What are some tips for surviving a long flight?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Preparing for a Long Flight

Long flights can be a daunting task for many people. It is important to prepare for the journey to ensure that you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy your trip. There are several tips that can help you survive a long flight, including choosing the right seat, dressing appropriately, keeping hydrated, packing healthy snacks, stretching and moving, finding entertainment, using sleep strategies, avoiding jet lag, coping with anxiety, and staying healthy.

Choose the Right Seat: Comfort is Key

Choosing the right seat is crucial to surviving a long flight. A seat with extra legroom or a seat near the front of the plane can provide more space and a quicker exit when you arrive at your destination. Many airlines offer seat selection when booking your flight, so take advantage of this to find a seat that suits your needs. If you are tall or prefer to stretch your legs, an aisle seat may be best for you. If you want to sleep during the flight, consider a window seat for a more comfortable headrest. It is also important to check the seat’s recline and cushioning before booking, as some seats may not provide the level of comfort you need for a long flight.

Dress Appropriately: Layers are Best

Dressing appropriately for a long flight is important for comfort and practicality. Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows you to move easily and doesn’t restrict your circulation. Layers are ideal, as it can become cold on the plane, but you can easily remove a layer if you become too warm. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, high heels, and heavy jewelry, as these can be uncomfortable or cause swelling during the flight. Compression socks can also help to prevent swelling and improve circulation.

Keep Hydrated: Water is Your Friend

Staying hydrated is essential during a long flight, as the air in the cabin can be very dry. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the flight to prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can contribute to dehydration and disrupt your sleep. If you are unable to bring a water bottle through security, ask for water on the plane regularly or purchase it from the flight attendant. Moisturize your skin and lips with a hydrating lotion and lip balm to prevent dryness.

Pack Healthy Snacks: Avoiding Jet Lag

Packing healthy snacks can help to avoid jet lag and keep your energy levels up during the flight. Choose snacks that are easy to pack and won’t spoil, such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or granola bars. Avoid sugary or processed foods, as these can cause a crash in energy levels. If you have dietary restrictions, consider bringing your own meals or snacks to ensure you have options that meet your needs.

Stretch and Move: Exercise on a Plane

Staying active during a long flight can help to prevent muscle stiffness and fatigue. Perform simple exercises in your seat, such as ankle rotations, leg lifts, and shoulder rolls. Take walks up and down the aisle when permitted, or perform stretches in the galley area. Many airlines also offer instructional videos on in-flight exercise routines that can be done in your seat.

Entertainment: Bring Your Own or Use the Airline’s

Entertainment is essential during a long flight to help pass the time. Bring your own books, magazines, or electronic devices, such as tablets or e-readers, to keep you entertained. Many airlines also offer entertainment systems onboard, such as movies, TV shows, and games. Check ahead to see if your flight has an entertainment system, and if so, what options are available.

Sleep Strategies: Napping on a Long Flight

Sleeping during a long flight can be challenging, but it is important for feeling refreshed upon arrival. Bring a neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs to block out noise and light. Choose a seat that is comfortable for sleeping, and avoid caffeine and alcohol before attempting to sleep. Consider using a natural sleep aid, such as melatonin, to help regulate your sleep cycle.

Avoiding Jet Lag: Adjusting to Time Zones

Jet lag can be a challenge when traveling across multiple time zones. To minimize the effects of jet lag, adjust your sleep schedule a few days before your flight to align with your destination’s time zone. If possible, try to arrive at your destination during the day to help your body adjust to the new time zone. Stay hydrated, eat healthy meals at regular intervals, and avoid napping during the day to help regulate your sleep cycle.

Coping with Anxiety: Tips for Nervous Flyers

Long flights can be stressful for nervous flyers. To cope with anxiety, practice deep breathing exercises and meditation techniques. Bring a stress ball or fidget spinner to keep your hands occupied during the flight. Consider speaking with your doctor about anti-anxiety medication or therapy techniques to help manage your anxiety.

Staying Healthy: Avoiding Illness on a Flight

Staying healthy during a long flight is important to avoid illness. Wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs. Avoid touching your face or eyes, and bring disinfectant wipes to clean your tray table and armrests. Stay hydrated, and avoid consuming food or drinks that may be contaminated.

Conclusion: Enjoying the Journey

Surviving a long flight requires preparation and planning, but it is possible to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy your trip. Choose the right seat, dress appropriately, stay hydrated, pack healthy snacks, stretch and move, find entertainment, use sleep strategies, avoid jet lag, cope with anxiety, and stay healthy. Remember to enjoy the journey and take breaks when needed to appreciate the experience of traveling.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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