You’re all packed for your next vacation. You have an itinerary ready of all the hot spots to strike off your bucket list, and you’re excited to unplug, relax, adventure, and make a lifetime’s worth of memories. There’s just one last thing you need to do — get there. And sometimes, that means boarding a plane for hours and hours of flight time.
With the combination of cramped aisles, pricy dining options, and increasingly shrinking leg room, it might be tempting to let your enthusiasm slip. The good news is, that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, just a few small tips for flying can change your perception of long flights from a dreaded logistical necessity to an enjoyable experience that’s all part of the journey. If you’re flying to your next destination, consider these travel tips to make a long flight more comfortable.
1. Move Around And Move Often
Sitting for long periods of time can have negative effects on your body, such as increased blood pressure and leg cramps. For long flights more than a few hours, consider standing and taking a quick walk up the aisle to the furthest restroom and back. Doing this at least once an hour can help improve the blood circulation in your body and fight muscle fatigue.
If you’re stuck in a window or middle seat, or just don’t want to disturb your neighbors by getting up that often, you can get the same benefits by doing simple stretches from the comfort of your seat.
Try this tip for flying: Extend your legs as far out as you can and flex your ankles so your toes point up. Inhale for three-to-five seconds, exhale to relax, and repeat five times. Here’s another great in-seat stretch: Sit upright and place your hands on your legs, palms facing down with elbows bending at 90 degrees. Bring your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades while lifting your chest and looking upwards. Inhale for three-to-five seconds, exhale to relax, and repeat two more times.
2. Stay Hydrated From The Inside Out
The humidity on an airplane is 10 percent lower than what the Environmental Protection Agency recommends for your own home. So it’s safe to say that the desert-dry air can zap the moisture from your skin, leaving you susceptible to dehydration, airborne illness, and irritated skin.
Stay hydrated with these tips for flying. Bottled water at the airport can be pricey, so bring an empty glass or stainless steel bottle through the security checkpoint and fill up at a water fountain to take with you on your long flight. Pack face moisturizer, lotion, and lip balm in your bag or carry-on, and make sure to reapply when needed. Opt for unscented products, since perfumes in lotions may not be friendly to your neighbor. If that’s not an option, go for products with a gentle, all-natural scent like lavender. Its aromatherapy properties instantly relax you to ease anxiety, elevate your mood, and can even help you drift off to sleep.
3. Pack Nutritious, “Mild” Snacks
Depending on your plane’s carrier, length of flight, and destination, you may receive one or more meals. They can be unpredictable and an ill-timed nap can mean missing it altogether, so be sure to ask your flight attendant for the meal schedule and set a timer on your phone accordingly.
If meals aren’t available and you don’t want to indulge in the expensive prepackaged dining options, one tip for flying is to pack your own snacks to keep you full. Ideally, bring nutrient-dense, “mild” snacks such as sliced fruit, cheese cubes, trail mix, nuts, popcorn, almond butter, and whole grain bread.
These snacks are considered mild because they’re unlikely to give off an offensive odor and disturb your neighbor. Try to avoid snacks like hummus, tuna salad, cured meats, and hardboiled eggs. Likewise, pass on snacks with processed oils and sugars like candy, chips, or greasy fried food. Those won’t hold your hunger at bay for long.
4. Go For Ultimate Comfort With A Beach Ball
Pack a deflated beach ball — yes, really! A deflated beach ball comes in handy on long flights because you can partially inflate it for a variety of purposes. Lay a sweater or blanket over it for a comfy pillow, prop it up beneath your feet for a comfy footrest, or if you’re feeling stiff, slip it between your lower back and seat for gentle lumbar support.
Because they’re inflatable, they’re easy to carry around and take up a fraction of the space compared to standard and neck pillows. If you’re traveling with kids and happen to be heading to a destination with a pool or beach, consider it a bonus.
NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.