Survival Guide : Long International Flights
Backpacking and surviving long-haul flights. While your time at an airport can be an enjoyable experience, the flight itself is often a difficult time to pass. But with a little preparation and the right mindset, you can make it a good time.
Before You Board
A good nights rest is always key, even if you plan on sleeping as soon as you get in your seat. Drink a small bottle of water and have a small snack right before actually getting on the plane if time permits. Otherwise have a decent meal in advance. Avoid coffee, alcohol and anything with excessive amounts of sugar – which could cause something called “flight fatigue”. These seemingly obvious and easy tasks will make you feel mentally and physically better while being stuck in the big metal tube in the sky for endless hours.
Timing Is Everything
Getting some actual REM sleep on any public transportation system can be difficult and to some, nearly impossible. If possible and ideal, try to book a flight for a departure time of about 1 hour before your usual bedtime. So by the time the airplane is fully elevated and everyone settled in, your body will naturally think its time for sleep and make it that much easier. If you have connecting flights, try to take in 1 long and heavy sleep and small power naps for the shorter flights. Instead of attempting to sleep heavy in all the flights.
Prepare Your Gadgets
If your flight is more than 6 hours, you will most likely have 1 or more gadgets on your person for the flight. Whether its a laptop, Nook, iPod, iPhone, video game or tablet, make sure they are completely charged before leaving your home or hotel / hostel. Power outlets are still very rare on airplanes. So unless you have a backup battery source, chances are that the power your gadgets have is all your going to have for the entire flight.
Pack Only The Essentials
Even if your flight is 17 hours long, all you really need on board is a small bag filled with; toothbrush, passport, documents, gadgets, emergency snack and maybe some printed reading materials. Anything else you may need is available on the plane free of charge such as; blankets, pillows, proper meals, water / drinks, first aid, magazines and more.
Get Physical In Flight
No matter how comfortable you may or may not be in your seat, get up once in a while and walk the distance of the unrestricted areas of the cabin. Go to the lavatory just to splash some water on your face. Go to a different lavatory each time. Stretch and move around in the small space you have in your seat often as well. It may not seem like much but it will do wonders for your physical comfort and in turn, mentally.
Dress For Travel
Base what clothing to wear on your final destination and accommodate for your local weather and in flight atmosphere. It is almost always best to dress in thin but multiple layers than to dress for extreme cold or heat. This is true even if your leaving from the cold and windy Chicago airport to the always steamy hot Bangkok. Once your inside an airport the temperature is “perfect” but once on a plane it can be volatile. It may be kinda warm once you get in, but can be freezing once your a sleeping. This is why layering is ideal, you can strategically take off or add layers to the changing conditions.