I was fresh out of college when I seriously started my blog and got my plane routine down to a science learning how to be more comfortable in travels and flights, but these tips can apply to any business or leisure travelers today. After 10+ hour flights, I’ve learned it’s all about the preparation before you actually get on the plane.
This is to make sure that you are catching your flight and that you are definitely getting the seat of your choice. The first thing you need before your pan-global flight is to be panicking your way through a busy airport. Or to miss your flight. Uh-oh.
2. Sit at the back
Just in case you missed your favorite seat (or the ones in the front with all the legroom are taken), go for the back. It will be noisier, sure, but if everybody else is scrambling for the front seats, you’ve got a far better chance of ending up with an empty seat or two beside you. It will not be a hassle when you go the restroom as well!
3. Bring your own pillow
A small pillow is a staple carry-on item for all long-distance travelers. Don’t let your body specifically your neck suffer! Small rectangular pillow is available on your seat but neck pillow will be highly recommended.
4. Wear something comfortable but create a statement.
Comfort + Style. I am opposed to dressing like a schlub while traveling. I usually go with dark-colored sweater dress or dri-fit shirt that feels just as comfy as a giant T-shirt, only way more put-together which looks more presentable. I’ll pair that with Uniqlo’s heat tech stockings, slip-off shoes or comfortable rubber shoes and socks. I shudder at the thought of going barefoot through security. My stylish friends and bloggers I follow online recommend wrinkle-resistant button-down shirts and sweat pants with loafers (I personally prefer rubber shoes and boots over loafers). Leave constricting clothes like unstretchable rigid blazers, skinny jeans, bandage skirts, anything with a tight waistband in your suitcase. You can also bring a large silk scarf for extra warmth which you might need in the middle of the flight.
5. When you board, set your watch to your destination time (or make use of the World Clock function on your phone).
Do your best to sleep when it’s nighttime at your destination, and stay awake when it’s daytime there. Strangely, flight crews will adjust the lights and feed you on a schedule that is often not at all conducive to adjusting to a new time zone, so you have to exercise some self-discipline.
6. Prepare for jet lag
There are several things you can do before your flight to help avoid jet lag, or at least reduce it. Spend the days before your flight adjusting your sleeping patterns (a few midnight or 7 early evening bedtimes should do it, depending on what time of day you’ll be flying), book your flight so that it arrives during the day, make the most of your stopovers, and, most importantly, be well rested and condition your body before you fly.
7. Drink tons of water.
Yes I know! It may lead you to use the plane bathroom a lot. It is highly suggested that you get an aisle seat. But planes are notoriously dehydrating and exhausting, and staying hydrated is a huge part of braving any flight. You should be consuming fluids the day before your flight, the day of your flight, during the flight, and after. If you’re awake on the plane, you should be drinking water. Also, bring your own water bottle aboard.
Sitting in a cramped seat for hours is literally a pain which might often result to cramps. That’s what makes stretching an all-important step. When you have to be seated, remember to occasionally twist your torso and look behind each shoulder. Just rotating your head back and forth a few times will help alleviate a stiff neck. And when the seatbelt sign is off, take walks to the bathroom area to stretch your legs and hips.
9. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Sorry to be a bummer. A stiff drink or a hot cup of coffee come as a comfort to many, but both alcohol and caffeine disrupt your ability to sleep. Passing out after consuming various drinks does not actually provide meaningful rest.
10. Pack a Plane Survival Kit in your carry-on, and keep it near your seat.
Here’s what’s in my bag: Eye mask; ear plugs; lotion or hand cream to prevent damage on your skin at 20,000 feet; face cream or toner; hand sanitizer; and toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and some medications.
11. Stay hygienic
This is for everybody else’s sake as much as your own. Bring toiletries in your carry-on and make sure to brush your teeth, throw on some deodorant, or even change your clothes and undergarments. Just make sure you do it in the bathroom, when there is a short line.
12. Be productive
If you’ve got your laptop or ipad with you, this might be your best chance to catch up on any busywork that needs doing. Blogposts for me! 😦
13. Try to relax
Do whatever it takes to meditate, listen to some calming music, do some breathing exercise which not only will it help you sleep more easily, but it’s also pretty good for your psyche in general.
Long-haul flights aren’t easy on the body or mind. But hopefully these tips will help you be more functional when you land at your destination.