International travel is always an exciting experience, most especially if it’s at least 6,000 miles away from home and exploring a different continent. But that also means, long, tedious travel times and horrible layovers. Not to mention of course the jetlag and dealing with different timezones!
We don’t always look forward to long-haul flights, but getting prepared for it makes it more manageable and stress-free. Here are some neat travel hacks on how to survive long flights — especially if you’re in Economy:
Choose your preferred seat at check-in. Talk to the lady at the check-in booth to see if you can get a spare seat beside you. If it’s full and you’re left with an aisle seat or window, decide what’s best for you: window seat if you don’t want to be disturbed and are confident of not going to the loo often; an aisle if you like getting up and stretching. Avoid middle seats like a plague!
Consider paying for airport lounge access. Long-haul flights usually mean longer layovers – so you’ll also most likely end up paying for a meal or refreshments while waiting. Most of these lounges have free food and drinks served so it’s pretty much like paying for the same thing over time.
Invest in a really good hand-carry bag. Carrying around bulky luggage is always a hassle — how much do you need to bring anyway? I like using bodybags or backpacks with easy-access pockets because you would always need your passport and boarding pass on a whim. For long-haul flights, it’s good to carry some more clothing with you (especially if you’re going to a colder country where you would need an extra layer of clothes). For a more detailed checklist of carry-on essentials, check out this blog post here.
Wear comfortable slip-on shoes or plain boots. Aside from walking ridiculously long at airports, you’ll most likely take your shoes off during the security check. Avoid the pain of having to lace and unlace all the time. It’s also way easier to kick those shoes back and relax during the flight!
Wear compression socks. Or at least an old pair of comfy socks. It’s always nice to keep those feet nice and cozy.
Dress comfortably and wear loose-fitting clothes. It’s not only because you’ll have the tendency to drink glasses of wine and overeat during in-flight, but consider that you’ll be sitting for at least 12hrs on a plane! I like to wear leggings with no buttons and a light, breezy top with a cotton jacket on hand in case I get cold.
Invest in a good neck pillow. Really, if you have the space, consider bringing one as it will change your life! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but being able to get a good sleep without nodding forwards or backwards — or worse, accidentally leaning towards your seatmate, is so crucial!
Bring noise-cancelling headphones. You want to have a proper sleep but the baby on the plane just can’t stop crying. There’s nothing you can really do about it unless you cover your ears properly and help pass the time by listening to your own Spotify (offline) playlist. Yep, problem solved!
Bring a small toiletries bag. Ladies, hear me out! Your skin will definitely dry up and make you feel grimy if you don’t freshen up from time to time. Aside from your usual toothbrush and toothpaste, bring a moisturizer, lip balm, hand wipes, or maybe some eye drops or saline nasal spray to prevent dehydration. Just remember not bring more than 100ml or else they will be discarded at the security check.
Finally, adjust your clock to the timezone of your destination. This is a neat little trick to help me beat the jetlag! Adjust your watch immediately when you board your plane to condition your mind and body to the timezone of your destination. So for example, I’m travelling from Manila to New York and my departure time is at 9:30PM, I can adjust my watch to 8:30AM NY time, so I’m reminded that it’s early morning there. Oftentimes I strategically plan my sleeping hours in the plane so if I arrive in the morning, I sleep about 6 hrs before arrival time so I’m rested by the time I arrive.
Some people find travelling a long, tedious process. But I’ve learned to embrace it and come prepared all the time. Keeping a positive attitude while you wait in long queues is also essential! As long as you’re not running for your life and beating the boarding times — you’re all good.
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