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What to Take on a Long Haul Flight to South Africa

Last update on Aug. 12, 2013.

What to Take on a Long Haul Flight to South Africa

Depending on where you are flying from, getting to South African can often involve a heavy day of travelling. The average flight time from London to Johanasberg, for example, is 10 hours and 55 minutes; while from London to Cape Town it’s an even longer 11 hours and 30 minutes. Often, travelling to South Africa will also involve catching connecting flights, either from other countries en route, or from within South Africa on a domestic airline.

Travelling for this amount of time can be extremely tedious. Even if you’re lucky enough to have an overnight flight where you can spend the fight catching up on your sleep, there can still be problems with discomfort and boredom – and these issues are only magnified if you’re on the journey with children.

To make the whole experience more bearable, there are a number of things you should make sure you take with you. Here is our list of the South African flight must-haves:

Travel-Sized Toiletries

One of the main things that people complain about when getting off a flight is feeling grimy and in need of a shower – especially if you’ve had an overnight flight and woken up with morning breath, bed-head hair and a crumpled face. Whether you’re a man or a woman, there are some toiletries you should always pack in your hand luggage to keep you feeling fresh.

Anti-bacterial hand gel
You would be surprised at how much clean, fresh-smelling hands can really make a difference to how you feel overall. Although the bathrooms on planes have handwash and water, the pressure can often be a little lacking and so you might never get that feeling of proper hygiene. A quick rub of anti-bacterial handgel after eating, visiting the toilet or even flicking through a magazine can keep you feeling fresh.

Baby wipes
A favourite amongst parents, festival-goers and travellers, baby wipes are known as being a bit of a shower-in-a-packet. On long flights, use a baby wipe on your face, hands and underarms to avoid feeling too grubby.

Hydrating Face Mists
Our faces often feel the effects of a long flight more than any other part of our body. Our skin becomes dry from the air pressure in the cabin, and our eyes can become tired as the hours wear on. A product that’s quickly becoming an in-flight essential is a hydrating facial mists. These sprays usually contain calming ingredients such as lavender or chamomile, and can perk your face up with just one quick spritz. Women also find that they can help keep makeup in place for longer, meaning you arrive in South Africa looking as glamorous as you did in the UK!


Boredom is one of the worst side effects of a long flight, and its essential that you take enough to keep you entertained. It’s always better to take a few things too many than to not have enough with you. Don’t assume that that new bestseller will keep you busy for over 11 hours; it’s better to keep entertained with a few different activities.

Books and magazines
Taking a book or two with you can help you while away the hours, but don’t forget a few magazines too for when you need a little break from that heavy novel.

Before any long haul flight, make sure your mp3 player is loaded up with new songs and your favourite albums. As well as keeping you entertained while awake, putting your headphones in is also a good idea if you want to try to nap and need to block out the noise of other passengers.

For the kids
If you’ve got children with you, then you will need to take even more entertainment with you. Ensure that they have plenty of books, colouring utensils, games and puzzles. You might even find that joining your kids in doing a puzzle or playing a game will keep you in a much better mood than you thought.

Comfort Items

Regardless of how nice your airline is and how much legroom you have, sitting in an aeroplane seat for over 10 hours is always going to leave you feeling uncomfortable. Even if the airline provide you with some extra bits, you’ll probably want a couple of home comforts to make you as relaxed as possible.

Travel Pillow
Perfect for having a nap or just resting your head, travel pillows can usually be bought for quite low prices at the airport. You can also get some that are scented with lavender or other relaxing smells, to help you drift off even better.

Bringing your own blanket can help keep you warm and comfortable on the long flight, when air con can sometimes leave you feeling a chill. If you don’t have enough room to spare in your hand luggage, then bring along a jumper or cardigan that’s big and cosy enough to be used as a makeshift blanket.

Claire Cavanagh

This article was written by: Claire Cavanagh

Claire is an experienced blogger with a keen interest in travel. She enjoys city breaks and seeking some sunshine. You can follow Claire Cavanagh on , Twitter and LinkedIn.

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