5 Tips for a Comfortable Flight

Business class, it's comfortable & spacious. You feel pretty damn good in that fully reclining chair waiting to take off, however just because you've jumped up from economy doesn't mean you're fully in the lap of luxury yet! However, you can always take it one step further and make yourself a little more relaxed on your long haul flight.

In-Flight PJs

You're getting on the plane and you don't want to look like you're a slob - I totally get it. But I also agree you don't want to sit on a plane in your heels and mini skirt with pristine make up for that 20 hour flight. So my trick? The in-flight pyjamas. You can stuff some into your handbag, and at this point I'm not ashamed to say I now even will take some slippers with me. You just need some leggings, a hoodie and make up remover to snooze, before getting up an hour before arrival to touch yourself up, change and be $1000 again before you even touch down. Some of the better airlines now even provide them for you in Business Class - and I have to say Qantas really do take the biscuit on this one! 

Keep Hydrated

On your flight you are going to be attacked by the dry air facilitated by the air conditioning. A necessary evil on a flight that helps keep the cabin fresh and cool, but does result in feeling like you're being drained of all liquid. Both for comfort and a health note, keep hydrated as much as you can. Match your gin & tonic with a class of water every now and again, you don't want to arrive feeling like sandpaper!

Brush Those Teeth

I don't know about you, but I always feel infinitely better when my teeth are clean. We brush morning and night at home, so why not on a flight? SO many people don't, and it's not because they're gross it's just because with the time differences it's hard to keep up. Also, when you're 38,000 ft up in the sky you're really not going to be thinking about it. I can guarantee to you though, it's going to make your trip more enjoyable on the long hauls, and most airlines now will even provide you with the toothpaste and brush as standard which can be found in the bathrooms.

Walk it Out

If you're on a long haul flight, make sure you get up and stretch your legs every now and again. The more space you have, the easier it is to keep yourself moving and stretching every now and again however it's still best to walk around! Even if you're simply walking over to the loos every few hours it'll help. On a serious note, it helps you with your circulation and prevents some actual issues such as DVT - you really don't want that.

Bring Your Own

A well known trick with the more seasoned traveller, sometimes when you hop onto that flight you want to get some snooze time in as soon as you flop into that seat. Being on the go constantly is exhausting and having to wait up until your meal is served can be a little frustrating. So, go back to basics and bring your own! However, do it with a little style. I'm not talking a cheeky WHSmiths meal deal from the airport, I'm talking a Gordon Ramsey picnic meal prepred and ready for your flight. Becoming more popular, you can preorder from a huge number of restaurants who'll deliver your meal ready for collection so you can chow down before everyone else!

Hopefully these tips will help you, but if you have any extra you think I should try just let me know and I'd love to hear them! Long flights can suck, but with the right tools it can rock!

Fly in Style Without Breaking the Bank

Lets face it flying isn’t what it used to be. Once upon a time it was the ultimate way to travel in style and luxury-  now it is just feels like the most convenient way to get from A to B. Mental Floss made a list of all the things that we no longer see on airplanes showing how the golden age of flying is now a thing of the past.  But, do not despair, it is still possible to make the journey to your destination every bit as stylish and luxurious as your endpoint. So, let's look at ways you can travel in style without breaking the bank!

Arriving

Flying in style begins when you arrive at the airport. Many airports offer special services to make the very start of your trip that bit more exclusive. For example, Parking4Less states that Heathrow airport has a meet and greet and a valet service. This type of service isn’t exclusive to Heathrow either – most leading aviation hubs now have valets services that mean you can start your journey off in style. Using these services eliminate the hassle of finding a parking space and carrying your luggage to the terminal. 

Lounges

Airports aren’t fun places to spend a lot of hours. Once you have whizzed round the duty free shops and had some food there isn’t much else to do. However many people overlook airport lounges believing that you have to be an elite member of a club to get in. Life Hacks agree that you don’t have to be a VIP to make use of the lounges. The best way to get into a lounge is either with a business class or first class ticket, yet there are other ways if you don’t have one of those tickets. If you are part of a frequent flyer club you might have enough points to be able to access the lounges. Many lounges will also offer a day pass. These may seem expensive but compared to the price of a business or first class ticket they are a great way to experience the luxury of an airport lounge without paying through the nose for the privilege! When they include free alcohol & food, it's normally worth the extra cost. 

