A solo traveller's survival guide for long-haul economy flights
Exploring exotic places and cultures sound exciting, except the seemingly endless time spent in a narrow seat on the long-haul flight taking you there. It seems even worse for a solo traveller, as you wouldn't have a shoulder to lean on, or a companion to chat with. We have asked some of the most frequent long-haul flyers for some tips to make the journey as comfy as possible.
We will skip the obvious ones like getting an aisle seat, wearing soft cotton clothes, bringing a pair of socks, and just focus on the less-known and super handy ones:
Get the best seat possible
If you can, do not leave your seat choice to the airline, try to reserve a seat as soon as it opens. Here's the secret weapon: SeatGuru. Just enter the name of airline, flight number and date, it will automatically show you which seats are the best and the ones to avoid. Here is an example: it does not just show which seats are good/bad, but also the amenities of each seat and the reason why it is bad/good. It is free to use, make sure you check this before booking your seat.
Food and nutrition ready
The long-haul flights often cause your stomach to rock, and airline food does not help. Always bring some snacks or meals onto the plane so you do not need to starve or risk the food quality. We recommend packaged soup- as you can eat it hot and it's easy to digest.
Food with vitamin B help to release stress, and vitamin C help to boost the immune system. Why not carry some soluble tablets which will support your well-being throughout your entire trip.
Due to the pressurised cabins, air is very dry. Don't only drink water when you feel thirsty, drink plenty regularly. The cups served onboard are pretty small, so we recommend you bring a bottle on board and ask the cabin crew to fill it so you always have something to drink.
Take a breathing mask with you. This does not only protect you from the gems in the aircraft, you can also wear it damp which help your breathing system to stay hydrated.
Bring lip balm, moisturizer (mist will be great as it works on both face and hair) and eye-drop to help your skin combat the dry air. We've seen women using face masks during the flight - it is, of course, good for your skin, but if you do not want to attract much attention, try sink-in mask.
And here's the fact few know about: when you are high up in the air, you are exposed to higher level UAV and UAB rays. So if you have a seat close to the window, apply sun cream before your travel.
Dress to get comfy
Take off your bra before the flight - it does not help blood circulation and will only make you super uncomfortable. Wear knee-high compression/flight socks which improve blood circulation and help your legs to feel lighter. And always bring a scarf with you as it's so versatile - be a blanket, seat cushion, pillow etc.
This is a tough one, but we still found some tools to help you get some sleep.
Get a good travel pillow. There are so many in the markets which all claim to give you a good sleep during your flight. We tested many and narrowed it down to two really worked. 1) Trtl pillow: it wraps around your neck and provides neck support. It's light weight but the cons are: the shape of it makes it a bit difficult to pack into your small backpack; it can get quite hot. 2) Travel Head Pillow: made from memory foam, it also supports your neck sideways. We absolutely love it, it supports without any discomfort, though it is quite large to carry around.
Download guided meditation or hypnosis. When you feel stressed or cannot sleep, listening to those will help you to relax and fall asleep.
Buy a 3D eye mask. Its moulded design does not press against your eyes during sleep, and you'd hardly feel it once on
Plan your sleep in advance to minimize jet lag. This website actually helps you plan your ideal sleeping period during your flight.
Go for a walk and stretch as often as you can. Even if you have a window or middles seat and do not want to bother others, there're still some stretches you can do just in your own seat. Check Vibrant Yogini for the instructions.
Try to enjoy it
Phone off, no disturbance, why not take this time for yourself? Read a book you had on your reading list, reflect your thoughts, watch some films you added to your Netflix watchlist. Don't just think this a painful journey to some destination, but time gifted to you. Try to make the best of it.