Thursday, September 30, 2010

What to wear on a long-haul flight, part one (for women)

I've been looking at travel clothing on the interwebs (my obsession continues). It all seems to be designed to make you look like a Liberal Member of Parliament. Beige slacks, anyone, teamed with a nylon polo shirt?

Thank you, no. I don't believe I will.

Or for the ladies, high-waist beige pants, teamed with a chambray-style shirt?

How about special socks you can wear for 168 days without washing them, and they hardly smell at all, on a good day with the wind blowing in the other direction?

Once again, noooo. I will put that on the totally not necessary at all ever list, along with the travel humidor, the sarong* and the travel pack of gaffer tape.

I actually don't really see why you'd want specific clothing for travel at all, other than what you'd wear at home (with a big unless you're doing specific activities that require special gear caveat) except for on the plane.

A long-haul flight has specific outfit requirements. You have to be able to sleep in it. It has to (in my opinion at least) not completely look like a tracksuit. I totally refuse to change into PJs on a plane (six different kinds of wrong) and I also refuse to sleep in a bra (ugh, uncomfortable) or to go without (very uncomfortable for running around airports, unless you're blessed with an A-cup). And then there's the shoes dilemma. You need to take them off on the flight (who can sleep with shoes on, I ask you), but you don't want to walk into an airplane toilet in socks, trust me. Ewww. And planes can vary from too cold to arctic.
Here are my answers (for women, obviously, I will cover men in the next post).

Yoga pants. They're just like tracksuit pants only not quite as embarrassing on arrival when you realise you're in a stylish European city where no-one would be seen dead in tracksuit pants ever to pop down the shop for a bagette. They're really comfortable and they don't have any bits that dig in. I wear them around the house all the time too.

The singlet with built in shelf bra. I do note this probably won't work for you if you're over a c-cup, in which case I'd recommend finding the most comfortable sports bra you can. For me, these work perfectly. I wear one, and I take a spare in my hand luggage for after I have a shower on the stop-over (along with spare undies and socks, and a spare t-shirt).

Speaking of tshirts... Oversize "boyfriend" tshirts are where it's at. They're loose, comfortable to sleep in, and non-binding when you're bloated from the pressure changes.

The hoodie. Mine is black velvet because it's soft and nice. Again, go for loose. The hood keeps your head warm in the coldness of the plane. An inside pocket for your iPod is good so you don't have cords going everywhere while you sleep. The ultimate is clearly a SeV microfleece hoodie, which has 11 pockets and will totally prevent cords going anywhere except into your ears where they are supposed to be, because it has a special system. I am lusting after one of these like you wouldn't believe.

Shawl, for extra warmth, a little bit of colour, and with the added bonus of making your outfit look less like you're about to do an actual yoga class. It does not need to be a pure-pashmina-made-from-only-the-beard-hair-of-the-cashmere-goat expensive thingy. As long as it's large, it's all good. Suggest going for darker colours, but definitely colours. It's unfortunately obvious when you drop your airline curry on a pastel shawl, and it's all a bit too monochrome for my liking if you go for black or grey.

Shoes. What you want is something in a non-sneaker, but easy to wear. If you wear sneakers with yoga pants, you will look like you're on the way to the gym. Personally, I love Birkenstocks. Sandals if you're going somewhere hot, clogs if not. I note that under no circumstance should men attempt to wear Birkenstocks. Unless you're Jesus. There is no other possible excuse.

You also need to bring warm socks for when you take your shoes off inflight. I like boys' explorer socks because they come in stripes and fit me just fine (I like stripes, and have small feet).

And slippers, with a rubber or similar actual sole, to protect your socks from the afore-mentioned grossness of the toilet floor. I actually wouldn't advise the colour pictured, go for a darker colour.

You also want to make sure you have a plastic bag to put your slippers in when you "deplane" (as our Amerian friends call it) because otherwise the grossness could spread throughout your handluggage. I am not actually unhinged about germs etc (I keep laughing, for example, at suggestions of carrying antibacterial wipes to wipe down everything in sight when you travel) but airplane toilets really are disgusting by half way through a long-haul flight.

My suggestion is to leave your shoes on until after takeoff (in the unlikely event that you have to leave the plane in an emergency, it's almost always at the beginning or end of the flight) then taking them off, putting them in the overhead locker and putting on your warm socks. Leave your slippers under the seat in front of you for easy access when you need to go to the toilet.

