What to Wear on a Long Flight
Travelling on long-haul flights can be exhausting, uncomfortable and usually a bloody nightmare. We often arrive at our destination looking and feeling like something the cat dragged in. Believe me, I’ve been there – crumpled clothes, hair like a scarecrow, my whatsit in agony from too-tight jeans, skin dehydrated and makeup either long gone or with raccoon mascara eyes. It’s taken me many horrendous flights to learn the many do’s and don’ts of what to wear and what to take with me on the plane.
Comfort is the number one priority but you don’t have to resort to wearing your old tracky dacks and thongs. You can be stylish as well as comfortable. Remember you’ll only ever have the chance of being upgraded if you look the part. It’s only happened to us once and it was the first time we’d made a real effort to look good. It hasn’t happened again but we’ll keep trying. But even if you don’t get upgraded, you still don’t want to scare people when you get off the plane. If you follow these tips that I’ve picked up over the years, you’ll arrive feeling and looking better.
Choose clothes that don’t crinkle but try to avoid synthetic fabrics because they can be hot and smelly (not good). Try to find clothes made of natural fibres which let your skin breathe.
The air-conditioning in the cabin is usually too hot at the beginning of the flight then freezing during the flight. Wearing different thin layers of clothing will help regulate your body temperature. Also choose tops that are easy to take on and off. For example, I usually wear a singlet top covered by a fine, soft jacket covered by a warmer soft jacket. Layering is also a great idea when you’re travelling between two very different climates.
You don’t have to worry about spills or getting a bit grubby.
- Loose-fitting clothes
Particularly for pants and skirts, make sure they’re loose-fitting especially around the waist.
These are a much better option to skirts or dresses. If you wear soft, loose pants they’ll be more comfortable and easier to crawl over people when you’re trying to get back into your window seat. They’ll be warmer too.
- Like clothing, shoes should be chosen mainly for comfort. At all costs, avoid stilettos and heels of any size really. Airports mean lots of standing in lines and often long distances to walk. You can still look stylish in flat shoes and your feet will thank you.
- You should also avoid tight-fitting shoes because your feet will inevitably swell during a long flight because of the high altitude. It’ll also be hard to get them back on when you’re ready to leave the cabin – not a good look.
- Pack a pair of soft socks in your carry-on bag to slip on during the flight – comfy and warm.
- You can also think about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) socks for a long-haul flight. These are strongly elasticized around the ankle to help blood to circulate around the body by squeezing it up towards the heart.
A real no-no. A strong perfume will smell twice as strong in the confines of a passenger cabin and can make the trip awful for you as well as the people around you.
- Go easy on the jewellery for two reasons. Firstly, chunky bangles or necklaces will become a real pain when you’re trying to get into a comfortable sleeping position.
Secondly, a lot of metal jewellery will set off metal detectors and you’ll be forever taking them off and on.
2. Pack a sarong or a pashmina. They’re so versatile – used as a scarf, a shawl, a rug or a pillow.
What you take on the plane with you can be your life saver in more ways that one. You have to be sure that it isn’t too big to be classed as carry-on luggage but I try to take on the biggest bag I can. And I fill it up!
Remember, you shouldn’t put anything you can’t afford to lose in your check-in luggage. This can be delayed, lost for a few days and even lost for all eternity.
So, in my carry-on bag I always take:
- mobile phone and charger
- valuables – cameras, jewellery and money
- all documents – passports, tickets, visas
- toiletries so I can freshen up just before landing – deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, hand wipes and moisturiser
- a kindle or books – a novel or magazine, Lonely Planet travel guide and my travel diary
- snacks (the plane food usually makes me want to throw up)
- a sarong or pashmina
- reading glasses, pens, makeup, comb, mirror
Hey, have a good flight!
Travel Wallet Checklist
I’ve found that the best thing you can take with you on an overseas holiday is a travel wallet. There are lots of good reasons why.
- Having all your important documents together means you’ll be completely organised instead of having to rummage through your bag every time you need something.
- Of course, it also means you’ll have less chance of losing something important.
- Having everything in one place means you can find things quickly and easily.
- All this greatly reduces the stress factor especially at the airport which for me is its biggest advantage.
- It can be locked away in the hotel safe which means keeping all your vital documents in the one secure place
This is a list of things that go into my travel wallet:
- Airline and/or Train and/or Boat Tickets
- Boarding Pass
- Travel Insurance Policy (including emergency contact numbers)
- Health Insurance Cards (Medicare and private health fund)
- Itinerary with important telephone numbers and addresses (hotels, airlines, etc.)
- Travel Coupons
- Frequent Flyer cards
- Student Card (even baby boomers can be full-time students)
- Photo-copies of all of the above
- Extra passport photos
- ATM cards
- International Drivers Licences (in case we want to hire a car or a motor bike)
- Credit Cards
- Cash Passport
- Phone cards
- Prescriptions and letters from your doctor giving permission for medications you’re carrying with you
- Emergency contact numbers and email addresses
- Small calculator (for currency conversions)
- Travellers Cheques
- Cash (in the foreign currency of your destination or US dollars)
- Pens (2 because you’ll always lose one)
By the way, buy a good leather one. It looks great and you’ll have it forever.