Surviving long haul flights

Published On: April 6, 2018 09:59 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Going on a vacation is always exciting. You find yourself dreaming of pristine beaches, new sights, and days of doing absolutely nothing. But getting there can sometimes be the difficult part as you will have to survive long hours in a plane, often glued to your seat with very less space to move about. Whether you are going to be on one of these crazy-long-hauls or simply dreading your next trip halfway around the world, here are some coping strategies that can help make plane ride a little more comfortable.

Pick the right seat 

Most airlines allow you to choose your seats though you might have to spend a little extra for it. But it’s definitely worth it when you are travelling long hours. If you are one of those people who want to look out of the window or don’t need to use the restroom during flights, then choose the window seat. You won’t be nagged when someone wants to keep visiting the loo and can get lost in your own world. It’s also easier to sleep with your head against the window. But the aisle seats also have their plus points. For one, it allows you to stretch your legs, and get up and move around as much as you want, without disturbing your fellow row mates. If you are travelling with children then inquire about special provisions for babies before you book your tickets. 

Unlike domestic flights, international planes are rarely full. So, either at the check-in or ten to fifteen minutes prior to boarding, ask if there are any spare seats left. If yes, check whether you can use it or not. Doing this can help you move around and have some private space of your own.

Dress comfortably

While travelling, comfort is the key. Wear something that you can spend hours in without feeling the need to change. For shoes, it’s better if you wear slip-ons that you can simply slide your foot out of and wriggle your toes whenever you feel like it. Also, getting through security at some places is less of a hassle if you have shoes that don’t need to be tied and untied. Also, make sure you get a pair of shoes that is one size too big for you as your feel might swell during the flight or simply because you have been wearing shoes for too long. 

Also, it is advisable to dress in layers. You don’t know when you will feel cold or your body will start to heat up. The air conditioning of the plane can sometimes wreck havoc in your system. So the ideal thing to do here would be to dress in layers that you can put on or take off accordingly. It would also be a good idea to carry a cap or a hat with you. This can be used to cover your head should the blast of air from above you be too much or as a do-not-disturb sign for your neighbors. 

Survival mode on 

Sitting for long hours is going to be taxing for your body. So the day before your flight, spend some time at the gym or at the park stretching out your body as much as possible. If possible, stretch and exercise before you head to the airport as well. This will also allow you to use some extra energy, making it much easier for you to go to sleep during your flight. But make sure you get enough rest as well. Not going to bed so that you can sleep on the flight can backfire as exhaustion will make it difficult for you to switch off and sleep while sitting up.  

Also, even short flights can leave you exhausted so long ones will need some extra preparation. And you don’t want to spend all your time feel haggard. So pack an essentials kit that you can keep in your handbag. Make sure you carry a small toothbrush, facial wipes, and some perfume as well. Then all you need is a short visit to the bathroom to refresh yourself anytime you feel like it. Many airlines provide these kits in the plane itself but it is better to not depend on that and carry some small sized bottles of the things you need. 

Keep yourself entertained 

It’s not possible to sleep or people-watch throughout the length of your flight. And since you won’t have internet, it’s best to plan what you want to do on the flight beforehand. If you are a music aficionado, then pack your headphones and remember to power up your devices. Download some podcasts and playlists for offline listening before your flight. Yes, you can watch the in-flight entertainment but sometimes they don’t work or you don’t want to look at a screen inches away from your face, so it’s best to be prepared. One of the best things to do is pack a coloring book and while away time coloring. It’s really fun. You just have to try it. You can also try to learn the language of the place you are visiting – just some basic words and phrases. This should keep your busy for a good hour or two. 

Eat and drink  

Plane’s cabins are generally very dry. So, your body and skin will require more hydration than on regular days. Thus, instead of waiting for the tiny cup of water from the flight attendants, bring along a water bottle and ask for refills. Any reusable bottle will work. Drinking more water will also help prevent serious consequences of jet lag, boost energy, as well as prevent headaches during the flight. It will also be a good idea to pack some food because you might not be served when you are hungry. Carry some cereal bars, dark chocolates, nuts and fruits such as bananas and apples. However, avoid eating salty foods or fasting completely and, if you can, say no to the alcohol you are served on the flight as it can be very dehydrating and leave you with an headache.  

Combating jet lag 

If you are travelling across time zones, then there is no escaping jet lag. To combat it, simply get as much daylight as you can and try to exercise a bit. Naps are also extremely effective in reducing the effects of jet lag. Also, avoid caffeine-rich beverages such as coffee, cola, or other energy drinks because they can affect your sleeping ability further increasing recovery time from jet lag. Instead, drink lots of water. Try lemon infused water. Do all of that for two days and you should be able to enjoy the rest of your trip. 

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