Tips For Surviving a Long Flight
By: Laurie Evans
Long airplane trips donít have to be torture. Planning ahead and being prepared can make all the difference, and leave you feeling refreshed instead of dead on your feet after the flight. Investing just a few minutes in reading this article can pay off in a big way, when you consider all the aggravation and irritation that you can avoid by learning some tips for surviving that long flight. Even if you are a seasoned traveler, there just might be a new idea here for you, so letís have at it!
Make sure that you dress comfortably; feeling uncomfortable can make a long flight seem like an eternity. Not everyone knows this, but you may experience some swelling during the trip (due to cabin pressurization and altitude) so it is important to not wear anything binding, including your shoes. Dress with loose clothing, and by all means make it appropriate for the weather at your destination, not the city you are flying out of. Arriving in Miami with the winter coat you put on in Boston betrays a lack of foresight, at the very least.
Pack a pair of slippers, so you can remove your shoes during the flight and still keep your feel warm and cozy. Bring as many comforts of home as you think you might want with you. Magazines, books, MP3 players and even a favorite lap blanket will help you have an enjoyable flight.
Laptop computers can also provide every kind of entertainment. You can pre-record some favorite TV shows or bring some of your movies on DVD to watch. Make sure to bring headphones to keep the sound to yourself. If they are not noise-cancelling earphones, consider taking earplugs if you are the type who canít sleep with noise in the background. Every so often there might be a screaming baby on board, and no one wants to hear that while trying to get some shuteye on a transoceanic flight.
The newer aircraft have various "ports" and "jacks" for power, headphones and such. Your flight information will also tell you what kind of airplane you will be on, so you can check (on the Internet, naturally!) to make sure your have the right cables for what you are bringing. And no matter what, remember to pack extra batteries. You will always Ė always Ė need them when you least expect it.
Sitting, standing and safety
When you purchase your ticket, or arrive at the airport to check in, request a seat near the exit row or the bulkhead. These areas of the plane offer more legroom than the other seats. If there are no available seats in that area, then request an aisle seat. At least this way you can get up move about with ease. It is important to stretch and do some simple exercises in your seat throughout the flight. You will feel much better if you donít allow yourself to get stiff.
Depending upon the airplane, and the degree to which you want to consider cabin safety (not always a happy topic), you can also look at reports concerning the safest places to sit. In some planes, it is over the wings, on others it is between the wings and the tail. It all depends on where the engines are, what the layout of the aircraft cabin is, how the plane is built and various other factors. As just one example of this kind of research, a Google search for "safest seat on 747" scored over 100,000 hits.
Eats and drinks
If you are a bookworm, plan to spend the majority of your trip reading. If you enjoy various mental pursuits, bring a crossword puzzle collection or even a deck of cards. These can provide light entertainment as well as help you expend the sort of satisfying mental energy that can make napping easier.
As your flight will be from several to "too many" hours long, you will most likely be receiving a meal on the trip. If need be, request a special meal that is low in salt. Flying can also cause you to become dehydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, but try to avoid the coffee and liquor. Bringing your own healthy snacks and bottled water will take the worry out of what the airline has to offer, and with service cutbacks in the industry it will also save you a little money over the in-flight charges. Some airlines are charging $3 or more for bottled water and cans of soda!
Physical clues and cues
Depending on whether you are traveling in the morning or the evening will determine how rested you need to be. Taking a good long nap can alleviate the unavoidable stress of jet lag. If youíre traveling at night, though, perhaps it is best to get on the plane somewhat tired. That way you can choose to sleep through much of the trip, making many of the foregoing tips unnecessary.
Feeling like you have to crawl into bed for two days after a flight can be a drag. Avoid all that by planning ahead and following a few simple rules. Itís easy, itís well worth the time and effort, and you will be smiling long after the flight has landed.
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