Enjoying the Journey
In my opinion, the worst part about traveling is the actual travel, specifically when it involves long flights. Unless you love sitting in a cramped seat, eating sub-par food, I’m guessing at least some of you are with me on this. After traveling thousands of miles in the last couple of years, compiled with talking to others, we’ve come up with this list of tips to help make the flights more bearable, and possibly even a little pleasant.
The flight’s duration starts feeling even longer if you’re stuck in a seat that doesn’t suit you. Research the airlines and book a seat that offers the comfort you need. An exit row or a seat with extra legroom might cost a bit more, but on a 14-hour flight, it’s worth its weight in gold. For international flights, we’ve started upgrading to Comfort Plus on Delta (I don’t know what it’s called on other airlines). This gives us a bit more room for our computers and our legs, so we can stretch and get some work done. Trust me that extra cost is well worth it!
Dress for Comfort
While I am impressed by the impeccably dressed passengers on our flights, that is definitely not my jam. Dress in layers of breathable, loose-fitting clothing. Think cozy socks, a light scarf or shawl, and slip-on shoes for easy movement. I always pack a pair of warm socks – a small comfort that feels luxurious in-flight.
Hydration is Key
Airplane cabins can be as dry as the Nevada desert. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water throughout the flight, and consider using moisturizer, lip balm and eye drops. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine will help too. I know.
Bring Your Entertainment
Most long-haul flights provide entertainment, but don’t rely solely on it. Load up your tablet or smartphone with your favorite movies, shows, music or audiobooks. I like to write on planes (when I have room) and it’s also a good time to clean the extra junk off your computer, tablet or phone. I realize this doesn’t count as entertainment for most, but I like it.
Pack Your Own Snacks
In-flight meals can be hit or miss. Bringing some of your favorite snacks not only ensures you have something tasty to munch on but also helps pass the time. We’ve found that nuts, dried fruits or granola bars work well.
Invest in Good Noise-Canceling Headphones
If you’re a frequent traveler, noise-canceling headphones are worth the investment. They can be a sanity-saver by drowning out engine noise and loud passengers. They’ll make your movies and music sound much better, too.
Mind Your Sleep
Sleeping can be a challenge, but it’s nice to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed. Pack a quality eye mask and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. A travel pillow that suits your sleeping style can make a significant difference as well.
Sitting for extended periods is not only uncomfortable but also unhealthy. Stretch and walk around the cabin when possible. Simple stretches or ankle rotations can be done in your seat. It helps keep the blood flowing and fends off stiffness.
Be Mindful of Others
Remember, everyone is in the same boat (or plane, in this case). Being courteous to fellow passengers and flight attendants goes a long way in creating a pleasant atmosphere.
Keep essentials like passports, boarding passes and personal items in an organized travel wallet or pouch. Fumbling around in the overhead bin for lost items is a hassle you don’t need.
Consider Travel Insurance
Long flights often mean expensive tickets, and a lot can happen before your travel date. Travel insurance gives peace of mind by protecting your investment in case of unforeseen events.
Surviving a long flight doesn’t have to be just about enduring discomfort — with a little preparation and self-care, it just might become a pleasant part of the adventure.