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Image / Editorial

A frequent flyer’s ten essentials to help you stay sane on a long haul flight

by Freya Drohan
01st May 2019

Image via @Calpak Instagram

In the last seven days, I’ve spent over sixty hours on flights — granted this is a little (!) above average, but I do find myself on aeroplanes a lot. Such are the perks of being a) freelance, with no known office or routine and b) a travel writer. I would be lying if I said I was an elegant traveller, with cashmere loungewear and Italian-made leather luggage. But with serious air miles under my belt, I’ve learned how to make a long haul journey in economy class feel a lot more bearable.

From hygiene hacks to skincare saviours, here’s how to arrive at your destination still looking (and feeling) somewhat like yourself.

No lounge access, no problem: just don’t leave home without the below.

Eye Mask

Some airlines might bestow you with a handy little flight pack, but with increasing budget cuts, it’s best to bring your own sleep arsenal to be safe. This offering from sustainable, Irish-owned business The Ethical Silk Co guarantees comfort and chicness — not something generally associated with snoozing while on a Boeing 747.

Mulberry Silk Eye Mask, €30 from


Again, airline blankets are not always a given these days. BYOB (that’s bring your own blankie) or rather, a cosy, extra large scarf that will also keep you snug on layovers in chilly terminals.

Bicolor Stripe Scarf, €9.99 from


Exfoliating Pads

These convenient two-step AHA/BHA wipes are the gift that keeps on giving; I’m not surprised that they’re retained their cult-like status in the beauty world for years. Specifically formulated for dull, uneven and fatigued skin, they deliver on their promise to quickly rejuvenate your complexion. When you land, swipe across your mug (following with your moisturiser of choice) and you’ll notice a brighter visage in mere minutes.

Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross, €105 for 30 pads from


Skincare Hydrators

I’m not a proponent of using a sheet mask in-flight — it’s unhygienic as hell. Before you take off, call in the big guns to see you through to your destination and don’t worry about applying products while in the cabin. A hydrating cleanser, an essence, a hyaluronic acid serum and a nourishing moisturiser will have your back. Oh, and please, please, for the love of your pores, don’t wear makeup on a plane.

The Ultimate Hydration Kit, €67 from


Lip Mask 

The one product I don’t mind re-applying and keeping on hand while cruising at 38,000 feet is a lavish lip balm. But in the name of germs, make sure you’ve washed your hands when you reach into the pot. This one from Korean skincare brand Laneige is the equivalent of wrapping your pout in a squishy, soft layer of jelly (that’s supposed to sound enticing, not weird).

Lip Sleeping Mask by Laneige, €19.99 from



Gets things moving after your foil-packed meal… I’ll say no more.

Chewable Probiotic

Planes can be tough on digestion and in-flight bloat is a symptom you could do without. Pop a probiotic after you consume your meal to help ease discomfort.

Chewable Probiotics by Sona, €8.50 from

Dark Chocolate

I’m not one of those purists who claim that eating plane food is a sin, because on a 10+ hour flight, what are you supposed to do, starve? Granted, I’d rather leave the foil-packed cheesecake or sugar-loaded fruit yoghurt behind. Instead, I’ll bring on a bar of good quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cacao) for dessert or snacking to reap the better health benefits.

Gua Sha

Consider this flat stone your answer to a lymphatic drainage facial and reduced puffiness before you even get to baggage claim. Using this ancient Chinese medicine tool is cited as the ‘Botox of the East’ for a reason: to master how to use it is to rediscover your true bone structure.

Your Custom Emergency Pack

Flying can take its toll on you – as can constantly packing for trips if you are on the go frequently. My ultimate time-saving hack is to create your own ziplock pouch of tried-and-tested goods that will make travel feel that bit easier. Once you’ve nailed your compact kit, keep it stocked so it’s ready to throw into your carry-on at a moment’s notice. Here’s what’s usually in mine: electrolyte sachets, Quintessential trace mineral vials, peppermint tea bags, Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C packets, hand sanitiser, eye drops, an eye-lash curler, mini toothbrush/toothpaste/floss and, of course, melatonin (Zzzz).

Revive Active 30 pack, €49.49 from


  • Stephanie Barry-Woods on her travel essentials…here
  • Travel beauty hacks you’ll never have heard before…here
  • Beauty hacks to help us travel light from Nadia El Ferdaoussi…here