Saturday, February 16, 2013

Flying perfectly - 5 tips from a flying Dutchwoman

I hate to brag, but I have perfected my long distance travel experience. Perfected it. This realisation came to me after a lady next to me on the plane made me itch as I saw her bumping in against everything with her three pieces of carry-on luggage and after overhearing an elderly Italian lady curse (Che cazzo! or did she say Brutto figlio di puttana bastardo?) when a security officer asked her to take her shoes off at the boarding gate security check. We humans learn slowly and I guess I just got fed up of making the same mistakes over and over again. I figured you all might as well benefit from my learning process :) 

So, here are the 5 things I think you should do to have a fantastic long distance flight! 
  • Travel Light 
Stick to the rules and bring no more than the amount of kilo's you are allowed to take (This includes you, my Indonesian friends!). Don't overpack and 'think it will be okay', because you will end up being nervous at check-in, or paying for overweight. Just buy yourself a good bag which will not allow you to pack too much stuff. I have been using Tatoinka's business roller for at least seven years now and it rocks big time. Besides wheels it also has straps so it can be used as a backpack in case of emergency. The size can be adjusted and it has a small backpack that can be zipped on and off on the front. I love my bag. Usually, I take around 18 kilo's with me, wherever I go. 

This is what I brought when leaving to Colombia for six months

  • Don't be afraid to look like a hippy with a hangover
When I hop on a plane, I usually look like a hippy tourist, even if I am travelling for work. Yes, I look slightly ridiculous, but hey! I want to be comfortable and warm above all other things. So, I wear a 'harem' pants (as my mom calls them. Is this even their official name?), a long sleeve shirt, a sweater and sneakers. This way I also don't need a belt, which saves me time at the security queue. For women it's very important not to wear tight pants during a long flight. I hope you girls know why, so I don't have to go into details here :) I always bring a big scarf, which I can use to hide under if I want to sleep or when I get cold. Oh, and socks! I bring a pair of thick socks… I hate cold feet.

No harem pants in this case, but certainly easy-going...
  • Hydrate
Don't bring bottles of water on the plane. You know this. So why is that still many people do it? Every single time! Well, the intention to drink a lot during the flight is a good one at least. Make sure you drink enough. Take every opportunity for drinking something, because flying really dries you out!  A positive side effect of drinking a lot is that it will make you get up and pee. Move! Do some exercises while you're at it. Also, bring moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated, it suffers during the flight. 
  • Keep it simple
In order to make sure you can get through the baggage and body check, don't wear jewellery, belts or shoes with steel in them. Also, just bring one piece of carry on luggage. I usually bring my backpack and a tiny purse where I keep my passport on the plane. If you have a laptop with you, take it out of your bag at the security check, please!

Do bring a pillow, an eye-cover and a shawl to keep it comfy!
  • Drink tomato juice, eat ice cream and enjoy!
Apparently, our taste buds go crazy in the air, so enjoy it! Drink tomato juice or other things you usually don't like. Explore to see what happens! Don't drink too much coffee or alcohol - these will dehydrate you even more. KLM's in-flight service usually offers something salty (crisps or noodles) and ice-cream after 8 hours or so. This really doesn't make any sense to me, but I always secretively look forward to the ice cream. 

Oh, and enjoy the feeling of arriving at your long awaited destination! 

Granada, Nicaragua


Tom said...

On hydrating yourself: do bring an empty bottle with you on the plane, aircrew are more than happy to top you up with water! (a good habit I picked up following the advice of another blogging traveler/traveling blogger, Chris Blattman)

Anonymous said...

hey how about simply just flying biz - it's all smooth and comfortable and no need for the hippie-4ever race-to-the-bottom survival! haha;)

Miriam said...

1. wear shoes that you can slide into so you can take them off at security a lot faster.
2. let go off all ideas that makes you think you need to look stunning: you've travelled for 12- 24 hours: you are allowed to look like you did.
3. If you don't have harem pants, wear skirts. It also helps with no 2. But make sure you wear tights too, cause it's cold up there!