Travel with Hannah: Surviving a Long Flight

Okay, so you’ve read all about my summer travels (London Part 1, London Part 2, Dublin, Edinburgh, Basel, Brussels and Amsterdam), done your research, and finally took the plunge and bought a plane ticket to an international destination. However, a fun international destination probably means a less-than-fun plane ride to get there. Keep reading to discover my tips & tricks for making any long flight feel like a breeze!

Travel With Hannah Surviving Long Flights

The Airport

I’ve blogged about making your airport experience as easy as possible before. I really believe that a great flight starts with a smooth airport experience. For an international flight, this especially means arriving at the airport 3-4 hours early! Everything from check-in to waiting in the security line is a variable, and you don’t want to be running to a flight that you paid good money for! Also make sure to double and triple check that you have your passport before you leave home.

What to Bring on a Long Flight

I’ll be doing a post next week about how to pack for international travel / study abroad, so right now I’ll focus on what you need to put on your carry on in order to make your long flight as comfortable as possible.

  1. A blanket: The cabin can get extremely cold on long flights! They might give you a blanket when you first get to your seat, but I think it’s comforting to have one from home as well. I usually ball up the one they give you and use it as a back support!
  2. Electronics: This includes your laptop, Kindle, iPod, tablet, or anything else you’ll need to keep yourself entertained! Keep in mind that most international flights do have TVs in the back of the headrests. Every international flight that I’ve been on always has a recent selection of movies, TV shows, and music, so I never end up using my own devices for entertainment. On my last flight from London, I watched Zootopia and How To Be Single and listened to the latest Adele album!
  3. Toiletries: Planes are notoriously dry, so I always bring ChapStick and a small bottle of unscented lotion to keep my skin hydrated! Hand sanitizer is also a must. Since a full-size toothbrush and toothpaste can be a little bulky, I opt for Colgate Wisps! These little toothbrushes are water-activated and leave your mouth with that freshly-brushed feeling. I also always bring makeup remover wipes, a pack of tissues, and a small bottle of Tums. A small cosmetic bag is the perfect way to keep all of these toiletries together, and makes it really easy to carry everything to the bathroom!
  4. An eye mask: Just incase the person sitting next to you decides to watch a movie or keep his or her reading light on the entire flight!
  5. Headphones: There’s nothing worse than discovering that you’ve left your beloved Beats at home!

Tips & Tricks for Surviving a Long Flight

  1. Try to keep as much of a normal routine as possible. For an overnight flight, eat dinner and then take your toiletry kit to the bathroom and brush your teeth and wash your face. This will help your body relax and make it easier to fall asleep.
  2. Always know what time it is at your destination. Keep in mind what time it is at your destination, and match your activities to that time! If you’re taking an overnight flight from New York to London, and you leave New York at 6 PM, it’s already 11 PM in London! In order to make the jet lag a little less severe once you land, try to get to sleep as quickly as possible once they serve dinner and dim the cabin lights. Also, even though drinking coffee or wine with your meal can be tempting, it’ll make it harder to fall asleep on the plane. For a day flight, it’s best for your body to not fall asleep! If it’s 3 PM at your destination, and you wouldn’t normally fall asleep at 3 PM, try watching a movie or reading a book to stay awake!
  3. Stretch and walk frequently. Even though it’s good to sleep, you’ll probably be woken up a few times during the flight. Use these opportunities wisely! It’s not good for your body to be sitting down for so long. Don’t be afraid to get up and walk around! I usually just walk up and down the aisle and then stand at my seat and roll my ankles and my neck to keep my blood flowing.
  4. Stay hydrated. No one wants to land at their new destination with a dehydration headache! Yes, you will have to use the bathroom frequently (another good excuse to walk around and stretch) but you’ll feel a hundred times better once you land if you sip water throughout your flight. Again, try to stay away from coffee and alcohol because they will only increase your dehydration.
So there are my tips, tricks, and personal items necessary for a great long-haul flight! Have you taken any international flights? Feel like I missed a tip? Comment down below or tweet us (@theswirlblog)! This is the seventh post in my 8-week series of travel posts (links to my other posts at the top of this post). Stay tuned for the final post next week – it’s all about packing for an international trip!