And don't forget - clean singlet, clean top and clean undies. A clean pair of warm socks for the second leg, and if you're landing somewhere cold, a clean pair of normal black socks for your destination.

Ack, I nearly forgot - the large stretchy headband. This is an essential for me, because I HATE bits of hair on my face while I'm trying to sleep (issues, I know). I plait my hair, and stick one of these on, and voila, no hair, and it's still comfortable enough to sleep in. You could coordinate with your shawl if you wanted to. I just have a black one.
And accessories - I like to wear a chunky bangle (something worth nothing) - I also like to have a watch for the flight, even though I normally hate wearing a watch. Set it to your destination time when you get on the plane. I take it off and put it somewhere I can see it (I have a plastic swatch watch I got in grade five that's great for travel).

*I know everyone seems to think this necessary, and arguably could at least be used for lounging by the pool, but I have an over-sized muslin shirt that rolls up even smaller and offers some protection for the arms, which a sarong does not. It also does not come untied and fall down.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Qantas FF tip: Save $82.50

For overseas folks, joining the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is free; for us Aussies it usually costs $82.50 - but you can skip the fee completely.

How? Head to Woolworths/Safeway and grab and register an EverydayRewards card. Then go to this webpage, where you can join the Qantas Frequent Flyer program for nothing, saving $82.50, and start collecting Qantas FF points when you shop at Woolies (only if you spend over $30, unfortunately, but hey, it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fight jet lag? There's an app (or several) for that.

Being the travel nerd and lover of all things technomological as I am, I have downloaded all three of the available jet lag reducing apps available for your iPhone/iPod/iPad, have played with all of them and am reading to give you the drum on what's what in the world of jet lag-fighting apps.

1. Virgin Atlantic's Jetlag Fighter.

Developed in conjunction with Mental Workout, this app is supposed to allow you to register, develop a personal profile, then enter trip details. The app then calculates when you should avoid/seek exposure to light in order to get over your jetlag faster. Unfortunately, it doesn't work properly - half the audio files at the beginning don't play (at least on my iPad), and although I've set up a profile, I can't log into it - the app just shuts and boots me back out to the home screen. I've contacted them about it three times now - no response. Save your $1.99 I say.

2. iJetlag

It's cute. It suggests you "prepare yourself mentally" using their simple steps (I agree that mental preparation is key - more of that in another post) and use their audio tracks (purring kittehs!) and blue light function at various points to help reset the body clock. I'm not sure they're right about when to use the blue light - they seem to think it makes you sleep, actually blue light wakes you up and makes you more alert. I'm planning to use this a bit differently from the way they suggest - using the blue screens when it's morning at my destination rather than at night when I'm trying to sleep.

3. Brainwave sleep cycle tuner

This program has two functions (other Brainwave apps have more) - sleep and wake. Basically, sleep puts you to sleep and wake wakes you up (duh!) It plays slightly different tones in each ear, which apparently "entrains" your brainwaves to achieve the desired state. You can add four different sorts of soothing background noise - oceans, thunder, rain and 'pink noise'. It sounds a tad hokey, but I actually think it works - I tried it last night and the sleep one had me out like a light, and the awake one this morning made me feel quite a bit more alert. It may of course be psychosomatic... Anyway, two thumbs up to this, which I will definitely use when recovering from jet lag.

Search the iTunes app store for "jet lag" - there are a couple more apps including one that features the anti-jetlag diet, which I'll review for you soon. In the meantime, better than any app is my top tips for avoiding jet lag - I can tell you from experience, these actually work!

My top tips for fighting jet lag

Jet lag... is there anything worse?

Well, yes, plenty of things, clearly, but there's no need to get too technical! Living in Australia, we NEED to have the whole thing sorted, because if we go to America or Europe, our body clocks are pretty much turned upside down and inside out.

Last year coming and going from Paris I had no jet lag at all - I did have an early night the first night, because I was tired from 24 hours on the road, but it was about 9pm and I didn't have that ghastly-tired-confused-oh-my-god-what-is-going-on-I-feel-disgusting thing happening. My secret is in a number of things - and I'm going to try out some more next time I travel long distance.

