By: Fiona Moriarty, Hipmunk
Whether flying for pleasure to Bangkok or taking a regular business trip to Sydney, the long term flight can be hard on the body, mind, and soul. Though the thrill of adventure might keep things interesting for the first few hours, eventually, things are going to get boring and uncomfortable. Check out our list below for some tips and tricks on how to hack the long-term flight!
1. Travel Light
The first and most obvious tip is to pack light. With pricey checked baggage fees, more and more people are attempting to carry-on as much of their luggage as they can. While it's a good idea in theory, cramming a lot of stuff under the seat in front of you cuts off your precious leg room. You might not miss the extra space at the beginning of your flight, but after a few hours, you'll wish you could stretch your legs out fully.
2. Drink Up!
One of the unfortunate downsides of long term flying is how dry the skin and throat can become over time. Sitting in stale air for more than ten hours can cause some people to feel itchy or oily. Plus, dehydration can exaggerate jet lag. One way to beat the dryness is to drink at least eight ounces of water an hour. Another, and arguably more effective way, is to bring along a face mister or a soothing face mask to replenish the moisture in your skin.
3. Inflate Away
A great way to pack comfort without taking up too much room in carry-on luggage is to invest in an inflatable pillow and foot rest. When not inflated, these plastic devices roll up tightly and take up very little space. The pillow will offer neck support when trying to catch some sleep and the foot rest will aid in maintaining circulation through the legs, which can help prevent cramping or blood clots.
4. Bring your own Gourmet
Bad jokes aside, airplane food is pretty hit or miss these days. Depending on the airline, customers could be riding high with a full course meal of proteins and vegetables, or left with nothing but a pack of peanuts. Skip the uncertainty by packing food, either from home or at the Duty free shop in the airport. Not only will you get to eat what you want, but you'll be saving money. Make sure to pack food that's neat and doesn't smell so as not to disturb your fellow passengers! Stock up on nuts, dark chocolate, and dried fruit to keep energy levels up.
5. Make Friends with Your Neighbor
Making friends with the people sitting next to you might not seem so important when on the ground, but once you're up in the air, you'll be glad you made the extra effort. Being friendly with seat mates means you'll have a pal to wake you up when food comes and that you'll be greeted with a smile when you need to maneuver out of your window seat to the restroom. And they'll be less likely to give you the stink eye if you accidentally kick them during a dream-filled snooze.
Another important thing to remember when flying long-term is to move around the plane. Sitting for hours on end without moving is bad for circulation and can cause some serious swelling. Fix the problem by doing a lap around coach every three or four hours or doing light arm stretches while sitting. Other great airplane exercises include neck rolls, spinal twists, and thigh stretches.
7. Choose seats early
The best way to snag a great seat is to choose early. Oftentimes, people wait until the last minute to pick and are then disappointed when they're stuck in a middle seat by the bathroom for fourteen hours. Avoid this by planning ahead and making a seat choice no more than 24 hours after booking. Picking early means you can grab the bulkhead or exit row seats before anybody else has the chance!
8. Do your research!
One of the great things about flying nowadays is that there are so many online resources available for passengers that want to learn about the planes they'll be flying on prior to departure day. Sites like SeatGuru and SeatExpert not only show which seats in any given plane are the best, they also list what amenities and entertainment will be available on the flight. Taking advantage of sites like these will make your flight all the more enjoyable.