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How to Survive a Long Plane Ride

Updated on March 30, 2013
The plane is all ready to load up!
The plane is all ready to load up! | Source

Many people avoid taking trips because they dread the plane ride. Being a "white-knuckle" traveller myself, I completely understand. While I do not enjoy flying in the least, I do love to travel. These are tips that I have devised to help make your flight more enjoyable! I would hate to see anyone left behind because of the long flight. Please know that this is not intended for people who have a true phobia for flying. This is meant for those of us out there who plan vacations based on the ease of getting there instead of where we might really like to go. Once you have decided that you can do this, here are some helpful tips.

"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are built for."~Gael Attal

Preparing for a Long Flight

Airport security plays a significant role in determining what I carry on and how much of it I will carry. It is not soley dependent on their restrictions but also on the ease of going through the check-in process. If I have to take everything off and out, I would prefer to have the least amount of ins and outs. I recommend that you have your bags situated with that in mind. I carry a small travel wallet. It has room for my plane ticket, cell phone, identification, travel documents and money. It is all I need to manuever around the airport and after checking in, I can slip it into my carry on! I also bring my laptop but I make sure that there is room in my carry on for that, as well. If you have too many loose things to keep track of, you could easily lose one.

Ways to Organize your Carry-on Bag

  • Use a bag with several compartments.
  • Make sure there are pockets that can be easily reached.
  • Use small bags and organizers to keep your things sorted.
  • Each person should have their own carry-on.

Packing your Carry-on Bag

This is critical. I have flown across the ocean at least 8 times. Several of those times have been with young children. I can't emphasize enough, how much simplicity in your packing, will ease your trip. I just recently wrote about surviving a long road trip. While some of the same tips apply, for plane trips, I want to emphasize the saying, "Less is More." While you certainly don't want to be without something important, you also don't want to load yourself up too much. Regardless of what else I may bring with me, my carry-on must be packed in an orderly, convenient manner. Everything is in it's own compartment and easy to reach.

Convenient Carry-on Cases

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My travel wallet.It holds everything I need for check-in at the airport and any last minute purchases.This handy travel case has five roomy pockets.Even with all the pockets filled, it folds up to the size of a laptop.This is my favorite carry-on. It has pockets all the way around the outside where I can keep the things I want to reach in a hurry!
My travel wallet.
My travel wallet. | Source
It holds everything I need for check-in at the airport and any last minute purchases.
It holds everything I need for check-in at the airport and any last minute purchases. | Source
This handy travel case has five roomy pockets.
This handy travel case has five roomy pockets. | Source
Even with all the pockets filled, it folds up to the size of a laptop.
Even with all the pockets filled, it folds up to the size of a laptop. | Source
This is my favorite carry-on. It has pockets all the way around the outside where I can keep the things I want to reach in a hurry!
This is my favorite carry-on. It has pockets all the way around the outside where I can keep the things I want to reach in a hurry! | Source

Games You can Play in an Airplane.

There is very little space on a plane and the air pressure is very loud. Unless everyone around you is part of your party, be respectful of your noise level and movement. An airplane ride is not the time to bring out travel Twister! Also, avoid bringing games that have small parts or pieces. They can easily be misplaced or lost on the plane.

  • Card games
  • Puzzle books
  • I Spy
  • Rubiks cube
  • Handheld electronic games

Things You Can Do to Pass the Time on a Long Flight

  1. Read a book.
  2. Listen to music.
  3. Play games.
  4. Sleep.
  5. Eat.
  6. Watch a movie.
  7. Catch up on your e-mail.
  8. Write.
  9. Talk to your seatmates.
  10. Do homework.
  11. Read all those magazines you've been meaning to get to.

Using Electronic Devices on a Plane Ride.

A Kindle, Nook or laptop are all good things to have both on a flight and for the ensuing vacation. Electronic devices can store countless books, music and games. With them, there is always something to do. Also, if that book you had been anticipating for so long, turns out to be really boring, you can always read another! When I went to Africa a couple of years ago, my luggage space was extremely limited. I downloaded several books to my phone, as well as music and threw in a few games just for kicks. All of that took up only a few inches of space in my purse! I have a universal charger that is good in both Europe and the United States. If you do choose to do this, you will want to check with your carrier to see what capabilities your phone will have while traveling.

