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5 Essential Tips To Make The Most Out Of Long-Haul Flights

5 Essential Tips To Make The Most Out Of Long-Haul Flights

Most of the world travels by plane these days and while advancements are being made all the time in the world of technology, it seems that for the past decade or so, the way we travel via the air has remained the same. The same kind of in-flight movies and entertainment, the same methods used in airports, and the same rigmarole we have to go through in order to survive a long-haul flight.

Long-haul flights are one of the trickiest things a person can put themselves through in order to enjoy a holiday or a meeting in a far-flung destination, and with most airlines offering to traverse the world, it’s never been easier for globetrotting. However, it can be especially hard to deal with everything that is manageable on a short flight, with extra duration – screaming kids, cramped legroom, being bored out of your mind, and shocking sleeping patterns to name but a few. It doesn’t make a nice start for what is hopefully a wonderful journey.

So if you’re looking for some top tips for long-haul flights, then look no further. Check out our guide to surviving long haul flights down below…

1. Get an aisle seat.

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lifehack-longhaulflight-seat
    Popular Mechanics

    One of the best tips for long-haul flights is to look at where you’re seated and to work out a plan. If possible, try and book an aisle seat in the middle trio of seats that usually make up the cabin layout for most airplanes and flights. These particular seats not only allow you the chance to stretch your legs out, but halve the chance of the person in the middle seat asking you to move so they can use the bathroom. Aisle seats in general are a good idea; they minimize the hassle and time it takes to reach the bathroom.

    Your seat on the plane can also help you out a lot. Most flights will offer the chance to pay for extra legroom and it’s worth taking them up on it if you’re a tall person and it is a flight longer than a couple of hours. Extra legroom means that you will probably seated closer to the front of the plane, with more room, which helps you feel more like a passenger and less like cattle.

    2. Prepare to be bored.

    lifehack-longhaulflight-bored
      WikiHow

      One of the most prevalent problems to dealing with on a long-haul flight is that you will need to be entertained (unless you are one of those extremely rare people who have such a rich inner life that you never have the need for entertainment). Most flights have at least some element of entertainment built into their flights, whether it is an in-flight movie or a more comprehensive movie, music and television system as offered on some major airlines. However, it’s always best to make sure you have your own entertainment.

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      Remember that flights do allow some electronic devices – such as music players and games consoles, as well as tablets, laptops and cell phones as along as the WiFi is turned off – so feel free to pack a couple of them. It’s also worth bringing a book or two, a couple of magazines for variety, and even a travel sized game if you’re travelling with children. Most importantly, remember to pack stuff that will not bore you to tears within half an hour or so; even if you have in-flight entertainment, there will be times when you want to do something else.

      3. Try to eat well, stay hydrated and stay healthy.

      lifehack-longhaulflight-healthy
        Small Steps 2 Health

        Most people assume that it’s absolutely safe and healthy and fine to be travelling on planes – and they’re right. However, there’s no accounting for how many kinds of germs and bugs can be circulating around, thanks to people being stuck together in a metal tube for several hours together. In order to minimise your chance of falling ill with a flu or cold, always make sure you have plenty of Emergen-C in your bag as well as santising wipes and cleansers for your hands, face, and your seat as well to ensure no germs get transferred.

        One of the most useful tips for long-haul flights concerns the food served on airplanes; if it’s possible, when booking, make sure you order a kosher, halal or a vegetarian meal if they are available. These meals are at a much higher chance of being prepared fresh and therefore not only will probably taste better, but also be fresher and healthier. Another useful tip is to keep your fluid intake; if you can buy big bottles of water at the airport duty-free before you board, do so as it’ll not only save you a bit of money, keeping hydrated helps keep stuff like headaches and the chance of colds and flu at bay. It also helps keep your kidneys healthy and to flush your body’s toxins.

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        4. Make sure you keep moving.

        lifehack-longhaulflight-active
          Yahoo

          One of the biggest threats to people on planes is a lack of movement and exercise. Deep-vein thrombosis is a horrible, potentially life-threatening condition that mostly develops on planes due to blood clots developing in the veins of legs of people who stay in their seats for hours and hours at a time – hence the prominence of them on plane passengers. Fortunately, however, you can severely minimize your risk to developing DVT by following one of the best tips for long haul flights and ensuring that every thirty minutes, you get up for a walk around the plane. Take your shoes off and walk around the cabin in your padded feet to help normal circulation return to your legs.

          Another good way to exercise on a plane – if there’s room, that is – is to do some stretches every hour or so. Simple back bends, leg stretches, toe touches, calf exercises and twists, are all effective ways to keep your body active, limber, and comfortable during a long-haul flight, as well as being free to view on health websites ahead of your flight. You might get some odd looks from fellow passengers on the flight, but you’ll feel better and infinitely healthier when you touch down.

          5. Get plenty of sleep.

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          lifehack-longhaulflight-sleep
            Huffington Post, Facebook

            The most important advice to give and impart, and one of the most useful tips for long-haul flights: get plenty of sleep. Getting as much sleep as you can not only makes you feel a lot better, it’ll also fill in those empty hours and give your body a chance to recover from the internal stresses of crossing time zones, helping to eliminate jet lag somewhat. Make sure you pack plenty of home comforts – a neck pillow for those awkward sleeping positions, some sleeping tablets or Advil to help combat any pain that is inhabiting your chances of a good forty winks.

            Sleeping on a plane can also be aided by loading up specialized playlists onto your music player of choice; ambient music, lullabies, or whatever music is most conducive to your most relaxed, sleeping state, should be essential and always to hand. Your airline will plenty of blankets and pillows for long haul flights, and while we can’t promise there won’t be a snorer next to you, you can at least arm yourselves with the best tools to make sure you’re prepared for everything your long haul flight can throw at you.

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            Chris Haigh

            Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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            Last Updated on July 17, 2019

            The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

            The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

            What happens in our heads when we set goals?

            Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

            Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

            According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

            Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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            Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

            Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

            The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

            Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

            So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

            Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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            One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

            Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

            Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

            The Neurology of Ownership

            Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

            In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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            But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

            This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

            Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

            The Upshot for Goal-Setters

            So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

            On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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            It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

            On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

            But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

            More About Goals Setting

            Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

            Reference

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