Today’s Reader Request is from Charlotte, who’s just weeks away from her first ever long haul flight, to Vietnam. She’s looking for advice to survive the journey, look good when she arrives and swerve the dreaded jet lag…
I’m flying to Vietnam on the 20th of March. This is my first holiday in three years and its obviously a biggie (I’m beyond excited!) I’ve never flown long haul before and, when I arrive, I have a lovely handsome man meeting me at the airport! I would like advice on how to survive the flight, what to wear, how to look remotely attractive after 14 hours in the air and how to beat jet lag when I get there. Any help would be amazing!
Thanks and much love, Charlotte xx
I tend towards the last minute when it comes to travel. I have been known to start my packing the morning of an early morning flight. Consequently I’ve never really gotten my long haul routine down. So I thought I’d ask some well-travelled ladies to share their best advice…
Lucie Monks, works as cabin crew and has been flying long haul, short haul and mid haul for over two and a half years, regularly flying to Rio, Vegas, LA, Singapore, Sydney, Capetown and Japan, amongst other destinations. Before becoming cabin crew Lucie travelled a lot so she’s very used to being a passenger too.
Luggage Tripp is a great brand of suitcases as they offer some really stylish colours and designs. The smaller wheely cases are the perfect size for most airlines. Plus you can always find them in Debenhams on sale for very reasonable prices. They also come with a five year warranty.
Plane outfit I always wear black leggings, a plain white tee and blazer, once I’m on the plane I pop a cosy hoodie on.
Getting off the plane outfit I change into classic skinny dark blue jeans, a stylish blouse (one that doesn’t crease) and a blazer. Along with a pair of heeled boots or heeled sandals, depending on the weather.
Carry-on necessities to help you get some much-needed rest Headphones, neck pillow, book, ear plugs, magazines, socks, eye mask, iPad, chargers and adapters.
Make-up bags You need two. One for liquids (the smallest one from this set from M&S is perfect and the correct size) and one for everything else.
Liquid bag essentials Everything must be 100ml or less. Moisturiser It’s important to moisturise whilst flying, as it can really dry your skin out, leaving you looking haggard. I use REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream 50ml I love it, however a cheaper moisturiser will still do the trick. Lip balm I use one called Dr Lipp Nipple Balm For Lips Sounds strange but it is amazing especially for flying to keeps lips soft. Another good one is Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I take eye drops as my eyes get very red and dry. Foundation I love Estée Lauder Double Wear Light I use the lighter version which is like a BB cream, I find it doesn’t dry your skin out as much. There’s also original Double Wear which is a lot thicker. Obviously any foundation works but I find these the best. Mascara Lancôme Hypnôse is great. Hand cream Crabtree & Evelyn and L’Occitane are always good. Top tip Pop to the perfume counters for samples – they’re the perfect for your liquids bag. Don’t forget a travel size toothpaste, Superdrug is a good place to go for that.
In the non-liquids make-up bag Nail file, blusher, eye liner, toothbrush, hair bands, deodorant (dry stick deodorants are good for the plane as they don’t need to go in your liquids bag) and make-up wipes. Johnsons Face Care Makeup Be Gone Moisturising Wipes are amazing – your face feels like you’ve just moisturised it.
Tips for feeling fresh and looking good
1. Drink loads of water, this will help massively with jet lag and your skin.
2. Take Berroca – it’s a vitamin C supplement that you dissolve in water.
3. Walk around the plane as much as possible, this will stop you getting cankles.
4. Drink peppermint tea to relax you.
5. Try to sleep as much as possible on the flight.
6. Don’t eat bread or drink fizzy drinks as these will make you bloat even more than will anyway when flying.
7. Bring nuts to nibble on.
8. Once you’re awake drink green tea
9. Take your make up off at the earliest opportunity and keep moisturising during the flight.
Top tip Keep an eye on the moving map for a landing time. An hour before landing start preparing yourself. Pop to the bathroom to change into your meeting clothes and put your make-up on to beat the 40-minutes-to-landing rush for the toilets.
Melissa Knight is a freelance copywriter/editor currently living in Rome and married to a New Zealander. She travels to New Zealand at least twice a year and last year she flew to the Cook Islands and Australia, where her brother lives, too.
