If you have spring break plans requiring you to take a long-haul flight or your next college interview is on the other side of the country, you're probably wondering how you're going to make it through all those hours in the air. The most important thing you can do is to first embrace it. Flying is the fastest, and sometimes the only, way to get to your destination, so rather than stress about it, try to position the flight as a great time to catch up on work, read a great book or get some sleep.
To help make the flight a little easier, consider these tips:
Making the most of your long-haul flight starts with the booking process. If possible, try to choose a direct flight. Though the idea of breaking up the flight may sound appealing initially, a layover only prolongs the journey and can even create more of a hassle.
You'll also want to be on top of your game when it comes to checking in for your flight. As The Travelista emphasized, the key to making the most out of your flight begins long before you even arrive at the airport: It's all about picking the right seat on your flight. If you're someone who likes to get up and move around frequently, your best bet is to choose the aisle. If you'd rather not be disturbed and hope to sleep for the duration of airtime, consider a window seat.
Just be sure to avoid middle seats and anything near the bathrooms, if you can help it. Another pro-tip from The Travelista is to select a seat toward the back of the plane. Since flights are filled from front to back, it's more likely that seat openings will occur in the last few rows. If you're in this general area, you have a better opportunity of snagging a row all to yourself, which is ideal for getting some shut-eye.
Prepare for jet lag
Jet lag is typically inevitable when traveling through time zones. As Travel + Leisure explained, however, there are some methods for reducing the severity of that groggy feeling when you lose or gain time after a long flight. Preparation for battling jet lag begins a few days before your scheduled departure. You can begin by adjusting your bedtime by about one hour each night for a few days before you leave. This will help your body and internal clock better transition to a new time zone.
Hydrating in the days leading up to your flight is essential. Airplanes are known for the dry air, which will make you feel more tired. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the flight as well. Once you arrive, it's best to avoid napping and fight the jet lag until the appropriate bedtime at your destination, Travel + Leisure explained. Napping will only prolong the jet lag and make it more difficult to function.
Another important aspect of a comfortable flight is the outfit you choose to wear. As Business Insider explained, the best option is to wear loose-fitting clothes and bring layers. While this doesn't mean you should wear your pajamas onboard, jeans and tight clothing will only cause discomfort. Opt for light, cotton clothing and bring sweaters, scarves and warm socks for when you get chilly. Airplane temperatures are always changing so the best way to keep yourself comfortable is to have layers on hand.
You'll also want to ensure your footwear is comfy and easily taken off. This can help cut down on time in the security line and benefit you if you have to cover lots of ground in the airport when finding your gate.
Bring the essentials
There's nothing worse than going to reach for your headphones right before takeoff and realizing you left them in your checked luggage. During extra long flights, you want to be sure you have all the necessary snacks, gadgets and entertainment to get you through.
First and foremost, if you want to guarantee any rest at all, you'll want to have a neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs, Thrillist advised. These things can help block out airplane and monitor lights, and drown out snoring and babies crying. Secondly, you'll want to have a solid supply of your favorite snacks. Not only will they keep your tummy happy, but these can serve as a distraction or way to pass the time as well. Moreover, if you pack tasty but nutritional snacks like trail mix and granola bars, you won't be tempted with the salty foods offered onboard.
A mini toiletry kit with deodorant, ChapStick, hand lotion, toothpaste and a toothbrush can help you to feel refreshed when you're going on hour six in the sky. Thrillist also advised bringing a refillable water bottle with you. Ensure that it is empty when going through security and then fill it before boarding your flight. This will help with the aforementioned tip on staying hydrated. Don't forget your favorite book and a stash of magazines.
With these tips and tricks, your next long-haul flight will be a breeze.