Here's what I do:
  1. When I get on the plane, I set my watch to destination time, and I sleep or stay awake depending whether it's day or night there. I try to think of that time as the time, and not think about what time it is in Melbourne or what I should be doing according to Melbourne time. This is really important!
  2. I take a sleeping pill to sleep when it's night-time at my destination time. This helps with the adjustment. Actually, as it's generally the 14 hour leg of the flight, I usually take two different sorts - one that lasts around six hours, followed six hours later by one that lasts around four hours. I start this process a couple of hours into the flight, once they've served dinner, aiming to be properly awake again for when they serve the last meal before you land. You probably should discuss this with your doctor before trying it - I am in no way a qualified medical professional.
  3. Block out the light when you're trying to sleep - ordinary sleeping masks - the type they give out on planes - are better than nothing, but you're really better off investing in a good one (I have a new one about to arrive from Magellans, I'll review it for you once it arrives)
  4. Lavender essential oil helps you sleep, so does cooling your body temperature down (although that's normally not an issue on a plane, they're freezing...)
  5. Try to be as comfortable as possible - feet up, blankets, non-binding clothes. Yes, it's economy class, and it's horrible, but there are things you can do (see previous post on what to pack in your hand luggage)
  6. I don't follow the whole of the anti-jetlag diet - it's too damn complicated for me, and I hate having my caffeine restricted, it makes me cranky. What I do is a small part of the anti-jetlag diet. Basically, carbohydrates make you sleepy, protein wakes you up, and also helps to reset your body clock if you eat it at breakfast time. Try to eat carbs when it's bedtime at your destination, protein at breakfast time (there's nothing like getting off a plane in the morning and tucking into bacon and eggs - just skip the toast). There's new evidence that starving for 12-16 hours may fend off jet lag - here's a more detailed explanation, with videos. What you do is not eat for 12 (or so) hours before breakfast time at your destination - shouldn't be too hard as that should be when you're sleeping anyway. Then eat protein. This is actually what I did (without realising it at the time) flying to and from Paris last year, and I am sure it's part of why I didn't suffer from jet lag.
  7. Light. Exposure to light is really important. I try to make sure I get as much daylight as possible on the first day in a new time zone - it helps reset your circadian rhythms. British Airways has a jet lag calculator that tells you when to avoid light and seek light. I just go for as much daylight as possible, and as little light of any sort as possible when you want your body to think it's time to sleep - works as well as anything, but of course you may be restricted by having to work, for example, if you're travelling on business.
  8. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. That means water, people, not alcohol. Apart from the fact that I would never mix alcohol and sleeping pills, alcohol in mid air dehydrates you unbelievably badly and makes you feel, well, shit. Stick to the H2O and stay moist.
Things I'm planning to add to the agenda are blue light - in the morning - and using the Brainwave Sleep Cycle Tuner on the wakeup cycle (also in the morning - I don't generally have any problems getting to sleep, if I've followed the regime above, but getting going in the morning can still be difficult!)

When I go to the US next year, I'll probably also do some experimentation with melatonin, seeing as you can buy it over the counter there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hot sale: Eagle creek luggage at Brands exclusive

For Australians, check out Brands exclusive, they've got all sorts of Eagle creek packit cubes, sacks and accessories, as well as several different Eagle creek carry on bags at reduced prices. The shoe cubes are particularly bargainous, at less than half price. Check it out now, the sale is for two days only...

It's an invitation-only site, but if you use the link I posted above, it's like an invitation from me (aren't I nice!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Around Melbourne - sales and samples

  • Snowgum is offering $100 of free travel essentials of your choice when you buy Eagle Creek luggage (until 3 October)
  • Kathmandu has limited amounts of packing cubes, padded electronics cubes and travel towels in unpopular colours (who cares, it's going inside your suitcase!) as well as a double member discount until 26 September
  • David Jones has a bunch of signs up around the beauty department offering free samples with consultation (including at Clinique and Bobbi Brown) or if you show your David Jones card (including at Sisley and Jurlique). Sample sizes are great for travelling!

Quick tip: Plan your itinerary with your travel buddy

Sean and I are heading to France and then Italy at the end of January - we've just paid for our tickets, and we're planning where we're going, staying and what we're seeing.

