I don’t know about you but about 95% of my past flights were “the cheapest option I could find”. “The most convenient” regarding service or layover times are usually in the lower category of my priority list. My rule is: if I can get to my destination whilst saving a couple of hundred euros, I happily chose the smaller seats and the lack of service on and off the plane. When I then get on that low-cost plane, however, I often regret my choice.
Although I’m saving money, nobody can tell me that it’s fun being squished against the bodies of strangers for several hours without having any extra comfort and feeling like crap afterwards. BUT *spoiler alert* I’ve found a way to get around most of this pain and I’m about to share it with you.
Funny enough, I’m writing this on a, you guessed it, low-cost airline plane from Kuala Lumpur to Bali. In the past 18 hours, I’ve been on a 6-hour flight from Japan to Malaysia and slept for another 6 hours on the floor of the airport in Kuala Lumpur during the 8.5 hours layover time. And that first plane was one of the most uncomfortable planes I have ever been on! To my own surprise, however, I would still tell you that I’m feeling great right now.
You want to know why? Well, I’m about to spill the beans about my must-haves for long-term but low-cost flights as well as long layover times…
- A sleeping mask: My favourite comes first because I’m so excited about it. I’ve never really owned one myself but I luckily got it as a present last week. That mask was probably the number one thing that helped me fall asleep. Another great plus is that it gives you some privacy when sleeping “in public”.
- Hoodie/jacket with hoodie: This one goes with the sleeping mask because it also gives you the feeling of being more protected. Not only from other peoples’ looks (if that bothers you) but also from the nasty air conditioner on planes and in airports which can temporarily turn into freezers.
- Any kind of blanket: This one is especially good for sleeping at the airport but also some extra comfort on a longer flight. In my case, I first thought I didn’t need it but I ended up using my towel as a blanket because it got really cold.
- Earplugs: I can’t stand loud noise when I’m trying to sleep or relax so they have been another one of my favourites on many flights.
- Any kind of pillow: To be honest, I haven’t found the perfect solution for this one yet because they are so big and unpractical to carry. And, if I look at other people with those neck-supporting pillows, they still end up sleeping like everyone else: having their head fall to the front and waking up every 3 minutes.
- Fluffy warm socks: although it’s a no-brainer, I’ve forgotten them on a couple of flights already and regretted it deeply!
- Food and water: This depends on your personal preferences of course and the length of your flight but food is definitely worth being mentioned! And looooots of water of course because it ensures that you’ll feel good and hydrated.
- Safety belt: If you plan on sleeping at the airport, this one can help you keep your mind at peace. Most people already have something like that with them when travelling but you often forget to already use it at the airport.
My quick tip: I used to be stupid enough to keep those essentials spread all over my hand luggage- thinking I could find them quickly when I need anything. Believe me when I’m saying that this is wishful thinking and putting everything into a little bag does wonders!
The great thing is that these must-haves are not only good for long flights but are also everything you need to have a decent night of sleep at an airport. To make life easier for you, I’ve also collected my 4 main steps in a master plan for sleeping at an airport:
The 4-step master plan for sleeping at the airport:
- Keep it fresh: I was already in my comfy travel gear so I only had to brush my teeth and get unready before doing anything else. That way, you also avoid leaving your backpack alone after choosing a spot and you can go straight to bed, or in this case, straight to the floor.
- Claim your territory: Once it was clear that we were going to sleep at the airport, we walked around a little bit and looked for a suitable place. What I was looking for was a place that is rather remote so that people wouldn’t constantly walk past.*
*Two things I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t repeat:
a) stay away from the smoking lounge if you mind the smell
b) avoid exit doors that look like nobody uses them- they will be used and you will wake up because of it!
- Stay safe, stupid: If you are not in Japan where the chances that someone steals your belongings are almost zero, I would highly recommend you to keep your valuables close to your body. I put my phone inside of the packing cube which I used as a pillow and attached my backpack with its buckles to my leg. You think that’s stupid? Well, honey, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
- Rise and shine: I would lie if I said the floor was comfortable, nevertheless, I was surprised when I woke up and realised that I had slept for almost 6 hours. The fact that my body felt a little numb at first gave me the perfect excuse to treat myself to a good breakfast and have a good start in the day.
I promise that the combination of my must-haves and the 4-step masterplan equip you so you can have the most comfortable travel experience on your next trip. If you are an enthusiastic explorer like me I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences! If you think that I forgot the most crucial thing let me know! Leave your comments and suggestions as a comment down below or message me directly.
Thank you for reading my blog post, I really appreciate your time and feedback!
All the sunshine to you!