I love to travel, if that wasn’t already obvious, but just like anything in life, it isn’t always easy and as glamorous as it may seem. One of the things I dread the most about travel is flying. It’s not because I’m scared of planes or flying, it’s because I just find them uncomfortable and exhausting. Traveling to and from a destination takes so much out of you and I know that sounds like a first world complaint/problem, but whatever, long haul flights suck. However, there are definitely ways to make it a bit more enjoyable, and here are some of my tips to help you get through.
Airplane food sucks and can make a 10+ hour flight super shitty when that’s the only option you have. I also find it makes me super bloated and not feeling so hot. This is typical with flying, especially for long distances because gases tend to expand when you’re up in the air. However, one way to help with this gross feeling in your belly is by eating healthier. Avoid carbonated beverages or gas-producing vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. It’s also ideal to avoid foods that take a long time to digest like creamy, rich or starchy foods. The unfortunate part is that airplane food doesn’t usually take this into account so pack snacks that are a good source of protein and natural sugar or carbs. For example, unsalted nuts, yogurts, bananas, crackers and cheese, etc.
Another symptom of flying is dehydration since you’re at a higher altitude with little moisture. I always like to bring a big water bottle on the flight with me that I buy in the airport or a reusable water bottle that the flight attendants will usually refill for you on the flight! I find that otherwise, I’m soooooo thirsty since the flight attendants only come around every so often with small glasses of water.
For more tips on what to eat and what to avoid, this Globe & Mail article is great.
It’s normal to feel icky on a plane when you’re stuck on it for hours on end. One thing I like to do is make sure I have certain toiletries that will help me feel refreshed and comfortable. I usually always pack deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, moisturizer, hand sanitizer, and face wipes. Another favourite of mine are essential oils that help me relax or wake up (for landing). Saje has some great ones for those in the USA and Canada.
Check out this blog post on what I usually pack in my carry on bag.
I will never understand how someone can wear high heels or a suit on a long haul flight. I get it if it’s a short business flight but there’s no reason you need to look cute on a long flight. Instead, wear something that you’re going to feel comfortable in because there’s a chance you won’t get to change for the next 24 hours. Think leggings, track pants, a sweater in case the plane is cold (which it usually is), sports bras instead of regular ones, slippers, whatever it is that will make you feel cozy.
One of the things that’s going to make a flight go by quickly is having things with you that will keep you entertained. I usually always pack a book and/or magazines, headphones with a fully charged iPod/iPhone filled with music and podcasts, and a journal for writing. Lots of planes today have the screen on your seat filled with entertainment, but you can’t always count on this so make sure you bring lots of things with you to keep you busy. Sometimes I even find time goes by quicker when I “schedule” my time on the plane. For example, I’m going to read for an hour, then listen to music as I try to sleep for a few hours, once I wake up I’ll watch a movie, etc. Having something to look forward to or something to do will help make time pass!
Pick your seat wisely
Are you a window seat or aisle seat kind of person? Everyone has their preference of what they find the most comfortable and no one ever wants to be stuck with the dreaded middle seat for hours on end. As soon as check-in is available for your flight, I recommend you check in so you can choose your seat. If you wait until you get to the airport, there’s a chance you won’t get your preference or you won’t get seats together if you’re traveling with other people. I personally like the aisle seat for long flights because I have long legs and it allows for me to stretch out more, or easily get up and walk without waking up the people next to me. However, some people love the window seat because they have something to lean up against and sleep on.
De-stress before you arrive
I find that it’s really important to get in the right mind frame before a long flight. I like to make sure I get a good sleep the night before, and that if I have time before my flight, I spend that time decompressing and relaxing or doing something like yoga. I also make sure I leave a lot of time for myself to get to the airport and still have time to chill once I’m through security because I hate the feeling of being rushed. This helps me be in the right mind frame when I get on the plane.
Block out the noise
I haven’t bit the bullet to buy noise canceling headphones yet, but whether you have yourself a set of those or just use ear plugs, blocking out the noise while on the plane can be key to getting some rest. I find the announcements and the sounds of people around me keep me awake or stop me from falling into a deep sleep. Especially if there’s a screaming kid or two on board!
Eye mask & pillow
Just like the noise of announcements or other passengers keeping me awake, when flight attendants turn on and off the lights for meals, duty free, or whatever the case, it stops me from getting a sound sleep. Having an eye mask and also some sort of pillow can make for a more restful and comfortable sleep.
Change your clock
I find that there’s nothing worse than when you’re restless on your flight then looking at what time it is at home, especially when you’re hoping over multiple time zones. Your best bet is to set your clock/watch to your destinations time as soon as you get on the flight because this is the time that you are going to need to adjust to when you land.
Flying long distances can be rough. What are some things that help you? Share below in the comments!