Flying long-haul can be a dream with a bit of preparation and a few home comforts. So you’re booked for Europe, Australia, or the far-off East, and you are not looking forward to eight or more hours in an aircraft cabin. You’re excited about the 10-day itinerary, but thinking about the flight gives you nightmares. Try not to sweat it. Follow these eight survival tips for long flights, and you can emerge refreshed, relaxed, and ready to start your holiday when you touch down...
1. Find comfortable clothes to wear - This should be a given – think of an outfit that you’ll be happy to wear after ten hours sitting on a plane. Remember, sitting still and being blasted by a powerful a/c system can get chilly, so wearing several loose layers are ideal for adjusting your temperature as you fly. In case of emergencies, closed-toed shoes are better than flip flops, and make sure you don’t wear any footwear that’s too snug, as your feet do swell at high altitudes. Of course, if you’re saving space in your luggage by wearing your biggest, clunkiest boots, you can always take them off and put on a pair of cozy slipper socks instead. Save your jewelry for a holiday and pack it in your checked baggage.
2. Reserve a good seat -One essential long-haul flight tip is to think ahead and choose a good seat when possible. There are websites like seatguru.com to help in making the seat selection. To decide the perfect seat for you, stick to a few simple rules:
If you want more legroom, opt for exit rows.
If you want to avoid crying children, stay away from the front of the plane as often this is where you’ll find special provisions for babies on international flights.
If you like to move about the plane (or have quick access to the restrooms), ensure you get an aisle seat.
3. Prepare yourself for sleep -You’ll be on the plane for the equivalent of a whole day or night, so it’s worth bringing a few long-haul flight essentials. Start with a lightweight blanket and invest in a good travel pillow to make sleeping less of a neckache. Forget that those other 349 passengers are even there with a good sleep mask and a pair of earplugs. Finally, slip in some basic toiletries, such as a hand luggage-sized toothbrush and toothpaste, and you’ll feel a bit fresher when you land.
4. Don’t pack too much in your carry-on bag -While a few little extras help, keep things travel-sized and to a minimum. There’s nothing more stressful than lugging a 21” spinner around the boarding area and trying unsuccessfully to stuff it into the overhead bins while everyone else looks on. Ideally, take one carry-on bag and a smaller handbag or backpack to keep your smaller essentials like a water bottle, earplugs, and phone within easy reach under the seat in front of you.
5. Take your snacks-You’ll get fed on a long-haul flight. However, it may not be when or even what you’re expecting. Traveling through time zones often means you end up with breakfast at dinner time or noodles with curry sauce first thing in the morning. To stave off any bouts of hunger while you’re waiting for the rattle of the food cart, stow a few slow-energy release snacks like protein bars, nuts, or dried fruit in your carry-on luggage.
6. MOVE around the plane- Use a tennis ball to massage your feet, lower back, and arms/legs periodically when seated. Stretching your legs and arms is not only necessary for your sanity on a long-haul flight, but it can help you avoid the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Keep the circulation flowing in your legs by doing gentle exercises at your seat, and get up every two hours. Even though you will only be able to walk up and down the aisles, moving about the plane once in a while is much more conducive to getting some healthy rest than popping a sleeping pill.
7. Stay hydrated-Aircraft cabins are often arid places, and the chances of becoming dehydrated are high. Bring a water bottle on board, so you don’t have to wait on the flight attendants for refills. Drink plenty of water slowly and regularly and avoid too much tea, coffee, and alcohol. You may find your skin’s affected, too – bring a little moisturizer and take some eye drops if you’re prone to dry eyes.
8. And Finally...Relax! -What better time is there to abandon your cares and do nothing than a flight? There is no mobile phone coverage, a crew waiting on your every need, and someone else is at the wheel…Use the time to catch up on that book you haven’t had the chance to get stuck into, watch a few movies, or get excited about your destination by leafing through a guidebook. See those eight/ten/twelve hours as bonus time, and your long flight will immediately become a positive thing rather than a drag.
Follow these eight tips, and you will be at your destination before you know it! Be sure to let us know when you are ready to start planning your next trip. CLICK HERE to get started on your next long-haul flight!