I’ve always travelled for my job. As well as regular European trips for Trade Fairs/shopping trips, my first job took me to America – jammy doesn’t come close – aged 23, flying to New York for 24 hours to go to a 2 hour fit meeting, then taking in a little light shopping and a gallery or two, before getting to fly First Class home a few of times… I still remember thinking if the plane went down, I’d go happy. (‘No, I don’t want to be woken for an in-flight complimentary manicure if I’m asleep, but thank you Denise that whiskey and Coke was so lovely, I will have another’.)
I won’t lie, it’s been slightly less glamorous since that golden age of crazy travel budgets; I’ve generally flown cargo… (or one up from that at least) to Hong Kong and China.
So a few survival things I’ve picked up along the way to get through a 12-13 hour flight.
It has to be layers. I think there’s some kind of mystical witch craft that goes on to ‘control’ the passengers – not just with the fancy moody lighting nowadays that gently gets brighter (a lovely touch), who needs a full-beam light turned on in a instant? Equals instant grump. There’s something to do with the temperature… warm-hot makes the passengers sleepy… but then cool-cold makes us snuggle under the blankets so perhaps we’re docile for longer…. hummmm. Highly suspicious and I’ve never worked it out in all of these years.
So layers… when wiggling around in seats or leaning forward to take off shoes, or try to ram swollen feet back into boots, or retrieve a fallen magazine – no one wants to flash, or be flashed at; a long tuck in vest/cami is needed, well to either wear long over trousers or tuck in. Think of the draughts people, no one wants a draught.
M&S long vest £5, available in five different colours, and buy one, get one half price.
Long sleeve tops – go forth as you need. I love these from FWP by Rae… at least the flight attendants will also know what they’re dealing with. Keep it coming.
Or should you need a breton upgrade – how about this from M&S Autograph £29.50
A jacket to take on/off as you board etc – for me it’s denim preferably – cotton and breathable, any creasing falls out and it can endure a lot.
I’m now obsessed with the Levi’s Trucker, or Ex-Boyfriend Trucker jacket, both £85. Selling like hot cakes doesn’t come close – too many places I’ve tried have sold out of their core sizes… so of course I want it more.
A light weight but as big as you can scarf is another essential I think. Air con set to arctic? No thanks. It also makes me feel, in yes, a warped way, more pulled together + they hide a multitude of sins/in-flight spillages. I love this colour-pop one from Oliver Bonas, £18, was £28.
Or this from Lily & Lionel – 90% modal and 10% silk, a scarf of dreams; this would feel amazing to wear. I’ll take the whole rail in this shot thanks.
Elasticated trousers… yes, ALL the glamour people… is it just me? It can’t just be me – but everything swells… and its not from all the mini bottles of red wine and in flight snacks. I love jeans and live in jeans, but would rather not on a flight.
Gap £29.95 Soft spun with cinched ankles. In black the jogger would feel a little smarter, upgrade friendly.
Without being too graphic, the loos on planes; a straight leg or cuffed trouser as opposed to a wide leg will be your friend. So how about these from Me+Em – khaki & navy jogger with two side stripes, £79.
Flight socks – essential for me… not only to aid in better circulation but also to compress the mosquito bites I will no doubt have endured and try to stop be scratching (!). TMI. Previously I could only ever find sweaty nylon socks – but John Lewis have this cotton mix flight ones.
Pull on boots/lace up trainers (think new-ish trainers though, it’s a long time to be in the back-draught of your own trainers that could walk there on their own, it’s not that I speak from experience… ahem.)
Or these boots from Next – sort of pull on, but roomy enough to get swollen feet into. Next £68.
Comfy cotton pants, say no more.
And whilst we’re on the subject – a wire free bra… obvs.
My other essentials to have to hand are a mini make up bag that you can pop in the seat pocket in front, or sit on, if you’re in an exit row sit and aren’t allowed your bags with you initially, containing the following; anti bacterial wipes, tissues (perfect opportunity to catch up on weepy films and blame jet lag for ones emotional outpouring), blow up pillow; I can’t be doing with the beany ones people attach to their other bags – I need compact.
An eye mask – excellent not only for enforcing sleep – but makes all other senses get on high alert (Can i smell something? Did I hear the trolley? Are they going to feed us again?); also great for getting the Bjorn Borg bouffant look for either your own personal amusement or those you might be travelling with.
I also take my iPhone head phones, I prefer the sound quality… also great to keep on wearing once you’re trying to nod off to help block out more white noise, or the git behind you snoring. Phone charging cable so you’re all set to go the other end.
Lip balm. Hair band. Gum/mints – because have you ever used the tooth brush/toothpaste from the little bags left on the seats BEFORE you get off the plane?
One other thing that I have also found that helps is to travel with a colleague who’s secretly (not that secretly) happy to reeeeaaally search out a deal so that we can upgrade from Economy, adjusting meeting days accordingly… I’m happy to take each trip as it comes; but you know, it *will* be hard to go back to the very rear of the plane.
Safe, and comfortable travels.