Flying

We all dream of walking onto an airplane and turning left into first class. Unfortunately the cost of that left turn is enough to buy another holiday. For example,  New.com.au reported that flying suite class on Singapore Airlines costs $20,000. Most people in first class haven’t paid for their tickets either being upgraded through points or their company has paid for the ticket. The same also goes for business class, which can be expensive. To fly in style without breaking the bank we recommend flying in premium economy. Levelled between business class and economy this will give you many of the business class perks including cutlery with your meal and a larger screen to watch films. You may not get the champagne but you do get more space and that feeling that you are flying in style.

The Airport Lounge

Want to get ready for a flight in style? Book yourself into the airport lounge. I, like most people, thought that the lounge is only for those flying first class and if didn’t happen to be flying comfortable that day, I would be sat in Starbucks sipping on my coffee until my flight. I would try to time it perfectly so that I would arrive at the airport with only enough time to get through security and to the gate before my flight. However, it doesn’t have to be like that! Book yourself into the airport lounge, either each time you go or get yourself a Priority Pass for continued year round use of the airport lounges.

Depending on the airport you’re going to have good or bad lounges. I think the worst I’ve ever been to is Stuttgart Germany which was literally a back room with a few packeted cheese and instant coffee - only worth the free wifi. However, the best like stepping into a different world! From London Heathrow with an included a la carte menu to Hong Kong’s noodle bar - I promise you that you will be able to relax before that flight. I’ve outlined what you can expect in some of the world’s top notch airport lounges that I’ve been to over the last few years.

Food

In your best lounges, the food is second to none. From a la carte service in certain lounges to a world buffet in others! All of the meals and snacks provided are included in your lounge visit but do vary depending on the lounge. Most lounges will serve a range of western foods all the way to their local dishes, so if you didn’t get round to trying them all while you were there you can always have a small taste while you’re waiting for that long haul flight back home or to the next destination. Breakfast is also a treat when you’re waiting with fruit and yogurt to eggs benedict with salmon in certain lounges (thank you Qatar).

Drinks

While the food is a highlight, I cannot forget drinks. Fully stocked bars in 90% of these lounges it basically equals unlimited alcohol no matter what time it is - perfect for your nervous flyers! Nothing calms you down like a gin and tonic ‘double the gin and hold the tonic - thanks’. There’s also a self serve section in most lounges so you don’t have to worry about that bartender judging you at 5am. Not to worry though if this isn’t you, and drinking before midday is an abomination (but you are on your holiday my friend), there is a range of soft beverages that will suit every taste!

Service

The service in airport lounges can only be said as excellent. The staff are friendly and quick to serve you and clear everything as soon as it’s finished. You want more ice? You have it. You need a phone charger, they generally can lend you one during your stay. While you wait you will have everything you  need to relax and get ready. I’ve only had one experience below par service from an airport lounge which was most recently at London Heathrow Terminal 5 lounge when being checked in (unbelievably rude questioning my ability to afford my priority pass).

Spa

A lot of lounges now include a spa area for a massage before or between flights if you’ve got a stopover. They come with some of the best massuers you can find just ready to relax those muscles before you hop on that flight keeping you nice a relaxed - there are worse ways to spend your time waiting right? For me, I find them great if I haven’t had time to get my holiday nails ready in advance and can get myself set up with some bio sculpture and shellac nails to last my trip, or at least part of they way!

Comfort

Now if none of the above hints that you will be comfortable in the airport lounge, the clue is also in the name - a lounge. From dining tables, to sofas and lounge chairs all the way to private bedrooms you can have a snooze in between your flights if you’ve got a long stopover (This was a lifesaver for me in Delhi between my 3 stop  flight back to London from Udaipur). If you don’t have time for a full sleep though you can also grab a nap pod at most places, complete with charging station and a TV for catching up with your favourite shows. If, like me, you hate feeling ‘airplane’ and just want to be fresh again, you can grab a shower here too between your flights to feel a little better. You generally get a good view of the runway too so can just watch the world go by in your chair if you prefer!

Wifi

You normally get an hour free wifi in the airport - great if you’ve got a quick changeover or a short wait before you flight, not great if you’ve got 5 hours to kill. Here you’ll get unlimited free wifi and can use it to stream your favourite movies ready for the next flight or to watch while you wait!

Now all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your flight.

Your Packing List

  

What to take and what to leave? It's always hard I know - despite the fact that your suitcase is full to the brim you just can't leave those gorgeous new shoes. I've written up a list for you of what you can't forget and what you might want to reconsider. This, of course, is for our luxury styled traveller. If you're a backpacker, check out my packing list for you here. As always - please let me know if I've missed anything you think is important and I'll pop it up! 

