So you’ve booked your flights, packed your bag, charged your camera… now all that’s standing between you and your dream destination is that draining 12-hour flight. *groan* Luckily, we’re here to help! Here are 12 tricks to help make your next long-haul flight less of a nightmare.
1. Be choosey
Choose your seat wisely to allow for optimum rest time. Seats nearest the engines will be the loudest, so steer clear of these. Head towards the back where there are usually more spare seats and pick your aisle, middle or window position carefully.
Aisle will give you easy access to the toilet and will let you wander around the cabin easily (goodbye swollen ankles).
The window seat great for the views and the fact there’s a handy wall to pop your pillow against, but it means you’ll have to disturb your fellow travellers if you want to take a walk.
And middle? It doesn’t have that much going for it – unless you enjoy being stuck between two strangers for a day. You might get lucky and have the whole row to yourself though!
2. Power up
To avoid being caught without entertainment, make sure you charge all your devices before you fly. Phones, laptops, kindles, iPads… make sure they’re all at 100%, or you’ll be spending the flight studying the safety card over and over and over and over again. Blerk.
It’s also a good idea to bring a power pack in case your devices do run low.
3. Bring backup
We’re talking books! Packing back up magazines or your favourite novel means you won’t be stuck if you do run out of movies and avoiding the screen isn’t always a bad thing… reading is also a great way to rest your eyes if you want to sleep.
Download your shows, podcasts and music while you’re still at home. There’s no Wi-Fi in the sky, so get everything saved before you take off means you won’t be stuck for entertainment. Netflix has the option to download shows (so you can binge on The Sinner while you’re in the sky). Spotify and Podcast apps also give you the option to download playlists offline.
5. Dress comfortably
It may be tempting to give into the idea of stepping off the plane in Europe dressed in a fabulous outfit with shoes and accessories to match, but wave goodbye to this dream now. Sitting for 10+ hours in tight jeans that are digging into your stomach or a dress that you can’t cross your legs in is going to get old pretty fast. Loose clothing is best and opt for layers so you won’t get chilly when the air-con kicks in.
6. Get your snack on
When you’re spending a day in the sky, eating is important! Aeroplane food usually isn’t that exciting snacking is also the perfect way to relieve boredom so pack a few extra goodies to get you through the hours. You’ll feel more refreshed when you land.
7. Don’t forget the Superhero Scarf
Air-con too cold? Seat a little hard? Lucky you packed a scarf to save you! This handy item fits easily into any carry on bag and is so versatile you can’t afford not to pack it. Use it as an eye mask or a blanket or roll it up and it can double up as a pillow.
8. Get your go-to gear ready
Pack your must-haves like books, deodorant, snacks, laptop and jumper in a small bag that will fit under your seat. That way, whenever you need to grab something it’s within easy reach – no squeezing past other passengers to get to the aisles needed!
But don’t drink alcohol. Post-flight dehydration is killer, so take your own water bottle on board so you can keep track of how much water you’re drinking. Make the most of the refreshments given out on board too. Staying hydrated on the flight will make the landing that much sweeter.
10. Socks, socks, socks
Socks will make the difference between sore, swollen toes when you arrive and fresh feet ready for an adventure. Take your shoes off once you’re in the air to avoid uncomfortable swelling, and pop those socks on to keep your feet warm.
11. Block it out
Getting sleep aboard a plane is HARD, what with all the crying babies, rustling newspapers and flickering screens. Packing an eye mask and ear plugs is an easy way to avoid those outside distractions and catch a few zzz’s.
12. Freshen up
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of fuzzy teeth and a sweaty face on a flight… yuck! Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste and wet wipes along so you can duck into the bathroom and freshen up whenever you feel the need.
13. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand!
Chances are, even if you follow all these steps and use earplugs and eye masks galore, you’re still not going to get a great sleep aboard a plane. Humans just weren’t made to sleep sitting up! Getting a few nights of decent sleep before you fly will at least make it a little bit easier if you don’t manage to nod off.