For those of you who don’t know or are new to my blog, I recently went on a 3-week-long vacation to Hong Kong to visit a lot of family, and to in turn, celebrate Chinese New Year. It is not my first time going – I have been countless of times but I am still not perfect in what I pack as much as I have gotten used to long-haul flying and the 3-hour coach journey to and from Heathrow Airport. But this time round, I was happy in a couple of new steps that I took because trust me – I have made so many mistakes before. So here’s me, letting you in on the 10 rules that can help define a comfortable (but not unfashionable) long-haul journey, not just on the plane but when you’re at your far-away destination too.
Leggings will be your best friend
I know. Such an easy one. But I’m that idiot who prior to this trip, had never worn leggings or athleisure-wear on a plane. From London Heathrow to Hong Kong, it is roughly a 12-13 hour long journey so I don’t know how it has taken me so long to process this simple rule. But now I’m here to tell you that leggings are the absolute best thing.
Spending literally half-a-day on a plane is not fun. There is limited leg room and movement, and you are mostly stuck in the same position for hours, probably tossing and turning because you can’t quite get comfortable. Leggings are warm, light and breathable. As much as space is limited, you won’t feel as restricted in your movement with a pair of leggings. Want to know something else? I have worn skinny jeans before on said-journey and it’s one of the worst decisions of my life. What was I thinking? I guess that’s when I knew that I needed to be serious about what I wear on a plane.
If you’re a guy, then by all means wear your athleisure/lounge wear!
Wide-legged pants are the best invention
Last summer, I bought a pair of black high-waisted wide-legged pants from Zara in the sale. It has now become a staple in my wardrobe and probably one of the best fashion purchases I’ve ever made! I’m so glad that I bought them despite my mum giving me some funny looks. (I think she knows that they look good now, haha.)
When worn, it hits my ankles at the right spot, and there is some elastic at the waist for easy wearing. There’s also two long ties at the front that you’re supposed to tie into a bow. There are now so many variations on the market but mine is of a nice, flowy material that looks initially like a long, black skirt until I start walking – that’s when you see that they are in fact, trousers.
These are still in-trend, and particularly in Hong Kong – I saw a lot of young people sport the look – all different cuts and variations but nonetheless, wide-legged and comfortable. They are flattering on any body type and best of all, they are versatile whatever the weather, because they don’t stick to your skin but there’s enough material to not freeze your legs either.
Mask the night before you leave and the night you arrive
I’m not one of those people who sheet-mask on a plane. I can’t bring myself to do so despite it being some advice that beauty gurus tell you to do when it comes to flight beauty. To counter this, I guess it’s better to bring along a sleeping mask with you if you want to be discreet about it. Otherwise, what I do is apply a sheet-mask the night before and then try to get as much sleep possible. (The latter never happens.) I then sheet-mask on my first night of arrival to make up for the moisture loss.
The air-conditioning can dry out your skin so it’s pretty important to keep your skin in its best condition any way that you can. My skin in particular, gets super oily on-flight so I normally bring along some cotton pads, micellar water and blotting sheets with me on board the plane as well as some moisturiser for good measure.
When combatting flight sickness…
By all means, skip over this point if it doesn’t apply to you. If it does, then stick around.
I don’t deal with flight sickness anymore, but it used to be a reoccurring factor whenever I traveled to Hong Kong. (I say Hong Kong because it’s the only real long-haul journey I’ve made all throughout the years.) Believe me when I say that I’ve had it bad before, and have had some horrific experiences. I’m so glad that I’m rid of this now since 14/15 years old. But what exactly is it that I did or changed?
- Avoid fizzy drinks. The airiness will stay in your system for a while and make your stomach feel quite uneasy.
- Avoid any juice drinks, especially orange juice. For me particularly, it makes me queasy on the plane, probably because of the sour-sweetness and acidity.
- Drink water only, and keep to it whenever it’s available. Request hot water if you feel that cold water doesn’t sit right in your stomach.
- Consume easy foods such as bread (see below)
- Keep warm and comfortable. Sometimes the plane might be too air-conditioned and if you’re sensitive to temperature like my mum, you might start feeling a bit cold and ill.
- Some chewing gum, mints or lozenges might be a good idea now and again to help you relax and breathe.
