1) Bag yourself a seat that’s right for you!
A lot of travel blogs seem to give very strict advice on seats – always front! never the middle! The race is on for 17-C! Well, for me it’s a really more about picking a seat that suits you and your situation for your journey. I’ve spent many, many hours on long haul flights to Mauritius and elsewhere and the reality is every seat choice has pros and cons. If I’m travelling alone, I like to be in a window seat near an exit, because I know I won’t be disturbed and it’s my best chance of getting some sleep, plus I get to be off the plane early and back with my friends! But if I’m with my someone, or especially with a group, I’d probably book to go nearer the back to be in with a chance of there being some more space or free seats, as typically the airlines fill up their planes from the front. The main thing is to get ahead of the game, check the seating plan of your plane and book the one(s) that serve you best.
2) Consider lounge access
They are often a bit of a hidden secret, stowed away behind the main shopping concourse or on a different level, but lounges are becoming more and more open to general travellers. While looking after business frequent flyers or those passengers in the posh seats is the main purpose of Airline lounges, there is now a whole stream of independent lounge networks across the world open to guests no matter what class you’re travelling in. For a fee, usually starting at about £20 per adult, you can spend your pre flight time relaxing on comfortable seats, enjoying complimentary food and drinks (alcoholic and soft), wifi and stocking up on magazines. Of course it’s an added cost, but in my experience it’s usually not much more expensive that sitting down to a meal on the main terminal and you have a whole range of benefits. If you’re coming from the UK, have a look through Lounge Pass at the likes of the Number 1 Airport Lounges. The Marhaba Lounge in Dubai can also be pre-booked for layovers if you are stopping on route. And for those sad about leaving, the Mauritius Airport Lounge is open to all passengers for 2000 Rupees.
3) Devices at the ready!
The entertainment options on board most airlines are getting better and better all the time, but I’ve been let down too many times not to bring a back ups! Make sure you have a range of options that you need and don’t rely on the entertainment provided. I’m always stocked up with my kindle and some movies on my iPad, making sure they are all charged too! I’d also suggest bringing your own headphones too, if like me you prefer them to the standard airline versions.
4) Dress smart
No I don’t mean a ballgown or top hat. I mean be smart about having clothes for the different phases of the flight. I always travel in something comfortable and fairly light (a jumpsuit for example), but have a lot of different layer options for the different stages. Getting on busy flights can be really hot and stuffy but night flights can get chilly, so I always have lots of options to hand. My staples are a scarf, a jumper (or two), at least one pair of socks and often a hat. I also make sure that I have my ‘we’re here!’ look planned out, so when we get close to landing I can quickly change some bits to feel fresh and clean when we touch down. And of course, when you’re on route to Mauritius, get your sunglasses ready for when you come out of the airport!
I’m a skincare fanatic, so this just has to be on there. I won’t go into the technical reasons why travelling and planes can damage your skin (largely because I couldn’t explain them!) but it’s just common sense. You need to look after your skin to make sure that your feeling fresh and clean, and ready to get in the sunshine! Some good quality face wipes, moisturiser, lip balm and others all make it on my essentials list.
My travel essentials
- Face wipes
- Anti-bacterial gel (with an element of moisturiser)
- Face mist (yes it’s worth it!)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dry shampoo
- Bottle for water (save a lot of time getting fed up with those plastic cups!)