How To: Survive a Plane Trip
With over 50 trans-continental flights under our belt, I’m confident to say that we’re getting good at long haul flying. Still, the thought of getting to the airport, checking in, going through immigration and security, then boarding, sitting in the same small chair for up to 14 hours, and then finally getting to your destinations, to go through immigration, baggage collection, customs and finally in a taxi or public transport to your accommodation only to be jet lagged… it can give anyone a slight anxiety attack.
So here are some things to think about before your next long haul flight…
Sometimes you have to pay to book your seat ahead of time, but when it’s a long haul flight, it’s often worth it; no one wants to end up in the middle seat. Consult Seat Guru before confirming your selection (we do not have an affiliation with them, but have been using them for years!)
The day before flying, drink plenty of water! Planes are pressurized and use recycled air (while mixing in some fresh air) throughout the flight, resulting in an extremely dry environment. The humidity levels on a plane is equal to that of the desert! So, on a flight, you naturally lose more water than you’d think. Of course, many don’t want to drink too much when they get on the plane, in order to help avoid a series of bathroom breaks. That's why if you start prepping the day before, it will seriously help!
While in the air, there is no need to dress to impress. If you want to look good while you go through check-in or when you get off your flight, then you can bring a change of clothes. After all, when you're sitting on a plane for 10+ hours, you really want to be as comfortable as possible.
Bring a jacket
While most airlines provide blankets, it’s still nice to have something of your own. Especially when a jacket can double as padding for the arm rest or as a pillow. Also, you never quite know who's in control of the temperature control on the plane!
Compression sock are long socks that generally go to your knees, and are seriously tight. They serve a very important purpose - to reduce the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis, or a blood clot). Those who wear compression socks on long-haul flights are far less likely to develop a DVT. Blood clots are formed when fluid collects in your legs due to a lack of movement. Compression socks apply even pressure to your legs and encourage fluids to continue circulating, even while stationary. They also help to prevent swelling, which helps reduce tired and aching legs! These tight socks might not feel comfortable at first, but once you get used to them, you will reap in the benefits of wearing them!
It is important to note that not all headphones are made equal. Some people don’t care about sound quality or noise reduction, but those are probably the same people who have never heard their favorite song through a pair of Shure 315’s! Not only will a good pair of headphones deliver fantastic music quality, but most offer noise reduction. This helps drown out the hum of the plane cabin and the crying baby two rows ahead.
You might get lucky and fly on the new Dreamliner, where the screens in Economy are 10", the headphone jack doesn’t need two prongs, and the selection of movies is honestly overwhelming. But not all planes are made equal. You might find yourself with a screen that is as unresponsive as it is small. So, you can look into the following entertainment options to keep you occupied in the air…
A Tablet - Tablets are getting cheaper and cheaper these days, starting with an Amazon Fire at around $80. Buy a season of your favorite show, or download a bunch of Netflix shows to watch offline.
Kindle (or a real book, if you’re into that) - The Amazon Kindle has inbuilt brightness, a paper screen, battery life for weeks, automatic bookmarks, and an in-built dictionary for when George R.R Martin uses vocabulary you’re unfamiliar with. You can also store more books on it than you could read in a lifetime.
Pre-book your meal
If you get fed on your flight, you can always pre-select a special meal. A decade ago, there were two options, Regular or Vegetarian, but now there is a massive range to cater for every diet. If you have any special requirements when it comes to meals, be sure to order when booking your flight or selecting your seat. Do NOT wait until you get on the plane to make special requests, as airlines generally only have the exact number of special meals that were ordered. Also, most international carriers provide unlimited alcohol. We made a big deal about drinking water earlier, but why pass up a few nice G&T’s? But remember, like bartenders, airline personnel have the right to cut you off if you drink too much, so consume responsibly.
Even though you will receive a meal or two on board, it is always nice to have a snack readily available incase you grow peckish. Travel days are long, your biological clock is thrown off, and being stuck in a confined space and being tired only makes the hunger pangs worse. But, please don’t be that person who brings a tuna salad sandwich - remember planes use recycled air!
Look at the time zones
It really is easy to avoid jet lag and make the most of your trip! The moment you get on your flight, act as if you are already at your final destination. It might be a morning flight, but if it is nighttime at your destination, do your best to sleep right after the meal, as if you are going to bed at your final destination. If you have trouble sleeping on planes, consider taking melatonin. Melatonin is the natural chemical that your body produces when it becomes night time; it simply makes you sleepy. Melatonin is a safe and natural aid incase you don’t want to take a sleeping pill or sleep aid, such as zzzQuill. Melatonin will also help your body get adjusted to your new time zone easier.