If plane food is not your thing
Is plane food even anyone’s thing? Well, I know that my eldest brother seems to demolish his plane meal. My mum and my second brother refuse to eat anything on a plane because they don’t like the smell or taste and fear flight sickness. I’m actually a bit more open to it now – I eat half of it? Even if you’re doing nothing on a plane, it’s important to keep your energy levels up.
My trick is to choose the easy foods, and if you can/want, don’t bother with any meat. For me personally, I don’t like the meat in plane meals – they are either tasteless or have a smell that I’m extra sensitive to on a plane. On my most recent trip, I picked the vegetarian meal: a mushroom omelette, something I found easy to consume.
Secondly, if you really can’t have any of the main meals, then at least have the sides such as the fruit or salad or the desserts. Bread is an extremely good option because it’s easy on the stomach and keeps you going for a while.
If all else fails and you find that you really can’t have anything, then make sure you have a fulfilling (but not super full) meal before you board the plane, and that you keep your water levels up, on the plane.
Trainers all the way
Or sneakers, if that is your used and preferred term.
I don’t know about you, but I always forget and underestimate how much walking you have to do before you board the plane, especially at international airports. So it’s super important that you have the right footwear for this to keep your feet happy and comfortable, not just on the plane, but off the plane. I have actually seen people wear boots and flats on a plane and I honestly don’t know how they do it. Like why?
Oh, and if you can, choose a trainer that’s a little roomy because if like me, your feet might swell up a bit by half-a-size towards the end of your flight.
Take your shoes off! (And make sure you have socks too)
Taking your shoes off makes your plane journey 100% more comfortable and enjoyable. It’s so important to let loose as much as possible because a 12-13 hour long journey (or however long yours might be) is no joke – it’s a very long time! So relax and try to feel a bit more at-home.
Some people like to take an extra pair of socks with them, which I think is quite a smart idea. Personally, I don’t do this, but I always make sure I’ve got a good pair of socks on because cold feet on the plane is quite unpleasant (been there, done that). I know Virgin Atlantic used to offer socks behind every passenger seat but it seems to not be the case anymore so decide what’s best for you.
Remember to online check-in
I know what you’re thinking. Like this is so obvious. But unfortunately, there are a few of us who are just about in-line with today’s new technologies, and a few others who are lagging a bit behind and need to be informed. I am probably the former – not behind but not super up-to-date either. (I don’t like technology taking over too much of my life but that’s a whole other topic in itself.)
3 years ago, when we traveled to Hong Kong as a family of 5, we didn’t online check-in which had we done so, would’ve saved a lot of time and we could’ve chosen seats (to sit together). Instead, we more or less got the last seats available and 2 of us had to sit on our own. We also got to the airport a bit late due to a delayed coach, so everything was just a huge rush – fast-walking and more fast-walking. Never again.
So take advantage of online checking-in since it does you a lot of good, and means you only have to baggage-drop when you get to the airport. You might even print your boarding pass beforehand (they have QR codes nowadays), otherwise, you can pick them up at the airport in usual fashion.
Print all the documents you need weeks in advance
I have a ridiculous amount of emails in my inbox. I’m not one of those people who delete emails on a daily or weekly basis, so it means that I normally have to search my inbox before I find the document of importance.
It’s all straightforward. You type in a keyword and should find what you’re looking for, but it still takes some time and probably something you don’t want to do the night before, especially if you’re prone to last-minute packing like me, and also need to online check-in.
Bring a coat but make sure it’s light-weight
The trend for quilted jackets won’t be going anytime soon. It’s still cold here and I can imagine that next winter, it will still be in-fashion because of its versatility and best of all, light-weightedness. I cannot do heavy coats anymore. How many times have you discovered that it’s cold enough to wear it outside but too hot to wear it inside? Or worst, it’s not practical and doesn’t keep you warm enough?
Last year, I invested in a quilted jacket from TK Maxx for about £40 which I am still wearing today. These days, you can get one for a reasonable price – some even cheaper than what I paid for – whereas before, they were very expensive and up-market items. What I particularly love is that I can fold it and place it in my backpack or luggage with ease since it weighs hardly anything! After all, the last thing you want is to be carrying a whole load with you on-board the plane.
So those are my 10 rules for happy and comfortable traveling! What other advice do you have to offer for other fellow travellers?
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