Good morning my wonder friends and greetings from Mexico! Last Saturday I finally arrived to my ancestral homeland after a long 10 hour flight from Spain. “10 hours? HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! How did you manage to survive that???” a friend recently asked me.
Well, the secret about surviving long haul flights (flights that are 6 to 12 hours in duration) is all about preparing yourself both mentally and physically. After all, boredom and fatigue are concepts created by humans and it’s up to you to defy and overcome them.
Flights.com recently asked me to share some of my best travel tips to survive a long haul flight and here’s my top 5. Are you ready?
Do Your Research and Choose Your Flight Wisely
The number one tip to survive a long haul flight is to always be wise when selecting the flight that you will end up taking. In my experience, traveling by night is the best for long haul flights since your internal biological clock will be predisposed to sleep off for the complete duration of the trip (if you have a very early flight, click here to read my tips to sleep at the airport).
If you’re flying economy and you want to sleep for the entire flight, a window seat is your best choice but if you’re one of those persons who needs to go to the toilet every few hours, an aisle seat will do wonders for you.
Finally, you should definitely do your best to avoid a middle seat since those are hell on earth. I mean, can you imagine flying with an overweight passenger to your left and a crying toddler to your right for more than 10 hours? I’m sure there’s a support group somewhere for travelers that suffer from PTSD after flights like those!
Stock Up on Snacks and Entertainment Before Arriving to the Airport
Airport shops are notoriously known for ripping off travelers with overly inflated prices (10 USD for a small chocolate bar? REALLY?) so your best choice is to stock up on snacks before even arriving to the airport. When it comes to entertainment (aka PLAN B in case you’re unable to fall asleep), nothing is better than a physical book for you to read during your flight.
Remember that your main goal today is to fall asleep so you don’t feel the strain of the flight so don’t buy a serious book and instead opt for what I like to call “popcorn reading” (think of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code but less awful).
PS. Please do humanity a favor and don’t buy one of those “trendy” flight accessories such as the ostrich pillow. No, it won’t make you seem cool. If anything, it will make the rest of the passengers want to throw you out of the emergency hatch.
Befriend the Flight Attendant (Even If She’s Not Your Type)
In the eyes of a flight attendant, nothing is worse than the nth guy trying to flirt with her with a compliment that she has heard at least 100 times this week (please, don’t say any of these 12 horrible things). Nevertheless, nothing is more refreshing to her than a traveller who shows genuine interest in asking her about her unique lifestyle.
Next time you go to the toilet, be sure to chat up a little bit with the flight attendant by asking her questions such as “what’s the favourite country you’ve ever been to?”, “what inspired you to take a job in the flying industry?” or “what’s your favourite restaurant in ________”.
Trust me when I say that even if she doesn’t give you any upgrade or freebies (although most of the time she will), you will gain something more important: a true friendship plus the satisfaction that you made her day a little bit better by treating her with the respect that she deserves.
Avoid Drinking Caffeine Based Drinks and Order Red Wine Instead
For some reason, some travelers in long haul flights seem to think that coffee (and Coca-Cola) are the ideal drinks to have alongside their meal and well, they couldn’t be more wrong since they will end up feeling edgy (plus dehydrated) all the time.
In my experience, a glass of red wine is the best companion before your journey to the lands of Morpheus. Be sure to bring a bottle of water (you can bring an empty one trough security and then fill it before boarding) and you’re all set for a naptastic time!
PS. When it comes to the food itself, I would suggest saving the dessert for later since sugar before bed will affect your sleeping patterns and it is best for you to eat it after you wake up. After all, you don’t want to have a nightmare about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, do you? DO YOU?
Set Your Watch to the New Time-Zone and Take a Re-Adjustment Nap
Finally, it is time for you to change the time zone of your watch and adjust your own mindset into thinking that you’re already at your destination. If you think Jet Lag is bad, let me tell you that Pre-Jet Lag is definitely worse since during the plane, you’re basically stuck between many time-zones at once (click here to read the top 10 busiest flight routes in the world).
Stop thinking in the local time of your origin and focus in the local time of your destination. Close your eyes and prepare yourself mentally by thinking of the many things that you will do once you arrive: long walks at the beach, fresh coconut water, exotic food at the street stands, huge pyramids filled with story, meeting up with friends and family you haven’t seen in years…
Before you know it, you’ll be already landing, my dear friend. Have you ever taken a long haul flight? How did you survive it? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!!!
Until next time, my friends!
Disclaimer: This article was brought to you in collaboration with Flights.com. All opinions are my own.