In it for the Long Haul

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Being based in London, it’s pretty easy to get around.
Growing up, my summer holidays were often spent in Europe, meaning a maximum of 2 hours flying each way. Every now and again we ventured further afield – Turkey, New York, Russia, Morocco, Iran. But none of these seemed to be the real long haul deal.
When we flew to Sri Lanka in May, we flew with Sri Lankan Airlines, and it was an eye-opener in terms of long haul travel. The flight from London Heathrow to Colombo was just under 11 hours, and for a chronic fidgeter, that’s a long time to be sat down in one place.
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We took a peek onboard before everyone boarded – and couldn’t help but imagine how it would be to fly Business Class. We were lucky enough to have an entire two rows to ourselves, however, and we planned to sleep our night flight away.

Business Class – we’ll see you another time…Β 

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Flying in Economy with Sri Lankan was comfortable, though we were super lucky that the plane wasn’t very full, so we had a lot of seats to ourselves. The food on offer was quite varied too, so if you do like plane food then there will definitely be something to tick your boxes.
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The cabin crew on Sri Lankan wear the most beautiful uniforms, the women in their saris of a deep, vibrant turquoise colour. We touched down and listened to the pilot’s announcement, and then the crew bid us farewell with their hands pressed into prayer, a slight bow and the traditional Sri Lankan greeting of Ayubowan.
You can read endless articles and lists of what to take while flying long haul (I did haha), but you still might not get it right your first time, simply because everyone is different. So I’m doing the sensible thing of adding yet another list to the multitudes that exist online, and here’s what worked for me. Happy long-haul travels!

Pack a yoga mat.

Even if you’re not necessarily into yoga, a good stretch before you board makes a world of difference. I rolled up my travel mat and gave myself time to have a short flow before we boarded. I’m so glad I did – we boarded around 9pm so it set me up for the evening ahead, plus it meant I had it with me whilst I was away if I wanted to stretch out.

Take snacks.

Even though everything is catered for, I still wanted some veggie Percy Pigs, and to my dismay, there were none onboard. I ate just before the flight (and in airport terms, ‘just before’ means about 2 hours before boarding) and I’m so glad I did, as the dinner service didn’t come out until around 11.30pm – not ideal!

Buy a huge bottle of water.

Same as above – I didn’t want to be asking repeatedly for water, especially as they give you the little plane cups. So I bought a huge 2litre and also had cups whenever the cabin crew came around with water. No one wants to be the person ringing the assistance bell for endless glasses of water.

Dress for the plane, and for the destination.

I can’t remember a time that I didn’t travel in yoga pants. Comfort>Style whilst travelling. But my shock horror at arriving in Colombo to 35 degree heat, in yoga pants and a jumper, was 100% avoidable. I should have packed something light in my hand luggage to change into just before landing. As I didn’t think that far ahead, it resulted in a rather unsightly rummage through my big suitcase in the airport. Needs must…!

What’s your advice for travelling long haul?

Love, Chloe.

With thanks to Sri Lankan airlines for the amazing service!

29 Comments

  1. when I lived in New Zealand and I was coming back for holidays in Europe, I was in the plane for 36 hours. Such a long journey! I can tell I watched all the movies available ahah! xx corinne

    • June 21, 2017 / 7:52 am

      36 hours?! That’s crazy! Not sure I could do that all in one go haha, I’d rather have an indirect! Xx

  2. June 20, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    If you take an empty water bottle with you through security you can then fill it up before boarding to save buying water at the airports ridiculous prices.
    It’s also worth packing a little tube of moisturiser as skin can get really dry in long haul flights.

    • June 21, 2017 / 7:53 am

      That’s such a good idea! And for sure, I was constantly moisturising as my skin was so dry!

  3. June 20, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    Business class looks lush! 😍. The longest flight I have been on was to Egypt…I can imagine being on a plane for any longer! πŸ™ˆ. How did you keep yourself entertained?
    http://www.emmzeebee.blog

    • June 21, 2017 / 7:55 am

      It looked so romantic (weirdly haha)! Such a shame we couldn’t experience it but there was only one seat available in business and we didn’t want to be separate. When we flew at night it wasn’t so bad, we boarded, settled down, we watched Lion while we ate something, and then started falling asleep really. Coming back during the day was harder as I didn’t want to sleep – I think I watched 5 films haha! Xx

  4. June 20, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    Long haul flights are a unique experience — I’m glad yours was overall a good one! I haven’t done too much long-distance traveling in the past few years, but I think these are great tips! I’d also add: don’t drink too much, even if the alcohol is free! You’ll get even more dehydrated and just feel gross.
    xx
    Emily
    emilyhallock.blogspot.com

    • June 21, 2017 / 7:57 am

      Especially as it was my first real long haul experience! So true about drinking… I think our small glass of red wine with dinner helped lull us off to sleep πŸ˜‚ but definitely any more and I would have been feeling worse for it!