Select your seat if the airline you’re flying with gives you that option. An aisle seat is good if you don’t think you’ll sleep much as it means you can get up without disturbing anybody slumbering next to you. If you do want to sleep, a window seat is best. The area close to the toilets is generally best avoided as it can get a little crowded and noisy.
Regardless of where you sit, there are a few items that can make all the difference between a good flight and a bad one. Earplugs are a must have. Take an eye mask – it’s never dark enough, even after the lights are turned down. Buy a large bottle of water at the airport and drink from it regularly to stay hydrated. Many planes have a small water dispenser in economy, so once finished you can refill. Preload your tablet/e-reader/iPod with films/books/music/podcasts and, if you have them, noise-cancelling headphones are awesome. It’s a little bit of a luxury item but I also like to use This Works Deep Sleep Stress Less, a soothing scent in a roller ball dispenser.
A travel uniform of black leggings and a long top can be smartened up with a blazer and an oversized scarf when travelling through the airport, but is also comfortable enough to sleep in. Take a jumper and warm socks in your hand luggage to throw on if the plane gets chilly. On a long flight, I often change completely into some smart loungewear. Before landing, I put on a fresh ‘arrivals’ outfit, usually some light layers that won’t crease easily.
Airplane environments are incredibly drying so, as soon as the seatbelt light goes off, head to the bathroom to remove any makeup and apply a ridiculously thick layer of moisturiser. My go-to products here are Clinique Moisture Surge Intense and Clarins Hydraquench Lip Balm, they make my skin look and feel nourished. Before landing, wash your face and apply a normal layer of moisturiser in preparation for make-up.
The best products are compact and quick and easy to apply in a confined space. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is great because it doesn’t count as a liquid (more room for moisturisers/cleansers/facemasks!) and can be applied where needed, then blended with fingers for a natural look. A cream blush will give you a little colour without drying, Bourjouis have a great one that also has a little mirror in the compact. I save travel-sized mascaras for flights and I use Clarins Instant Concealer to lighten my dark circles. Travel-sized dry shampoo and deodrant will go a long way to making you feel more presentable.
Fight jet lag by setting your watch to the time at your destination as soon as you get on the plane and act accordingly to ease your body into that timezone. So if it’s 9pm in the country you’re heading to, try to wind down for sleep. If it’s breakfast time, stay awake until it’s early evening at your destination. Once you arrive, try to stay awake until a normal bed time. You might start to struggle in the late afternoon or early evening, maybe arrange to meet friends – the excitement should ward off any temptation to go for a nap that will disrupt your body clock even further.
Ros Cooke is a physiotherapist for the England Netball team. Currently ranked third in the world, England’s main competition are Australia and New Zealand and so she frequently travels to those countries with the team – plus multiple internal flights – and has to ensure everyone is match-ready when they arrive.
Pre-flight nutrition and hydration: Pack your carry on with snacks such as cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, rice cakes, pretzels, popcorn, fresh fruit, bagels with peanut butter. At the airport avoid caffeine, especially if you’re flying at night. Stick to foods you’re comfortable with and ensure you have a balanced meal if you eat before boarding. Spend time walking around and stretching before getting on the plane.
On the plane: Drink water throughout the flight. Eating meals at times that fit with the meal times of your destination can help reduce the time taken over jetlag. Stick to your usual style of eating if possible. Long hours of travelling can upset your digestive system, drinking lots of fluids and sticking to fibre rich foods such as fresh fruit, wholemeal bread and breakfast cereals will help. Don’t overeat, remember you are probably moving a lot less than usual. If flying at night going through your usual pre-bed routine such as brushing your teeth can help. Try to sleep at the right time as your final destination and get as much sleep and rest as you can, don’t spend the whole time glued to your Kindle, iPad etc
At your destination: Adjust your watch to local time at your destination on the plane or as soon as you arrive. Avoid wearing sunglasses outside for the first few days. Try and get outside in the late afternoon for 30-60 minutes. Establish a good pre-sleep routine to teach your body it’s time to relax. Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable (dark enough, not too hot, or cold, and quiet). Observe the 30 minute toss and turn rule – if you’re awake for more than 30 minutes in the night get out of bed and do something that will help you sleep like reading a book or listening to music.
I can’t wait until my next long haul flight to try out all these tips! As ever if you have any tried-and-tested advice or product recommendations then do share below. Wishing you an AMAZING trip Charlotte!