If someone told you that they enjoyed long haul flights, you’d probably do a double-take. That’s because there’s nothing much to enjoy about being on a plane for 10+ hours. It’s tough to stretch out your legs and get comfortable enough to sleep, the food isn’t anything to write home about, and you can’t account for who you’ll be sitting next to.
But for teachers heading to teach overseas this New Year, we’ve compiled a list of ways to make long haul flights a little more bearable.
A good seat should be your top priority.
If you’re on a 10+ hour flight, it’s likely that you’re going to need to use the washroom at least once, so a good seat means an aisle seat. Believe us, the novelty of looking out the window and seeing the ocean will wear off just as soon as you have to ask your neighbor to move for a second time.
Even better than just an average aisle seat, though, is an aisle seat with no one beside you. If you’re traveling alone, pick a seat in the window row if there’s a three-seat configuration. Make sure to pick a row where the window seat is already booked. Being crammed between two strangers is no one’s cup of tea. These middle seats are likely to be the last booked, so you might be lucky enough to get an empty seat between you and the person sitting in the window seat.
Watch what you eat.
A couple of days before you leave, try to make sure you’re eating healthy. You’ll feel pretty uncomfortable sitting on a long flight if you’ve stuffed yourself with junk food. Our bodies don’t digest fatty foods and foods filled with sodium very well on a good day, so trying to digest these kinds of food at 30,000 ft in the air is even tougher.
But beyond digestion, we also have to worry about blood circulation while flying. Sitting with very little movement for many hours can affect blood flow which can cause swollen feet — another uncomfortable in-flight experience.
Lean toward healthier choices: packages of nuts, water instead of carbonated drinks or alcohol, and vegetables.
Make a move.
Sitting for a long time isn’t good for your body. Make sure you take regular breaks to get up and walk around or do some exercise in-flight. CNN even put out an in-flight yoga guide.
Give yourself the best chance at some sleep.
First and foremost: avoid alcohol. Some travelers make the mistake of using alcohol as a sleep aid, but it’s actually a depressant and can also really dehydrate you. If you’re looking for something to help you sleep, try a more natural alternative like melatonin tablets or valerian tea.
If there’s an in-flight comfort package available, invest in it. Otherwise, make your own! Pack a sleep mask, some ear plugs, and even a small blanket if possible. These small things can go a long way when it comes to trying to get some sleep.
Pack your own entertainment.
This is especially crucial when in-flight movies are pre-picked and shown to all passengers. It’s good to have some distractions that will keep you happy. Bring your favourite book or magazine, stock your iTunes library with a couple of movies or a TV series you’ve been meaning to watch, bring a journal and list all the places you’d like to visit once you arrive — just think ahead about what you’ll do if the in-flight movies are a drag.
We know that long flights are no one’s favorite, but if you follow these tips, you can minimize some of the travel stress you’ll experience. Especially if you’re heading to work within the first few days of landing, you’ll want to make sure your flight is the best that it can be.
What have you done in the past to make long haul flights more bearable? Share with us below in the comments!