How to Survive a long Haul Flight
Are you ready to take that dream vacation but you're dreading the long haul flight you have to take to get there? We've been on some long flights (15 hours to Hong Kong, 13 hours to Dubai!) and so we have developed a few tips to help us maintain our sanity during a long flight.
1. Wear Comfortable clothes.
When my grandparents used to travel, they would dress like they were going to a dinner party; very formal. Times have changed and very few people get dressed up to take a flight, and for good reason. When we travel I try to keep a balance of looking good and feeling good. I make sure to wear pants that have some type of stretch to them so that when I'm ready to sleep, I'm not uncomfortable in the clothes that I'm wearing. I can put my feet up without fearing that I might rip my pants. I also dress in layers for when the plane's temperatures rises and falls (and it always does!) I have the option of adding or losing a layer.
2. Bring Medication.
You never know how you or one of your family members are going to react to a long flight, so it's always better to be prepared. I bring medication in my carry-on luggage such as antacids, pain relievers, motion-sickness pills, sour candy and ginger candy (helps to ease nausea). Take a minute to think about what type of medication your family may need. Foes some suffer from allergies and so you need to bring allergy medication? Make a list and make sure your medication is with you in your carry-on and that none of the containers are larger than 100ml.
3. Bring Snacks.
You'll definitely get at least two meals and a snack while on a long flight but if you're like me, you want some creature-comforts and snacks is no exception, especially when travelling with kids. I pack a snack bag for each of us which we each carry in our carry-on. A sandwich, granola bar, trail mix, a bag of chips, gum, and a chocolate bar are the usual items. It certainly helps to pass the time when you're at least munching on something that you like.
4. Bring Sleep Aids.
Some people have trouble falling asleep on a plane but if you want to enjoy your first day on your vacation, it will help that you get a good sleep on the flight. We bring eye masks, a good travel pillow and ear plugs. I also bring melatonin, which is a natural sleep medication, just in case one of us is having trouble falling asleep. Having a good sleep will also let a good chunk of time pass.
It's really important to stay occupied while on a flight and entertainment is one of the easiest ways to make the time pass. Besides the in-flight entertainment available on the plane, I also come prepared with movies and tv shows that I download to my phone, tablet and laptop from home. If I have a show that I want I to catch up on, the time on a long flight is the perfect opportunity to watch everything I have missed (thank goodness for Netflix). I also download podcasts and audiobooks to catch up on my 'reading.'
6. Organize/clean your laptop/tablet.
Sometimes I have so many items on my laptop that I don't need but I can never find the time to organize and delete unwanted items. So now I make it a habit to use the time that I have on a flight to organize my pictures, documents and video clips which is a great use of time, doing something that you never have time to do in 'real life.'
7. Keep Circulation in Mind.
The length of time and the altitude can be contributing factors to blood clots so maintaining good circulation is very important when flying. We now wear compression socks which help to promote good circulation. Also, it's important for you to get up and stretch and walk around during the flight. We walk the length of the plane a number of times during the flight and stand and do stretches.
8. Check to see if there are empty rows/seats.
Once we're up in the air and seatbelt signs go off, I check to see if there are any empty seats/rows on the plane. A lot of time there is and this is a great opportunity for you to secure a bed! I ask the flight attendant if we can move to the empty row and then we take turns getting a 'good' sleep in two or three seats. It makes a world of difference being able to lie down as opposed to trying to find a comfortable sleeping position sitting up.
9. Try to reserve the Aisle or Window Seat.
Sitting in the middle row is never a fun position and doing this on a long flight will make you want to tear your own hair out (or maybe it's just me)! Even if you haven't paid to reserve your seat, once you're checking in see if they'll allow you to choose an aisle or window seat that's still available. You'll have a lot more space to move around and you won't feel boxed in between two other people. My favourite seat is the aisle where at least you're not climbing over anyone to get up and you can stretch your feet out in the aisle (just watch out for people passing by and the food carts).