May 15, 2015

Five Hand Luggage Essentials for a Long Flight

A long haul flight can sometimes feel a bit like limbo. A whole day suspended in a 200 square foot box surrounded by two inches of aluminium, possibly squashed between two complete strangers. There’s no hopping off to run those forgotten errands, or even, unless you’re travelling wifi-style, answering those beckoning emails! As such, there’s a tendency to pack for every possible kind of boredom or inconvenience that might occur.

The problem there? You don’t want to exceed your baggage allowance. It’s no fun to reach the departure gate only to be told you have to pay a fortune just to carry your belongings, or worse, that you have to check them in the hold! Nobody expects you just sit there patiently for the entire flight, but it’s important to get real and prioritise when you pack your hand-luggage. Here are a few tips that will hopefully keep you flying in style, without weighing down the plane!

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Layer upon Layer
We hear all kinds of myths about the air-conditioning on planes. Sometimes it’s cranked down to Arctic temperatures, and sometimes it’s like a second-hand sauna. Packing easy-to-throw-on layers is a great place to start. Think zippers and breathable fabrics. One top tip is to pack a wide light shawl. These are perfect for keeping the blast of air-con off your neck, draping over like a blanket, rolling up as a pillow, or tucking neatly back in your bag.

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Beauty Basics
When flying, most of us will be happy feeling clean and refreshed, never mind looking like a glamorous jet-setting diva. Toothbrush, wet-wipes, and a small moisturiser are a great place to start. For a little spruce-up during landing, why not also go for lip-balm and some brightening eye drops? Most airlines will only allow liquids in 100ml containers, but luckily nearly all popular beauty products are now available in adorable travel-size bottles!

Power Up!
Whether you survive by watching movies, reading, or listening to album after album, gone are the days of running out of battery mid-flight. Portable chargers are now available for a huge range of devices, to kick-start your entertainment needs. No more pixelated in-flight movies, or a dwindling Kindle just before the last chapter! Another tip is to give your phone a little TLC with an hour of charge before you land. After all, you’ll probably need it once you’ve got signal again!

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No pain. All gain!
If you’re lucky you’ll have a smooth flight, with great service, surrounded by calm, respectful passengers, all trying to get through the next eight hours with some semblance of sanity. If not, you may be suffering a thundering headache from the noise of complaining passengers, or a pain in the back from the kicking toddler behind you. For many reasons, it’s good to keep a packet of painkillers on hand, to soothe your temples, and allow you a decent rest.

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Pack those Snacks
Flying isn’t always as convenient as it’s made out to be. When it comes to in-flight meals, you’re very much operating on everyone else’s schedule, and ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’! Sometimes it’s nice to bring a little home comfort of your own: Basics like a bottle of water to keep you hydrated, some fruit to fill you up if you’re meal was less than impressive. Or maybe a sneaky pack of cookies to balance those sugar levels (and well, to treat yourself)! If you are prone to earaches during flights, a pack of gum is also a good call.

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Next time you’re thinking of packing the world in your hand-luggage ‘just in case’, take a deep breath, and think of these handy tips. Remember you may have to pay the price at the departure gate! And one last thing: Even if you ignore all the advice above, just don’t forget to pack your passport!

(Contributed by Julie)

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