  5. June 20, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    Great advice! I travelled with these guys too when I went to Sri Lanka! Snacks and dressing well are key, completely agree. I also think taking a headphone splitter if you’re with someone is an excellent idea, plus plenty of magazines and books!
    Hels xx
    http://www.thehelsproject.com

    • June 21, 2017 / 7:58 am

      Oh wow did you have a good experience too? I loved their uniforms! I’ve always wanted a headphone splitter for flights actually!

  6. June 20, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    I am going on a family trip in a few weeks and this has definitely helped me plan what I should pack. I never thought about bringing a yoga mat before, but I will keep it in mind.

    • June 21, 2017 / 7:59 am

      I’m so glad! It’s definitely worth considering especially if you have a travel/lightweight one that can fold up easily into your hand luggage ☺️

  7. June 20, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    These are some great tips, for long haul flights I tend to sleep the majority of it if that isn’t possible then I consume myself in onboard entertainment. Packing my fully charged iPod is also a must, music helps me relax, making it easier to sleep, not to mention when queuing in all the lines at the airport. when it comes to cabin food, it doesn’t agree with me, so eating before hand is a must as well as having enough snacks and water for the journey. Thanks for sharing the post dear.
    Tx

    • June 21, 2017 / 8:00 am

      Yess I was adamant to sleep through the night flight and luckily I did due to the space we had! The return flight was during the day and definitely got lost in the onboard entertainment haha. Thank you for reading! X

  8. June 20, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    I’d recommend asking for legroom if you need it! We flew to Thailand last year and my other half being 6ft 5 couldn’t sit in the standard seats for 12 hours! ❀️

    • June 21, 2017 / 8:02 am

      I’m only 5ft 2 haha I don’t think I can justify asking for the extra legroom πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

      • June 21, 2017 / 8:50 am

        I couldn’t either as I’m the same height πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  9. June 20, 2017 / 7:12 pm

    The farthest I’ve ever flown is far as the states (6-7 hours) but I always take a blanket with me in my hand luggage as I find overnight flights to be freezing cold, even with the one they provide you with. Water is a good shout, I always take one with me too. Great tips for flying long haul!
    Kirsty | The Monday Project | themondayproject.co.uk

    • June 21, 2017 / 8:03 am

      You’re right – they are always freezing! I always ask for extras but the Sri Lankan blankets were actually so warm!

  10. June 20, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    I flew to India a couple year ago & I wish I had seen this post beforehand! I dressed completely for the flight in comfy leggings and a sweater & regretted it the minute I got of the plane! Definitely going to take an outfit in my hand luggage next time I fly long haul x

    • June 21, 2017 / 8:04 am

      Ahh I did exactly the same, we can learn from our mistakes haha πŸ€“ xx

  11. June 20, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Hi Chloe, these are great tips! I’m so jealous of your trip to Sri Lanka! My longest flight was to New Zealand which seemed never ending. The worst one are ones that last more than a day! I usually try and sleep the whole time. Glad I read this post.
    http://www.thewongblog.com

    • June 21, 2017 / 8:05 am

      Hi Monica, thanks so much for your lovely comment! Lots more posts from Sri Lanka are still to come! I can’t imagine being onboard for more than 24 hours, don’t think I would manage! Would have to be an indirect haha xx

  12. June 21, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    Great tips and I LOVE your photos! That plane looks gorgeous. I’ve never actually done a long-haul flight myself. My longest was about 4 and a half hours to the Canary Islands and Bulgaria. But I’m not a fan of flying anyway. However I have heard that sometimes long haul is better because the planes are nicer, there’s more to watch etc. The yoga mat idea is brilliant xx

    • June 21, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks so much Jenny! I think because the planes tend to be bigger, they might be better for nervous flyers compared to the tiny RyanAirs and EasyJets which seem to rattle around a lot! To be honest I take a yoga mat for short haul too – it’s always good to have, just in case! xx

  13. October 25, 2017 / 7:42 am

    Great tips here. Defo agree with the clothes!

    • October 25, 2017 / 6:02 pm

      Thank you!!

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