We don't have that many opportunities to sit down together and plan (although we do use messenger) so to keep all our details about the things we want to see and the places we're thinking of staying, we're using a spreadsheet in google docs and a document to list possible sights to see. You can share your documents so you can both add to them, and they're accessible from anywhere you have access to the internet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Product review: Figs & Rouge Rambling Rose organic lip, face and body balm

Product details: 8ml, nice and small, and according to the packaging "Use on lips, face & body for nourished, smoothed & blossoming skin"
Bought: In Melbourne from Evelyn Faye Nutrition, 360 Bourke St
For: $4.50
Product website:
Order online (worldwide) from:

The first thing I noticed was the tiny tin - barely bigger than my beloved Blistex lip conditioner, slightly bigger diameter but not as thick. I picked it up and read it, and realised it wasn't just for lips! So I had to buy some to test it, clearly, because what could be better than an all-in-one product in a tiny tin?

So once I opened it, the smell! It smells like really good Turkish delight. I kind of want to eat it.

The texture is kind of strange for putting on your face, but it does seem moisturising. I've put it all over my face and hands, and my hands feel particularly good -but I think in the dry air on a plane it would be great for the face too, and it's certainly made my lips feel good.

The rating: 7/10. I can certainly see myself pulling this out on a plane, and using as lipbalm and on anything else that felt a bit dry. I think though that I'd still want to take some actual moisturiser as well.

Reader question from Mindy: Mens' carry on luggage

Hi Bek

Just wondering what you would recommend in terms of mens' carry on luggage that is a step up from a backpack, yet not something that smugly declares itself terribly expensive. Sort of mid range, executive style thing in basic black. Only needs to hold toiletries, spare shirt, tie, socks and undies.

Have you seen anything like this in your trawl of travel sites?

Any assistance much appreciated - if you aren't flat out doing other things.



Hi Mindy

I've tried both sorts of cabin baggage - trolley bag and backpack and I can't tell you how much the backpack wins! Schlepping through an airport dragging a bag is just not as easy as strolling casually with a backpack. And backpacks don't all look like you're carrying your gym bag full of smelly gym gear either.

Backpacks come in stylish business-like versions these days, in Australia try the Antler size zero laptop backpack (nothing says you actually have to put a laptop in them) or this one if you want something a little bigger (bagworld does free shipping, too). In the US a smaller size smart looking version could be the  Belkin Slim Backpack or for something a bit bigger try this Case Logic 16-Inch backpack - it has the added bonus of being "security friendly", which in theory means you don't have to take the laptop out for screening.

Or you could go a messenger bag - if he's really only carrying a shirt, jocks and socks and toiletries, it's not like it's going to be heavy. My dad has a Crumpler laptop bag, he reckons they're pretty good, and this one looks like it could be the go for packing light business travel. In America where luggage is freakishly cheap in my opinion, you could get something like This Timbuk2 bag.

But if he's really insistent on a wheeled carry on, these are the things I'd think about:
  1. Go for an "underseat" model. He's obviously not a heavy packer, and although they're smaller, they (a) are much less likely to be gatechecked because the overhead lockers are full (happens all the time) and (b) is more likely to be within a wider range of airlines' requirements for carry on bags, including budget airlines. Two American versions, one from Magellans (they do ship to Australia, although I don't know how much it would cost!) or a cheaper option from Amazon, the CIAO! Wheeled Under the Seat Bag. In Australia, try this one from Snowgum.
  2. Soft sided is definitely the way to go - they look better for longer, you can squish them more without them breaking, and they're lighter, which makes a big difference when you're lugging luggage.
  3. If he's tall, make sure the handle is long enough - if it's too short, he'll be constantly bending over when he's trying to pull it along.
Let us know what you end up with (and feel free to send pictures!!)

Bek, who always uses a backpack for carry on!

Belkin Slim Backpack (Black/Light Gray)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's in your Ziploc bag?

Ziploc bags. Without 'em, you can't take liquids, gels or aerosols on the aeroplane. Here in metric land, they have to be less than a litre in volume, in the non-metric bits of the world I gather a gallon is the way to go.

But what do you put in them? And how to avoid embarassment as you stroll down the ever-so-narrow aisle with your toiletries on full view for your fellow zombies to gawk at?

