Tips for surviving a long flight

Flying can be stressful. It doesn’t matter whether you’re booking your flight, trying to find parking at the airport, checking in baggage, waiting in long TSA lines, fighting for elbow space with the airplane armrests or waiting for your bag on the luggage carousel, it’s all a real pain in the backside, right? Compounding these problems with a long flight can make for a miserable trip.

While it’s true travel will probably never be truly stress free but there are certainly ways we can help ease things a bit by making your flight seem not so long.

1. Book your tickets early

The earlier you can book your tickets the better seat selection will be available. Pretty straight forward. If the airline doesn’t give you seat choices then call the airline directly and see if you can request a good seat. You may not be able to pick specific seats but you may be able to ask for seats that have more leg room. Isles with exits always have more leg room so go for those if you can. If the airline says that the flight is not very full see if you can get a seat next to an empty seat if possible. There is no guarantee that it will remain empty but it’s worth a try. Seats in the back fill up last so consider reserving one of them. if premium economy is available pay the extra few bucks to get the upgrade. The extra legroom and priority check-in are worth the expense.

2.  Dress comfortably for a long flight.

I like to wear loose fitting clothing with extra pockets, like cargo pants. The extra pockets are good for storing things like wallets (hate sitting on it when I travel) headphones, cell phone, small snacks etc. Make sure to bring a sweatshirt or light jacket with you, it will be a real life saver when it gets cold on the flight and also doubles as a pillow. Don’t forget your light weight travel blanket that fill fit into your carry-on also.

3Avoid typical family routes 

If you have the option, stay away from weekend travel on routes like Boston to Orlando. No need to torture yourself with a plane full of overly excited kids heading to see the Mouse. If you have to travel weekends look for flights going to near by smaller, less busy airports.

4. Try for a free upgrade.

Although it may not be possible on full flights but those that are not full sometimes you can get lucky by asking the boarding attendant nicely for an upgrade. A sneaky trick you can try is telling the attendant you are on your honeymoon. It’s worth a try, right!

5. Reduce your carry-ons. 

The overhead compartments for carry-on storage will fill up fast, especially for longer flights where people tend to bring more than they really need. When it fills up you are left with storing your carry on under the seat. Nothing is worse than being cramped on any flight so save that valuable space for your legs.

6. Get to the airport early. 

No one wants to show up at the airport panicked late for a flight so get there early to avoid the headache. Plus you have a better chance of boarding early and getting that valuable carry-on overhead storage space mentioned above.

7. Charge your devices. 

Make sure your devices are charged up before you board. There is no reason to be mindlessly scrolling through Facebook while waiting for a flight. Grab a book and save that batter life for the long flight and keep your devices either turned off or in battery saver mode. Invest in a good power bank. There are several kinds that will fully charge your cell phone at least 2-3 times. With those portable electronics you might want to consider picking up  a st of noise cancelling headphones. I’ve been able to block out many screaming kids and loud talkers with a good pair of headphones.

8. Prepare yourself for jet lag.

You can do a few things ahead of time to help reduce some of the effects of jet lag. Spend a couple of nights going to your normal bedtime in the time zone you will be traveling to. It will make it a lot easier to adjust once you arrive. Try to get some sleep on the plane. Although not an ideal place to sleep you should be able to get some. Staying hydrated is vital preventing jet lag so make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. Avoid caffeine and  alcohol because they are both dehydrating.

9. Pack your carry-on correctly. 

There are a few necessities you should bring with you in your carry-on: Gum (chewing gum helps keep my ears open during elevation changes), snacks and sealed water bottles. Small blanket, ear plugs or noise canceling head phones, magazines, crosswords or word searches for when you can’t use electronics, pen or pencil, power bank for charging electronics, eye mask, sleep aids (if needed), anti-bacterial wipes (they don’t get inspected like sanitizer gel does), deck of cards or small games, travel pillow, tissues, tooth brush, travel documents like itinerary, passport, rental car, hotel reservations, extra pair of socks.

10. Pre-load your tablet with your favorite videos.

Long flights are great times to binge watch your favorite TV show or catch up on a couple of movies but WiFi may not always be available so take a little time before you leave to down load a couple movies TV shows to keep you entertained. A few games are not a bad idea either.

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