Saturday, April 2, 2011

Plane Travel for the Uninitiated

Last year I flew from Brisbane to LA (15hours in the air), then LA to San Antonio, (3 hours in the air) with a half hour gap in between. It was the first time I’d travelled overseas, and the second time I’d travelled anywhere for longer than a day by myself. I was literally scared shitless – a night of poor sleep and worry literally made me sick. When I arrived at my destination it was around 36 degrees, I hadn’t slept a wink, and was expected to then participate in the camp’s afternoon and evening activities. By the time I hit my bunk I worked out I’d been awake for around 26 hours. The next day I felt so bad it was like I was massively hungover.

This is how not to travel by plane.

Camp finished and I was packing my bags to see some of the great cities the USA had to offer. Eventually airports became familiar. Popping my carry on liquids into their see through zip lock bag for the customs officers became a ritual that promised new adventure and excitement. Airline tags accumulated on my faithful backpack, which named after Sir Paul McCartney (cause I cart my stuff in it. Yeah… Pun.).

So here are my tips on how to travel by plane the right way;

  • If you are vegetarian, make sure you have notified the airline that you’ll be needing a vegetarian meal. The vegetarian options are also often the vegan options, so prepare to drool over the person sitting next to you’s cheese and crackers, cause you may not get any.
  • Drink lots of water in the days leading up to your flight, and skip the alcohol. I drank a couple the night before I left (I wouldn’t be able to drink legally in the states) and regretted it so very, very much. Get your hands on some green juice or coconut water as well, as these are brilliant for hydration.
  • Bring a neck pillow, but not an old stretched out one. I found that the neck pillow that accompanied me all over the states (and was a saving grace for many nights I spent camped out under the stars) was pretty worn out by the time I flew home.
  • Noise cancelling headphones are apparently a god-send for the weary traveller, according to my father. I have a lot of trouble sleeping on planes, as either I’m too excited about getting to my exciting destination to sleep, or I’m too excited about seeing family members and friends on my return to sleep either. So if you can afford it, try to fly with an airline that provides in flight entertainment through a screen in the back of the chair in front. I find watching movies or tv shows I haven’t seen before the best way to fight off boredom – the minute I decide to watch a movie I’ve seen before on a plane is the minute I lose interest.
  • LIP. BALM. Bring a tub of it, of a brand you know and trust. I chose The Body Shop’s Strawberry lip pot, and it stuck with me through thick and thin, and is also nice and small for carry-on-luggage purposes.
  • I took a sample size tub of moisturiser and body lotion with me on every flight and I did not regret it. The air-con in planes, although you may not feel it necessarily can really sneak up on you and dry out your skin. I recommend a nourishing and moisturising face-mask the day before you get on.

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