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Tips from a Frequent Flyer

Many of you won’t know this but even though I hold a British passport, I was born in Mauritius and spent my childhood there until about 12 years old. I haven’t been back in 10 years due to studying, working and travelling to other parts of the world but hoping to be back in the next 18 months.

White sand, coconut trees and blue sea, Mauritius cultivates that postcard destination. Located in the Indian Ocean, it is paradise and I fondly remember the warm people, the rainbow of colours, delicious food, sega dancing, sundowners and where my passion for travel began.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries all over the world. I would certainly class myself as a frequent flyer and I’ve learned a few things along the way. So here are my top tips when flying:

Booking your seats:

  • If you want more leg room, opt for exit rows- If you want to avoid crying children, stay away from the front of the plane as this is often where you’ll find special provision for babies on international flights
  • If you like to move about the plane (or have quick access to the loos) make sure you get an aisle seat
  • If you want to up your chances of having spare seats next to you for a little lie down, then opt for seats near the back of the plane

Luggage:

  • You don’t need to take the whole world with you or those clothes that you haven’t worn in 2 years and decide you are definitely going to need them now. You won’t.
  • Spend a couple of hours planning what you are doing on your trip, whether it’s work related or a holiday, then you can make more informed decisions about what you take.
  • There are shops where you are going so if you need something, you will be able to get it.
  • I took a hand luggage suitcase and a small rucksack last year for a 3-week trip which was work related and ended in a holiday. You can do it!
  • Use a rucksack for hand luggage as it is easier to carry and will better distribute the load across your shoulders
  • I have a rucksack that opens fully like a suitcase. It means I can access everything really easily
  • Carry a small toiletries bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, facial mist, lip balm, eye mask and maybe some eyedrops or saline nasal spray to help with dehydration.
  • I always carry a change of clothes as you never know when an air steward might drop orange juice all over you, right at the beginning of a 14 hour flight.
  • Don’t forget your passport 😉

Before and After the flight:

  • Exercise before and after the flight, even if it’s a 30-60 minute walk to get your heart rate up and your body moving
  • Make sure you are hydrated getting onto the flight and that you hydrate again fully coming off the flight

On the flight:

  • Change your watch to the time of your destination
  • If you’re flight is long haul then I recommend wearing compression socks to help encourage good blood flow and to avoid swelling around the ankles and lower legs. https://amzn.to/2Hplcga or I buy them from a boots store in the airport
  • Get up after each movie you watch for 5-10 minutes to move around the plane and stretch. Yes, every movie!
  • Keep hydrated throughout and if you think you’ve drank enough, drink more…water I mean!
  • Fast until it’s the right time to eat. I’ve been known to fast for 12-16 hours so the next meal I do eat is in the right time zone which allows my body to be in sync

Business Travel:

  • All of the above is relevant
  • If you need to work in the airport, make sure you carry a laptop kit with you which includes a foldable laptop stand, mini keyboard and mouse. This will help to reduce any neck and back pain. Check out Bakker Elkhuizen for some great options on laptop stands, keyboard and mice. You don’t need a fancy mouse when travelling, just a standard (perhaps wireless) will do. I use the 950 Wireless Compact Keyboard and Ultrastand and love them.
  • Try not to work on your laptop on the plane, particularly if you are flying economy as the space is not bigger enough for you to do it properly and you’ll compromise your posture. Take the time to rest, think, read, or make some notes in a notebook. We all need a break sometimes so take this time to have yours.

Most of all enjoy yourself, whether it’s a work trip or a holiday because I believe we are still very privileged to be able to fly around the world in the matter of hours on a plane. Be nice to the staff. I’ve seen on multiple occasions people being nasty to staff and complaining. We’ve all been there with flight delays, uptight air stewards and lack of information but wouldn’t you rather we were safe. A meeting can be moved, your onward travel rescheduled and a few less hours in the sun might be a good thing, especially for us Brits!

Happy Independence Day Mauritius!
Kirst

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