Tickets booked? Check. Hotel reserved? Check. Taken out travel insurance? Check.
Prepared for your long-haul travel flight? Probably not.
Of course, the flight is the last thing on your mind when you have images of Florida beaches, sunsets in Thailand or relaxing spa days flashing through your mind. However, the flight day is really one of the most important things to think about before you set off on your holiday in the winter sun.
The airport stress, long queues in passport control, jet lag and navigating your way around a foreign country are definitely not the happiest of memories to put in the holiday photo album, but there’s no need for them to be unhappy memories either.
A good flight can make all the difference when you’re travelling long-haul. It usually starts with a good seat – knowing that you have successfully avoided that dreaded middle seat and you have your perfect aisle or window seat can make the travel day a lot more bearable.
If you prepare well and follow this advice, you are bound to have a smooth long-haul travel flight with minimal stress.
1.Book your tickets early
Now is the prime time. Having your tickets booked and checked off is number one on the travel checklist! The earlier you book your ticket, the more time you allow yourself to plan the rest of your holiday, which is the fun part!
If there is an online check-in option for your flight, make sure you know what time the online check-in opens (usually 24 hours before your flight) so you can save valuable time at the airport.
3.Reserve your seating
There is usually an option within the online check-in to reserve your seat, but sometimes you can reserve a week or so before your online check-in opens which means you can avoid getting stuck with a bad seat.
Also, if you are travelling with a disability or with mental health needs, this is when you can make the airline aware of certain requirements or requests you may have, such as needing to have a particular seat.
Are you more of an aisle or window seat person?
Aisle seat: You can freely get up and move around, without having to bother anyone else
Window seat: You have extra room to rest your head when sleeping, and you get some great views
If you’re going to be on an airplane for more than six hours, you would probably like to be as comfortable as possible. Whatever makes you feel the most comfortable, whether that’s a onesie or a dress, wear something that will help you relax.
5.Schedule your sleep
Successfully fighting jetlag can be challenging, but the key is to sync your sleep schedule with the time of your destination.
For example, if you’re travelling to Australia from the UK then make sure you set your clock to the time zone of the city you are arriving in, so when Australia is sleeping, you should be sleeping too!
6.Bring snacks with you or eat a big meal before your flight
Airplane food is average at best. Sometimes it can cause stomach upset. To avoid uncomfortable hunger, I suggest filling up before your flight with a big meal or bringing small snacks with you on the plane that you can eat when you’re hungry in between airplane food service.
Also, buy a bottle of water after security so you can stay hydrated!
7.Pack your essentials in your cabin luggage
It’s annoying having to constantly stand up and down to grab an item from your cabin luggage that you didn’t realise you needed, or even worse, you packed your only jumper in your checked luggage and now you’re freezing!
Ahead of time, make a list of all the items that you might need during your flight and pack them in your hand luggage so you can easily access and use them throughout the flight.
I always pack hand sanitizer and mini toiletries so I can freshen up during a flight!
8.No good movies? Download some podcasts
Podcasts are very relaxing to listen to and provide just as much entertainment as a movie. If you have no good movies on your flight, or you’re just bored of watching television programmes, give your eyes a break for a while and listen to a podcast.
Your legs will get restless when you’re stuck sitting in the same position for hours on end, so make sure to get up frequently and walk up and down the plane (this is where that aisle seat comes in handy). It will keep the blood circulation in your body flowing and avoid any foot cramps.
You don’t want to have endure an eleven-hour flight only to land at your destination and find out that you forgot something important or you don’t have the right travel documents! Double and triple check that you have the correct visa before you travel, and follow the entry requirements necessary for the country that you’re traveling to.
For more information, follow @FCOtravel to keep up to date with latest travel advice! Check out the FCO’s #TravelAware campaign for country specific advice and more detailed information on what to do ‘before you go’ on holiday.