When we booked our flight to New Zealand and Bryon told me we had about 20 hours of traveling I was less than thrilled about it. First of all - I'm not the biggest fan of flying to begin with, second of all, I'm not one to sit for long periods of time. But I had to do it if I wanted to go on the trip. When it came to packing my carry-on I didn't want my bag to be over-flowing with stuff, and I also didn't want to have to bug Bryon throughout the flight to get me items out of our carry-on, so I had to be strategic about what I packed. Also, the seat selection, flight and layover options are also VERY important.
Here is how I survived my flight, and my tips for you as you prepare for your own long-haul flight.
Bryon and I were flying from Toronto to Auckland. The fastest route is going west, obviously. We flew with Air New Zealand and it was a great airline, although Bryon prefers Qantas (he lived in Australia for 4 years so he knows this flight well). We made sure to connect in Canada. Canadians: you're going to want to follow our lead with this one. Pay the extra money if you have to when you have connecting flights. US customs is an absolute nightmare at the moment (thanks Trump...) and there's a strong chance you could miss your flight depending on how long your layover is, and how backed up customs is (which you can't predict). Our connecting flight left from Vancouver. On the 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver, I enjoyed a couple movies and some drinks. That first flight was no biggie since I'm used to flights that length anyway. Plus, I was excited.
For the 13 hour flight....
YOUR SEATS: As I mentioned above, Bryon is a pro with long haul flights and he has two economy seats he prefers (unless you're loaded or have a lot of points, by all means upgrade) We tried to bid on a business class seat but lost.
Paying Extra For An Emergency Exit Seat: These seats were great. This is what we had on our way there.
Pros: Ample leg room. No one sitting in front of you. More space to stand up and streatch.
Cons: Passengers also enjoy the space in front of you to stretch. Your armrest contains your t.v. which means you can't move it up or down.
I think if you're traveling solo this is a great option. Also, for the love of God if you are a bigger person, book these seats. You cannot expect the person in front of you to not recline their seats on a 13 hour flight.
Option 2: The last row of the plane (the very last row) either the left or right side of the plane, there are two seats (not three!! yaaaaay!). These seats are perfect for couples or friends traveling together.
Pros: No one is behind you - recline your seats ANYTIME YOU WANT...even during meal services! You have a little more space because normally this side of the plane has three seats. You can lift up your armrest and use your boyfriend as a bed during lights out (hahaha...but seriously)
Cons.: There's someone in front of you, but it's not bad.
What To Bring On The Plane:
check out some suggested items first...
I brought books, magazines and even my colouring book to keep me occupied but I didn't use any of them! They structure these flights so well, that really you don't need much. Plus, they have a large catalogue of movies, documentaries and t.v. shows. What I did use, I'll explain below:
When it came time for sleeping, I needed to follow my usual routine to an extent. Airplanes do three things to me: Make my face puffy, make my skin break out, and get me sick. In my airline amenity kit (I have this one, but it's no longer available. Try this one or get this bag and create your own.), I added a few extra items in addition to what it came with. The eye mask and earplugs were the best thing I could have packed. The mask kept the light from hitting my eyes whenever someone opened the door to go to the bathroom, and the earplugs blocked out quiet conversations and the airplane engine. Like any night, I went to the washroom (which are larger than a regular airplane), cleaned my face with face wipes, brushed and flossed, moisturized and put my hair up.
My essentials oils were, well, essential. Tea tree oil keeps breakouts at bay (it's also great to travel with in the event that you get any bug bites or other skin irritations), I also use On Guard by a brand called DoTerra to help me from getting sick (although Bryon argues that this actually works...I think it does) and lavender oil to help me sleep. I recommend putting a drop or two in the middle of you sleep mask (the side that doesn't face your eyes) before you get on the plane so that you don't offend anyone's noses. It will help you relax when you're having a tough time sleeping. I also brought a hydration gel sample to help de-puff my eyes and skin in the morning and this product did an amazing job. I will be buying the full-sized sample - This one by Drunk Elephant is also one of my faves. However, samples are great for packing on a flight because they hardly take up room.
Some people do the whole sheet mask thing. I brought one, but didn't have time for it, so I ended up using it the evening after our flight. It made a huge different on my jet-lag face lol (I LOVE these). Eye masks are also an option and I considered using one on the flight home, but again, didn't have a chance. But both are great to keep in your amenity kit.
I rely on various vitamins to keep my immune system up and to supplement my diet. I'm not going to list which ones I take, because I think you should speak with your doctor about vitamins before taking them. If you do take vitamins, absolutely bring them and take them the same time you would at home. I packed mine in a ziplock bag, but a vitamin box will do as well haha.
Staying fresh is key to staying comfortable on a flight. Pack an extra pair of panties, some wipes for the washroom and wipes for your face. Yea, this is getting personal, but it's super helpful. Grab a travel sized pack of bathroom wipes that you can stick in your purse and use when you need to freshen up. Face wipes, deodorant that doesn't have a strong scent (be considerate of others), wipes to help to stay fresh are a MUST! You will feel so much better having these items on hand.
Make-up is not really a necessity for me, but I don't really care to look like a complete hobo when getting off the plane in a new country. A little bronzer, mascara, concealer and an eyebrow pencil is enough to freshen up your face and make you feel like you look human again. Your whole make-up bag can be bulky and even having it in your carry-on bag is a pain to pull down and get out your bag, put your bag back and repeat this process to put your make-up bag back again. You can do a full overhaul when you arrive at your destination after the flight.
And finally, I carry a travel size lint roller with me. Partly because I have cats, and it's likely that I have cat fur on me...but also you never know when you're going to need one.
I hope these tips are helpful for you! Happy travels!