Honesty time: I don’t find flying particularly enjoyable. In fact, I really don’t like it at all. Plus, living in Australia means that it’s a long haul flight to get pretty much anywhere, so I need to have some tricks up my sleeve to make flights more comfortable.
So how do I get through a 15 hour flight? I have a few tips for you in this post, but the most important thing I do isn’t something physical at all.
The Travel Mindset
When I fly, I try to have a special mindset for the plane ride, and that is to be grateful for the journey and the experience that’s getting me to wherever I want to be. It’s a privilege to be able to travel, and by remembering that, I try to be consciously thankful for the journey itself. I also try to remind myself that any discomfort or boredom I feel during the flight will be short lived, and will pass soon, and this helps to put everything into perspective for me.
So, if you’re taking a long haul flight soon, try and put yourself in the mindset of gratitude when you get on the plane. It will remind you how lucky you are to be able to travel, and will give you some grateful warm and fuzzies for your flight.
And now for some physical things you can do to make your flight more comfortable:
Get Your Meal First
I’m going to share a secret with you, (though it’s a pretty well known secret in travel circles now): there’s a way for you to guarantee that you will be served your meal first during food service, regardless of where you’re seated.
All you have to do is order a vegetarian, kosher or halal meal prior to your flight, and you will be one of the first to get your meal. When I’ve done this, sometimes I’ve totally finished my meal before the rest of the people around me have even been served their meals.
I like to get my meals first so that they’re done and out of the way. That way, after the rubbish is cleared away, I’m totally free to watch a film or try and get some sleep without any interruptions.
Plan Different Activities for Yourself
When I’m on a long haul flight, I find it handy to have several different activities for me to swap between during the flight. Having the in-flight entertainment screen is fantastic, and I’d find it hard to travel without that, but during flights, I do tend to get a bit bored of watching a screen.
I always watch a couple of films on flights, but when I do get bored I make sure I have different options to fill my time with. I always take a book – usually one that I’ve already read and loved so there’s no chance of disappointment. Then I also take a crossword book, my travel diary to spend time writing in, and of course I also have my phone in case I get really desperate and want to play a phone-game.
I rotate through these activities throughout the flight, so I feel like I’m having some variety and mixing things up, even while I’m sitting in the one spot for hours.
Something I know about myself is that I find it hard to sit in the one place for an extended period of time. In my everyday life, I get restless easily if I can’t move around, have a change of scenery, or get up and down from where I’m sitting. Because of this, I find it’s a challenge for me to sit in the same seat for an extended period of time.
It helps me to move around the cabin when I can – I take trips to the bathroom, which is as close to a change of scenery as you can get on a plane – but you can also take a walk around the plane. This helps with preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis and swollen feet, and it sometimes helps to get up and out of your seat every now and then.
Drink Plenty of Water
I know it sounds like a good idea to have an (alcoholic) drink on the plane to celebrate the start of your holiday – especially if alcoholic beverages are included in the food service. But, a way, way better choice is water. Plain old water. Try and drink as much of it as you can on your flight. Flying is naturally dehydrating, and alcohol only exaggerates this. Keeping on top of your water consumption will help you to feel better, fresher and more awake by the time you get to your destination.
This is something I’ve just started doing on flights – about two hours before the end of the flight, I go the bathroom and take my makeup off with a makeup wipe, and splash some water on my face. It makes me feel so refreshed and ready to brave the landing-deboarding-customs routine, and it wakes me up a little after not really sleeping on the flight.
I don’t know about you, but I find it really, really difficult to fall asleep on planes. It’s got to do with trying to fall asleep sitting up, and in such a cramped space, or who knows, maybe I’m just uncomfortable with falling asleep in a room full of strangers? Whatever it is, it’s generally hard to fall asleep on flights anyway, but I still recommend trying to get as much sleep as possible. If you can fall asleep, it’s a great way to pass the time, and it will help combat jet-lag and tiredness when you reach your destination. So, once those lights go out, close your eyes and try your best to fall asleep. It’s the best way to make that flight go faster!
There you have it – my tips for making it through a long-haul flight. Remember to use my travel-mindset to prepare you for the flight, and to make it a lot more enjoyable. Do you have any other tips for flying? Let me know in the comments below what you do to make flying more comfortable.