Getting ready for a long flight
Whether or not you love traveling, the thought of a long flight tomorrow always makes it hard to fall asleep. A little extra preparation can mean the difference between a miserable day and a relatively comfortable one.
Even if you're leaving in just a few hours for the airport, there are some simple steps you can take to get ready for a long flight.
1. Pack Smart
If you haven't yet finished packing, take a close look at how much luggage you plan to bring. The “one bag method” revolves around packing everything you'll need in one carry-on bag, and this is tremendously freeing. Even if you carry on a duffel bag and a knapsack, this is enough packing space for most non-business trips of up to a few weeks in length.
Related: Why time is slow when you fly
The reason for packing one bag becomes obvious when you think about the end of the flight; you'll probably want to get out of the airport as fast as possible after so long on a cramped plane, and sometimes you can be forced to wait for half an hour before you pick up your checked bag.
Also, you won't have to stress throughout the flight and at every layover about whether your bag made it with you safe and sound.
2. Bring Comfort Items
Comfortable clothing can make a big difference! Bring a soft, warm sweater and you can wear it on a cold plane or use it as a pillow. Unless you're meeting someone for business as soon as you arrive, there's no reason to travel in uncomfortable clothing.
If the buzzing of the plane annoys you, bring an MP3 player or iPod. Make sure it's fully charged before you leave, and load as much music onto it as you can so you'll always have music to fit your mood, to relax you at the beginning of the flight, and even to perk you up again before you land.
Portable gaming devices, electronic eBook readers, and other electronic entertainment devices are a good idea, but remember that anything electronic must be turned off for the first and last twenty minutes of the flight.
That means it's a good idea to bring a light book, crossword puzzle book and pen, or even a thick magazine to fill up the device-free time.
3. Throw in some food and water
Depending on the area you're flying through, the restrictions on carrying food items may be looser or tighter. Dried snack foods are a great idea: cookies, cheese and crackers, trail mix, and snack bars are generally safe to bring through security.
You can even make a sandwich that doesn't include liquid ingredients (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or simple lunch meat and lettuce sandwiches are typically allowed).
While you can't bring water through security in most areas, there's no reason you can't bring an empty water bottle. Most airports have water fountains, so just fill it up once you're through security and you'll always have cool, fresh water without the high cost of bottled water at airport vendors.
Long flights will seem shorter when you've prepared properly. Following even a few of these tips can help you have a relaxing, low-stress trip!