Surviving a Long-Distance Flight

I love to travel to distant lands, but I’m much more fond of being in those distant lands than the travel it takes to get there. I hate flying, but since it’s the fastest way to get to other continents, I try to make the most of the positives and vanquish the negatives as much as I can. It takes a little preparation in order to do so.

Emphasizing the Positives:

  • An excuse to buy a new magazine and/or book to read
  • An excuse to eat fast food (in the airport) if you don’t usually do so
  • Being unreachable by email (though you can pay for wifi if you really want to)

Reducing the Negatives:

  • Being bored for hours
    • Bring a book/kindle/magazine
    • Bring an adult coloring book and pens (why not, it’s a thing now)
    • Bring music (but I’d suggest using an alternate music source than your phone if you’re going to need to have battery power to call/text someone when you land, unless you know that the plane will have power outlets at your seat)
    • If you’re traveling with someone, bring a two-person game you can play together
    • Have an iPad? Load some fun apps and/or movies onto it to keep you entertained on the flight
    • Take advantage of in-flight movies
  • Having a hard time sleeping
    • Choose a window seat to lean your head against
    • Purchase the kind of neck pillow that will prevent the sudden head-fall that jars you awake
    • Wear earplugs and an eye mask
    • Prop your feet up on your carry-on bag to be able to scrunch down in your seat
    • Wear headphone earbuds that block out outside sound and set the music to something that relaxes you
    • Order a glass of wine (unless you’re taking a sleep aid, see below)
    • Take a sleep aid (but be careful not to take too many, and avoid consuming alcohol with them–the combination of dehydration, alcohol, and sleep aids can be dangerous for you)
  • Constant cabin noise
    • Order a glass of wine (it doesn’t reduce the noise but it makes it more tolerable)
    • Wear ear plugs
    • Wear sound reducing headphones
    • Remind yourself that any babies crying on the plane can’t help it, and sometimes their parents can’t help them no matter how hard they try, so have grace. And put in ear plugs.
  • Dehydration
    • Before boarding, buy a water bottle or other non-diuretic drink
    • Bring salty snacks so you can drink more water without having to use the restroom as frequently
    • Take advantage of the free beverages offered by the flight attendants every time you can. Again, anything that won’t act as a fast diuretic is best. For me that means staying away from coffee unless I really need it to wake up.
  • Poor blood circulation, restless legs
    • Wear compression socks–put them on shortly before boarding
    • Get up and walk up the aisle of the plane every once in a while, when the seat belt sign is not lit up. If not allowed random strolls, pretend you’re on the way to the bathroom by walking there and back. Voila–a mini stroll (but please don’t occupy the bathroom if you really don’t need to relieve yourself–it is likely that people who do need to use it are watching the lavatory light to give them permission to get up and go to the bathroom)

Hope something in this list helps you survive a little bit better your next long-haul flight!