Passport - can't really get far without it these days. 

Visas - depending on where you're going visas come into play. Look it up before you go and apply with plenty of time to get them sorted. They can take up to 8 weeks to to process but there are fast track options if you're desperate. Bear in mind that some places will give you a visa on arrival depending on which nationality you are so just look it up before spending money on a visa you don't need or can get half the price at the border.

Travel insurance - this is really important. You do not want to be stuck with appendicitis requiring emergency surgery and just when they're about to put you under and fix you it's announced hat as you have no insurance it'll cost you £10,000's (I'm talking to you America). Also make sure you get the right level for you as some activities such as skiing, scuba diving and other adventure sports aren't covered by your basic insurance. 

Travel money - good to get this sorted a week or so in advance. If you're going for a long trip you may want a travel money card to make sure you get the best exchange rate and avoid hefty chargers from your card company. These are great as they're not linked to your bank and you top it up like a phone. If it gets stolen you can have a refund when it's cancelled, but if they've spent your money it's not like they can get you into debt spending money you don't have. I found the post office money card excellent, but I've also used Caxton FX, Fair FX and Thomas Cook and I can't really complain about any. Just read up on any fees they charge for use as some are designed to be like a debit card while others are more for getting large sums of cash out at once. They usually come with an app for topping up the card with when you get low.

image.jpg

Clothes - I don't want to dictate to you how many pairs of trousers/ skirts / tops / dresses etc you should take. You know how long you're away for and how much room there is I'm your bag. My general rule of thumb for any trips between 3 days and and 3 weeks is to work out what you're doing (ie an adventure holiday, beach trip, city tour) and go from there. Beach holiday you're mainly going to just be in your bikini with a few smart outfits for evening meals and drinks, and light baggy clothing to cover up your bikini for breakfast or lunch. City tour you're generally going to want to dress chic but casual during the day with comfortable shoes for walking around tourist spots, with heels and your best dress for a night on the town. Adventure; as you can imagine its comfort all the way, with maybe one or two nicer outfits for evenings out after a crazy day on the slopes or climbing. For long term trips, you're going to have to be prepared to wash on the way. Nearly all hotels now offer a laundry service, but make sure you tell them exactly how it should be washed if it's not a normal wash & dry at 40 degrees etc. Another big thing to remember is to pack for the temperature where you're going. If you're headed to the alps skiing don't take only shorts and vests, similarly if you're headed to the beach don't have only jeans and jumpers. It's always a good idea though to take one outfit that doesn't quite match the expected temperature as weather can be unpredictable or there could be too much aircon in the hotel / warm fires in the ski lodge. 

Pyjamas - not a necessity depending on how you like to sleep. If you can't live without those soft jammies though, don't forget them!

Underwear - similar to clothes, I won't dictate to you how many pairs you should take. You can always have them washed and if you're on a beach trip remember that some days you can just survive in your bikini in case you've not packed enough. 

Shoes - do not pack all your heels. You can only get away with this if you're going on a cruise and you're not flying so there's no weight limit. If not, keep it to a minimum. If you have more than 4 pairs of shoes even on a long trip it's too many. One pair of trainers for activities, one pair of flip flops for sunny weather, then comfortable shoes for walking and / or heels. If travelling to climates during the monsoon season, I'd recommend taking a pair of shoes that can be ruined. When it rains it's like nothing you've ever seen! The streets flood up to your calves but it's business as usual - but you may want to take shelter in a nearby cafe or in your hotel for a couple of hours (or literally minutes in some places) until is clears up. For beaches far away you may like to invest in some waterproof shoes or flippers. There can be poisonous fish or sharp coral on the seabed you will want some protection from if you stand on them - not fun. 

image.jpg

Toiletries - the typical toothpaste, tooth brush, hair brush, shampoo conditioner, moisturiser, antibacterial gel, your daily cleanser & toner, exfoliant, nail polish, nail polish remover, make up remover, deodorant, perfume, sun cream, after sun; this list could go on forever. Take whatever is relevant to you and your daily routine. Don't worry if you forget any of these though as you can buy all in duty free at the airport or when you arrive. Even cruise ships & luxury train companies will stock up on the essentials for you to buy if you've left them behind. One big one is tampons for the girls, this is something you want to take with you if you're going to need them and depending on where you are you may not want to buy the local version, a little like with condoms...

