12 Essentials for a Long Flight
As we prepare to leave for Thailand and for the daunting long-haul flight we'll take to get there, we're reminded of certain essentials (aside from wine) that make the in-air hours much more bearable. In no particular order, here they are:
Earplugs: Because inevitably a child will scream...and this girl needs it quiet to sleep. I like the squishy orange 'hunting' ear plugs, Jeff likes the waxy 'swimming' type. Both work, but beware of stuffing the waxy ones too far in your ear; they can be tough to get out!
Strap on eye mask: Tied with earplugs for your best defense against jet lag and best ally in the fight for sleep. Keep out sunshine or harsh airplane lighting from the dude who keeps his reading light on the entire flight.
Neck pillow: Those dopey doughnut looking things you see people wearing around their neck in the boarding line. I hate to admit it, but they are effective and a way better alternative to the endless flopping your head and neck go through trying to sleep upright in an airplane seat.
Sweater or shawl: Because those planes are freezing! I know it seems obvious, but it's very easy to forget when you're heading to a sunny location and won't need warm clothes after arrival.
Slip on shoes: Not only do slip-ons make going through security way faster, but they also make life so much easier when you need to get up and pee or stretch your legs on a cramped plane. Flip-flops, Uggs & Toms are my best recommendations.
Socks: No one wants to keep their shoes on for an entire 13 hour flight, but no one wants to be barefoot on a plane either. Enter socks! Warm, comfy, sanitary and delightful! Bring 'em even if you're wearing flipflops...just don't wear them together ;)
Reusable water bottle: Environmentally friendly and the flight attendants are super nice about filling it up. This way, you're not betting your hydration (or the health of your bladder or skin) on the few flimsy cups of water they bring around every so often. Just make sure it's empty when you go through security!
Healthy snacks: You can only eat so much Chex Mix or rubbery chicken before you really start missing healthy, wholesome food. For me, having snacks on hand is key to keeping me healthy and happy, and out of the 'hanger zone'.
My go-to snacks are: Lara bars, unsalted almonds (nix the salt, flying is very dehydrating as it is), dried fruit without added sugar, carrots, cukes, olives and celery, apples (pears and bananas always get squashed), and or sliced cheese (you have to eat this early on though or it tastes pretty gnarly). You can also bring hard-boiled eggs, but like cheese, eat it earlier than later.
Hygiene / Health Kit: I don't care who you are or how meticulous your hygiene, everyone is bound to be a little 'ripe' after 9 hours on a plane. Be courteous to your body and fellow flyers and clean up!
Here's what I always bring: Toothbrush, floss, deodorant, gentle wipes for face, armpits & your down-unders, hand sanitizer, small tube of face and hand lotion, hydrating facial spray (I like rosewater), Chapstick, multi-vitamin, probiotic, Ibuprofin, Benedryl, Emergency or Airborne packets.
MELT Kit: This is an important one, and you're probably like "what's a MELT kit?" I'll tell you, but for starters, flying / sitting for long periods of time is hell on your circulatory system, joints, muscles, pretty much your whole body. And because you're not moving much during flight, all the fluid that's normally circulated throughout your body, starts to pool and build up, hence the puffy face and swollen legs.
The MELT hand and foot kit is your new best friend. This is fascinating science, so please check out the link for more information, but essentially the kit contains a variety of rubber balls ranging in size from a large marble to a ping-pong ball that you roll around your hands and feet to loosen tension and stimulate the flow of blood and fluid throughout your body. It is miraculous how much better this will make you feel (and look) when you arrive at your destination 13 hours later!
Entertainment: Bringing a few of these is always good for variety: playing cards, Uno, magazines, books, journal and pen, tablet, coloring book and coloring pencils.
iPod / iPhone with headphones: No matter how much we travel, I still get nervous during take off and turbulence, so this is key to keeping my mind and nerves calm. I like classical music, guided meditations and audio books, Jeff prefers Biggie and STP, so an iPod does us both wonders. We download the music and books from iTunes or Amazon and I prefer to get my meditations straight from the Chopra Center. Some are free but you need a wi-fi connection to listen: Free Guided Meditations , or they do have entire series of meditations in CD format, so you can listen without an internet connection: Guided Meditation CDs. Also, we just discovered the Headspace App which is great for new OMers.
While this is written with a long plane ride in mind, it also applies to any long voyage by bus, boat, train, or car. Buen Viajes!