Here are my top tips:
  • As Patsy once said on Ab Fab, "Moist is my word de jour". The air on the plane is ridiculously dry, and it will dry out all of you - eyes, nose, skin, lips, and well, all of you. That's why the top four items on my list are eye drops (the single-use vials take up stacks less room - I take four or five vials),  moisturiser, saline nasal spray (in Oz, the brand I get is Fess Frequent Flyer, it's rad, but it doesn't look like you can get it in other places), moisturiser, of both the face and body varieties, and really good lipbalm - Blistex is my preferred variety, but whatever works for you.I also chuck in a mini pump spray bottle of rosewater. It's excellent for skin, and spraying some on before you moisturise helps lock in moisture.
  • Don't even think about wearing contact lenses, unless you want to be in serious pain, or makeup, unless you want to get off the plane looking like a shrunken head that someone's tried to paint.
  • Smells. There are two basic types of smells: your own, and other people's. Other people's can be horrendous. Ever been stuck on a flight next to someone with some serious wind? Yeech. I always carry a small bottle of lavender essential oil. Couple of drops on my travel pillow, put my nose in it - masks everything. Added bonus is that lavender is relaxing, safe for everyone including pregnant women and babies, and can help you sleep. Actually, I carry a small bottle of lavender oil everywhere when I travel, and let me tell you, it saved my life when I had to use the toilet on a Thai train in third class.
  • Your own smell - baby wipes and deoderant. You can't shower on a plane (unless you're in first class on Emirates, my spiritual home) but you can have a decent wipe down and reapply your deoderant. It makes a world of difference. The people around you will thank you.
  • Toothpaste. Small sized toothpaste, obviously, I like to grab as many as possible from hotel rooms when I travel for work because they're the handiest size. The tiny size you get with travel toothbrushes (which I refuse to use in any case, because they're crap) is too small - you get a couple of brushes out of them at best, and you really want to be able to brush more than that if it's long haul.
  • Cortisone cream. Because I'm someone who has sudden unexplained reactions to things I previously had no reaction to (including recently a kiwi fruit, which I've had no problems eating before, causing weird and instantaneous blistering. Fun times) cortisone cream can be a life saver. Or at least can stop me being in mid air, stuck on a plane and unbearably itchy.
  • And finally, my secret weapon for getting off the plane and not looking like I've been dead for several weeks - eye gel. I use rosewater gel from Perfect Potion (I love their products, and I love rosewater - in fact I also buy my organic rosewater from them - so it's a perfect combo) but I've also used Body Shop Elderflower eye gel. As long as it's gel, it will tighten up the inevitable saggy bags under your eyes and, more importantly, make you feel approximately a zillion times more like a human, less like a zombie.
But wait, there's more! I told you that you can avoid the prying eyes of your zombie-like fellow passengers, and I haven't yet revealed how - or what else I carry!

It's the cosmetic bag the right size for the Ziploc - plus a few other essentials - so that once you've cleared security, you can put the plastic bag in your bag, and roam the aisles of the plane seeking a toilet to perform your toilette with total discretion.

In this bag, as well as my Ziploc, I have:
  • Mason Pearson travel size hairbrush (they're expensive, but honestly, they're worth it. I have a Mason Pearson large sized brush for at home, and I loooove brushing my hair with it. I've had both since I was about ten - so they're still going strong *cough*almosttwentyfiveyears*cough* later. Bristles = no static. And they just feel good, you know - both on your head, and in your hand.
  • Battery operated electric toothbrush. Since I started using an electric toothbrush at home, my teeth just don't feel clean no matter how long I brush with a manual brush for. And a sample/travel size dental floss. Imagine sitting there for 12 hours with something stuck between your teeth...
  • Medications - whatever pills etc you need.
  • If you're female, pads or tampons. You just don't know (and we won't discuss the time I realised I had none at the airport in Paris, had just got my period, and they only seem to sell the old-skool sort of pads with no wings, and definitely no tampons. And I had to ask for them in French - something my high-school French teacher had sadly neglected to teach us). And although I never use them usually, I find pantyliners do help with the whole freshness sitch on a long flight (although I'm all for taking a spare set of undies as well).
  • And the other thing you may have spotted in the picture with your eagle eyes is a face washer (also called flannel or cloth for you overseas types) in its own Ziplock. That thing they do with the hot towels towards the end of the flight is great - and this way you can DIY whenever you're feeling like you need refreshment. I have replaced this since the picture was taken though, with a small cellulose sponge, which I also use at the swimming pool - feels great, and is much smaller (and lighter). You can buy these at Perfect Potion as well, but they're not on the website.
Coming soon: My comprehensive review of different types of baby wipes, and a packing checklist for your Ziploc bag.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quick tip: Free samples in the Sunday papers

The Sunday papers (in Melbourne at least) often have full page ads for new skin creams (etc) that have a free sample offer at the bottom - sometimes for Myer, sometimes David Jones, and sometimes you can take the coupon to either.