What are Good Snacks to Pack for a Long Plane Ride

It is usually very dry on an airplane, so you will probably want to bring water. Cups of water are always available throughout the flight but it may not be convenient to get up and down. On International flights, you will be served meals but it is always a good idea to bring your own snacks. Here are some snack dos and don'ts:

Choosing Snacks for a Long Flight

What to bring
What not to bring
Energy bars
Perishable foods
Dried fruits
Foods with a strong odor
gum, candy
sticky foods
nuts
foods packed in liquid
sandwiches
gas producing foods
foods that are easy to open
foods that are difficult to open

More Tips to Help You Survive a Long Plane Ride

  • If you have a chance to use the bathroom, take it!
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Get up and stretch every now and then or take a walk around the plane.
  • Dress comfortably. Don't worry about how you will look at your destination. You can clean up and change before you land.
  • Bring a sweatshirt or jacket with you, even in the summer. It usually gets cold at night.
  • Always have a change of clothes.
  • Bring allergy medicines, inhalors, airsickness medicines and any other meds you may need.
  • Bring socks and comfortable shoes. Your feet can swell on a long flight.

A Song to Set the Mood for Flying.

Final Words of Wisdom for Surving a Long Plane Ride.

As I stated in the beginning of this article, I don't particularly like to fly. regardless of that, I LOVE to travel. I have been to Israel, The Bahamas, Aruba, Africa and all over the United States. For me, flying is only a minor inconvenience that, once surpassed, allows me to experience the world.

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travels sake. The great affair is to move."~Robert Louis Stevenson

Bon Voyage!

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    • everymom profile image

      Anahi Pari-di-Monriva 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Voted up and useful, of course! I loved this Hub, Randi! Great advice! Under the category of "easy to open" snacks, I like to carry the Go-Squeeze Applesauce; they are easy to open and they don't require refrigeration. My personal take on long plane flights, with kids, is to fly Jet Blue if possible. They make it comfortable and easy! (And, no, sadly I don't get any compensation for endorsing them!)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Excellent ideas. Long plane rides at their best are not great. I tend to doze the minute we are airborn. Today taking food is a necessity. Not that the meals were ever good unless first class..which..I did once. Voting up++++ and pinning.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is excellent advice as those long trips are difficult. I love the variety of ideas you listed.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Anahi! The applesauce is a great idea! I will have to remember that! I appreciate the votes!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips, Randi! I was trying to think of the longest plane ride I've been on....I guess crosscountry and that was what, four hours? I know it seemed like forever. Makes me wonder how people manage those long flights to Japan. :)

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Caro;! I really hate flying so anything to pass the time....

      Thanks for your votes and share!

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      btrbell...I think that describes me too...don't like to fly but love to travel...There is lots of useful information and tips in this hub...some I have used, and some to consider this Summer...thank you, voted up:-))

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for these very realistic and useful tips, Randi. I would add two more: if you take any medications or vitamins, etc., bring them with you in your carry-on - do not pack them in your suitcase. And bring your inflatable neck pillow - it will help you to sleep on long flights and eliminate a neck ache when you awake.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Pamela. Much appreciated!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Bill! Yes, I wonder about that, too! I would love to go to Australia, and I know I can do it...still....the longest I've been on has been about 13 hours. 13 too many!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Valleypoet for the comment and vote! I hope you enjoy a lovely summer holiday!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      drbj...so right you are! I kept meaning to add about the meds (they are even in the picture!) And the inflatable pillow is agreat idea, too! Thank you!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Yes on the meds, what can go wrong probably will. So be prepared! lol

      I keep those along with a sewing/safety kit small enough for my purse. Sleep is the best medicine in my mind though! I hate long trips.

      Great tips!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Jackie. I decided not to tackle the flying with kids aspect, too. Another whole can of worms! The airlines once lost my one of my suitcases. All of the baby's things. Luckily, I was nursing and I had packed enough diapers, etc to give me time to wait and see if they found it (which they did 4 days later!)

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      OK - this is excellent advice, Randi..you've covered all available bases!

