5 tips to survive a long-haul flight
I'm on my way to Dubai right now, and part of making this 15-hour flight lighter, is doing fun things, that's why I decided to start writing.
I'm sure there are many blogs that talk about this same topic, and in order to get your attention, this post should be "different or unique", but what you're about to read here is said out of my experiences and does not include any type of external "research". From my point of view, it is more interesting and exciting reading something real than any research taken and modified from other articles. Enjoy it and imagine that we are having a coffee together!
I was actually thinking about how many hours I've spent on a plane in my thirty years of life, I have no idea, I guess more than 500. For many people, it might be a great thing and for others, it may be a waste of time. For me there are many emotions and experiences involved: some of them were really nice, others not so much, others became part of traveling, and a few more that I might have forgotten.
Let's start then! How to survive a long flight? How long? Whatever means a long flight for you is fine, whether it is 4 hours, 10, 15 or 19, which is the longest that exists :)
I'll give you some tips that have worked for me. Remember that we are all different and if some of my advice is not for you, that's ok!
1. Your body will scream at you: Comfy clothes, please!
Do not wear uncomfortable clothes like jeans, tight stuff, heavy jackets, or any other clothes that may be very pretty but are not comfy at all, do not choose them as your outfit for that eternal flight. I know that traveling makes us feel cool, but no one cares about glamour at the airports anymore. Still, if you're all about glam, there are many sweatpants sets that are nice and cozy, your body will thank you.
If you refuse to lose the glamor at the airport, what you can do -and I did it once because my boyfriend was going to pick me up at the airport- is this: Take an extra outfit in your carry-on. That is, you arrive at the airport with your beautiful outfit, and before boarding you change your clothes for something comfortable; and then, before collecting your luggage and going through customs, you put on the beautiful outfit again. And voila! Ufff I even got tired of describing the process haha but if it expands you to do it, please do!
Shoes are included here too, choose easy-to-remove walking shoes. Normally airports are big and we walk long distances, and sometimes you'll have to take off your shoes, so keep that in mind.
2. Do comfortable handbags exist?
Yes! And they are the best. It's not a fad haha don't worry, it's not something you'll find on amazon like: “Comfortable bag”, or maybe you will, I don't know. But what I'm about to describe here are the kind of bags, backpacks, or whatever, that are NOT comfortable. - Bags that do not close, please don't! Whenever the plane takes off, all your stuff will come out. - Neither too big nor too small. We all know that hardly anything fits in a clutch or a small bag, they're pretty but not for a long flight. And a huge bag you'll basically have to place it on top because it's not going to fit under the seat in front of you, so it won't be at hand to get what you need. A normal backpack is more than enough, and it's much more comfortable to carry too. - If you like to keep things clean and your handbag/backpack gets dirty easily, I recommend you to leave it at home. As you will place it on the floor, it will get dirty.
3. A bottle of water to refill.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. In almost every airport in the world, there are stations to refill water bottles. I won't lie to you, some of them have a weird taste, but a bottle with a filter might solve that. It does have many benefits to drink water, and during a flight, it has more benefits than you think. I'll tell you a few: - The most hated: constipation. First of all, you won't be in a lot of movement like you would on a normal day, so your metabolism might get a bit confused and slow down. Drinking water will help it do its job better, and help you feel better. - During the flight they provide some water, but they give it in small cups, and if you normally drink a lot of water, you may get thirsty. So, if you have your bottle with you (which you'll fill up before boarding), everything will be better.
4. What about the snacks, are they necessary?
I almost always see that travelers recommend bringing snacks. I'm going to tell you why and when it does apply, and why and when it doesn't: - On long flights you normally get a lot of food, so you must likely won't get hungry. It depends on the duration of the flight, but on the longest ones, you get dinner, a snack, and breakfast. It depends of the airline but most of the meals are very filling, I'm not saying they're delicious, though. So if you eat them all, you won't get hungry and you won't need your snacks, they'll squash in your carry-on and take up space. - Do you remember that at the beginning I mentioned that we are all different? It applies to this too. If you are someone who can eat everything, the food of the plane will be more than enough. On the contrary, if you're someone who pays a lot of attention to everything you eat (because you are vegan, or you take great care of your diet, or any other reason), then I recommend you to take your own snacks: bars, fruit, a sandwich, etc. There are airports where they let you pass food through security, and others where they don't, it's a matter of knowing the airport or being lucky. Foods in their package will pass without a problem everywhere, but there are others that will not, especially cooked meals. I recommend you to take them from home because buying them at the airport is not a good idea, they are very expensive and most of them are not nutritious.
5. Watch, read, listen, and write.
If you are one of the people who sleep all or almost all the flight, what a blessing! But if you're not, you'll have to find something to do during the flight. - Watch: We already know that there is a great variety of movies on the plane. Sometimes they're good and many others, not so much. I like having a plan B just in case. You can download some series or movies on your cell phone, ipad, or laptop. Try to take all your gadgets with 100% battery. It is true that you can charge them at your seat, but they usually charge very slowly or some laptop chargers have a very high voltage and won't get enough energy. - Reading: If you like to read, a good book makes everything more enjoyable! From my experience, I recommend you to download some books on a device. Yes, I am one of those who prefer physical books, to feel it, to read from sheets of paper, but traveling with books is a bit uncomfortable, they are heavy and take up space. Remember that on long trips and flights, any space is valuable. Plus there are flights where you can finish a book or two, depending on how big they are, how fast you read, and how good they are. Believe me, you will appreciate bringing more than one downloaded book. - Listen: Podcasts, music, everything that is listenable while you do other things like writing or working in flight. You can also bring meditations. Don't forget your headphones, preferably wireless and even better if they block outside noise. - Write: You don't have to be Paulo Coelho to write. You can write about anything, how you feel, your goals, how grateful you are for taking this flight to go on that life-time trip, literally whatever you want. You can even start: "I honestly don't know what to write, but here I am..." It can be by hand or on any of your devices.
If you're coming with us to our Volunteering Trip in Lebanon in July 2022 and you just read this, you're more than ready for the flight!
See you on the next post and on Social Media!
Wishing you always the best,