Wondering how to survive a long flight? Long haul flights can be miserable if you’re unprepared. Don’t throw months of preparation out the window and arrive at your dream destination only to feel sleep deprived, sluggish, and bloated.
If six years of long haul flights back home to Australia’s east coast from Europe have taught me anything, it’s to be prepared.
Here are 10 of my long haul flight tips for preventing dehydration, deep-vein thrombosis, sleep deprivation and more so you reach your destination feeling fresh and relaxed.
1. Rest Up Beforehand
Get a good night’s sleep before you travel. Don’t think that depriving yourself of sleep the night before will help you sleep better on the plane. Unless you’re the sort of person who can sleep anywhere, be sure to get plenty of rest leading up to your trip.
After watching three consecutive movies you’re bound to nod off, in which case you’ll need a supportive pillow that prevents your head from falling forward so you won’t keeping waking yourself up!
2. Dress Comfortably
You might want to arrive in style, but consider wearing loose, comfortable clothing and shoes that are not too restrictive.
Swap your jeans for leggings or even fashionable sweatpants and dress them up with a nice top or sweater.
A handy item to carry-on is a lightweight pashmina shawl to use when the air conditioner kicks in, this can also double as a pillow once rolled up.
Take off your shoes and put on a pair of woolly or thick socks as soon as you settle into your seat. This will help you to relax quicker, plus it will allow your feet to breathe and not swell inside your shoes from the cabin pressure.
Another item to consider is compression socks. Not only will it keep your toes warm but it can help feet and legs from swelling on long flights and help thwart deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots).
3. Stay Hydrated
This one is easy to forget, especially when you know that the drinks trolley is harbouring your favourite liqueur. Keep alcohol, tea and coffee to a minimum as these can lead to dehydration. If you can’t avoid these, try at least to match every beverage with a cup of water. A smart option is to carry a collapsible water bottle with you and ask the cabin crew to fill it up for you.
On longer journeys, low cabin humidity can cause dry eyes, nose, and throat, so if possible, remove contact lenses, apply moisturiser, and lip balm.
4. Feeling the Pressure?
Occasionally your ears may feel blocked during take-off and landing. To help ease the pressure, pack either chewing gum, sweets or try yawning.
5. Put Some Muscle Into It!
It’s important to keep moving sluggish circulation can cause tiredness, muscle cramps, and water retention (the cause of swollen feet). It can even result in blood clots, which can be dangerous if they move to a vital organ.
Keep your circulation going by standing up and walking around the aisle whenever possible. You will feel much fresher on arrival by doing some simple stretching exercises in your seat every few hours. Try flexing different muscles in your feet, legs, arms, shoulders and neck. A great lightweight alternative that also helps with stress and strengthening your muscles is by squeezing a stress ball.
Opt for an aisle seat so you can come and go as you please without bothering other passengers.
6. Eat Right
Before you travel, eat a light, well-balanced meal and choose your in-flight meal online. This will not only ensure you receive your meal first, but you can also avoid meals with too much salt, sugar, and dairy products.
Steer clear of fizzy drinks and gaseous food. As mentioned earlier, keep tabs on your intake of alcohol, tea and coffee, and drink lots of water throughout the flight. Eating and drinking in excess, or consuming the wrong kinds of food, can lead to indigestion and uncomfortable bloating.
7. Stay Focused
If you’re prone to motion sickness during take-off, landing or in the event of turbulence, focus on a fixed object. I’ve heard that some people believe that applying pressure to your earlobes can reduce nausea. Personally, I find ginger ale and dry crackers help, otherwise I force myself to sleep.
8. Pay Attention to Your Body Clock
When travelling across time zones your body’s sleep rhythms will become disrupted. This can lead to insomnia, loss of appetite and fatigue. Prepare your body clock by getting a good night’s sleep before your flight. Upon arrival, allow yourself a couple of relaxed days to adjust to the new night and day cycles. On shorter trips, adjust your eating and sleeping pattern before leaving home.
9. Keep Clean
It’s amazing how much of a mood elevator brushing your teeth can be. By keeping up your usually grooming habits as much as possible, this will keep you looking and feeling better. Pack a change of underwear and a small toiletry bag and small hand towel so you can brush my teeth, floss, and use female hygiene wipes every few hours. This will give you the added opportunity to move around as well. Being dirty can take a mental toll, so by keeping clean you’ll feel much less miserable and be less tired as a result.
10. Offset Jet-lag
When you land, get as much sun as you can and stay active during the day. This will help you to adjust to the new timezone. By doing this you’ll barely feel any jet lag. Don’t be tempted to have a nap, we both know it’ll take an apocalypse before you’ll get out of bed!
Over to you!
Which of these long haul flight tips have you tried? Do you have any other tips for long flights?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
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