If you have a long-haul flight in the future, these 6 tips for surviving long international flights will help you be more prepared, more comfortable, and experience significantly less stress.
6 tips to survive long international flights
A long flight is any direct or non-stop flight that has a journey time of between 6 to 12 hours. This duration not only has an impact on your mental well-being but also on your health. This is why it is essential to know how to navigate the stress long flights can put you through. Here we have listed 6 tips and tricks to take some of the stress away from your trip.
1. Select your seat wisely
Most of the time an aisle seat is best because you will have the luxury of being able to stand frequently and stretch your legs. Or make frequent bathroom visits without disturbing your seatmates.
- However, if you are on an overnight long-haul flight and you plan to sleep on the plane to be wide awake upon reaching your destination, the window seat might be a better choice for you.
- Exit rows typically have more legroom, however, they may not have storage space overhead and the seats may not recline.
- Stay away from the front of the plane, and the first few rows of each section of the plane because that's where families with children and crying babies are usually seated on international flights.
- Seats by the plane’s wings experience less turbulence because they are closer to the plane’s centre of gravity.
- Sitting in the far back of the plane could help you survive a long international flight. If you are looking for an empty seat or even an empty row to stretch out on to blissfully sleep the hours away, the back of the plane is where you will usually find them.
- Purchase your seat beforehand, if a seat assignment is not included, it is better than relying on an airline’s selection for you.
2. Nutrition is important
Find out what meal choices you have on your long-haul flight. Order a speciality meal within 24 hours of the flight since they are better than standard meals and run out faster. This is important especially if you plan to sleep most of the flight.
- Avoid the snacks as they are salty and will dehydrate you. Buy healthy snacks at the airport or bring your own transportable snacks. They are better for keeping your blood sugar stable.
- Aim for protein-rich options.
- Plan for hydration because airline cabins have low humidity and their air is dry.
- Hydrate slowly and at regular intervals.
- Ask for water even before you feel thirsty and carry a refillable container if possible.
- Avoid tea, water, and alcoholic beverages or keep alcohol to a minimum.
3. Bring your own entertainment
Research to see what kind of inflight entertainment options your flight offers including; seatback screens, wifi, power outlets, and phone chargers. Once you know the specifics, you can decide what to bring with you.
- Plan to bring an interesting book, you will be so engrossed in the story that it will make your flight seem shorter.
- Download podcasts to your electronic devices.
- Take advantage of the inflight entertainment options on your flight if any but you can download your own movies/TV shows to your laptop or tablet.
- An adult colouring book and accompanying colouring pencils will definitely be a stress reducer while the hours pass by.
- And if you plan to journal your trip, onboard is an excellent time to get started.
- Games and puzzles are also great company.
4 How to avoid DVT on long international flights
DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a real threat to passengers on long international flights. This is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, most frequently the legs, from lack of circulation.
Travel with compression socks and wear them onboard. Get up and stretch frequently, with strolls and trips to the bathroom.
Carry a pair of slippers you can change into at your seat.
5. Sleeping may help you survive your long international flights
Since you are most probably crossing several time zones, sleep will definitely play a big part in your survival and how you feel upon arrival. Depending on the time of day you are travelling, it will determine how much you sleep and when.
- Wear extremely comfortable clothing such as leggings or sweatpants and even change into pyjamas.
- Save some sleep from the previous day or go to the gym so that you fall asleep more easily once in the air.
- Noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs will help block out any noise, or you can download white noise.
- Wear an eye mask to block out light and avoid jet lag. Jet lag is when you cross time zones faster than your body can adjust.
- Another suggestion to help avoid jet lag is to change your watch/phone clocks to the time at your destination once you are on board.
- A neck pillow will support your head and neck and you will be well-prepared with this compact blanket to keep warm and cocoon yourself in your seat.
6. Carry a small cosmetics bag
With all that time on your hands, why not get into some skincare? Have an approved clear toiletries bag and a travel toothbrush with travel sizes of toothpaste, moisturizer, mouthwash, lip balm, eye drops, or nasal spray for your comfort when you head to the bathroom.
Carry an extra pair of underwear!
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