Photo by Isafold and Haukur Snorrason Sydney, Tokyo, Buenos Aires.
Some of the world's most fascinating places are, unfortunately, more than just a hop, skip, and a jump away. But while the idea of being suspended in an aluminum tube for countless hours can be daunting, the long flight should not deter you from visiting spectacular sites. In order to make the best of a flight across the planet, here are five tips to ensure an enjoyable experience traveling to your destination.
1) Try to upgrade your seat. It's no secret that business class offers a more comfortable ride than coach, and when you're forced to sit for 12 hours straight with very few places to go, it can make all the difference. It may be slightly more expensive, but well worth it when you have more room to relax. On the other hand, if you find a bargain price for an international flight riding in coach, ask if you can change your seat to the emergency aisle at the check-in desk. That will guarantee you more legroom and less of a nuisance if the person in front of you decides to recline their seat all the way back.
2) Bring your own entertainment. Rarely do you get so many consecutive hours without WiFi or texting, so this is a perfect occasion for some serious "me time". Bring some of that work you've been putting off and be productive, but be sure not to rely solely on business over pleasure. Give yourself some options for amusement: bring yourself some headphones, movies, and music. Remember to fully charge all your electronics before your trip. A good old-fashioned book can make hours slip by, and can even leave you wishing the flight were longer to find out what happens at the end. But an important thing to note when packing your entertainment is...
3) Do not over pack your carry-on luggage. While you do want to have enough things to help time fly by, having the extra clutter can take up the already-limited space you have. Try to bring only the essentials, like a neck pillow, an electronic device loaded with entertainment, and a sleep mask. Which reminds me...
4) Sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. You can't force sleep to come, but you can definitely give it a hard nudge. If you know it takes a lot for you to find slumber, consider asking your physician their recommendations for sleeping aids. They may suggest trying a sleeping pill, in which case you should test it out before the flight because you never know how your body will react to the medication. Melatonin is also a great natural supplement that can help with both sleep and jet lag. If you prefer inducing sleep in a more conventional way, a sleep mask and earplugs can do the trick. Don't stay up late the night before your trip assuming you'll catch some Z's aboard the plane. If for whatever reason you can't sleep, you'll just be exhausted the whole way while trapped in your waking state.
5) Keep your health in check. One of the biggest health issues you'll come across when flying for long periods of time is dehydration. It's important to be drinking water throughout the flight to prevent feeling all dried up. Airplane food is really high in sodium, so that can also leave you dehydrated. Consider packing healthy snacks like fruits or granola to avoid any health risks. Be sure to check the restrictions the country you visit has on bringing in foreign fruits, seeds, and meats. And while drinking alcohol can be tempting to make the time pass, it actually aggravates dehydration and can leave you feeling pretty awful. Besides, there are few places that are worse for nursing a hangover than 35,000 feet above the ground. Of course walking around and stretching periodically will help you loosen up, but more importantly, it can help prevent deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT is a blood clot that can be caused by the lack of movement and reduced air pressure. Although elderly participants and those who are obese are at a higher risk, it's important for everyone to stretch their muscles throughout the duration of the flight. So the next time you decide to travel across the world, don't let the extended plane ride leave you disheartened. Remember these helpful tips and you'll reach your destination in no time. After all, the real journey begins after landing.