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How to Survive a 24 Hour Flight Solo

By Katie Penberthy

Last updated: 4th October 2015

Despite many flights around the world, I still dread a long haul. Lots of my colleagues love airports and flights. I find them a pain. I just can’t wait to get to my destination and start having fun. If you are like me then read below for my top tips on how to survive a 24 hour flight!

Before the flight…

1) Arrive in plenty of time. I hate the stress of rushing and nobody likes that feeling of almost missing a flight. Queues at security are long, mostly because people seem incapable of reading the signs whilst they are waiting in line. They then get to the front of the queue and seem wholly shocked that they need to empty their pockets or take out their laptop. They then take 5 minutes fannying about doing all those things whilst people behind get annoyed at them. Don’t be one of those people. Get in line early and get your items ready for the scanners!

2) Select your seat – I think you are either an aisle person or a window person. Let’s face it when travelling solo nobody prefers to be in a middle seat. I am an aisle person as I feel claustrophobic being wedged in between a wall and a stranger. Plus there is the awkward trying to climb over someone you don’t know if they are asleep and you need the loo. As an aisle seat expert, I am happy to tell my fellow row passengers that I am happy to be woken up at any time if they need the loo. Much better than being woken up to their bum in my face as they try to climb over me.

3) Eat an amazing meal at the airport. When travelling solo I feel it is my right to treat myself to a rather expensive and yummy meal at the airport. Aeroplane food doesn’t really do it for me, so being faced with a plate of mush on the flight is made a lot better by having a rather full stomach before I get on the plane. Take some chocolate and sweet snacks on the plane as well – perfect for those midnight munchies.

4) Fully charge your phone before you go and carry your charger with you – nothing worse than wanting to listen to some music or see what’s new on Facebook at the stopover and then realising your phone has no juice. Carry your charger and your plug adaptor with you at all times! Then you are prepared for all plug types!

When it comes to hand luggage on a long haul flight, packing smart is essential. You don’t want to be without something you need for a full 24 hours, but you also don’t want to over-pack, no one can be bothered to keep going to the overhead lockers because their bag was too big to fit under the seat in front!

My essential items include…

Bottle of water – sometimes the air hostesses take their time with drinks so having your own supply is always good.

PJ’s – I realise this is a bit of a princess one. But I have a t-shirt and pair of plain black Primark pj bottoms and change into them pretty early on in a night flight. Flying in jeans or a skirt just gets uncomfy after a while. It is all about the freedom of movement people!

Toiletries – FACE WIPES! Makes you feel refreshed after the first 12 hour stretch when you are ready to murder that screaming child. Moisturiser – because aeroplanes have recycled air which means dry skin. Make up – to make you feel that little bit more human when you get off on the other side and so your unwashed and unmakeuped face doesn’t scare the immigration staff into not letting you in their country.

Chewing gum, toothbrush and toothpaste – you wouldn’t go all day without brushing your teeth at home, why would you do it on a flight?! Just because you are thousands of feet up doesn’t mean bad breath is ok!

Scarf – essential for covering up and avoiding open mouth sleep face. Also useful as a pillow.

Flight socks – ok, I am a granny. But my feet and ankles have a habit of swelling up so much that I can’t often put my shoes back on after the flight if I don’t wear flight socks. DVT also wouldn’t look too sexy on me, or anyone for that matter.

Travel/neck pillow – I am torn with this one. Sometimes I take them long haul and just find them irritating and a massive waste of space in my hand luggage as big airlines will always provide a pillow. On the other hand, on my recent trip to Sydney, I took a cylindrical one which was much more comfy than those neck types. I would say if it is your first time, give it a go.

Spare pair of pants – you just never know…

Finally, whilst the 24 hour solo flight may seem like a chore, just remember that it is time for you to chill. Watch movies, relax and get as much sleep as you can. You will need it for the adventures ahead!

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