Following up on my post about traveling overseas, let’s talk about the actual “over seas” part: being prepared for the plane.
We took nine flights throughout our six-week journey to Australia and New Zealand. Four were international, four were domestic US, and one was domestic Australia. All of them were longer than 3 hours. Needless to say, I wanted to be prepared for all of those flights!
My typical plane outfit was comfy jeans, Toms, a t-shirt, a scarf, and a sweatshirt. I had plenty of layers so I could adjust to being too warm or too cold, footwear that came off easily for security checks but also stayed on well while seated (don’t you hate when your flip flops keep falling off and you lose them under the seat in front of you??). For the overnight flights, I packed an extra tee and a pair of yoga pants and socks in my backpack. I slipped into the yoga pants once we were on the plane and ready to sleep, and kept the socks handy in case my feet got cold. In the morning, or whatever time it happened to be when we got off the plane, I changed into a fresh tee to feel a little cleaner.
Food & Drink
Don’t forget to drink lots of water!! The flight attendants rarely come by on overnight flights, and you don’t want to have to worry about spilling a cup anyways, so bring or buy a water bottle that you can fill on your own to make sure you stay hydrated. It not only helps with the dry altitude up in the skies, but it helps you get over jet lag more quickly.
It’s also a good idea to bring snacks. International flights tend to have yummy, very filling meals (ours had a meat, veggie, carb, side, and dessert), at least Air New Zealand does. But you never know when your flight will be delayed, you’ll be sitting on the runway for longer than expected, or the food just doesn’t seem appetizing to you (like the traditional rolled ham bread I was served on a flight from Venezuela once – yuck!). In addition to my water, I always had a bag of cashews, some gluten-free granola bars (Luna bars to be precise – these were super yummy and filling), and peanut butter and rice crackers. It’s also nice to have some candy (peanut m&ms anyone?) for a sugar craving.
Another note: if you have food allergies (gluten-free) or preferences (vegetarian, halal), make sure you call your airline a few days before the flight to make sure they can have that meal available for you. Air New Zealand was great with that! I called a week ahead of time to set it up, and checked back the day before and everything was good to go. I always got my meal first, which was fun, and they were delicious!!
I brought a small travel pillow which made sleeping so much better! The plane gave out tiny pillows made out of cotton balls (at least it seemed like that) that weren’t much good, but that added to my travel pillow wasn’t too bad. They also gave us blankets, but if you get cold easily you might want to bring extra clothing. It probably isn’t a good idea to bring a blanket with you since they give you one, and the only time you need it is on the plane, but an extra sweatshirt, jacket, or even just a t-shirt can keep your legs warm and you’ll use them later. Some people like to bring an eye mask or sleep aids to help them get to sleep faster. Hey, whatever works for you. I like to pop in my headphones and put on some music; I normally fall right to sleep.
To enhance my sleeping, my attitude, and my body, I did some meditative yoga and used the chiropractic pillow before getting on the plane. What are layovers for, if not for stretching out in the middle of the airport floor and getting weird looks from your travel mates?
I loaded my ipod with tons of music, movies, and a few games. I also had a book or two with me if I remember correctly. I didn’t end up using ANY of them on our overnight flights! Air New Zealand had tons of movies and tv shows that we could watch, and the flight was only about 10 hours. However, on our domestic flights, I was definitely grateful for bringing my own entertainment! Isn’t it unbelievable how a four-hour flight could be so much better or worse depending on if you’re going to another country, or just flying within your own? Ohh I would love for domestic transnational flights to be more luxurious!
Miscellaneous Items & Freshening Up
I bought a small zipper bag to throw in my backpack with tiny things that I could access quickly, like chapstick and hair ties. I also put small bathroom essentials for freshening up in the airplane or airport bathroom before going to bed or landing. My favorite thing was these disposable toothbrushes that already had toothpaste on them. Don’t forget other things you might need! I also brought some medications, Arbonne fizz sticks to help combat jet lag, and vitamins.
I was in the middle of dealing with moderate anxiety disorder when I went overseas last summer. I know, terrible timing. But it’s life and you have to go with it, even if circumstances are less than ideal! I wasn’t on prescription medicine yet, but I found some holistic remedies to take with me. They weren’t the best, but it was better than nothing. From my personal experience, if you struggle with any kind of anxiety or panic disorder, before going on a long trip anywhere, get some prescription meds from your doctor before you go. If I had just had two xanax pills to take, I would have not had to suffer through panic attacks on two of our plane rides. I grew closer to the Lord, yes, but it was more than I could handle. Do what’s best for you – it’s okay if you need drugs (as long as they are prescription, for you not someone else!). 🙂
Hope this helps! Read the other two posts in this series here and here. Leave any of your own travel tips if you have any to share.
4 thoughts on “Travel Tips for International Plane Rides”