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How to Survive a Long Flight

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If you’re traveling across the Atlantic or Pacific on your next journey, the thought of the long flight involved might have you cringing a little — especially if you’re venturing all the way to Australia. Getting through 8, 10, 12 or even 22 hours of airline travel can seem like absolute torture.

airport

Consider the following tips to make your time in the air more bearable — and possibly even enjoyable.

 

Don’t Be Opposed to the Back of the Plane.

If you can find the patience for boarding and disembarking, the back of the plane is your best bet for an open seat, which will make your long flight more bearable.

 

Use Your Airline Miles and Upgrade if You Can.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably have many airline miles programs (if you don’t, you probably should consider them). Those miles can be cashed in for long flights. You could also ask for an upgrade to business or first class, and spend your 22-hour flight sipping champagne from a comfy seat-to-bed combo.

 

Prepare for Jetlag.

Jet lag is the worst, but you can take some steps to mitigate the worst of it. A few days before your flight, try to make your bedtime align with the time zone in which you’ll arrive. If you begin adjusting your body clock ahead of time, you’ll be better off once you reach your destination.

 

Arrive at the Airport Early.

Nothing is as stressful as rushing through the airport to make sure you don’t miss the final boarding call for your flight. Budget enough time to arrive, check-in and go through security. You can speed up the process by checking in online, planning out your route before you go and signing up for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check. Aim to arrive at your gate with time to relax before departure.

 

Pack Light.

This cannot be stressed enough! You will have a much more enjoyable travel experience if you aren’t lugging around a boatload of carry-on items. Keep it simple. Most long-distance flights allow for one checked bag without extra fees, so take advantage.

 

Dress Comfortably.

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It may seem like common sense, but dressing comfortably on the flight can make the changes in altitude much more bearable. Avoid jeans and materials that are constricting to movement. If you like to remove your shoes for the flight, consider slip-ons for easy on and off options.

 

Two Words: Neck Pillow.

If you fly in business or first class, bring a neck pillow. Plane sleep can be difficult regardless, but waking up with a cramped neck and hours remaining before landing is awful. Make a small investment, and find a travel pillow that is perfect for your needs.

 

Noise-Canceling Headphones and an Eye Mask Are Necessities.

Baby on board next to you? A row of small children? Seated next to an overly loud passenger? Put noise canceling headphones in your carry-on and don’t forget the eye mask. You’ll block most of the noise and distractions that could affect your moment of Zen and relaxation.

 

Bring Your Favorite Book or Journal.

Use the long hours on the plane to catch up on activities that you never seem to find time for during a normal day. Journal or draw to work your creative brain, or read a new best-seller.

 

Relax.

Always relax on a long flight. Imbibe in a glass or two of wine if it will help you relax, consider light meditation, or try to get some rest.

 

Stay Hydrated and Bring Healthy Snacks.

The change in altitude can cause dehydration, so make sure to drink water, especially if you enjoy a glass of wine or two. Pack healthy snacks in your carry-on to keep your stomach from feeling the effects of travel.

 

Make Friends With the Flight Crew.

Finally, be friendly to the crew serving you. They will take good care of you and make your long flight enjoyable if you’re friendly and personable. They enjoy kindness and a good laugh as much as the passenger sitting next to you.

 

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