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Tips For Surviving Long-Haul Flights

As a Canadian living in New Zealand, I've learnt a trick or two for surviving the dreaded long haul flight. Hopefully these tips help you through your next trip with minimal tears...and leg cramps. CHEERS!

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1. Compression Socks


When someone first suggested compressions socks I thought they were crazy. I'm 23 years old, with adequate blood flow (if i do say so myself), why the HELL would I need compression socks. Let me tell you, these are fantastic. When your stuck in a seat for 12+ hours, the last thing you want to experience is leg cramps. These help to prevent that and ALSO ensure you don't get any blood clots in your legs that could KILL YOU. They also come in pretty cool designs and patterns do you don't have to wear socks that are "off-beige, meant to be skin colour but isn't".

Thank me later

2. Get yourself a travel wallet

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Ever feel that rush of anxiety when you cant find your phone or wallet and pat yourself down frantically until you find it?

Avoid that feeling by investing in a good travel wallet that will keep your tickets, passports, money, cards, change, etc all in one place! How convenient!

This is the travel wallet I use and has so many places for storage AND has RFID protection.

Get it here

3. Get a refillable water bottle

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One of the most important things to remember while flying is staying hydrated. By bringing your own water bottle you can ensure you have clean, fresh water at your fingertips, rather than waiting for the drink cart to come around every few hours. I've also read some pretty nasty studies about the quality of the water on airplanes...

This Camelbak water bottle is great for traveling. It has a leak proof design, comes in a lot of cool colours and is super lightweight.

Get it here

5. Buy some noise-isolating or noise-cancelling earphones

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The one thing you absolutely need while flying is a good pair of earphones. Do note that good does not always mean expensive. For listening to music, drowning out the noise of the plane, or watching a movie, the need for earphones is endless. Ones that isolate or cancel noise are fantastic for flying because they can also work as earplugs and help drown out or at least minimise the the noise around you.

This pair of earphones by Sony are my go to. They are relatively cheap and have a great seal so you wont be complaining about that crying baby behind you or the lady storing a couple rows ahead.

Get them here

6. Invest in a neck pillow

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If your flying long-haul theres a good change you will be flying overnight at some point. Trust me when I say that you want a neck pillow. The pillow they give you (if they even give you one) is a small rectangle and is good for nothing unless you're planning on sleeping on the tray table in front of you or on the person beside you.

Invest in a neck pillow that will support your head and had some sort of button or clasp at the front so it doesn't slide around or fall off mid-nap.

7. Bring your own snacks

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This one is important for me as I have 3 food allergies, however bringing your own snacks is a good tip for everyone. Let's face it, airplane food is not so good, and the food available to buy in airports is ridiculously expensive. Do what I do and hit up your local grocery store a few days before you leave and pick up some snacks that you would want to eat on the plane that are quick, easy, and mess free. Some good examples of these are granola/power bars, crackers, nuts, etc. Throw them in your carry-on and you're good to go. However, when entering a new country remember that you must declare the food you have in your bags, unless you already ate it on the plane.

8. Ask for upgrades

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When you're checking in for your flight, ask the attendant at the desk for an upgrade. If there are extra seats they might give it to you free of charge which can make your trip much more enjoyable. What's there to loose?

9. Weigh your bags ahead of time

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It's the worst when you go to check in for your flight, they weigh your bags, and tell you that your bag is over the weight limit. You are then forced to try to rearrange bags or throw things away to accomodate for the extra weight. Avoid this by investing in a portable bag scale like this one from Walmart. This way you can weigh your bags at home and if they are overweight you can re-arrange and leave stuff at home rather than having to throw things away at the airport.

Get it here

12. Ear Plugs!

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If you're not someone who likes to listen to music or have earphones in throughout the flights then you should buy a pack of earplugs. When someone chooses to listen to music out loud or the lady behind is talking to her husband obnoxiously loud, you'll thank me.

13. Bring a pen

If you're traveling internationally you will need to fill out an arrival card when you reach your destination. Do yourself a favour by bringing a pen and filling it out on the airplane. There is a strange lack of pens in the airport when paperwork is required...weird right?

Stick it in your new travel wallet ;)

14. Take a picture of all your documents

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Nothing is more reassuring then knowing there is a backup of all your important documents on your phone. This can include visa's, e-tickets, ID, passports, etc. This will give you peace of mind but will also give you the ability to check the time of your next flight or amount of time between flights without having to pull out your tickets.

15. Take pictures of your doors, oven, or anything else you will worry about

If you're like me, you worry about your door being locked and stove being off while your away on a trip or vacation. Put your mind a ease by taking pictures of your stove dials showing it is off, or take a video of you puling on your door to remind you its locked. When you're on the other side of the world and the thought pops into your head it is much easier to check your phone then to call or friend or neighbour to go check.

16. Assess your emotions before leaving

If you are someone who has trouble sleeping, has anxiety about flying or anything similar, be proactive and consider medications or supplements that can help. For me, no matter how many times I fly, I still feel anxious about being enclosed in a plane for the next however many hours with no way of escape. I choose to carry anti-anxiety meds that I usually don't touch, however just knowing I have them minimises my anxiety itself. Don't get me wrong, medication isn't the answer for some people and there are many other remedies or techniques that can help. I read that bringing a piece of paper and writing your name with your non-dominant hand can help people relax during take-off and landing if that is what makes you nervous, however, researching and assessing these things ahead of time is key.

17. Load up your phone with games and music

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Nothing is worst than being bored on a plane. Even though most long-haul flights have TV screens for watching movies and shows or listening to music throughout the flight, shorter connecting flights or budget airlines will not necessarily have this. Avoid being bored out of your mind by putting some music and games on your phone that can keep you mind busy and not checking the time every 5 minutes.

18. Buy some travel deodorant and face wipes

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It sucks when you feel gross and smelly and there is nothing you can do about it. Bring along a travel size stick of deodorant and some face wipes to keep you feeling fresh and clean.

19. Wear comfortable clothes

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Unknown to Victoria Beckham and Kim K, the TSA line is not a fashion show and no one really cares about what you chose to wear to the airport. For your comfort, wear multiple layers of comfortable clothes so that you can actually relax on your flight and can adjust to any temperature changes

20. Bring something to read

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Pack a good book or magazine to read while flying. If you fly a lot, consider investing in a smaller and lighter e-reader like kindles and kobos that can hold many books and magazines and last for days on one battery charge.

22. Wear your glasses!

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If you wear glasses or contacts on a daily bases, skip the contacts and wear your glasses for the flight. You don't want to worry about falling asleep with your contacts in or trying to put them in/take them out in that tiny, gross, airplane bathroom.

23. Pack extra socks and underwear

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Airplanes are always cold, it's a well know, scientific fact (maybe?). Don't let your toes freeze and back an extra pair of thick, warm socks like these...just in case. The same goes for underwear, unexpected things happen to everyone, be prepared.

24. Bring your essential makeup

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If you're planning on wearing makeup or putting on makeup when you get to your destination, pack it in your carry-on. This way you have it for touch ups during the flight and you don't have to worry about digging through your luggage to find it.

25. Just relax!

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Honestly, the time you spend on flights is some of the only time that we can actually disconnect, relax, and forgo our responsibilities for a few hours so do it. Let yourself enjoy a good movie, really listen to the music playing, and let your mind reset.

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