Travel Tips for Long Flights
I travel quite regularly for both work and pleasure. I used to travel to Europe monthly and did so for a couple years. I also travel domestically quite a lot. As a frequent traveler, I have learned a few tricks of the trade. In this article I provide some tips for long flights.
Ear Plugs / Noise Cancelling Headphones
Ear plugs are okay, but noise cancelling headphones are better. Ear plugs only work so well when there are screaming babies next to you! I tried the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones once and actually sent them back because I wasn’t that impressed. A colleague of mine swears by Sennheiser brand headphones. I like the Sennheiser better too, but they are quite expensive!
This is not the 1950s anymore…you no longer have to dress up to fly. You should wear something comfortable. I typically get hot on planes and because of this I wear nylon hiking pants, thin socks, and a polyester shirt. This helps to keep me cool. Of course, if I travel on business I sometimes have to wear a suit and tie and this drives me insane!
You never know what you might find yourself in the mood for on the plane, so I bring both a book and several magazines. This way I don’t necessarily have to commit to the book and I can simply peruse a magazine. It’s also a good idea to bring a “fun” book that is non-school or non-work related.
Bring your MP3 player with you and have a decent play list with a variety of music. I often find myself in a relaxed mood and prefer mellow music, such as Tangerine Dream. Sometimes, though, I feel like rocking out and bust out the Linkin Park.
Always bring Benadryl, especially on the overnight flights. When I need to sleep, I pop a couple Benadryl and have a couple glasses of wine with dinner on the plane. This will help you sleep. You will feel more rested when you land and you will be more prepared for the time zone change.
The combination of the altitude, recycled air, and travel, in general, will dehydrate you. They never provide enough water for my taste on the plane. I always buy a large bottle of water at the terminal….once past the security checkpoint. This will allow you to drink water whenever you need to in order to stay hydrated! Hydration helps you recover from jet lag also.
On the last overseas flight I took, I broke down and got one of those horseshoe-shaped pillows that fit around your neck. I used to think people were silly to use these…mainly because a lot of people would just wear them while walking around! Well, these things actually do help some. I recommend getting one if you’ve had neck issues in the past. Just don’t walk around with the pillow around your neck on the plane – you’ll look like a doofus.
I recommend taking these immediately before a long flight. It seems like there are people sneezing, coughing, gagging, etc., right next to me on every flight. There’s nothing like breathing the recycled air of sick people for 8 hours to ensure you get sick yourself. These tablets provide a little protection and peace of mind.
If you can get in first class / business class, by all means do it! Once you fly first or business class overseas, going back to coach really sucks! If I’m in business class, I typically try to get one of the aisle seats and, depending on the plane configuration, I prefer the aisle seat in the middle two seats. This only works if the seat configuration is 2 left, 2 middle, and 2 right. The reason I choose the aisle in the middle is because I never have to bother anyone and they never have to bother me the entire flight. If you’re flying coach, try to get a non-bulkhead window seat on the left or right side of the plane. Most planes have a 2 left, 5 middle, 2 right configuration. I choose window on the left or right because I only have to bug one person if I have to get up and, in my experience, if you’re in the aisle in coach, flight attendants and passengers will constantly bump in to you, making sleep out of the question, even with the Benadryl!