Where Comfort Is Key
I’ve been lucky enough to take many a flight to reach exciting destinations, including the big one, Australia to UK, so I know what I need to be comfortable on a flight. My holiday starts the minute I leave the house so the flight itself if a huge part of that holiday experience for me and probably most of you too.
I rarely sleep for longer than an hour at a time on flights but just taking time to relax or sit with my eyes shut can work just as good for me as long as I’m comfortable. It pays dividends to be prepared and with the weight restrictions in place for hand luggage these days it’s worth paying more attention to the items you carry on board. Here are a few things that I never fly without.
Dressing in Layers
I cannot stress the benefits of dressing in layers to travel, especially if you are heading for some much anticipated sunshine. Most people believe that flights are really cold (I mean, there’s a reason why they give you those scratchy, felt like blankets right?) well yes, they are to keep you warm but the temperature can fluctuate quite a bit in either direction so it makes sense to be prepared. Yes, it was freezing when you left the house so you had to wear your favourite chunky sweater and jeans but your body won’t thank you for it when you get to the other end. Nor will it thank you if you decide to wear your strappy dress and flip flops. So think of wearing loose separates that are light enough to wear or stash in your hand luggage to have you looking stylish on departure and arrival plus shoes without buckles or straps so you can pop them on and off with ease (ballet flats are ideal in case your unfortunate to arrive to rain too). Dressing like this is perfect if you suffer from hot flushes too. Here’s an example showing how a simple vest top and sheer shirt can be worn open or closed with or without a pashmina/cardigan.
These are fantastic to take on board as they are light to carry, still look good if they’re a bit crumpled and will help keep you warm when the cabin temperature drops. Lets face it, draping a pashmina around your shoulders beats the blanket hands down in the style and comfort stakes. You can ditch the cardigan on arrival in sunnier climates and step of the plane looking good with the added benefit of having something to protect your shoulders and neck from any harsh sun.
There are lots of designs and materials to choose from and these two from Marks and Spencer are my current favourites as the subtle sparkle can be worn on any occasion during your holiday.
This is most important on a flight as it will keep you hydrated especially if you enjoy a wee drink or two as I do. It works wonders for the way your skin, eyes and even nails feel whilst on board and helps you feel and look fresher when you reach your destination. I drink at least 500ml but try for 1ltr or more depending on length of flight, just sipping it throughout (in 500ml bottles or less) As you cannot take liquids of more than 100ml through passport control you’ll need to buy your water air side. It can be a bit pricey in places however I find that Boots are usually quite reasonable. Some of you may not like the idea of drinking lots of water, thinking it may entail more trips to the toilet. That’s not been my experience and I see it as an ideal opportunity to have a spritz of my favourite facial mist as mentioned in my next must have item.
After many years using Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream when flying, I have been converted to Facial Mists. A mist has many benefits for your skin as most of them can be used on bare skin and over make up to either ‘set’ it of refresh it. I have normal skin, which felt dry and tight in flight so applying cream regularly used to work (along with the water) however, this meant removing the makeup I’d arrived in then swiftly trying to reapply it before landing. Some creams that are up the job on flights can also leave your skin feeling and looking greasy as mine used to.
My personal favourite is Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer which is formulated to ‘revitalise, soothe and tone for instant radiance’. There are many on the market so there will be something to suit everyone’s skin and budget. You don’t need a lot so decant it into a 100ml bottle which will fit nicely in your handbag ready to use. My top tip is to take your spray when you nip to the toilet and spritz it whilst in there, more as a courtesy to any passengers sitting around you.
This is a great all round product and I have a tin of Vaseline Lip Therapy in my bag at all times at home and on holiday because of its many uses, too many to mention here. On a flight apply it to lips and rub into nails to prevent them drying out, it will give lips a subtle sheen too (to keep your hands super moisturised pop a miniature tube of moisturising cream into your bag too, the type you get as free samples are ideal). Many people apply a little bit of Vaseline to the inner edge of their nostrils believing this will ‘trap’ cold giving germs which may be circulating in the confined cabin however it’s not known if this actually works.