They're great because they're the perfect size for your Ziploc bag - or a weekend away.

I've got three samples of Clinique face creams (one night, two day) in the last three weeks - keep an eye out as you browse through the magazines and supplements for the free offers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Handluggage checklist

What do we want? To be upgraded, clearly. But given that's unlikely, what we want is to be as comfortable as possible on a long haul flight. Now clearly Australians should be experts at this, because where ever we go, it's all long haul.

This checklist doesn't include what's in the ziplock bag - keep an eye out for a separate ziplock bag checklist coming soon, as well as more details on avoiding jetlag. In the meantime, here's the list explained:

The most exciting part of a flight. I love takeoff, but as soon as it's over I'm like a five year old and it's all "Are we there yet?" and "When are we going to get there?

Your ears may pop, however. Chewing gum helps prevent this, and so does holding your nose shut and blowing - a maneuver you may be surprised to know has a name, the Valsalva maneuver. It's kind of gross just sitting there blowing your nose, which is why I've included a hanky or tissues in the packing list along with the gum. If you're a small child who can't be trusted not to swallow the gum, try a lolly instead (sweets or candy if you're a foreigner). Very small children should be breastfed, bottle fed or at least given a dummy for takeoff and landing, as this helps relieve the pressure in their ears (and also in everyone else's ears, as we won't have to listen to them scream).

As you know, your iPod can make the plane crash* (as can any electronic device) so they need to be turned off - if you've got a low boredom threshold, make sure you have a book or a magazine in your seat pocket so you've got something to do until they turn the seat belt off.

Lots of people swear by ordering a special meal. Of course if you have special dietary requirements, you kind of have to, but I've tried this and I always get a bad case of menu envy. You end up with some shrivelled looking vegetable thing while everyone else has a chicken stew that smells half way decent and a slice of chocolate pudding. Of course, that's if you get a meal at all - fly a low-cost airline and you might actually starve. I like to bring small snacks because airline meal times are erratic at best, and sometimes I'm not hungry at the right time. I also do a modified version of the jetlag diet (more on that in a future post) so I need protein/carbs at the right time. My top tips are in the checklist.

But not the complimentary beer and wine. Alcohol's effects are amplified at altitude (and try saying that ten times fast when you've been getting stuck into the drinks trolley) and so is the hangover. You dry out in the extra-dry atmosphere of the plane anyway - stick to water or weak/herbal tea. And keep drinking it. Make sure your water bottle is in easy reach and keep drinking. Refill it, take some every time they come around with drinks, and generally drink more than you ever usually would.

Mid flight you may well feel that (sort of ) like a modern Macbeth, your airline has murdered sleep and therefore you shall sleep no more. With the right accessories, however, you'll be sleeping like a baby.
Warning/statement of the bleeding obvious: I am not a doctor. If I was, I wouldn't have to fly economy class.
I am, however, despite my lack of medical qualifications, a big fan of medication on flights. Clearly you should talk to an actual doctor, but routine involves half a valium before boarding the flight, and a sleeping tablet when I want to sleep. I also take low dose asprin for a few days before, after and during a flight - I figure if I'm immobile, I should try not to get DVT. My GP agrees with this approach, your kilometerage may vary.

It's also important to plan when you sleep - I set a watch to my destination time and then make sure it's somewhere I can see it (I don't like wearing a watch, so I use a cheap plastic one and attach it to something handy). Light, food and adjusting your sleep patterns are the keys to avoiding jetlag, so as soon as I'm on the plane, I'm on destination time - for example last year going to Paris we were arriving in Paris at 6am, which meant we left Australia in the evening. I stayed awake the first leg of the flight (to Hong Kong I think, it's all a bit blurry) and then slept soundly almost the whole of the second. We enjoyed a full day in Paris, saw Notre Dame had dinner and went to bed around 9pm, and didn't have a hint of jetlag. More on jetlag in a future post - my current hints and tips, and I've just download the Virgin Atlantic jet lag fighter app, but I haven't had a chance to test it out yet.