      Now, having said that - i have but one question: WTF IS UP WITH THOSE AIRPLANE SEATS?? (NEVER MIND THE FREAKIN' AISLES??

      i travel - and have always traveled - a LOT, including overseas 4 or 5 times..i'm a weeny teeny size S - a FOUR at best, and I'm scrunched into that seat to the point where i have to almost turn my hips sideways..

      I have NO IDEA how the big boys do it, cause, my knees are up close and personal with the seat in front of me and i'm a towering 5'4..

      Ah, well - at least now i can take a knife on..that's comforting..LOL..

      Your tips make turn a royal cluster **** into an almost bearable experience..

      key word ALMOST...xx

      o, and - hope you had a lovely Easter..(lol)

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Very good hub, Randi...One of the most important tips for anyone planning a long plane trip is to get up from that seat periodically, stretch and walk around a bit. The potential exists for getting a blood clot if you sit there throughout an entire lengthy flight.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Awesome! I can't think of anything to add; think you've covered them all with a fantastic video clip.

      Oh, if there's anything to add, please be careful when packing dried fruits and nuts, these could trigger allergy to the passenger seating next to you. So, before you pop open that snacks, it is wise to ask the person seating next to you, if they have any nut allergies. We have experienced this on board and we have to call for medical emergency.

      When someone is allergic to nuts or peanuts, their immune system overreacts to proteins in these foods. Every time the person eats or in some cases handles or breathes in nuts, it causes severe reactions, which can even be fatal.

      Nut allergies can cause anaphylaxis. It may begin with some less severe reactions, but then quickly worsen, leading someone to have trouble breathing, feel lightheaded, or to pass out. If it is not treated, anaphylaxis can be life threatening. Yes, it's all because of nuts (specially peanuts) allergy. Keep in mind that we also breathe in recycled air up in the plane. :)

      There Randi, some food for thoughts on traveling. Stay safe!

      Love from the sky~

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      Great informative hub. Thanks for all the tips and encouragement. Long flights can be very difficult and we all need to be prepared for them. Doing a little planning and preparation before the flight will make the experience more tolerable and maybe even a little enjoyable. Voted this hub up.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Ahh, Leslie, I can only agree with you on the almost...the seats are riduculous and the the price to upgrade even more so. Where's the justice? Like you, I have travelled quite a bit and often with the kids. I learned my lesson with that right at the beginning...kids may fly free but that means either holding them or giving up your seat and ...extra carry ons to get in your way. It was worth buying them a seat! Happy Easter and Passover to you, Leslie. So glad you are feeling better!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      I would like to travel to Europe in the near future;however, the thought of flying for 8 hours is not something that I'm looking forward to unless I fly first class, but that's quite expensive. I found this hub useful.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you Jaye for your comments and votes! A good stroll around does more than a change of scenery! You are appreciated!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Hwy Cris! You are so right! Believe it or not I have a nut allergy. I completely forgot to write it in but actually have the epi pen in the picture! Thank you for bringing it up!

      I should have also said, be kind and considerate to the flight attendants! It is no easy job that you have to do! Thank you! xoxo

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much and, welcome, point2make! Great name! I appreciate the vote up!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      lovedoctor, here's what I do. I think of it as a minin vacation away from the actual trip. I feel like it's 8 hours of forced relaxation. I don't sleep much beforehand so I can sleep on the plane. I start a book before so i am at the, "I don't want to put it down stage" and I bring that stack of magazines that I haven't had a chance to get to. I hope you get up up the courage to go. Put into perspective, 8 hours for a weeks worth of lifetime memories, it's not so bad! Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Thanks btrbell, your ideas are fantastic. I am saving money to go on this trip if God permits. My pleasure.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, lovedoctor! I hope that happens for you soon! G-d willing.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Great article with excellent tips. Makes me want to travel some more. :)

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I know what you mean, carozy! It's making me want to travel also!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Great ideas. On an international flight I also bring the Benadryl to help with sleep and toothbrush/toothpaste.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Flourish Anyway. Benadryl is a great item to have on you at all times. You never know!

    • C_MarieWeber profile image

      C_MarieWeber 2 years ago from Wichita

      I remember one very long flight from Germany to the US with two very sick children. It was terrible.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      That definitely does not sound fun, C MarieWeber. My youngest was always sick. There were layovers where we sometimes couldn't move because she;d fall asleep where ever we were! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

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