Tinted moisturiser is an everyday staple for me (although I occasionally flirt with foundation on an evening!) and is perfect to wear in flight. If you like to travel in makeup, as I do, the main advantage is that you can easily reapply at intervals without suffering the cakey look you get applying foundation on top of foundation. Using tinted moisturiser combined with a regular spritz of facial mist delivers triple benefits as you should arrive with your skin, makeup and you looking and feeling fresh. Once again, decant a small amount into a small container for your hand luggage.
This is great as it stops you waking up looking like Alice Coopers sister! (or with Panda eyes if your not familiar with rocker Alice) It also tames eyebrows too. I love this double duty mascara from No7 but there are others out there from other popular brands. As I have my eyelashes tinted for holidays I use this most of the time.
I love a neck pillow on a long haul flight, it’s the grown up equivalent of taking your cuddly toy on holiday. Some planes have the little ‘wings’ on your headrest that you can adjust to support your head, others don’t but either way having your neck cocooned in comfort is bliss. Even when it’s not around my neck I sometimes rest my arms on it to read or nestle my ‘cuddly toy’ under my arm when relaxing.
Kindle/e-reader (or book)
I love reading fiction on holiday and will usually start a new book on the flight out. I prefer a kindle these days but whatever your preference and avid reader or not, the fastest way to pass the time is by reading a good book (or your favourite magazines if a book is not your thing). This added benefit of this pastime is the relaxation factor and it’s often after a good read that I actually nod off.
There is an increasing variety of on board entertainment available these days but you can’t beat listening to your own favourite music. If, like me, you struggle to sleep during a flight, reclining with your eyes shut listening to relaxing music is the next best thing. Make sure you have comfortable earphones too. I take two iPods away with me, my small one can be clipped to my clothes so if I do fall asleep there’s no danger of it slipping onto the cabin floor (how awkward is it trying to retrieve dropped items from the floor below your seat??!!!)
Not being a fan of boiled sweets there’s only one reason why they are a staple on a flight and that’s because I suffer from ear pain. The change in cabin air pressure as the plane takes off and lands can cause pain as your ears adjust. Sucking a boiled sweet, chewing gum, yawning and swallowing can help. The last two don’t work for me so I choose sweets as once they’re gone they’re gone, unlike gum which you then have to dispose of. My usual choice is mints but at the time of writing I haven’t bought any for my holiday so I’ve borrowed these from the grandkids sweet tub – might just take them, you know, just in case I forget the mints!
This is another item I have in my bag at all times but is an essential for a flight. The two main reasons are this: On many flights you’re in a confined space of around 200+ people and some may not have the same hygiene standards as you around washing of hands after visiting the WC or sneezing into their hands not a handkerchief for example; On some occasions I’ve found that the tray tables haven’t been wiped down particularly well, if at all depending on aircraft turnaround time, so a quick wipe down with a paper hankie and sanitizer is a good idea.
Lighter on your luggage (and your purse) is the handy miniature perfume tester readily given out as a freebie. Pop one in your bag and now that you’ve arrived feeling and looking great the final flourish is a dab of a beautiful scent before you pop on your favourite sunglasses and descend the steps ready to HOLIDAY!!
I’ll leave you with a less glamourous, but useful ‘optional’ essential. I wear flight ‘compression’ socks (like pop socks) that help the improve blood flow and circulation in your lower leg helping to prevent swollen ankles, leg fatigue and DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If you for any reason find your feet/ankles puff up on a flight, these socks should help to combat that. (I have an old injury on my right foot and consequently this foot would puff up and feel tight, which not only feels odd but also looks odd when your left foot is fine!) So I don my flight socks, not the greatest look but hey the aisles are so narrow no one’s going to notice my feet anyway, and off I go….Sorry, no photo of me in these!
I hope you found this useful. All of these items are great to use during your holiday too not just on the flight. These products are my own and what I enjoy using however, I’m sure you’ll have your own favourites too. If you’ve any flight essentials you’d like to share, please comment below.
Thanks for having a read. Bye for now, June xx