The other things I've listed - a pillow (I'll post a tutorial on making your own ultimate travel pillow soon), a neck pillow and a blanket or the world's smallest sleeping bag, which I purchased from the link I just linked to (unfortunately, I am not yet an enormously successful travel blogger who gets free products for review, but I'm totally up for changing that if you have something you want reviewed) and which really is TINY, and also warm - and even more importantly, the tallest inflatable footstool you can find (try Inflatable Ottoman - Clear, or google it if you're not in the US, and make sure it'll fit between your seat and the seat in front - a  kids' version might be better if you're not sure, like this one), are what allow you to turn your instrument-of-torture seat into something that you can pretty much sleep on. orld's smallest sleeping bag

And I can't say enough good things about active noise-cancelling headphones. They block out the low hum of the plane, the sound of screeching children, snoring people, that weird clicking noise... Personally the Cure's exceptionally awesome album Disintegration is my never-fail sleep music (it's all about adjusting your breathing to the tempo of the music - more on that later) so I have a sleeping on planes playlist on my iPod that has Disintegration repeated for about 48 hours (possibly slightly longer than necessary). I also have a backup battery for my iPod like this one, which is essential, because although the Village People told us nobody can stop the music, actually as it turns out, a flat  iPod battery midflight can stop the music.

Stay warm
I could really have called this "stay the right temperature", because planes are ridiculously cold at times, and then kind of hot and sticky at others. Layers are clearly the key  - I'll be transporting a what to wear post over from my personal blog, so stay tuned.

Stay fresh
I can't tell you what a difference having a shower when you stop over makes. I always have a partial fresh set of clothes (top, undies, socks) in my handluggage, and whatever I need to shower either in a lounge (if you have access) or pay showers - you feel 1000% better for a shower. If there's no way of having a shower (like if you're on a direct flight, then you need to be able to rely on your ziplock bag contents (coming soon) and a quick wash in the airplane toilet (well not actually in the toilet, clearly) - but I'd still bring some fresh clothes to change into before landing.

Speaking of staying fresh, there's a reason those slippers are on the list - boy do you not want to walk on an airplane toilet floor in bare feet or socks - yuk. But nor do you want to try to sleep in your shoes. The solution? Take off your shoes and put them (in their own bag) in the overhead locker, put on your warm socks, put your slippers under the seat in front of you, and put your slippers on before you go to the loo. Seriously.

Stay entertained
Either you need a big thick book, or if you're me and read stupidly fast, you need more than one. I have solved this dilemma, by buying a Kindle - without it, my hand luggage is invariably over the allowance, as I need at least three books to last a 24 hour flight, even if I'm asleep for half of it, and you don't even want to know how much of my luggage allowance the eleventy-three books I needed for three weeks in France took up last year (or how horribly overweight my bags were coming home). The Kindle weighs way less. Plus there's the iPod, and I may consider taking the iPad with me, possibly loaded up with a TV show I've missed (like the last series of Dr Who, for example) in case the entertainment system's not working.

And for anything - even listening to the inflight entertainment system - you need those active noise-cancelling headphones, and a spare set of batteries for them, particularly if they're the sort that don't work without batteries. Mine are Sennheisers, like these ones, and they do work without batteries. If I was buying new ones, I'd probably buy these, which are bigger.

So, download the checklist and stay tuned for more information, coming soon.

*I checked, and it is actually true, they're not just asking you to switch things off because they enjoy torturing you.
Image credit: Mollypop, under a creative commons license.

Welcome to

Come on in! Welcome to kilometerage, the blog that knows getting there is nowhere near half the fun, and that the destination is way more important than the journey.

I hate flying. Well, actually, no, I don't hate flying, I hate long flights in economy class. And from Australia - they're all long flights. Perhaps one day I'll get to return to my spiritual home, in first class, and then I won't hate it at all.

In the meantime, I decided to start this travel blog, because I'm obsessed with making the journey more comfortable (even if it isn't half the fun), shopping for travel accessories, planning every detail of a holiday and finding ways to make it even more memorable.

Tune in for packing checklist, reviews, hints & tips, holiday stories, an occasional picture...

Picture ©Rebekka Power, Paris apartment doors 2009