Many people feel put off by a holiday destination for fear the long flight will be too much to handle. The idea of being restrained to one seat for more than ten hours has some holidaymakers looking elsewhere, but it doesn’t have to cause you to break into sweat. The key is to create a long-haul survival strategy.
1. Choose your seat wisely
Just because you can’t quite stretch to business class doesn’t mean you are destined for an uncomfortable seat. When allowed, try to book a window seat, which will allow you to rest your head against the window as well as admire the incredible views. If you’re not allowed to pre-book your seat, be sure to check in early.
2. Pack smartly
The trick is to pack as much carry-on baggage as you need without having to compromise on leg room. Packing too much for the overhead locker means having to place items under the seat in front of you - taking up precious space.
Things to pack include an iPod and noise-cancelling headphones, a good book, magazines or a small amount of work. Most long haul flights come with audio video on demand, but they sometimes take a while before becoming available. Having a source of entertainment during takeoff and landing will help you avoid twiddling your thumbs.
It’s also wise to pack a lightweight cardigan or jumper in case you get cool.
3. Travel rested
While some swear by boarding a flight overly tired as a way to ‘catch up on sleep’, should something (or someone) prevent you from drifting off then you’ll be in for a world of pain. Even well rested, you should be able to sneak in some shut eye with the use of an eye cover and neck pillow, so if you feel your eyes getting heavy, roll with it and take a nap straight away. The rest of the movie can wait until later.
If you are tempted by a sleeping aid, such as melatonin or Tylenol PM, have a trial run before you travel. Different drugs have different affects on people, and the last thing you want is for a tablet to have a stimulant effect on your body.
4. Bring freshening items
When meeting loved ones at the other end, you’ll be grateful for a toothbrush and hairbrush. You can also pack a small amount of moisturiser and lip balm to prevent your skin and lips from drying out in the plane’s air conditioning.
5. Consider your own food
Plane food is often quite limited, so bring a few other food options to protect yourself against hunger or a menu that is less than desirable. Pack some sensible snacks such as protein bars, and avoid packing lots of lollies.
If you require a special meal, such as vegetarian or Kosher, be sure to notify the airline at least three days in advance.
6. Move around
To protect your body against aches, numbness and poor circulation, move around whenever possible. Some airlines will present you with a guide to in-flight exercises, and night time flights allow you to get up and go for a walk.
7. Stay hydrated
While you can request water from a flight attendant, it’s always a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you on your flight. Planes can offer very dry air, causing you to dehydrate quickly.
8. Avoid clock watching
Keeping close tabs on the time will only make the time go slower. Instead, try to absorb yourself into a good movie, game or book and try not to look at the map to see where the plane is currently flying.