Whether its for 12 hours or 2, being on an airplane can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience. Here are three simple tips that can help you have a more enjoyable flight.
Your legs are cramped, your neck sore, your throat is dry and you're usually either too hot, or too cold. And ever since most of the big boys stopped in-flight meal services, things seem to be spiraling even further downward on the pleasure scale.
But regardless of the discomfort involved with this necessary part of travel, for the love of it all, we are usually more than willing to step on that plane and put ourselves through this ordeal.
And yet there's almost always a silver lining to everything, even in regards to this darker aspect of globe drifting. Believe it or not, there are ways that we can find relative happiness, although it's still just a glimmer of comfort, when it comes to flying.
After taking into account my personal flying experiences, as well as reading forums and websites online to see what works for others, I've managed to narrow these various ways down to a select few. Here are 3 simple tips that could help you have a more enjoyable ride.
Tip #1 - Protect Yourself from Dehydration
Most 'tips lists' will save the best tip for last. I love this tip so much that it has to go first. So at the risk of being called names, it's very important to keep yourself moisturized. Yes, I said it...moisturized.
Airplane cabins are dry. The higher you ascend, the more dehydrated your body becomes. The air that is circulated through the cabin, albeit cold, will suck the moisture right out of you.
Take preventative measures by carrying on a few key items with you. Lotion to keep your skin happy, lip-balm to prevent cracking, a bottle of water or liquids to drink regularly (this can be refilled by flight attendants), and my favorite...eye-drops. Trust me, your bloodshot, dry eyes will thank you.
Also, if your flight is extra long, you could bring your own toothpaste and toothbrush. Using these when you're halfway there will help freshen you up and keep you comfortable.
I know this all sounds excessive, I thought so myself when I first heard this, but once I tried it, all of these items made a world of difference, and they can even be bought in tiny travel-friendly sizes, this way the agents at security checkpoints won't have to grapple you to the ground to seize from your possession that suspiciously oversized bottle of Clear-Eyes.
Things to avoid (if you can help it): Coffee, tea and dunh dunh duuuunnnh...alcohol. Although they are liquids, these deliciously wondrous things will dehydrate you even more. Of course, the thought of no caffeine for some us...ahem, myself...for any extended period of time, can be freaky enough just thinking about let alone actually living it. So take this advice with a grain of salt, (which by the way can also help with dehydration, not that there's any reasonably palatable way to consume a handful of salt in mid air.)
Tip #2 - Keep the Blood Flowing
Unless you're flying First Class, and even then at times, airplane seats are notoriously cramped for space.
I rode a plane once to Thailand where it literally felt like my knees were jammed up against my chin the entire flight there.
Okay, that's overly dramatic, but you know what I'm trying to say...when those 'fasten your seat belt' lights are turned off, stretch your legs and move around!
What are some things to do?
Take off your shoes, this can keep your feet happy.
Elevate your legs to allow the blood to flow. And never mind the grumpy guy at the end of the row who refuses to budge whenever you stand, get out of your seat and walk around.
Some attendants will also encourage you to do stretches. I've been on a flight where an 'airplane workout video' would play on one of its channels. Of course, you're not going to be doing pilates in the aisle way, but even so there are some simple stretching exercises you can do at your seat.
And not to freak you out or anything, but when your body is physically kept in an extreme prolonged state of inactivity with impaired blood circulation, this could lead to some potentially serious complications.
Stagnant blood in the veins equals clotting, which in turn could lead to deep-vein thrombosis, i.e. very, very painful. Alright, so again this is the extreme, but it doesn't hurt, actually it feels even better, to just take a few minutes here and there to get up and stretch your legs.
Tip#3 - Sleep During the Flight
The plane won't stop dropping, that kid won't stop kicking your seat back and why does it have to be so stinking bright in here!
Without a doubt, tip #3 is the climb to Mt. Everest of comfortable flight tips. But especially on those extremely long or overnight flights, this tip can be key in whether or not you'll have a pleasant start to your trip.
And given some advance thought, you can get good sleep during the flight, even without those sleeping pills.
One thing to consider ahead of time is what you wear. It's true, wearing a business suit can sometimes get you special treatment, but it definitely won't help you sleep better.
Instead wear comfortable clothes and bring an extra pair of socks for when your toes get cold, (because you're gonna have your shoes off, remember?)
Use the pillow and blanket provided, don't just stuff them in the seat pocket in front of you, or even better yet, invest in a water or neck pillow, because those items can make a huge difference.
And if you have the option of picking your seat in advance, choose a window seat as this will provide you with something to lean on so you don't make the passenger next to you feel violated. You could even pick a seat in the wing section of the plane as these tend to be a little more stable than the rest.
So when it comes time for you to plan your next drift around the globe, don't be afraid of the gauntlet flight that lies between you and your destination. By taking time to plan in advance, you can ensure a relatively safe and comfortable flight.
This way, when your plane touches down on the tarmac of Papeete Faaa International Airport, you'll be ready to explore the wonders of Tahiti rather than wondering why you ever got on the plane in the first place.
*This post was submitted to Travel Tips Tuesday on Suitcases & Sippy Cups
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...