Long haul travel is something you either enjoy or dislike intensely – I’m probably one of those who hasn’t done enough to dislike it – I love to travel, and the thought of ten hours on a plane, without distraction; kids, dogs, calls or emails fills me with joy. The day they introduce wi-fi on long hall flights, which I’m sure is coming, is not necessarily one I’m rooting for, I love the peace, even if I have to play catch-up when I arrive.
Then there are two types of travellers – those travelling for business and those for pleasure. I usually travel for both, and one of the rules I stick to is that I travel to arrive, rather than just for comfort on the flight, as I know only too well that, as in most things, the more effort you make the better you’re likely to feel, so don’t expect to catch me on a plane in track pants and tshirt any time soon.
There are some things I will never board a plane without – and I mean they’re with me, in my carry-on, so that I don’t have to frantically dig them out later. Apologies also if some of these are totally obvious, which I’m sure they are.
1. A roomy, light, wheeled carry-on bag that expands. I have the Antler Duolite range but there are lots to choose from. Make sure when choosing that you can see dimensions, weight and expandability.
2. A chic tote that is large enough to hold everything you actually need on the flight, and then for daytime use when you arrive. If it gets too weighty with your water/magazines/iPad/makeup kit whilst you’re walking in the airport it doesn’t matter, you can just wheel it on top of your carry-on case.
3. A large bottle of water – ok, so obvious, but don’t rely on the plane service to keep you hydrated.
4. A really good pair of noise cancelling headphones. These are not just good for listening or watching but for cutting out the crying kids when you’re trying to sleep.
5. A wonderfully thick cashmere wrap. These serve as a cover-up, a wrap, a blanket, and can be draped elegantly round your shoulders when you stylishly arrive. I prefer woven rather than knitted but the choice is up to you.
6. A flight mask/eye shade. If you’re travelling near the front you’ll probably be given one, if not take one, every time, and get rid of all the light when you want to rest.
7. A neck pillow. You may think you don’t have room or that they look too precious to carry around the airport. I dig mine out of my carry on case just before take-off. It’s invaluable if you want to sleep and better for your neck. Don’t board without one. You can of course buy these at the airport. As long as you’re not in a rush.
8. A change of shoes. I always travel, depending on the temperature I’m expecting at the other end of course, in flat shoes, either ballet pumps or sandals and I always carry a pair of heels to change into whilst waiting in the baggage hall.
9. Essential toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, contact lens case and cleaner, face wipes and moisturiser. As there are mini sizes of everything now there’s no excuse not to carry a small washbag so you can freshen up before arrival.
10. Make-up kit. I travel everywhere, planes, trains or just for a day out with my Trish McEvoy planner which I’ve written about before. I can start from scratch (and frequently do) before I arrive. The complete planner collection isn’t yet online, so either go to Selfridges or Harvey Nichols, both of whom stock Trish, or call them up and they’ll send.