The Long Haul Flight Essentials
A long haul flight is, apparently, anything over six hours. So if you’re Australian and you want to go basically anywhere, you have to fly long haul. Fun. Flying wrecks havoc on our gravity bound bodies; and thats if you enjoy flying. There were a few years for me when flying was absolute hell, I was a nervous wreck. Now that I (almost) enjoy flying (for the first two hours) it honestly feels so much lighter. Rehabilitating my nervous system through Restorative Yoga definitely made a huge impact. That aside, if I just jump on the plane without and second thought, when I arrive at my destination I feel like shit. Not that the below makes me sparkle entering the arrivals hall (who are those people) but a little intention and preparation around flying does make a world of difference.
My previous post on travel and packing essentials here
Looking for a good book to take on the flight?
Start Hydrating the Day Before
Not by drowning yourself and drinking 19 litres of water, but for sure up your water intake, and more importantly, eat water containing fruits and veggies like cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, celery and leafy greens. Have a green juice or a coconut water.
The Morning Of
Drink a big green juice and if you’re a breakfast person eat a grounding, nourishing and hydrating breakfast.
I always wash my hair (unless I’m leaving at 4am, but I try to avoid that as much as possible) and put in a deep conditioning leave in treatment (I currently have a sample of this one). I then cover my oil body in sweet almond or coconut oil or shea butter (but use moisturiser if you prefer) as to prevent shrivelling into a prune the second I step on the plane.
Eating on the Plane
So plane food is a no. Plane food is very much dead, completely stripped of nutrients and loaded with cheap table salt in order to taste like food again. I’m not much of a planner (even seeing the words ‘food prep’ bores me, though I recognise it’s life changing for some), but being prepared here goes a long way.
Always order a vegan meal (even if you don’t plan to eat it). It’s safe to stay plane food catering companies are not using free-range eggs. If you’re eating meat for health or taste related reasons - the plane is not the place to find it. Ordering a vegan meal is simple way to lessen your impact, even if you’re not interested in vegetarianism. Again, it seems like a small thing, but if we all do it, it’s huge.
So what do we bring to eat on the plane? Well whatever you want but also, you want it to not smell terrible, be incredibly messy, or have to come in lots of bulky containers. Think of the qualities you want to heighten or induce when flying. Because flying is dehydrating you want foods that will hydrate, moisten and ground. Steamed or baked sweet potatoes, cucumbers, apples, mandarins (come in their own packaging so double bonus) and toasted nori sheets are my favourites. I’m also not a saint (I’ve had pizza for dinner twice this week) and pretty partial to these chips, too. I’ve banned myself from soft fruits (peaches, pears, bananas) because I absolutely cannot be trusted and have had one too many peach juice soaked bags to risk it again.
Not into prepping? Avocado & cucumber sushi rolls and some rice paper rolls travel really well if you don’t have time to prep and will be a whole lot better tasting than plane food. I always grab a kombucha at Sydney Airport after customs and it usually ends up being just what I feel like a few hours in. Probiotics don’t go astray during travel, too.
A note on fasting. Fasting on the plane can work wonders for some people, and cause others to feel incredible stress. When I was an anxious flyer, not eating would have been terrible for me, because that empty / airy-ness would have been increased. Last year I tried fasting on an incredibly long haul flight to the US and I had zero jet lag. It was pretty amazing. Do what works for you. I do feel eating is something that can bring a (brief) moment of joy while travel, so my current go to is lightly eating lots of fruit, seaweed and drinking herbal teas.
ABT (always bring tea)
& a keep cup. THESE ARE REALLY CUTE. Again, you want tea that is moistening and grounding and perhaps digestive and stress supportive. In particular, you want to look for demulcent herbs (aka, slimy) to soothe all the dried out af tissues from the plane. Look for tulsi, slippery elm, mashmallow root and linden in herbal tea blends. Like this or this. I also love travelling with reishi tea and green tea. Anything supporting digestion or anxiety is also amazing. Choose teas based on what you feel bothers you the most while flying: dryness, stress, bloating etc and don’t underestimate the power of hot water and herbs.
On a herbal note, digestive bitters may be useful (though not my area of expertise) as well as flower essences for anxiety. I used to travel with rescue remedy, and love it, but now I’m looking to try this one from a sweet Aussie brand. I used to think flower essences were bullshit, but I had a really beautiful experience earlier in the year with star of bethlehem, and now I am in love.
Beauty on the Plane
Because my hair practically knots when you look in its direction, I bring my wooden comb on the plane, comb and loosely plait it so I don’t end up with dreadlocks by the end of the flight. I remove any eye make-up with this micellar water I own simply for the purpose of plane travel and don’t use otherwise. The more insta fave french brands are cute but unfortunately test on animals. I have a pack of cotton rounds that I’ve had for maybe 2 years - when that ends I will replace with something like this. Then spritz and oil or moisturise. I repeat the spritzing every so often. My skin can break out from flying, and I do find this helps. This is my spray obsession at the moment, but it’s in a larger bottle, so I’ll be taking a sample of this which I have also really enjoyed.
If my skin let my use facemasks, I would totally do the facemask thing on a flight. So you should! I also bring mascara and something for my eyebrows and lips to feel a little less like a zombie when I leave the plane.
The Long Haul Essentials
Noise cancelling earphones. Look they cost a bomb but they are worth every cent. I first travelled with them about three years ago and now I cannot imagine life without them. If I have nothing else in my bag, I want these.
A scarf. For warmth, for head support, for everything.
I love this eye mask from fog linen work if you’re feeling like a dash of luxury, but obviously any old plane eye mask will do. If you’re planning on getting a wink of sleep, your eyes need to be covered.
A great book (see list above). My favourite flight reads so far are; Sally Rooney, Crazy Rich Asians and both Min Jin Lee’s books.
A natural hand sanitiser for hands, tray table, screen etc (yes apparently I am a germaphobe) - you can also make your own! There are a bunch of recipes online.
Really Thick Socks. I get mine from Muji. Not only to stay warm, but so you have a change of socks. I also like to have a change of underwear, particularly if my journey after the flight is another couple hours. Just helps to feel less gross, really.
Anything that feels comforting. Maybe it’s your favourite essential oils, maybe it’s a guilty pleasure magazine or book, maybe it’s your jade face roller. Again we’re looking to balance all the frazzled air energy, so bring whatever makes you feel warm and cosy on the inside.
Chlorella for detoxing all the everything you pick up on the plane, and for replacing daily green juice / infusions while travelling. I always take immune support herbs when travelling and take before / day of / day after flying and at anytime during travelling I feel my immunity is off. These are practitioner only, but the absolute best. I also like these. Armaforce is good too!
While this may seem like a lot, I actually travel super light. Never more than 2 pairs of shoes, and every piece of clothing is carefully considered. Personal care products are minimal and multi-use. Anything I’ve missed let me know in the comments!