One of the most exhausting aspects of travelling is getting through that initial flight. Depending on your destination, you could find yourself in the air for twenty hours or so. To the unseasoned traveller, such a long flight may seem like cruel and unusual punishment. However, there are ways to make your flight more bearable.
To start off, there are several items you should have on hand for a long flight. When packing a carry on, be sure to bring anything that will allow you to be cozy and sleep for some of the flight. This includes earplugs, headphones, a sleeping mask, and ideally some sort of travel neck pillow. In addition, some sort of sleeping pill is a good idea for those overnight flights. Even with all of the above, it’s hard to get comfortable unless you’re fortunate enough to be in first class. Having some sort of nighttime sleeping aid definitely helps, and sleeping through most of your flight is the best bet to making it more bearable.
A little known health risk of flying is that sitting down for so long can give you blood clots in your leg. There are special circulation socks you can buy that prevent this. They’re tight around your shins to prevent blood clots, and even have a little flap at the bottoms to give your toes some air if need be! I would recommend, however, that you buy these ahead of time. I’ve seen them at airports for as much as twenty dollars, but you can find them at a drug store for less than five.
One thing that slips the mind of most travellers is that you can bring your own food and snacks in your carry on. Forget buying overpriced snacks at the airport or forcing down barely passable in flight meals. Before you leave, pack a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and prepare a zip lock bag of your favorite snacks. Granola bars and trail mix are a great idea because they won’t get crushed as easily. Whatever you decide to bring, it’ll be far and away cheaper and more enjoyable than what you find past check in.
It may also be a good idea to bring your own entertainment. In most cases, long flights are equipped with in flight entertainment on each seatback. However, I’ve been on a couple of six hour flights in which I assumed I’d have this, only to find that there was none and I had little to do during the flight. So be sure to load your device with movies and reading material just in case. It’s a good idea anyway to have entertainment on your device while travelling for those long bus rides, and having several eBooks downloaded will save a lot of space and weight in your bag.
Another useful tip for those of us who can’t snag a seat in first class is to try and book an emergency exit seat. It’s sometimes a little pricier than standard seats depending on who you fly with, but the extra leg room is often worth it. Whatever you can do to make yourself more comfortable will be worth it once you’re in the air.