Today I’m on my way to New Zealand: new job, new place, new life.
But first I need to get there. I am lucky to have a good route: Manchester to Dubai to Auckland. That’s the fastest way over. Still, I’m about to spend 23 hours on planes, and it will be 40 hours until my next shower.
Because of my job I’ve done my fair share of travelling, I’ve even been to New Zealand before, on a not-so-nice route, and I’ve learnt that the devil really is in the details.
So for anyone who hasn’t done a lot of long haul travelling, here are 10 fundamental tips that will make your journey all the easier.
1) Sweatpants, trainers and layers
You’re going to be walking, sleeping, waiting, sitting in your clothes for many hours. You’re going to be dragging your luggage, going through security. You don’t want your outfit to get in the way.
Sweat pants are ideal: they are softer and more flexible than jeans, not as tight as yoga pants and more likely to have pockets. Importantly, they don’t require a belt and have no metal buttons or studs, which makes going through security extra easy.
Pair your sweats with comfy trainers that you can walk and spend many hours in. You’re also less likely to be asked to remove your shoes at security, and if you are it will be a breeze.
Extra tip: Ladies, if you can’t find sweat pants with decent pockets, go to the men’s section and get one of theirs. That’s what I am wearing right now, it’s all pros, no cons.
Lastly, you’re going to go through multiple airport, multiple air-planes, in different time zones. You might (will!) encounter different “climates”. Being able to remove or add layers easily will ensure maximum comfort throughout your journey!
2) Basic hygiene and comfort
Bring (or buy) make up/baby wipes, deodorant. You might not have a shower for a while or be able to change your clothes. This is for your comfort as well as that of others.
3) Beware dehydration!
Airports and especially planes are heavily air conditioned environments and the air is very dry. Additionally the disruption of your habits, combined with potential sleep deprivation, mean that you might not be drinking as regularly as you would on a normal day.
Due to all of these factors, dehydration and uncomfortable skin dryness can creep on you without you noticing. So before you leave a 12 hour flight with bleeding chapped lips and massive head-ache, make sure you pack a good lip-balm and drink plenty of water.
4) Check, check, check, check
Get into the habit of checking you have everything you need every time you leave a space. When travelling you’ll probably be carrying a lot more stuff and documents with you than you normally would, and it is easy to forget something especially if you are distracted by some unforeseeable situation you need to solve, or simply by horrendous sleep deprivation.
If you get into the habit of checking you have everything you need every time you make a move, you are less likely to leave something behind.
5) Know what you’re gonna get
Make sure you know what your flight will provide as far as food and drinks are concerned. You will always be able to buy something on the flight, but the mark-up is crazy. Don’t assume you are entitled to something, especially on cheaper airlines: I was once on a 6 hour flight to america, and realised I would have to pay for even a glass of water. Fun.
So check what you’re gonna get, and plan accordingly: maybe get yourself a snack from the duty free, buy a bottle of water (seriously, the air is very dry on planes, you will get crazy thirsty on long hauls).
6) Put a change of clothes in your carry-on
You never know whether your luggage will make it to destination at the same time as you do, and it can sometimes take a while to get back to you. Having a change of clothes in your carry on means that whatever happens at the end of your journey, you can have a shower and get yourself into fresh clothes when you arrive. This might seem like a small thing, but when you’ve been travelling for over 30 hours, it’s the best feeling in the world.
7) Power bank
This can be a life saver if you travelling long haul. If you have a smartphone, having a power bank ensures you will be able to connect to the internet at every point of your journey. Feel free to use it to go on twitter, but personally I find this very re-assuring because it means I can access google if I need to search for a solution to a problem or if I need to get directions to go somewhere. And if all goes wrong I can always call my mama for help.
8) Noise cancelling headphones
If you can afford it, noise cancelling headphones are BOMB! I thought it was a gimmick, until I tried them on. Some of my friends thought it was a gimmick, until they tried mine.
These things are MAGIC! They won’t help if there is a baby crying or a loud drunk individual, but they are so effective at removing the background noise of the plane. This makes your journey so much more comfortable, and it makes it so much easier to sleep. If you were going to be on a plane for more than 8 hours and you have the budget, get some and thank me later.
9) Airplane mode
If you are travelling abroad, most of the time roaming will cost you an arm and your first born son. Also, unwanted automated texts from your bank or phone provider may end up being charged to you!
In order to avoid accidentally getting extra charges, stay on airplane mode even when on land. You can still turn your Bluetooth and WiFi on, so you should have no problem staying connected.
10) It might not go smoothly, but it’ll be okay
If you have little experience travelling you might feel very nervous at the idea that something might go wrong.
Let me tell you this: every time I have travelled, there has been a problem. Whether it was lost luggage, a taxi that didn’t show up, late planes, missed connections, etc..
But I’m still here to tell the tale and I can promise you it will be okay. Travelling is stressful, and there is a lot that can go wrong. If something does go wrong, take a deep breath, take your time, and work the problem.
And if everything goes according to plan, please share some of that luck with me.
Did I forget your favourite travelling tip?
Comment down below!
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