If you’re a globetrotter seeking adventure or an overseas visitor in Australia, then you are already experienced with long distance flying. But for those of you who aren’t jet setting across the globe every chance they get, you might find that long flights are the absolute worst. Long distance flights are no joke and can really do a number on you mentally and physically, especially if you’re only used to shorter flights here and there. For those living in certain parts of the world, such as Australia, means long haul flights when travelling to practically any other part of the world, so these travelers are more experienced dealing with them. But that doesn’t make them any easier. Here are some great tips for surviving long flights when you fly economy.
1. Get An Upgrade
If you have frequent flier miles, there’s no better time to use them than with a long flight. Look for a flight that you can use all of your miles on, in order to upgrade your trip. If you can’t do it yourself, enlist a travel agent to help! And even if that means a few shorter flights in between your departure point and your destination, as long as it’s all business class, it’s a huge benefit when dealing with long-haul trips. The seats in business class are much bigger, with more space for your feet and you can convert them into a flat bed, which makes all the difference when trying to get some sleep.
2. The Perfect Carry-On
Make your carry-on bag count by opting for one that features all sorts of useful amenities, like extra room, padding, and style. Since you’ll most likely be carrying around your expensive gadgets with you, you’ll want to make sure that they’re secured safely and the right carry-on bag does just that!
Remember that your carry-on should be comfortable to carry around and also not too heavy. Your back will thank you for that!
3. Your Gadgets
Survive the long flight with the help of your gadgets. Choose between your smartphone, tablet, computer, and e-reader (or take more than one) and make sure to have the portable power bank with you to boost up when the battery gets low. Consider these long flight essentials so that you can keep yourself amused during those long hours of discomfort. Make sure all of them are powered to their full capacity before boarding the flight and you might want to bring about two or three power banks, so that you can charge your computer and smartphone on a 15+ hours flight!
4. Books and Guides
There’s something authentic about actually bringing a traditional book or guides with you on a long-haul flight. Not only will they save you battery time on your tablet, but it’ll take you back to the old school pre-technology days when hardcover and softcover books were the only thing you had for flights. Bring a few titles with you and guides of cities of where you’re travelling, so that you can get to know the city better when you finally touch down. You might also want to get your itinerary on point during all the free time on the plane.
5. Use The Time To Escape
While you might want to bring some work along with you to finish on the plane, it most likely won’t make the hours tick down any faster and might make them seem longer. Instead, bring things that let you escape from work and your life back home in order to make the hours go by faster. Line up some new Hollywood blockbusters or bring your favourite movies along so that the flight seems shorter than it really is. Netflix offers the possibility to download your favorite movies so that you can watch them off-line on your smartphone or tablet.
6. Go-To Gear
Besides all your favourite tech gadgets, don’t forget about the go-to gear too! Things like neck pillows, earplugs, headphones, eye masks, and chapsticks, should always be packed in your carry-on bag so that you have them handy whenever you need them. Eye masks are especially important so that you can get some quality sleep while on the plane since they will block out the lights. Ear plugs are also great, in order to help get some rest so that you don’t get distracted by your neighbour’s chatting or the kids crying (which is usually the worst nightmare when trying to fall asleep). While some airlines might offer eye masks and ear plugs to passengers, it’s better to not take it for granted and be prepared for every scenario.
7. Bring along some compression socks
Because you’ll be sitting for long periods of time during a long distance flight, you’ll want to bring a pair of compression socks so that your feet and lower legs won’t swell up, which will make you feel uncomfortable. DVT (deep vein thrombosis) can be a side effect of sitting still for long periods of time. Be aware of it and read the information usually found in your seat pocket.
8. A light sweater or shawl
It can get quite chilly on the plane, so always make sure you bring along a light sweater or some sort of shawl or sarong with you. This way you can keep warm and stall comfortable when the temperature starts to get too chilly for you. You may also want to consider taking a light blanket with you, however, this is not a must, as most of the airlines will provide one.
9. Sleep Aid
For those who never seem to sleep on flights, a sleep aid might be necessary. But if you’re going to use either natural or prescription drugs, it’s best that you try them before you fly. This way, you already know how they’ll affect your sleep and the way you will feel while on the plane. After all, you don’t want some weird reaction to happen to you while on the flight, do you?
10. Use SeatGuru
The right seat on a long flight is crucial for ultimate comfort, so use Seat Guru to help figure out which seat is perfect for you in terms of leg room, how close it is to the bathroom if it’s a window seat and more. And you can always ask about the plane’s seats at the gate, too! In general, try to sit further away from the bathrooms, so that other passengers don’t disturb your sleep when wandering up and down the aisle to the toilet. Also, take into consideration that seating next to the window will make it harder to get up during your trip, as you’ll need to wake up your neighbours each time.
11. Get some extra rest beforehand
Many people think they’ll get plenty of sleep on the flight, but the reality is, a long-haul flight isn’t a great place to catch up on sleep (the seated position is not the most comfortable). And the long hours on the plane can actually disrupt your sleep patterns, which is why it’s a good idea to board rested and refreshed. The best thing to do is as soon as you feel tired on the flight, put on your sleep mask and put in your earplugs to get some much-needed rest! Don’t try to fight it or else you’ll be sorry later on.
12. The night before
The night before a long flight, you might want to skip any celebratory drinks. Also, make sure that you hydrate well the night before your trip, drinking lots of water and anything with electrolytes, too! Don’t drink too much coffee before boarding as this will affect your sleep and make you feel more anxious. And most importantly – focus on the trip ahead and all the great experiences waiting for you!