InsurancesafeNZ provides three different travel insurance policy categories: Studentsafe, Workersafe and Explorersafe. This means that if you’re travelling to New Zealand, travelling within New Zealand or temporarily leaving New Zealand, we have something to offer you. Use the Policy Finder to narrow your policy search and get a quote. Our website is also packed with great information on how to keep safe, how to make the most of your time abroad and how to understand your travel insurance policy better. If you need further assistance contact one of our friendly staff on our toll-free number 0800 486 004 (within NZ) or +64 9 488 1638 (outside of NZ).
You’ve booked your flights and accommodation, bought your travel insurance, taken time off work and are just about ready to take off on your holiday!
Regardless of whether you’re a frequent flier or a first-time flier, air travel is never very comfortable (unless you’re lucky to enough to travel business or first class!). Delays, cramped spaces, chilly air conditioning and less-than-tasty airline food are enough to frustrate even the most hardened travellers.
However, there are a number of things you can pack to make your flight as easy and comfortable as possible. When flying, your hand luggage will be your best friend – most airlines allow 7kgs of hand luggage which may not seem much but actually allows for quite a lot, so make the most of it.
Pack your phone charger, a spare pair of socks, some underwear and a clean shirt, just in case your flight is delayed or there is a problem with your checked-in luggage. These won’t take up much space and you’ll be thankful for them if you or your luggage is delayed and you need get in contact with friends or relatives. Likewise, a small packet of baby wipes can really help if you’re unable to have a proper shower. Being able to give your hands and face a wipe will help you to feel comfortable and refreshed. If you don’t use them on the plane, hold on to them – they’re invaluable for cleaning up when travelling!
Unless you’re travelling for business there’s no real need for you to look good (bearing in mind that after a long-haul flight you probably won’t end up looking good anyway!). Ditch the looks and go for maximum comfort instead. Don’t wear your pyjamas – you’re in public so you still want to look tidy – but you’ll thank yourself for wearing comfortable, non-restrictive clothing that you can sleep, stretch and curl up in if you need to.
A pair of loose-fitting pants will be nice and comfortable, especially as you’ll have to remain in your seat for a long time. Some people prefer close-fitting, but stretchy clothing like sportswear restricts airflow to the body which can leave you feeling sweaty and clammy.
All planes are temperature-controlled and air conditioned. Even if it’s warm when you leave the airport the temperature inside the plane is likely to drop over the course of the flight. Not all airlines will provide blankets so avoid a chill by packing something warm. Lightweight, easily foldable layers are great – go for lightweight jumpers, cardigans or scarves over bulky jackets.
It’s also worth considering your footwear. You’ll need to wear shoes on and off the plane but once you’re in your seat you might find it more comfortable to slip your shoes off (especially if you like to sit with your legs folded) so go for shoes without any smell that you can take off and put on easily.
Being stuck inside an air conditioned plane for hours can wreak havoc on your skin, drying it out and leaving you feeling itchy and uncomfortable. Look after your skin by packing a small container of non-oily moisturiser (most airlines will allow containers of up to 100mls) and a lip balm. It’s also best to avoid wearing contact lenses if possible as air conditioning can really dry your eyes out. Opt for glasses instead if you can and if you must wear contacts or are prone to dry eyes make sure you pack a bottle of eye drops too. Make sure you pack all skincare, cosmetics and makeup in a clear zip-lock bag so you don’t have anything confiscated when passing through security.
A wrap-around neck pillow is the mark of the traveller – they might look silly, but they make for a much more comfortable in-flight snooze. Neck pillows are lightweight and many can clip to your bag so don’t take up any additional space. You can use them around the back of your neck to rest your head back or to the side or if your head slumps forward when you’re trying to sleep, turn it to the front like a necklace to keep your head still and provide support.
While not everyone finds them comfortable ear plugs and eye masks can help you get to sleep much more easily. Ear plugs in particular take some getting used to so if you haven’t used them before but want to on the plane try them out for a few nights prior to flying so you know what to expect. You’ll sleep much better for it and arrive refreshed!
Beating the boredom
The novelty of even the best in-flight entertainment wears off after a while so pack a few things to keep yourself entertained. While most airlines will offer films and TV shows on a screen in the back of the seat in front of you, not all do. Virgin Australia, for example, provides in-flight entertainment via an app that passengers download prior to flying and can then use on their own mobile phone or tablet.
Do some research beforehand to see what entertainment the airline you’re flying with provides. You’ll want to be able to set yourself up so that you don’t have to hold up your mobile phone or tablet to watch a film or TV which can become very uncomfortable after a little while. A zip-lock bag big enough to hold your device with a hole cut in the corner, creates an instant TV stand. Put your device inside the bag, smooth out any crinkles, seal the bag and clip it to the upright tray table in the seat in front of you. Then slot your headphones through the hole into the corner and plug them in – voila! A hands-free set!
Books are another great way to pass the time. If you have a really long flight, you might want to consider bringing two – one that really interests you and will help to pass the time and one that’s a bit boring which might help you drop off to sleep. See if you can pack some old paperbacks that you won’t miss much if you have to leave them behind. Or invest in an e-reader and download a few books before you set off on your adventure.
In your luggage
Once you’ve made it to your destination, what you pack can have a huge effect on your comfort and enjoyment of your trip. The key is to be prepared for any situation and pack things that are versatile and easy to transport.
Do some research into the climate you’re entering as this will determine what you will want to wear. Some climates like New Zealand’s, can change rapidly so even if the area you’re going to is usually warm it’s worth packing things that can be layered in case the weather changes unexpectedly. A lightweight raincoat is likely to come in handy as will a sunhat and a scarf or shawl that you can stuff in a bag and wrap around yourself if the weather cools down. As with books, go for old clothes that you won’t be upset to lose or damage. It’s common for travellers to leave behind bits and pieces that take up unnecessary space and when you look back on your trip you’ll remember the sights you saw and the experiences you created not what you looked like.
Regardless of the rest of the clothing you pack, pay attention to your footwear. No matter where you’re going you’re likely to be spending a long time on your feet so make sure you pack a pair of good quality shoes that are comfortable to walk in and support your ankles. A thin pair of sandals or flip flops are also good to slip into your luggage – they’re quick and easy to slide on and off and can save you from a number of nasties in backpackers or hostel bathrooms!
One thing no traveller should be without is a good quality sunblock. In New Zealand especially, the sun is extremely strong, and you can burn even if you’re only out for a short time or it’s cloudy. Pack a sunblock with a high SPF factor (we suggest 30+) and smooth a layer on before heading outside. Allow time for it to fully absorb before putting clothes on over top or applying makeup and make sure you reapply after swimming or sweating.
Hand sanitiser is also invaluable – being exposed to new bacteria that’re different from those in your home country means it’s easy for travellers to get sick, even from things that locals aren’t affected by. Keep a small bottle in your bag and apply before eating or touching your face, after using the bathroom or petting animals. In a pinch, hand sanitiser can also be used as deodorant as it kills odour-creating bacteria that live in the underarms!
Do some research before leaving, so you know what you’re packing for and consider what kind of activities you’ll be doing while away. Where possible go for the practical over the pretty – you’ll be much more comfortable and will probably save money! Take things and clothing that will allow you to get by in any situation – letting you take advantage of opportunities that come your way – after all, spontaneity is one of the best things about being on the road!