Ok, I hope everyone enjoyed learning from (laughing at) my 7 Travel Mistakes I’ve Made And How To Avoid Them post last week. If you haven’t had a chance to read it OR see all the ideas and comments attached, be sure to go back and check it out.
This week we are taking it up a notch. Long flights present a WHOLE different set of issues when traveling. It’s amazing to get to go someplace far, far away but planning is crucial, especially if you have kids in tow. Let me introduce you to three friends that are PROS at world travel.
MEET THE TRAVEL PROS:
Charlotte, featured in Sunglasses To Steal The Show lives to travel! She’s visited all seven continents and most recently went to Antarctica with her 17-year-old daughter Kelli.
Kim is my roommate from college and lives in Hong Kong. Her passport must look like a text book with the amount of stamps in it! With two kids in college, Ft. Worth and Austin, and a home in Santa Fe and a former life in Chicago….I think she spends her life on long flights. Her instagram account looks like a travel website.
Melissa (Missy) lives in London and is the mother of five kids including 3 year-old-twins. Her job with JP Morgan bank involves travel all over Europe, China and the United States. Want to know how to travel with kids? Missy is a pro.
I asked all of them the same questions and below they share their tips for long flight travel, grab a pen or bookmark this post because you are going to want their info for future flights :
1. What’s your strategy for packing for an International Flight?
Kim – I’m not really a list maker but when it comes to packing I definitely plan in advance. I usually take a day or evening to plan my outfits and figure out any voids I may need to shop for. I lay out and try on outfits head to toe. I always take a photo on my phone to reference back to while on vacation or trip. I keep my hanging clothes covered in dry cleaning bags to prevent wrinkling on long flights. I hang almost all my clothes including nightgowns because again, no wrinkles and its easy to hang immediately when I arrive.
Missy – If I’m traveling for business, I pack in outfits so it’s easy to unpack and pack at each stop. I try to mix and match pieces so I can go from day to night just by changing one part of the outfit. For example, swapping my work pencil skirt for a pair of jeans but keeping the rest the same. For long flights with kids, I don’t list but pack in sections – everyone gets underwear, everyone gets beachwear, everyone gets pajamas, x number of casual shirts, jumpers and trousers. It’s like a formula for each kid, packed like an assembly line.
Charlotte – I often wear the same outfit going over/coming back. Usually I wear dark or black stretch clothing because it won’t show spills or attract attention. I don’t travel with fancy jewelry, it’s just not necessary. I accessorize with scarves not necklaces. I carry two pairs of earrings. One white gold and one yellow gold…that makes it easier to keep up with.
2. Do you have certain things you like to have with you on long flights? Technology?
Missy – I take an extra iPhone/iPad charger for long flights with kids. A change of clothes for the little ones and an extra t-shirt for me in case someone pukes on me.
Kim – On my international flights, I always have a black pair of yoga pants and black top to use as PJs. I put them on as soon as the plane takes off and we are able to move around. I also have my SIM cards ready for the new country I’m arriving in so my phone will work immediately upon arrival. I like having my computer available so I can edit the photos I’ve taken on my trip. This is a perfect time to create albums and get organized so it’s not hanging over me when I get home. I bring my beats to enjoy music or movies.
Charlotte- I use a carry on piece of luggage with rollers instead of totes. I carry my “entertainment” in it – paperback books, trip paperwork in a closable folder, extra pair of glasses, snacks, sleep sox, and a wrap or coat to use as a blanket.
3. Do you have any tips for keeping up with your passport or different currencies? Apps for travel you like?
Missy – No help here. I travel with 14 passports when I come to the US. No short cuts. I have a great wallet from Smytheson that has different color zippers. I use it everyday when I travel. I reserve one of the zippers for my foreign currency. I like the Apple passbook app for storing electronic boarding passes. I like the normal iPhone weather app for keeping track of weather in multiple cities.
Charlotte – On money, I use one credit card generally and have one different card as a backup. I always have cash. I like to get my foreign currency at home so I’m ready to hit the ground running when I land. And, I always keep $US stuck away for emergencies. I keep $100 in small bills for tips stateside. (I am nice to myself and use porters whenever I can). Keep foreign currency in small bills for tips —again, let the porters/bell hops do the shlepping.
Kim – The passport case is a must! Its handy and keeps all your airline cards, global entry or residence cards all in one place for airports and immigration processing. I’ve recently organized my currencies because living in Asia, every tiny country has its own currency. I’ve collected my sunglasses boxes and label them with each currency grouped by box and then grouped the boxes by regions. i.e.. North/South/Central America….Asia/Europe/Africa. This way I can easily find my currency or know I may need more before departure. Tip for traveling in Asia – ALWAYS have US dollars, you can exchange money anywhere. I keep a wallet with 2 pockets allowing one side for current currency and the other side for other currencies. I take a small Chanel coin purse for the current coins which seem to be large and heavy. My most used app is Trip Advisor …not always spot on but a good starting point and helpful forums.
4. Do you take anything in advance for jet lag or during your flight? Do you have a strategy that works for you for jet lag?
Kim – I take a couple of glasses of wine and 2 advil PM’s religiously! Literally, I can sleep for 10 hours in some cases. Once dinner is completed …lights out regardless of the direction I’ll be traveling. I’m not into prescription sleeping pills, they seem to knock me out too much. When I arrive at my destination, I do not nap and I try to get on that time zone as quickly as possible. The busier you are, the easier this is. I also take 2 Advil PMs every night for 3-4 days and this forces a sleeping pattern. Otherwise you up at 2 am sleepless. As for kids, I give them 1-2 Advil PM too depending on the age.
Missy – I love Melatonin for jetlag for me and the kids. You can buy chewable, child strength melatonin in the US. Otherwise, for long trips to far away time zones, just get on the local time asap. Force yourself to stay up late when you travel from London to California -then you’ll sleep longer in the morning and get on the time quicker (unless of course your 3-year -old wakes you up)! Don’t be afraid to drug your kids when traveling East – they need melatonin to go to sleep at night or they will stay up forever and never adjust.
Ivy – I’ll weigh in here too since I used to live in Australia. I agree with everything above. Actually, Advil PM has the opposite effect on me and makes me buzzy like caffeine so try your sleep meds. before you travel. I also always used the natural light trick. When you arrive at your destination, walk out into the natural light and look up for a minute or two. Do the same first thing in the morning over the next few days. Natural light helps reset your own melatonin levels. I think I mentioned this in 5 Ways To Reset Your Famiy’s Body Clock post during daylight savings changes.
5. Any other tips you want to share with us?
Charlotte – Yes! Since we usually take a lot of pictures on these trips that end up in photo albums forever, I always make sure I get my haircut, nails done and my lashes done before I go. On arrival, I always book a car and driver to greet me so I don’t feel lost in the new city. He can take care of the bags and get me to my hotel while I get my bearings riding along. It makes me feel safe also. Look nice, you get better treatment throughout the travel day.
Kim – Yes! Hydrate! On the flight, I barely wear any makeup…maybe mascara and lipstick just to get through the airport. Once on the plane, wipe your face off completely and hydrate your face, eyes and hands. Here are some of my favorites by Benefits and take those samples that so many stores hand out. They come in handy!
Ivy – I also like misting products during long flights like mini-evian face misters and Kiels lip balm.
Do you guys have any LONG flight tips to share with each other? Leave a list for everybody in the comment box below.