Is there a plane trip in your near future? If so, knowing how to survive a long flight may come in very handy.
To many of you, this may seem like an exaggeration. If you aren’t a frequent flier, spending 8+ hours in a plane cabin may even sound like a fun time. Even if it does get a bit boring, you can always sleep it off, right?
Well, think again. For starters, sleeping on a plane without preparations can be an exercise in futility. You may also have to deal with loud passengers, cramped seats, and bad service.
If you’re not planning on catching some Zzzs, you’ll soon realize that 8+ hours is a lot of time to kill. Here are 10 tips for long flights that should help you reach your destination in a fine mood.
1. Choose a Good Seat
Before you get on the plane, make sure to reserve your seat according to your income and preferences. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to do it as soon as check-in opens. As for which seat to choose, that depends on your needs.
For example, opting for exit rows will give your legs more room to breathe. If you’re planning on moving about, consider an aisle seat. Finally, staying away from the front of the plane should help you avoid crying children.
2. Travel Light
Packing some extras will help you pass time on a flight, but don’t overdo it. If you end up lugging a big suitcase around the boarding area for an hour, your trip may seem doomed before it starts.
Which type of luggage should you go for? Well, anything that you can stuff in your overhead locker is going to be fine. In most cases, one cabin bag and a smaller shoulder bag or handbag should be enough.
3. Wear Comfortable Clothes
One secret of preparing for a long flight is to keep yourself comfortable. Remember, the temperature on a plane is never comfortable for all passengers. Prepare for that by dressing in loose layers and taking them off as needed.
While you’re preparing, give some attention to your feet as well. In case of emergency, closed-toe shoes would serve you better than flip-flops. That said, don’t wear footwear that’s too snug — our feet tend to swell at high altitudes.
4. Bring Sleep Assistants
Speaking of keeping comfortable, consider bringing some sleep assistants. You could be flying with hundreds of other people, so this is a big deal. The good news is that a few luxuries can transform your journey into a pleasant one.
Your first priority should be a good travel pillow, which provides support for your head and neck. A pair of earplugs and a sleep mask won’t go awry, either. Finally, some basic toiletries can help you keep up with your habits.
5. Entertain Yourself
Of course, this is easier said than done. We all have different standards for entertainment, so this tip comes down to personal preferences. That said, some forms of entertainment are more suited for long flights than others.
For example, if you’re traveling alone, consider catching up on a book you’ve wanted to read for a while. Magazines and newspapers will suffice too. If you have company, bring a deck of cards or a portable game — such as Travel Scrabble.
6. Stay Hydrated
A plane cabin can be a dry place, especially once you get higher up. The main cause is humidity, which is about 20-50 percent lower than you’re used to. This can cause many issues, from getting dehydrated to your skin becoming flaky.
Needless to say, the best way to combat that is to drink lots of water at regular intervals. Buy a bottle of water at the airport and bring it on board. Bringing an empty bottle is fine too, as the cabin crew will replenish it for you.
7. Walk Around
Stretching your legs every few hours or so comes with two main benefits. First, it helps you avoid developing DVT (deep vein thrombosis). It also helps you keep your sanity, especially if the flight is taking longer than expected.
On the downside, planes don’t offer many opportunities for strolling around. In most cases, you’ll have to resort to walking up and down the aisles. Of course, that’s still healthier than popping a sleeping pill and calling it a day.
8. Be Nice
This one seems a little obvious, right? Well, many of us don’t fully process the fact that we’ll be flying with so many other people until we board on. This is an unusual situation, so you should prepare for it in advance.
Now, being courteous will help make the flight go smoother by itself. Still, why not go a step further and strike up a conversation with someone? Having a travel companion is a great way to shave off some time from the flight.
9. Bring Your Own Snacks
When traveling through time zones, you’ll often end up having dinner at breakfast time. If that sounds like an issue, consider bringing your own snacks to the plane. That way, you’ll always be able to eat at your own schedule.
That said, keep in mind that your taste buds work differently on a plane. Due to the pressure and altitude, your snacks may seem either too salty or too sweet. If you’re interested in more weird airplane facts, check out this blog.
10. Choose a Good Airline
One final tip for you is to do some research before settling on a carrier. Believe us, the difference between a good long-haul airline and a poor one is night and day. Reading online reviews will help you make an informed choice.
What should you pay attention to? That depends on your preferences, but try to find an airline that offers a proper on-flight meal. Also, don’t forget to compare factors such as leg-room measurements.
More on How to Survive a Long Flight
As you can see, spending most of the day in a plane cabin isn’t the end of the world. By planning ahead and following these tips, your flight will be over before you realize it. As with most other things in life, the key is to think positive.
Want to hear our final tip about how to survive a long flight? Start thinking about all the cool things you’ll do once you reach your destination! If you’re traveling to London, we’ve got some more advice for you.