Travel Tips for Long Flights
October 7, 2013 • Photography & Travel
I spend a decent amount of time on planes and a lot of them are long haul flights. For me I consider a long haul flight is 9 hours and more. I would estimate that for these flights I spend about 12 to 15 hours in the air, and I do quite a few of those a year.
Naturally, I have developed a knack for making traveling the most stress-free and efficient process as possible. Here are some tips that may come in handy for you as you embark on your next adventure:
When Flying Economy
Where to Sit?
- On really long haul flights I always choose the aisle seat. It allows you to get out and in easily without having to wake up your neighbor. It also allows you the convenience of getting up to stretch your legs at your own convenience.
Which aisle seat to choose?
- Look at the configurations of the seats before you take off. Most long haul flights have a 3-4-3 configuration. I choose the aisle in the middle row as that means I only have one person that wants to get pass me as oppose to 2 if I chose the aisle seat on the side row of 3 seats. Kapish?
Always pack your carry on carefully. Plan for the flight. Here are some helpful hints and items to make sure you have with you:
- Headphones if you want to listen to music
- Power cable to charge your computer, as some long haul flights have a socket to plug into
- Make sure your phone/iPod and computer are charged fully before you board
- Have a blow up air pillow that wraps around your neck. Honestly, they really make a difference
- I usually have a small toiletry bag with all my essentials in it – headphones, USB cable to charge my phone, lip balm etc and keep this with me on my seat. That way I don’t have to keep opening the overhead bin to reach into my carry on.
- The little towel that they give you to wipe your face at the start of the flight – save it. Towards the end of the flight go to the bathroom, wet it, squeeze and wipe your body and it helps make you feel fresh and get that airplane feel off you.
- I always bring a change of clothes. I’ll change into comfortable clothing soon after take off for sleeping or most of the flight then right before landing, wipe down and change back into the clothes that you boarded on with. You’ll look and feel so much fresher than the rest of the plane load of people who look like they’ve been through a, well, a long air plane ride
- Almost all long flights give you a tooth brush and tooth paste. Rarely one does not. Brushing your teeth right before you get off the flight also helps you feel fresher.
- Bring an extra pair of socks as well so you are not wearing the same one for 30 hours if you are flying to Australia!
- The bathrooms in economy are much smaller. It’s not easy to change in there as there is no where really to put your clothes. What I do is I put down the baby changer, and use that as a table on which to put my change of clothes. The baby changer usually lowers above the toilet seat so it creates a perfect table to rest your stuff on and comfortably change
Staying healthy on the flights
- I always make an effort to stretch on the flights. Go to the galley area and stretch for 15 mins or so at least. Couple of times on the flight.
- Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated.
- You don’t have to eat every time they serve you food. Eat only when you are hungry. You are not consuming lots of energy sitting in your seat. Learn to say “no, thank you” to food if you don’t need it.
- Bringing your own healthy snacks is also a good idea. Buy them from shops in your home city as opposed to at the airport, which will double if not triple the price.
- Plan your sleep. See what time you are arriving in your destination city and plan accordingly. If I am arriving at 8 am, I stay awake the first 6 hours of the flight and then sleep the last 6 hours of the 12 hour flight. The goal is you want to get into the destination time zone as soon as possible. When you arrive don’t go to sleep or take a nap. Force yourself to stay awake till about 9pm or so at night then go to sleep. Walk around outside, do what you need to do to stay awake. This will help you blend into the local time asap and avoid serious jet lag.
- I also find eating good hearty meals the first day or two when I arrive helps me to combat jet lag.
In transit in Airports
- Airports are full of escalators and most have a set of stairs next to the them. Opt to use the stairs. It will help with circulation which is needed after a long flight.
- Don’t sit around waiting for your next flight. Walk around the airport. Most major airport hubs are massive and provide endless walking opportunities.
Going through security.
- Before I even get to the security line I take everything that I need to take off me such as phone, wallet, belt, watch, etc and put them in a pocket in my carry on bag designated for this (and my shoes if you are in the US). This way I am fully prepared when I get up to the scanning machine, and all I have to do is take out my lap top. Speeding up the process makes it less stressful for you as well as your fellow travelers.
Check back for tips about flying Business or First Class. Happy traveling!
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