What to Expect On A Long International Fight
Any flight that is 10+ hours is a very long flight! In fact, any flight over 4 hours is a long flight! Every person deals with being secluded in the same spot for many hours at a time differently. There is always the guy snoring loudly, the one doing jumping jacks in the aisle, the baby crying, the person eating non-stop, the singers, and the fidgeters. Who can blame us humans? We aren’t meant to sit that long!
Preparing for a long flight might seem a little silly. How can you prepare your body for something like that? It really starts before you even board the plane! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your flight, and to keep you sane during the flight!
1. Board the Plane Well Rested
You might be thinking, “Wait, I have 10+ hours to sleep on the plane, why do I want to sleep before I board?” My experience with sleep is that it makes everyone a lot more calm, agreeable, and excited when you are well rested. Most likely, you will be so excited to be on the plane headed to your destination that you won’t be able to sleep well anyways. Get as much as you can the night before so you are feeling peppy and ready to go!
2. Pack Your Own Snacks
As a rule of thumb, we never assume we are going to be fed. Long airline flights will feed you meals, but we always pack our own snacks to us fueled in between meals or in case we don’t like the food that is served. Overall, we’ve had an excellent experience with food on airlines but better safe than hungry! Pack things like nuts, dried fruit, and seeds for lots of protein.
3. Stay Hydrated
Drink lots of water! Before your flight, during the flight, and after the flight. Staying hydrated will also force you to get up and walk around, on your way to the bathroom! Don’t worry about disturbing other people, they understand. Get an aisle seat if you can. Most of the time we bring an empty Nalgene bottle and fill it up right before we board the plane (after going through security). Make sure it’s ok with the airline but most of them are. The more water you have the better because some airlines don’t give you the amount of water you really need!
4. Bring a Jacket To Keep Warm
If you forget to bring a jacket on an international flight, you can possibly be the most uncomfortable you’ll ever have been. Being cold is the worst! I’m not much for dealing with cold so maybe I’m exaggerating but airplanes are cold! Packing a light jacket is very good idea. If you find you are not cold, it can always double up as a pillow! I’ll never forget a lady next to me on the plane ask the flight attendant about 10 times during our flight if she could turn the air warmer. She was freezing the whole time! And the answer is always no. No, they will not make the air warmer for you.
5. Find Entertainment to Pack With You
Most overseas airlines have an awesome supply of movies, music, and games on the screen in front of your seat. It makes for some great entertainment! Always bring a little for yourself in case you don’t like what is available. You also never know when there is going to be a delay! Throw in a book or two, download a few game apps on your phone, and even bring a word search puzzle book!
Changing what your eyes are looking at is very important over long periods of time. Looking at a book then at a screen is much better than only looking at a screen the whole time! Some of our favorite game apps are Yahtzee, Match the Logo, Mahjong, Flow Free, and 2048 Puzzle. Adult coloring books are great too!
6. Bring Socks
I love wearing flip flops to the airport so I don’t have to make such a big deal going through the security. I always make sure I bring along a pair of socks to put on once I’m actually in the plane. Wearing socks and shoes will keep you feet nice and warm but if you have sandals you will need a pair of socks! I forgot mine on a 5+ hour flight once and thought my poor toes were going to fall off they were so cold!
If you are prone to swelling or blood clots from sitting too long, you may want to look into compression socks. On our long flight to Thailand my feet swelled so much and stayed that way for 2 days after we got off the plane! Another good reason to remember to get up and walk around as much as possible!
7. Seatbelts and Baggage
Make sure you seatbelt is visible and your bags are under your seat before you fall asleep. There is nothing worse then finally getting into a nice deep sleep just to have the attendant wake you up to tell you to fasten your seatbelt or move your bags under your seat. Be comfortable but make sure no one is going to bother you.
8. Wear Comfortable Clothes
To most people, comfortable clothes means their pajamas! I know it is for me! But other passengers don’t want to see you in your pajamas so just choose clothing that is loose, comfortable, and light. Avoid anything tight around the waist or the legs. You want your blood to be able to flow as best as it can without any pressure points.
Any chance you get, stretch. Ideally, before your trip you want to spend at least an hour getting all limbered up! Waiting at the airport is a good place to do this! Don’t worry about everyone looking at you, just stretch. Spend extra time loosening your legs since you won’t have much movement on the plane. On the plane, use the bathroom often and then walk to the front of the plane and back to your seat each time. It’s important to walk around or even stand for a bit during the flight to stretch your legs!
10. Avoid Heavy Meals with Lots of Carbs
Before your flight, make sure to indulge in a nice healthy meal with lots of vegetables. Giving yourself a well-balanced meal before you flight is a great tactic! Most often airlines will serve lots of carb heavy meals to make sure the passengers are full after their meal. If they serve you a pasta dish along with a roll, consider skipping the roll and just eat the pasta. If you eat too many carbs while sitting down for a long period of time, you will begin to feel terrible and may even become constipated. Eat enough so you aren’t hungry, but don’t over do-it.
11. Bring A Sleeping Kit
If you know you sleep better with earplugs, an eye mask, and a neck pillow, then bring those along. Even if you won’t need it on the rest of your trip, it’s better to be comfortable than not. We don’t need these things since we fall asleep pretty fast but do what’s best for you. We have found that the airline headrests often have a foldout side where you can rest your head. Don’t be afraid to ask the cabin crew for an extra pillow or blanket. Make it work for you so you can get a little shut-eye on the plane!
12. Pack Along a Small Work Related Project
Use this time to be productive. Not all this time can be spent working but pack along a small project you’ve been meaning to get to. You’ll have plenty of time to think, create, and explore new options for your project. This also gives you a great way to break up the flight. If you watch movies the whole flight you will most likely feel exhausted afterwards. Create a small schedule for this 10+ hour flight and the change in pace will be refreshing!
What is the longest flight you have ever been on? Do you have any tricks to help survive a long flight?