Accessories - this includes your bobby pins & hair ties, hats and scarfs, that sarong which is to die for from seafolly that you just can't live without. Jewellery comes under this umbrella too but please don't take your £1000 graduation earrings that are the most sentimental thing you own. Things easily get lost when moving from place to place or shoved into a bag when you realise your flight is actually at 10am not 10pm and you've got to get to that airport fast. 

First aid kit - see my recommended first aid list under the adventure tab 

Camera / Phone - you can take your holiday snaps and everywhere has wifi so you can keep in touch with your friends 

image.jpg

Chargers & adapters - if you're in the UK like me, no-one seems to have the same plugs as us so get an adapter. If you're hitting a lot of countries you can get a multi adaptor that will look after you everywhere, but if not you can google the country and which style plug they use in advance to be prepared. Make sure you have your phone charger, laptop charger and any other charger you may need in that bag. You can always buy them there but they may not be using your countries normal plug style and could be at a different voltage which can damage your electricals. 

Extras - I tend to take a mini sewing kit with me everywhere for those little disasters. Padlock for your bag while in transit or for you carry on bag if you're going somewhere known as a pick pocket hub. Headphones for your tunes on the road. A book or your eBook system. Your phone and iPad to go with those chargers you've packed. A money belt or bum bag if you're thinking of roaming the streets in a big city just to keep it safe. 

Stop the Stealing

A big worry on my mind whenever I'm away is having my stuff stolen. Pick pocketing and mugging is a major problem all over the world in any tourist destination - even places such as Milan, Italy is full of pickpockets waiting for the ultimate opportunity - you. So what can you do about it? I've been to pickpocket hot spots all over the world now and have never had a problem - so here are some tips.

When using a handbag, try to have one that has a zip across. This prevents anyone from quickly putting their hand in your bag and grabbing that cash filled purse of yours before you even realise. I also make sure that the zipper side is to my front, and if the bag hangs low to  have it across my body with my hand resting over the zipper. Bum bags are great, but I agree they can be a little of a style killer. They can make you look a little tubby when hidden under clothes however, you can get some really cool ones from markets and those little indie shops that are always shrouded in incense. Make sure you always tuck the waist strap beneath your clothes too as it's easy for people to undo it, pull it off and run before you realise when on it's on show.

Hold your bag tight. I've seen people have bags ripped off them because it was draped over them oh so casually. While she looked so chic and relaxed for a moment, the minute that a guy came past on a motorbike and pulled it off her, she didn't look so cool when all her stuff was gone and they were driving away laughing.

Use the hotel safe and leave things you don't need in there when going out. Having an emptier bag will make you less of a target, and if anything does happen not everything is gone. When using the safe just double check it locks as some of them have a little knack to getting them shut tight, and don't use a generic code like 1234 to lock it - you're just being too obvious.

Don't take out too much cash at once. It's the typical faux pas to take out £100's at once and then shove it all in your bag. You're not only going to spend it too fast but if anyone sees you taking that much out of the ATM you are in trouble my friend.

money-1056438-1600x1200.jpg

Keep it on you. I don't care if you want to swim when at the beach or the pool, if there's no-one you trust to look after it then don't leave it. The moment you turn around it'll be gone like the wind. Luckily, you can get waterproof pouches big enough for money, room key, phone and passport these days - you can even take pictures with your phone in them. Just test it before you go!

Don't put your bag on the floor in restaurant whenever you can help it. Even the nicest of places will have opportunists waiting to hit as a swanky restaurant is exactly where they will be able to steal the best stuff. If you rest it on your lap you're generally going to be ok, you'd notice if someone tried to get in there (I hope anyway)! Back on the chair is ok, you can see it but other people would notice someone rooting around in there. If it has to be on the floor then have it right between your legs and right under the table, someone would have to be pretty skilled to get under there without you seeing.

A very basic one but stay with a group when out at night. If you fly solo at night you're going to be a target for both pickpockets and muggings, especially if you wander down the wrong street. If you don't have a group or haven't made too many friends yet, just asked the concierge desk to book you something suitable nearby or arrange a taxi for you. They always know their stuff as they'll be locals, you'll get good food and a safe recommendation.  

On the whole, it's common sense that you need. If you couldn't live without it then keep it on you and keep it safe - keep it zipped up in your bag and generally be aware. Not everyone is out to get you or steal from you of course but  just be aware and have fun!

I'm sure I've missed a few on this list so please get in touch if there are any major items you think should be added or if you want any additional advice. Backpackers don't worry - I'll be doing a version for you guys soon too which includes keeping it safe in hostels.