If you want to get from A to B, and A and B are far apart, you’ll have to opt for a long flight – something nobody really likes.
Long flights might feel like time spent in limbo. Sometimes you might get nauseous, curse that crying baby, sigh at the sight of the meal, and then try to catch some sleep in vain. But a long flight doesn’t have to equal suffering. When you need to travel a long distance, you might as well sit back, relax and make the best of it.
You can try to turn the unavoidable into the enjoyable and learn to appreciate your in-flight time. After all, being in flight is a special situation, where you can use everything you have to your disposal to your full advantage. You can learn to find the silver lining in being holed up in your seat for many hours.
Here are 12 ways to be comfortable on a long flight to help you enjoy your trip as much as possible:
1. Wear comfortable clothes
If you want to be able to sleep on the flight, try to wear clothes that are as close to pajamas as possible (not that I’m expecting you to show up in teddy-bear-print on your next Transatlantic!) Loose-fitting shirts, comfortable jeans, flats or tennis shoes, and a hoodie are my in-flight uniform. By all accounts, we want to avoid that anything starts to press into your skin – and you certainly want to avoid the example of Lady Gaga, whose legs started swelling because she tried to rock the plane in an uber-tight outfit and mile-high heels.
2. Escape from the noise
For long flights, noise-canceling headphones are the best thing since sliced bread. Once you are allowed to operate electronic devices, switch on your headset and enjoy a ride without the disturbances of the plane engines and all other noise that comes with too many people in a confined area. If you don’t own noise-canceling headphones and don’t want to invest in them yet, then bring earplugs.
3. Evade the light
If you want to sleep during the flight, bring a sleeping mask. Simply putting on your headset and sleeping mask can also mentally prepare you to sleep during the flight.
4. Drink enough water
While on the flight, it’s important to hydrate, hydrate and hydrate. Stay clear of alcohol and tea or coffee. Alcohol impairs your ability to sleep, as do caffeinated drinks. Moreover, these beverages dehydrate, while your body will need the exact opposite. So grab a large bottle of water after airport security, and try to finish it by the end of your flight.
5. Hydrate your skin
The air quality in the cabin can be detrimental to your skin. Before you start cracking up everywhere, be gentle with your body and apply some cream on your face, lips, hands – wherever you’d put some extra if you decided to go for a walk on a winter’s day.
6. Fuel up in the airport with a green juice
Nothing does as many wonders to your energy levels (for so little effort) as the punch-impact of a cup of fresh, green juice. Airports these days are full of juice bars – so give yourself the opportunity to indulge in something delicious that’s good for you. If you can’t find a juice bar, most newspaper stands also sell bottled green juices and/or smoothies. The more veggies, the better!
7. Use your time wisely
If you plan to watch three movies during your flight because you absolutely love movies, that is fine. On the other hand, if you watch them simply because you don’t know what else to do, then you should have planned ahead for the time during your flight. If you get nauseous during the flight, don’t force yourself to try and do actual work. Instead, look for a relaxing and soothing activity that makes your time more enjoyable. I use my in-flight time to read books, something for which I don’t always have enough time, and doing so now actually makes me look forward to flying.
8. Get a good seat
Before you leave, check online to see where your seat will be. Do you prefer a window seat so you can rest your head against the wall while sleeping, or an aisle seat so you can walk around as much as you like? Try to change your seat in advance to suit your fancy. Sometimes you might find two empty spots, which could mean extra space for you. Keep in mind, however, that delays and cancellations can result in those empty seats getting filled up anyway.
9. Bring socks
What’s worse than getting cold feet during a flight? Bring a pair of socks, and keep your feet warm and cozy. Make sure they are loose enough that you don’t end up with elastic band marks on your legs.
10. Save miles, get an upgrade
If you travel the same itinerary regularly, then stick to one airline and save miles. Not only will you be able to spend these miles eventually, but you will also be building up privileges. It starts with boarding earlier, and it goes up to the point where you’re treated like a VIP, making your long flight way more enjoyable. US residents might even be able to save for miles while using a credit card.
11. Make the best out of the meal
Another sad pasta or dull chicken during your flight? Try to make the best of it instead of feeling sorry for yourself because of the terrible food. Try adding some salt and pepper. Warm your bread and butter by placing them on top of the container of hot food. See what you like, and pick out the best bits.
Stop fretting about the time lost in travel and use it as an opportunity to enjoy the time you get to yourself. Don’t consider your travel time as a useless vacuum in time and space, but fill it with activities you don’t get to do too often at home. Take some snacks you enjoy, read, meditate, listen to some music, prepare your senses for your next destination – simply shift your mindset and reframe your thoughts so that you can truly appreciate your personal time during the flight.