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Top 5 Accessories for Long Haul Flights

Although there are a few downsides to life as an expat overseas, the distance to my home country of Australia is one of them. There's no “popping” back home from London for the weekend, as many of my European friends do. If I want to fly back for a visit, it takes at least 24 hours (if I'm lucky), a commitment of three or more weeks, and considerable expense. I rue the day the Concorde plane was retired.

Desert Plane
Three hours to go and counting

So, I have found myself in the strange position of being well-skilled in an area I usually wouldn't care to take any part in. I had to strive to find ways to keep my sanity somehow while being seated in economy for two rounds of long-haul flights anytime I wished to go home. After much trial and error, I believe I've succeeded. If you've got a flight of ten hours or more coming up and you're wondering how on earth you will last, don't panic. I've compiled a list of the top accessories for long-haul flights.

Flight Accessories

1. Invest in a Proper Pillow

Ostrich Pillow
Sometimes, I wear this around the house

Airlines do their part by offering pillows and blankets, but they're usually terribly flimsy and won't keep you adequately warm or comfortable. I had long ago bought a neck pillow for traveling but couldn't make it work. I'd usually end up having a disjointed sleep, clutching the pillow on my lap for comfort.

Then, one day, I purchased an Ostrich Pillow (the “Light” version) on a whim. I thought it would be handy for napping, but it has revolutionized my life when it comes to travel. I have taken it on buses and trains and use it when I need to kip down for twenty minutes or so during the day. It's also perfect for flights. Not only does it make for comfortable sleep when sitting upright, but how it wraps around your head also helps block out light, omitting the need for an eye mask. I don't know how I survived flights without it!

2. Bring Bed Socks and a Shawl

Airplanes get crazy cold, and I generally find the provided amenities do little to combat this. I always pack a pair of bed socks to cover my feet, and if I can, I bring a shawl to use as a blanket. I justify this by wearing it as an accessory when I reach my destination.

3. Pack a Few Key Toiletries

You're probably going to step off the plane after a 24-hour flight, feeling more disgusting than you ever have before in your life. Having a few essential toiletries on hand can make you feel more like a human being and less like a hot mess.

I used to buy those travel-sized cosmetics you can find at pharmacies. I'd use them once or twice before throwing them out or letting them rot in the back of my cupboard. For the next flight, I'd repeat the process. What a waste of money. It makes more sense financially to downsize existing products into travel-sized bottles that you can refill repeatedly. This pack comes with a reusable travel baggie that you can use in lieu of those horrible and wasteful plastic bags at security. Add cleanser, moisturizer, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Use at your leisure!

4. Bring Earplugs

If you're an incredibly light sleeper like me, you probably find that the provided earplugs on airplanes largely fail at restricting noise, mainly if they're foam. I bring earplugs wherever I go (you never know if there is going to be a snorer in a hostel room). Mine were purchased from a local pharmacy. Look for a pair intended for frequent use and not made of foam.

5. Drink Out of a Reuseable Cup With a Lid

Just wash and reuse.

I shudder when I think about how many plastic cups airlines must go through for each route they fly. Yet, I don't object to the odd cup of tea on a flight. It's the little things that make the experience bearable, after all. Along with a reusable water bottle, I bring my own cup. The best thing about it is that it has a lid. This is incredibly handy for unexpected turbulence. They're also perfect for cups of coffee at airports between flights. You may be shy about asking the airline staff to pour the beverage into your cup. I did at first, but I have only had positive reactions so far.

Long-haul journeys don't have to be a terrible, drawn-out experience. Snuggle up, stay hydrated, find an adequately trashy movie, and enjoy your flight.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

LC Haughey

Friday 9th of October 2015

Anything to make the flight easier!


Thursday 8th of October 2015

Love the look of that pillow! Always good to have a flannel too, nothing like giving your face a good wipe down on a dry plane, or in a hot airport!

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