Long flights can be a struggle at the best of times. Between the tight spaces, the lack of legroom, and complete strangers sitting on either side of you, it can quickly become a nightmare. But there are simple things that you can do to make this experience as bearable as possible. Here’s how to survive a long flight!
Get everything ready beforehand so you can’t relax the day before your flight. Book your tickets early and pick the seat that suits you best. Whether that’s the window seat so you can see the spectacular views, or the aisle seat so you can get up and walk around more easily. Once you have your seat, it’s one worry less for you to stress over. Be sure to pack your bags at least three days before the flight as well. Then get a good night’s sleep the day before to be properly rested for the plane.
The day before you fly, do some light exercise. This could be going for a walk, visiting your local gym, or even just some simple stretching exercises. If you’re going to be seated for twelve hours plus, then your body will thank you for it. In addition, be careful about what you pack in your carry-on. Ideally, whatever bag you bring on board should be as small as possible to give you the maximum amount of space. On the other hand, it also needs to contain everything you realistically need for a long flight. Must-haves include fluffy socks, headphones, a book or tablet, pen and paper, your phone, and additional cord-free batteries.
One of the most important things you need to consider for a pain-free flight is what you’re going to wear. Your clothes need to be warm, soft, and breathable. That means no skinny jeans or dresses. The best approach to choosing this outfit is to choose as close to pyjama-like clothing as possible without actually delving into nightwear. This includes leggings, loose trousers, t-shirts, sweaters/hoodies, cosy socks and trainers/runners. Who cares what you look like? Because trust me, other people’s opinions are going to be a whole lot less important when you’re thirteen hours into an eighteen-hour flight and you’re in a skirt and high heels.
This goes for both electronic and non-electronic back-ups. If you’re bringing your laptop, tablet or phone with you (which, let’s face it, you are) then ensure they’re fully charged. Bring additional battery chargers with you, but be sure to read the warning labels because some components are not-plane friendly. As well as that, be sure to have back-ups on the actual device itself. If you plan on watching a movie, download three. If you’re going to be playing music or games, save dozens of those too. When it comes to reading, physical books or kindles (without the backlight) are a great way of giving your eyes a break from screens while still being entertaining. And if worst comes to worst, pull out that pen and paper and ask your neighbour if they want to play hangman.
As someone who usually hates drinking water and has the recommended eight glasses over the span of a month, it pains me to say this. Water is the most important thing on long flights. It’s the difference between striding off that plane ready to tackle your latest adventure and half-staggering down the runway looking for an oasis in a desert. Long haul flights aren’t fun but they’re even less fun when you’re dehydrated. Thanks to the length of the flight and circulated air, this can happens super easily. By not regularly drinking water, you’ll feel tired and sluggish, your skin will be dry and itchy, and eventually, you’ll get a killer headache and won’t be able to do a single thing about it. So drink plenty of water, slowly but surely, and avoid too much caffeine or alcohol.
You’re going to be stuck on that plane for twelve plus hours, so you might as well get something done. Treating the day you spend in the air like any other day can help combat fatigue and jet lag. So bring your laptop or notebook and treat it like any other day. Get some work done, plan out your travel itinerary, or make a to-do list for when you land. You might not be able to answer emails or text messages, but you can still plan your responses. Maybe you’re a college student who can use this time to rewrite notes and test your memory. You could improve your drawing skills or plot out an entire novel. Maybe you even have a big work presentation coming up that you’ve ignored until now. Just because you’re spending twelve hours on a plane, doesn’t mean that you have to lose a day.
Screaming children, loud snorers, and flicking cabin lights. The perfect setting for a good nights sleep, right? We’ve all been there, trying to desperately block out all noise and sound surrounding you all the while getting more and more frustrated and just counting down the minutes until you can get off this damn plane. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t have to be like that. Headphones/Earplugs, sleep masks, and a neck pillow will solve all your problems. You might not use them for the rest of the year, but you’ll be super thankful for them during that flight.
Humans aren’t built to fly, and there are always drawbacks when we hurtle ourselves thousands of feet in the air in a pressurized metal container that no one’s quite sure how it works. Reduced oxygen and dehydration can lead to simple tiredness and headaches or far more dangerous blood clots. Luckily for us, there’s a simple solution for all of this. Walking. Every two to three hours, stand up, stretch, and go for a stroll up and down the plane to loosen your muscles. Maintaining circulation is paramount to good health, and exercising as best as you can ensures that this remains possible.
You should always choose your in-flight meal carefully and realistically. Don’t go for that curry no matter how good it seems, and a light fruit salad for breakfast might be healthy but it won’t keep you full. Plane food tends to be dry and unappealing, and man cannot subsist on it alone. Be sure to pack healthy and fun snacks for the flight to keep hunger at bay. Trail mix is a sure bet as nuts and raisins are surprisingly filling, and if you throw in a few M&Ms or dark chocolate pieces, then it becomes interesting too.
Finally, no matter how frustrating, irritating, or depressing your long flight gets; stay calm. If you’re someone who gets bored easily, then bring plenty of movies or books. Maybe you get anxious a lot, in which case you could download some mediation apps or watch calming videos. If you can’t sleep, then put on your headphones and have some herbal tea. Nobody likes long flights, so take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Keep busy, stay hydrated, and exercise to ensure that you have the best flight possible.