It’s that time of year when we’re thinking of summer holidays but many of the best destinations require a long-haul flight.
Now of course the promise of a sun-soaked, far-flung, tropical paradise, makes the pain of a long flight totally worth it, but here are some tips to make it as bearable as possible:
This may sound like an odd piece of advice – seeing as you are about to board a plane for an extended period of time, but let’s face it, you can’t count on a flight (however long it may be) as being a reliable place to rest or sleep! It may sound like a good idea to get on a long-haul flight tired, hoping to sleep the whole way, however, what if you don’t? And even if you do manage to nod off, it’s not going to be deep or restful sleep is it?
So, we suggest planning to ensure your sleep before a long flight, by allowing for a couple of early nights and rest. Once you’re on holiday you can stay up partying as late as you like!
Assist your body clock
A few days before you leave you can start slowly shifting your body clock towards your destinations time zone (just by an hour or two for two or three days before you leave).
Do this by moving your mealtimes ever so slightly, and by waking up and going to bed an hour or two later/earlier than normal. You can assist the shift further, by doing things such as an early trip to the gym in the morning or going to bed before your favourite TV show and winding down instead. It may sound like a bit of a sacrifice, but it will pay off when you arrive at your destination, you will be grateful of the extra time you’ve earned, and for the fact you feel your best to enjoy it!
Maintain your health at altitude
Probably the most important thing you can do for yourself when flying (long or short-haul) is to stay hydrated! Because it’s REALLY dry up there!
Experiments have been done where a flannel was soaked in water before take-off, the result was, that after just 30 minutes of flying, it was completely dry again. So, just imagine what happens to your body.
The pressurised and air-condition cabin, draws the moisture from your skin, lips, eyes and everything inside too, quickly dehydrating your body. Being dehydrated makes you feel sluggish and rough (not ideal when you are stuck on a plane for hours) and increases the risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Some research suggests that polyphenol-rich fruit juices (cranberry, pomegranate) reduce the risk of blood clots, so try alternating between juice and water, especially good if you’re not a fan of plain water anyway.
Avoid alcohol – sorry this may not be a tip you want to hear. Alright, alright, it’s holiday time, how about slipping a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage, to keep the body hydrated.
Finally, keep stretching and moving around – this also helps reduce the risk of DVT.
Plan for boredom
Yes, most flights offer movies and games, but make sure you have a few activities of your own with you, to help break it up.
Invest in a new book or some magazines, and don’t start them until you are on the plane, so that they are new and exciting!
Listening to music can be a great way to kill time as it focuses you on something other than time itself. Make sure you have a mix of genres in your playlist, and a mix of your favourite tunes and something new you’ve never listened too before. The average time of an album is 45 – 60 minutes, so listening to a new album all the way through can kill up to an hour! Have something relaxing too, to help you chill and sleep.
If you are traveling with a companion, then there is nothing like a bit of healthy competition as a distraction! And if you have forgotten to bring the travel monopoly – then just a pen and paper provides endless options.
We are sure the rules of noughts and crosses, tic-tac-tow or hang-man will come flooding back from your childhood!
Pack light but right
It can be tempting to try and take as much stuff as you can carry with you on board, but remember just that, you have to carry it!
Plus, a giant bag rammed full of things can make finding anything at all on board a nightmare. A bag inside a bag works well, meaning you can stow a small bag under your chair, with just the items you will really need on board close to hand.
Ultimately, try and pack just the thing you really need to hand. Think, comfort, boredom and freshening up. Face/body wipes and a travel toothbrush are possibly the most important items. Wear layers so that you will be warm and snuggly to sleep on board, yet able to adjust your temperature when you arrive at your destination.
Now you have all the tips to make long-haul more bearable, you can head off to far-flung shores… So, where will you pick?