Long-haul flights are great in theory—they get you to where you’re going, fast—but it’s not always the most comfortable way to travel. Don’t let that discourage you though; once you become a packing pro, jetlag will be a thing of the past. After all, comfort is key to the art of falling asleep mid-flight. Whether you’re a newby flier or a Grabr pro, these packing tips won’t let you down.
Ever notice that it’s scorching hot one minute and freezing the next? Aircrafts tend to be warmer during the boarding process and much cooler after take-off. So, whether you’re packing for an epic trip to see the Northern Lights in Iceland or joining your friends for a Mexican getaway, you’ll probably want to suck it up and pack that extra sweater…even if you’re convinced you won’t need it.
We like to think of this concept as “layering up.” Stefanie Michaels, aka Adventure Girl, takes this approach whenever she’s traveling, which is often. “I always dress casual-nice to board the plane, but change into leggings and a couple of layers on top to be warm and comfortable, especially for overnight flights.” She recommends shopping at Joie, Elizabeth and James, Theory and Max Studio for casual-chic clothing. Quality fabrics are always a good investment.
If you’re not prepared to switch up your outfit shortly after boarding, opt for black leggings or baggy harem pants. For shorter flights, skinny jeans should be okay but if you plan on sleeping, think about a day-to-night outfit. For guys, your best bet is a pair of loose-fitting jeans or comfortable trousers. Throw in a hoodie and/or a cardigan and you’re good to go.
We went straight to the experts for this one, since footwear can easily make or break your flying experience. As any long-distance traveler knows, your feet tend to swell up like a balloon on flights and as such, which can be pretty uncomfortable if your not wearing the right shoes.
If you’re looking for a straight answer, we don’t have one BUT the common thread (no pun intended) is comfort. Hayley of Flavor of Tuscany always opts for flip-flops since they won’t constrict your feet and they’re easy to slip on when in need of a bathroom break. Alternatively, Paris-based Leah of Leah Travels prefers a pair of stretchy ballet flats that are both comfortable and fashion-forward.
If you tend to get cold on long-haul flights (join the club!) consider investing in a pair of Uggs. Erica Day always travels with an Ugg-like pair of slip-ons that keep her feet warm without cramping their style.
Even if your carry-on bag is bursting at the seam, it’s always a good idea to pack a few clever add-ons. A scarf, especially pashminas and other soft fabrics, double as pillows and/or additional blankets on long-haul flights. Alternatively, you can pack a kimono that can easily work as a chic cover-up at dinners, or, if you’re headed to the Caribbean, protection from the sun.
Tight on space? Instead of packing an extra scarf or kimono, search your closet for items that serve multiple purposes. For example, a hoodie keeps you warm on long flights while also serving as a DIY eye-mask. For those who forgot your flight pillow at home, hoodies provide a soft cushion between your head and the seat.
Hats and socks are smart additions to your carry-on, too. In fact, you might not even need to pack a spare pair but rather, rearrange your luggage a bit. If you’re already headed to a cold-weather destination, take your wool hat out of your checked-bag and throw it into your laptop case.
Upgrade your style
Looking for an upgrade? Join the club! While there’s not set formula for getting upgraded to Business or First, unless you are a serious frequent-flyer with status, but dressing the part can sometimes tip the scale in your favor. If nothing else, at least you’re ready to hit the ground running when you land!
One of our favorite (and fabulous) flight attendants, The Classy Cloud, recommends sticking to a black and white color-combo. So, for men, maybe it’s a while button-down blouse and fitted-black jeans. For women, you can easily dress up a comfortable black maxi dress with a white blazer or cardigan.
If you’re a jeans & t-shirt kind of traveler, that’s totally fine but she suggests leaving your ripped pair at home and pack a dressier pant instead.
Want to earn money while traveling the world? Start bidding on grabs so you can book that long-haul flight. Hey, at least you’re prepared now!