Surviving a long flight can be a major feat. We love exploring new destinations, but getting there can present a list of challenges. In spite of the challenges, I try to keep the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson in mind: "Life is a journey, not a destination." The following tips will help you prepare for a long flight so that your journey can be as enjoyable as possible on the way to your destination.
Preparing for a long flight? Read more to see my long haul flight tips.
1. Stay hydrated.
Although we should always have the goal to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, in the few days leading up to your long flight, really focus on making this a priority. Then on the day of your flight, drink a healthy amount of water before you leave your house.
Start your flight with water. Either buy water at the airport, bring a refillable bottle and fill it in the airport, or politely ask the flight attendant as you board to bring you water as soon as they have a moment free.
Each time the flight attendants come through offering beverages, ask for a cup or bottle of water or a cup of ice in addition to whatever else you want to drink. Will you need to use the onboard lavatory? Yes. Yes, you will. But the alternative can be far worse.
2. Dress Comfortably.
I am not advocating for pajamas on flights. But that beautiful new dress you got for your trip will be better used once you arrive at your destination and head out for a nice dinner. For those like me who like wearing dresses, consider wearing something you can be slightly less "ladylike" in. Instead, throw on your favorite jeans, a pair of shorts, or even some nice yoga pants if that's what makes you comfortable. I also like to wear slip-on shoes with socks (having socks on helps in going through the airport TSA lines as well). And I love to bring a pair of comfy slippers with rubber soles that I can change into for red-eye flights, though this isn't absolutely necessary.
3. Dress in layers.
Planes tend to be the exact temperature of saunas when you first board and roughly the temperature of the polar ice caps about halfway through the flight. Dress accordingly - short sleeves for when you board and something warmer for once it cools down. A sweater or light jacket works well, but my favorite travel accessory is an extra large scarf or shawl that I can easily throw around my shoulders or use as a blanket. (Though many airlines provide a blanket for overnight flights, this is not something I ever count on.)
4. Keep certain toiletries handy.
I always make sure I have a travel-sized hair brush, my favorite lip balm, hand sanitizer, wet wipes (or makeup wipes), and some concealer in my small under-the-seat bag. You may also consider bringing your favorite lipstick, mascara, or your other favorite piece of makeup so that you can freshen up before final descent and feel ready for the rest of the day.
5. Wear compression socks.
I know this sounds super "old-ladyish," but hear me out. If you have ever had any issues with your legs swelling on long flights, or on long walks, or just every day, do yourself a favor and pick up some compression socks for your flight. Your legs, ankles, and feet will thank you.
6. Bring your own entertainment.
I love to read, so I always have a book on hand on all flights - short or long. This is especially useful during those periods when the on-board movies are not playing. And although you can use the earbuds provided by the airline, I much prefer my own (much more comfortable) headphones. There's no waiting for them to be handed out and no wondering if they will compatible with your phone or tablet, should you choose to entertain yourself on your phone or tablet while you are waiting for the movies to become available. Make sure you have your entertainment choices actually downloaded to your phone or tablet, not through a streaming service.
Keep these travel tips for long flights in mind as you prepare for your next long haul flight.
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