In It For The Long Haul
From a very young age I’ve been flying. I think my first Euro trip was when I was 6 months old and from there moving to Maui and flying back and forth between there and MSP to now where I’m living in Sweden and flying between Scandinavia and the U.S. I think it’s safe to say that I have a decent handle on how to make these long haul flights work. I had my routine down for them when I was probably six and it’s just become better with time. Especially now flying between countries frequently I’m learning about the little nuanced difficulties and differences between each place. There are very few direct flights from Sweden to MSP so the majority of the time I find myself with one to three layovers in Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich or Paris. The thing about these layovers is that they are usually scheduled for about 30-40 minutes (this is where the routine of it makes a difference). The thing about short layovers (especially when you have layovers in multiple countries in one trip) is to know what the hell you’re doing. I wanted to make a little guide for how i travel, how I pack, how I make long flights as easy as possible and basically just an A-Z for long travel days where it takes literally 24 hours to get to where you’re trying desperately to go.
Tips + Tricks
I’ve never been one of the neck pillow people but on a recent overnight flight from New York to Sweden I figured it out—arguably the best way to use them is to open your tray in front of your seat and place down a scarf or anything clean then place the pillow on top, use it like a spa bed. There’s a smaller chance that you’ll wake up embarrassingly sprawled across the person next to you that you definitely don't know (this has happened to me and I recommend avoiding it at all costs) and I find that it make my neck feel better than another sleeping positions I’ve figured out.
If you have a layover (especially though an additional country) zoom off of that plane, often you will have to go through additional security screening and boarder patrol which cuts down your already limited time. Have your passport and visa and whatever else you need easily accessible and don’t be afraid to tell security people that you need to zoom because 6/10 times they will put you into a faster lane, doesn’t work every time but always worth trying.
If you do have short layovers (under an hour) and you’re traveling with a suitcase that can be carried on, never check it. 8/10 times you it will not make it to your destination. This has happened to me multiple times, don’t be fooled by the “this flight is full and if you’re not an asshole you’ll check your bag” in my experience if you go up to the desk and just explain that you have a super short layover and you’re not staying in your destination for very long and thus cannot afford to lose a bag they are usually really nice about it and let you keep it.
If you’ve flown all night and don’t want to look like it when you get out of the airport here’s how you do it: before landing go through your skincare (again) or use oil sheets to take off any excess oil your skin has built up during the flight. Skip the full face of makeup because it will never look as good as you want it to. Instead opt for some brightening eye cream and a few touch ups here and there. I always have tinted brow gel (I use Glossier’s boy brow) and a slightly tinted red lipstick or gloss in my carry on, a swipe of those two make you look 100% more put together and my favorite trick in the book is just using a lipstick to create the illusion that you have your shit together. It always works. The other way to do this is skip the makeup entirely and just go with an eye cream and moisturizer to brighten and freshen your skin. Proof that this works: On my last flight from Stockholm to MSP I got on the flight at 6am looking like a zombie having hardly slept the night before in addition to probably having one too many drinks and not wearing any makeup. Upon landing (after doing what is listed above) the guy next to me (in a very not asshole/creepy way) told me he’d never seen anyone look so refreshed and rested after a 9 hour flight. Bam. There you go. It works. I was 2x more exhausted but he’d never know.
To Alway Have In Your Bag
- Noise canceling headphones. There will be babies screaming, that is all.
- Hand sanitizer. I will not explain why aside from planes are gross.
- Lip balm + hand lotion. You will be dry as all hell if you don't use these and also sad.
- Warm socks (especially important if you're flying overnight because every little thing you can do to make yourself comfortable counts, also your toes might get cold if you're like me and have minimal circulation.
- All of your chargers. Do not pack them in your main luggage because at some point the airline will lose that luggage and you're going to be stuck with a dead laptop for a week in a country where you know no one and good luck with that one. (this has happened to me. don't let it happen to you)
In Flight Skincare
1. take off your makeup with either a makeup remover wipe or just don't wear makeup to the airport?
2. spray toning mist/hydrosol/whatever you want to balance your pH and also make you feel like a in-flight skincare ad. (I use a rosewater spray)
4. eye cream (I use Aveda's energizing eye cream)
5. MOISTUREize. (I use Aveda's wedding mask)
6. if you wanna get really fancy with it use either a sheet mask or collegian eye pads (this would fit in between steps 1 and 2).
I hope this is somewhat helpful,