasts. They’re easy on the eyes, especially on a long haul flight when you don’t want lights blaring in your face. Plus they’re kinder to your battery than those elaborate pornographic videos of yours.
I recommend Revisionist History and Tell Me Something I Don’t Know if you’d like to get schooled, The Nerdist and The Moth if you need to be distracted by a rotation of storytellers, Casefile if you’re a crime junkie and My Dad Wrote a Porno, Comedy Central Stand Up and The Full Catastrophe (or Story Club) if you need a laugh.
Just relax, already
You’ll want to make the most of your upcoming travels, obviously. So before you touch down, try get into the best possible frame of mind. Plug in your headphones, play your favourite songs. If you need to kick it up a notch, check out the Headspace meditation app. It’s a great gateway to mindfulness and the narrator’s soothing British voice might make you melt.
Snacks on a plane
Being a vegetarian, I usually get served first during mealtime. That may sound lit, but fast ain’t always fine *insert ex-boyfriend analogy here* and the airline meal usually ends up being a helping of greasy carbs. Even if you don’t mind airline food, it’s good to be able to perk yourself up with something wholesome. Next time you fly, have a mum-worthy bag of snacks at the ready. Opt for fruit or muesli bars, the healthier the better.
You’re headed to a faraway land, so you must obviously be craving another culture and the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone. Right? Okay. Good.
Luckily you already have a world of culture at your fingertips before you land. If you’re flying with one of the less white airlines, check out the “world” channels on their in-flight entertainment. Flip on a Hindi film and enjoy. Try rack your brain for all the Hollywood movies you suspect they’ve taken cues from. It’s either that or watching contextless single episodes grabbed from every American sitcom.
Join the mile-high club
Tweet me with tips and success stories.
– – –