There aren’t very many people whose eyes will positively light up at the thought of a long-haul flight.
But when you do it frequently enough, you learn ways and means to upgrade yourself (without turning left at the airplane door.)
Feel free to use our trips to make getting to and from your next Safari a little bit better and a lot more fun.
How to pick your airline
Find one with a seat width of more than 17 inches in your class.
Air New Zealand, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and Singapore Airlines frequently make the top of the best long-haul airline lists and are a sure bet.
Get your Sartorial Act Together
Here are the three C’s of flying: Comfort, comfort, comfort. A Safari is unlike most other trips as your luggage limit is very real. This means two things for your flying outfit. It must be comfortable. You must be able to wear it once you land as well. Of course, it is even better to change into pajamas once you are onboard.
Don’t fly without compression socks. We keep repeating this because it is a no-brainer (if you need additional convincing simply remind yourself that Olympic athletes never fly without them.)
Do Book a Good seat
For extra legroom book an exit row
For peace book the back rather than the front where babies often roam the bassinets
For moving around during the flight do book an aisle seat
For less noise stick to the front of the plane
Navigate every airport every time
An airport lounge pass takes so much stress out of any traveling experience with a one-off fee for a host of inclusions. From Wifi to charging outlets, food, drink and a spot to shower or nap, an airport lounge may just change the day. Use one of these Apps to find the best one every time.
LoungeBuddy (Free; iOS and Android).
With reviews and photos and the ability to search 230 airports throughout the world by specific amenity. You can even enter your credit card or loyalty plan to find lounges that have free access with your memberships.
DayUse (Free; iOS and Android).
Prefer to just spend your layover napping, swimming or working in peace in your own room? This app will let you use a hotel room for up to 75% off the usual overnight rate. On top of that the bookings are flexible and can be canceled at the last minute (do you think they know flights are occasionally delayed? 😎)
Grab (Free; iOS and Android).
Have you ever arrived in an airport for a layover and needed a meal without walking through the entire airport to satisfy the needs of everyone traveling with you. Grab allows you to browse menus of over 40 US airports, to order directly and when the food is ready the app will let you know — and direct you to your food. This app even syncs with Concur for your expense report.
AirHelp (Free; iOS and Android).
So. Your flight has been canceled, overbooked or delayed. This app will help you get compensation. It advises you of your rights and will let you know if you are eligible for a payout. It works retroactively for up to three years. (The app takes a cut if you get money back, if you don’t it is free.)
MiFlight (Free; iOS).
A crowdsourced source of information that lets you know how long the wait is at every TSA checkpoint in over 100 global and 100 USA airports. Knowing wait times saves time.
Mobile Passport (Free; iOS and Android).
Speed through customs at 3 cruise ports and 25 airports even if you don’t have Global Entry. This app lets you fill out your info and submit it to CBP… then you simply show your app by scanning a barcode. (Inside tip: These lines are occasionally even shorter than the Global Entry queues.)
Netflix (Free; iOS and Android).
And Chill in an Airport. Download before you go to avoid spotty WiFi streaming.
Make good use of your downtime
If you know adults who regularly bag 12 hours of downtime then we want to speak to you. Us? An aircraft is probably the only place we disconnect fully. Plan to indulge in movies, books, podcasts and anything else that will work on an airplane while you don’t work.
Stealth skills for keeping your blood moving on a long haul flight.
It is important to stay active during a long haul flight. Even though DVT will only ever affect a fraction of the population a little exercise on board will also prevent stiff, sore and cramped limbs. The only downside to knowing this is the limited space you have available for your onboard yoga.
Let’s fix that right now. (And then keep repeating the fix once every two hours: which happily translates roughly to the end of every movie you watch.)
Relax your shoulders and elongate your neck. Then roll your head carefully five times in one direction and five times in the opposite direction.
Bend forward and grab one knee between your hands. As you sit up, pull your knee into your chest. Take five deep breaths before repeating on the other side. You can do the seated goose step five times on each side.
Sit up with your forearms resting on the seat arms. Now turn to face the left keeping your hips still. Breathe deeply five times before returning to neutral and then turning to the right.
Stand, hold onto something and slowly perform calf raises. Hold for a breath at the top before lowering down again. Do 10 – 20 of these. (You can also do them on a single leg at a time)
Add: The Promenade
Set yourself a goal to walk to the end of the plane regularly. If you are feeling brave you can lunge while you walk. Worst case scenario you will be judged but you will probably never see these people again.
Prepare for a Few Zzzz’s
Bring an incredible scarf, a great travel pillow, a luxurious sleep mask, and fabulous ear plugs/ a truly special set of noise-canceling headphones (download some of your favorite sleep podcasts: we love Sleep with Me, Mysteries Abound and Sleep Whispers if ASMR is your thing). Pop your mask on and some eyedrops in… and drift away while the magic happens.
Nom, Nom, Nom
You already know we love our food. And we also fall in one of two categories: Some of us hate all airplane food (because can you tell the chicken from the muffin?) and the rest of us just cannot resist anything packed in a tiny teeny packet. No matter which part of the equation you fall on it is very sensible to pack some of your snacks.
An aircraft cabin is a super dry environment. And dehydration is no fun. So do keep drinking water throughout the flight and resist the alcohol, the caffeine.
Be Dazzling on Arrival (because you should Fake it until you Make it)
Wipe your face and hands clean with a great FACE WIPE. Use Leora’s magical travel mask while you fly (be sure to rub the excess into your hands after application). Add a little LIP BALM (re-apply whenever you remember). And use EYE DROPS even if you are only watching a movie.
- Eye drops – watching the latest blockbusters, reading, and sleeping, along with the dry air can take its toll on your eyes. A couple of refreshing eye drops can wake you up ready for the next movie. But even if you don’t plan on watching any movies eye drops will protect your eyes against the dry air of the cabin.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste – if you’re flying overnight or on a long-haul trip, you don’t need to abandon your normal routine. A quick brush will make a huge difference in how you feel.
And voila… you will arrive in the best possible shape to enjoy your Safari to the fullest!
Images via Angela Compagnone, Jacky Lo, Suhyeon Choi, Frank Vex, David Clode