Travel Tips: How to Survive a Long Flight

Long flights can suck.  These days, advances in airplane design makes it possible to fly direct from Singapore to Amsterdam- 19 hours straight in an airplane.   While the new Airbus A350 has plenty of technology to reduce your jet lag, there's still quite a few things you can do to survive a long flight - even enjoy it!

  1. Rest Before You Fly - One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your experience is to rest up before you fly.  Air travel puts a lot of stress and strain on your body, so if you get on the plane already exhausted, you'll feel like dog meat by the time you get off.  Pro Tip: Set your clock to time at your destination the night before you go, so you can start adjusting mentally before you arrive.
  2. Upgrade Your Seat - Airlines are cutting costs by jamming people into economy - often at 10 people per row!  Let's be honest - if you can escape this situation without breaking the bank, you should.  Use frequent flier miles to upgrade to business class or premium economy.  Pro tip: it never hurts to ask the gate agent to put you in an emergency exit (more leg room) - and it costs nothing.
  3. Get Cozy - Store your bag up top, not underneath of the seat in front of you.  You'll want room to stretch out your legs.  Pro tip: take your shoes off to improve circulation, which is impeded by the cabin pressure.
  4. Dress Warm - Airplanes get really cold, and not all flights provide blankets.  Trust us, there's nothing worse than freezing your butt off on a 12 hour flight just because you forgot a jacket.  Scarfs are surprisingly helpful, and thick socks will keep your toes warm and help you sleep better.  Pro Tip: avoid tight clothing (especially pants) unless you want a 10-hour wedgie.
  5.  Pack Smart - Little things make a big difference.  If you plan to sleep, bringing eye shades, ear plugs and a neck pillow will do wonders.  If you want to stay awake, bring a book / kindle and noise-cancelling headphones. Pro tip: Charge all electronics before you go and download any podcasts or ebooks you want before you fly.
  6. Entertain Yourself  - Modern airplanes come with in-seat video screens standard, so there's really no problem with finding something to keep you occupied.  Sometimes you have to pay for entertainment, but this can be worth it on long flights.  Pro Tip: airplanes are one of the few places with no (free) internet, so take advantage of some distraction-free time to read a book, do some writing, or edit your photos / videos from your trip before you get home.
  7. Eat and Drink Right - Choose carb-rich foods for your in-flight meal.  They are high in insulin, which helps you adjust to jet lag.  Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol if possible.  Pro Tip: bring a re-fillable water bottle and walk to the back of the plane to ask the flight attendants to fill it up in the galley.  They're much more likely to do this here than when they're walking down the isle, handing out drinks.
  8. Befriend the Flight Attendants - Flight attendants rarely get the credit they deserve - usually just the frustration of passengers for delayed flights and other things out of their control.  Being nice to flight attendants is not just polite, it's smart.  Flight crews often have access to extra food and wine, so if you're nice you might just get hooked up!
  9. Move Around - Flying is not natural - it impedes circulation and can lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis.  Doing simple exercises and taking a lap around the plane can help get that blood flowing and make you far more comfortable.
  10. Freshen Up - Before you land, head to the bathroom to wash your face, brush your teeth and change your shirt.  This can do wonders for making you feel fresh for arrival.
Those are our tips - what are yours?  Share your ideas in the comment box below!

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