It’s been said that life is about the journey, not the destination. Of course, if you’re traveling across the world, the journey can seem like the most daunting part of any trip. If you’re interested in world travel, chances are you’re flown somewhere by plane. Over the years, the dynamics of plane travel have changed. Originally viewed as an upper-class form of transportation, planes have since become much more normalized, becoming something akin to an airborne coach bus. The rigors of flying are well-documented: little to no legroom, crying children, and the perpetual noise that comes with a crowd of people shoved into a small space. And, for that matter, what is the deal with airline food? Regardless, there are steps that any traveler can take to prepare themselves for a lengthy flight to the most far-flung destination.
Upgrade if you can.
In many cases, this is one of the only things you’ll need to do to grant yourself a pleasant flight. With flights already costing enough to begin with, it may seem daunting to pay even more, but even upgrading to premium economy can provide you with the basic comforts necessary to enjoy the journey. Sometimes, even asking about extra seats when making your way on the flight can yield results; it never hurts to try.
Pack light and pack well.
There’s nothing more frustrating than an individual attempting to maneuver a massive suitcase on a crowded plane. Packing efficiently improves situations for both you and the people around you; you’ll be able to access your provisions easier and won’t lose any legroom stowing baggage under the seats.
While you should limit what you carry on with you, a few essentials are necessary for a long flight—earplugs, a head pillow, good headphones, and a supply of engaging paperbacks can provide that bit of needed comfort.
While most airlines provide their own food on long haul flights, hunger is just another annoyance of many when you lose control over when you eat. Nuts and dried fruit are great lightweight and energizing foods to help stave off hunger in the air. That said, know the quarantine laws of the country that you’re traveling to; certain foods may need to be disposed of once you arrive.
Staying hydrated is similarly important during flights; the arid nature of airplane cabins tends to make passengers thirstier faster. Airlines tend to restrict liquids brought aboard, so you may need to secure water once you’re on the plane.
On the other hand, avoid consuming alcohol. Not only is alcohol dehydrating, but it has the potential to further affect your maligned sleep schedule and make adjusting to the new country all that more difficult.
This is a difficult proposition; after all, you can hardly be expected to do any sort of major exercise on a flight. However, just walking up and down airplane aisles can make a difference, especially when it comes to combating deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the formation of blood clots in veins as a result of lack of blood flow.
DVT can be dangerous, but a bit of activity every so often along with the aforementioned hydration is enough to keep it at bay.
Staying relaxed on a flight starts before you even set foot on the plane; arrive early to give yourself plenty of time before takeoff, load up your electronic devices with entertaining media, and exercise beforehand. Wear comfortable clothing; it may be a long time until you’re able to change again.
Really, this is the underlying principle of all long-haul flights, and you don’t have to be the Buddha to achieve serenity on a crowded airplane. Let go of your stress; you’re in a unique situation where you don’t have obligations for hours on end, and let’s be honest, that’s actually pretty liberating.