Hello from the Maldives, friends! Can you believe that I finally made it here? Sometimes you have to go the ultimate distance to get to the ultimate destination.
It surely is one heck of a journey to get here, but I can promise you that it is worth every minute of travel time from New York City. Believe it or not, I have been in a small airplane crash and recently experienced an emergency landing on a domestic flight due to mechanical failures. Despite these terrifying travel hiccups and overcoming what used to be a paralyzing fear of planes, I actually find air travel to be a pretty enjoyable experience. My feelings toward air travel have changed because of my sincere commitment to change my mindset and prepare for success when it comes to flying. After many years reading books on tips and tricks to flying, attending therapy sessions to overcome the fear, combined with personal experience traveling to 60+ countries, I feel confident about the strategies that work for me.
To provide readers with a helpful post on venturing to a faraway paradise, I am sharing my “Top 5 Survival Tips” for the journey from USA to Maldives. At the end of my tips, I will be including a few highlight shots from my first day on Milaidhoo Island in the Maldives to provide some travel inspiration to get on that long-haul flight – including glimpses of my swim with the manta rays! Be sure to checkout the photographs below and learn more about this luxury private resort – Milaidhoo Island.
1. MENTALLY PREPARE YOURSELF
Before a long-haul flight of five hours or more, I always mentally prepare myself. To do so, I first check Flight Aware, a website that allows you to track flights and flight history. On this website, I can see a detailed history of the flight that I will be taking – average delays, flight time, the route, areas of turbulence, speeds and even gate information.
By seeing my flight have so many successful trips, it gives me peace of mind to know that pilots have done the exact trip I am scheduled to take over and over again. And to dive into the weeds a bit more on this tip, I have been particularly nervous about flying over conflict zones when I travel through the Middle East (Syria for example). Using the Flight Aware maps, I was able to clearly see that the plane would route completely out of the way of any war-torn regions where there is missile activity. This was a relief.
2. MAKE A STRATEGIC GAME PLAN
Once you know how long your flight will be, the next step is to plan for it like a professional. By making a strategic game plan, I suggest that you draw out or list out a “plan” for how to best utilize your time. For example, my strateigic game plan for the flight from NYC to Maldives looks like this:
12 HOUR ABU DHABI FLIGHT
- 2 hours – watch movie #1 / drink 1 glass of wine and liter of water
- 1 hour – read a book and “get tired”
- 6-7 hours – try to sleep/rest with eye mask on
- 4 hours – start to wake up, drink another liter of water, stretch legs, use restroom, freshen up, and watch movie #2 in preparation for landing
3 HOUR LAYOVER
- Walk for at least 45 minutes
- Get through customs/find boarding gate
- Do some duty free shopping and use the sample night mask cream to hydrate skin
- Get something to eat/drink
4 HOUR RED-EYE FLIGHT TO MALE
- Watch movie and try to rest for 2-3 hours
- Keep lights off and make seat comfortable to rest body/sleep in preparation for a morning arrival
- Drink 1 liter of water (no wine on this flight, it’s technically the middle of the night)
- During landing, take 30 minutes to journal a list of 10 things that you are most excited to see, taste or experience at the final destination
3. CREATE THE MOST COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT POSSIBLE
Who says you can’t create a little spa in the air? We all know that airplanes are the most uncomfortable places to be in the world – especially in economy class. The seats can be cramped, the air quality is horrible, and it can always get a bit uneasy when you are flying through turbulence. To circumvent any discomfort, set yourself up for success by creating the most comfortable environment possible.
Wear comfy and loose layers to adapt to changes in temperature. I also always travel with a lavender scent to help calm nerves and make my surroundings smell better than the body odor of strangers nearby. Another trick is to pack an extra pair of socks to change into for the flight only. I always travel with a soothing eye mask for sleeping, as well as noise cancelation headphones to take away the plane sounds or crying babies. Hand lotion and a facial mist spray can help you feel less dry and fresh.
Do what you need to do to make the environment optimal. If you have a certain comfort food, drink or candy – then be sure to bring that – it will be something to make the ride a tad bit more tolerable. I always pack gummy bears and mint gum to keep my breath fresh. But most importantly, pack all the necessities that I suggest to bring the spa to you and create a successful environment for rest, relaxation and easy sleep for such a lengthy journey.
4. POWER WALK, HYDRATE AND MOISTURIZE AT LAYOVERS
Moving and hydrating your body during a long period of travel is vital. By doing so you will feel better when you arrive to your vacation and likely beat severe jet lag. You should always try to move every few hours while onboard the aircraft. Do this by finding the galley area (where the flight attendants prepare meals) and try a few squats, stretches or even manageable yoga postures. I try to drink at least 2 liters of water before flights and then an additional 2 liters during the flight to combat severe dehydration.
As for the skin, it’s always a good idea to apply an extra moisturizing intensive night mask before take off. If all of your cosmetics are in checked luggage, or if you just want to pull a fast one like me, I recommend going to the duty free section of the airport prior to boarding and asking a salesperson for a sample of the highest quality mask (La Mer or Prairie are the ultimate for luxurious hydration – and the samples are free, so why not use them?). During flight, I like to mist my face with a moisturizing spray or the Evian water spray bottle. This always feels ultra refreshing in dry conditions.
If you have a layover, which I did before connecting onward to the Maldives, it is important you get the blood circulating in your body. Move your hands, feet and legs by engaging in a fast-paced walk through the airport. I always find this very easy and quite enjoyable because there is good shopping/people watching in the airport to keep you distracted as you burn a few calories from an intense power-walk.
5. REMEMBER THE FINAL DESTINATION AND STAY POSITIVE
And lastly, always keep your eye on the prize in times of stress or discomfort. Of course there will be a screaming baby right behind you or a patch of unpleasant turbulence that makes you feel like the plane is crashing. Get over these stressful moments by closing your eyes and dreaming of the final destination. For me, a quick imagery in my mind of the Maldives would quickly remind me that the flight and the temporary discomfort of travel would be well worth it.
So if you are feeling anxious or uncomfortable, do yourself a favor by thinking about where you are traveling to. If a mere image does not do the trick for you, then I suggest writing out a few activities or items that you would like to do once you arrive to your final destination. By writing out “read my new book” or “do a morning yoga class at the beach” you might help yourself get more and more excited, which will distract you from unpleasant feelings while traveling.
And to get you super inspired, I am sharing the best shots from my recent visit to the Milaidhoo Resort in the Maldives below – I hope you enjoy! As always, if you have any questions about travel, Manhattan or my visit to the Maldives, please feel free to email me at Ladyhattan@gmaill.com.