ACROSS THE POND
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
What to do on the longest of the longest flights to your destination.
First time making a long 12+ hour flight? Learning the hard way of what to wear, what to do and how to plan for 12+ hours on your flight is not fun. Here are my top tips for that long flight.
COMFY AS POSSIBLE
Jacket: Flights get cold and the stewardess do not have spare blankets. Instead of packing your warm jacket, wear it on the flight and shove it under your seat. Take it out when cold and use as a blanket. TIP: Also doubles as a pillow.
Pants: I recommend something elastic or loose fitting so you can curl up to nap and not cut off your circulation.
Shirt: A dark T-shirt. Why a dark one you ask? You're going to be sitting for awhile, sometimes you will sweat and you don't want to cause a scene. Avoid light grays - they show every wrinkle and if you sweat, you are marked.
Shoes: Always wear tennis shoes on your flights. This is the bulkiest item to pack, so just wear it on the flight and save yourself the suitcase space. Tennis shoes also offer comfort and warmth.
Undergarments: wear what is comfy and pack an extra pair to change into just before you land. Fresh and clean. Ladies, I'd recommend a lose sports bar instead of the underwire until just before landing.
Don't forget your socks! Compression socks are worth the investment; these keep the blood circulating in your feet so you don't get water logged. It's happen to me and it's the weirdest feeling ever. Feels like someone tied water balloons to the top of feet and every time you take a step you feel the tops squash around. Takes about 8 hours to work itself out. Every wonder why people get up and pace the aisle of the plane? They are walking to work their muscles, stop cramps and avoid blood clots and water-balloon feet. TIP: See my favorite compression socks on Travel Essentials.
Speaking of water-logged feet and how to avoid it, water on a flight is also essential. You probably don't think so cause you don't want to be that person who's getting up to use the bathroom, and it's dark and cold and you're content in your little space. But here's the deal, the recycled air not doing you any favors other than drying out your skin. There is less than 10% humidity on the plane. Drink a full bottle of water before you board, and for every cocktail you have, get a cup of water too.
TIP: Bring your own water-bottle and fill it up at the airport. Look at your being earth friendly! Find my favorite water bottle in Travel Essentials.
PREPARE TO BE ENTERTAINED
It's a long flight, so bring items to entertain yourself. Don't overload your backpack with the items, you will be sleeping a lot too.
Books! Reading on a flight is the best way to tell your neighbor that you don't want to discuss their knitting club. Stay in your lane. TIP: Download the books on your kindle so you have a selection prior to boarding. Sometimes your local library will provide you with free e-reads too. FREE! PRO TIP: Download a short book or PDF of the history of the destination you're going too.
Music! Another way to tell your neighbor that you're not in a chatty mood.
Podcast! Want to draw and listen to something, try out a podcast. You can download a full season prior to the flight.
Games! Some people like to download phone games and play. I've seen it done, and they look like their having fun... not my cup of tea.
Language Lessons! If you're going somewhere that doesn't speak your native language, take a smart step in learning key phrases of your destination. Phrases like: 'Where is the bathroom?', 'One more beer please.' and 'Hello.' Dulingo and Mango Languages are my two favorites.
YOU'RE IN MY SEAT
Seat placement matters. If you're the person who has a small bladder, take the aisle. If you have long legs, isle is also aisle. If you're a sound sleeper, take the window. And avoid the middle seat at all costs. Fighting over the arm rests, caught in the middle - literally, it's not fun. Personally, I like to take the window because I can snuggle toward the window and get a few extra inches of space and no one will disturb me when they need to get up.
NOM NOM NOM The lovely flight crew will bring by drinks and snacks, but not always on your schedule. Take a bag of peanuts or trail-mix or something that won't go stale and pack it. You can eat it on your flight or save to snack on during your travels. Never a bad idea to have spare nibbles on you. TIP: pack these in your carry-on prior to the airport. The inflates prices at the airport are not worth a $10 bag of peanuts. Do it at home and bring it with you.
The destination is going to have a time difference. If you continue to look at the time, your time, then you cannot get in the mindset of your new time. Change your watch and start living with that time. Think, now that my watch says 7 PM, what do I do at 7 PM that I can do on this plane. You can read a book, watch a movie, the options are endless. If your time suddenly changes to 11 PM at night, consider sleeping so you can wake up refreshed. You need to adjust to the new time as quickly as possible to avoid a bad jet lag.
If your flight is set to land in the AM, then you need to nap on the plane. It's not easy but follow your same bed time routine if you can. Avoid electronics an hour before sleeping, read a book and drink some tea and then try to catch the z's. TIP: Not a doctor so not recommending this to anyone, but I personally take a sleeping pill on the flight. Doors have closed, we're in the air and dinner was served and eaten - now I take the pill to help with sleep.
And there you have it, some simple ways that will greatly improve your experience as you take the long flight. Now you don't have to learn it the hard way. Happy travels!