11 ways you can make your long-haul
flight more enjoyable
By Wander Team | 8 minutes read
Ever wondered how to survive a long flight without arriving excessively exhausted at your destination? Here are a few insights to help you manage your energy and stress levels.
Dealing with long-hours flights can become more tiring than expected.
Commercial flights carry every day a massive number of passengers, millions of people to say the least. While a fraction of them have to deal with a neglectable amount of such commuting time, many others instead are left in the air for several hours, often crossing double-digits cruising times. In fact, it is no wonder that copying with a long journey can indeed become quite a stressful experience, and eventually leave you energy-drained and unable to focus on things to do at destination.
This is especially true, for example, for very long car or bike road trips. However, booking a 12-hour intercontinental flight to an overseas destination, often means sitting on a tiny spot, unable to take a proper rest, dealing with crying babies, and loud aircraft noises, and all this continuously for all the duration of the commute.
While flying long-distance routes 2-3 times a year may not cause significant body stress, if done at least 1 or multiple times a month, it can indeed have a remarkable impact on mental and physical energy levels on the long run. Thus, it becomes essential to take a few precautional steps in order to ensure you feel as comfortable as possible and preserve your stamina. And while there are dozens of beneficial activities that you can perform on board, we've written down a list of the top not-to-miss things to do when flying through several time zones.
1. Sometimes, having a conversation above the clouds can go a long way
Whether you're flying solo or with friends/acquaintances, sometimes dealing with a long flight can be the perfect occasion to improve your social and conversational skills, and, why not, even get to know people and make new friends.
Many times, we're afraid to approach strangers, as maybe we believe we might be bothering or annoying them, and that's totally understandable. However, taking this approach is a good way to spend quality time by interacting with someone and making a few hours feel like minutes. A few ice-breaker topics to start a conversation are inquiring about what they are planning to do once they touch down, whether they're traveling for leisure or for work/business related reasons, whether they've been there before or never (or if they actually live there), listening to their point of views about life, and even ask for useful contacts to reach out and that might give you help getting around.
Like all the other things, once you practice it few times, you'll notice that breaking the ice with strangers becomes easier and easier, and you'll also find out that most of them will be interested in the conversation. And, in case they speak a different language from yours, an instant translating pair of earphones can really turn useful, not only with passengers, but also when roaming around streets of a foreign country, where having an internet connection might not be an immediate thing.
2. Listen to music
Listening to music is by many considered their favorite recreational activity. And, how to prove them wrong? There are countless science-backed recurring benefits that come into play when playing your favorite tune.
Depending on the beat and genre, it can have relaxing effects, make you fall asleep, or pump you up. If you find yourself stuck with mid-flight boredom, you might want to plug in your headphones and shuffle some playlist. If you're heading to a foreign country, listening to some language related classes or podcast will do you no harm. If you're trying to fall asleep, a compilation of meditation and deep sleep tracks can relieve your ears from the loud aircraft engine noises.
3. Avail yourself of in-flight infotainment
With modern aircrafts steadily becoming more and more technologically sophisticated, getting on board of a recent jet model can often make passengers feel like at home, surrounded by countless comforts and amenities. This is true especially for business and first class.
Among these, state-of-the-art infotainment systems are the ones that can greatly impact your commuting experience, the positive way. Until a few decades ago, picturing yourself watching movies at 30.000 feet above the sea level was considered straight up outlandish and sci-fi. Today, it has become the norm. The interconnected structure provides several digital services at passengers' fingertips. Watching on-demand movies, listening to your favorite music and podcasts, playing arcade videogames, and getting real-time flight information allow commuters to fight boredom and provide some sort of entertainment.
4. Jot down a checklist about places to go/things to do
One of the best and most useful things you can do to kill time during your flight commute is to write down a clear list of things, places and people you're going to engage with on arrival, on a paper note or on a note app on your phone. This will help you not only not to waste precious time at destination, but will also set a clear timeline and let you avoid skipping important steps, or meetings or places to see.
Consider putting down a checklist of not-to-be-missed places/hotspots, experiences and activities, events, souvenirs to buy; immediate things to do upon arrival, such as purchasing a foreign sim card if you're heading overseas; local food and delicacies to try out; transportation for the intended itinerary.
5. Read a book
Reading a book does not have to belong only to living room couches! It can be literally performed at any time of the day and any place. With the rise of digital reading tools and platforms such as e-books and digital magazines, it has become even easier and handy.
Thus, why not leverage this skill-building and mind stimulating activity, and get the best out of your free time spent on board? All kinds of lectures are acceptable. If your purpose is to get informed about places you're going to visit, then you might want to check out travel and food guides, itineraries, read about others' opinions and feedback, and learn more about that place's customs and traditions. If you're looking to kill time or engaging in a storyline lecture, then reading a fiction book might be your best choice. It can just be a productive process either way.
6. Make use of in-flight wi-fi hotspots
Needless to say, one of the most remarkable on board amenities, and the fruit of the technological development made by commercial aviation is the presence of an internet connection. While a handful of premium airlines tend to provide their customers with free wi-fi service, some other carriers instead charge a flat fee or a fee based on data usage (which sometimes can be really cheap!); in both cases, users are able to surf the internet and scroll through news feeds, send chat messages, send emails, and get in touch with their loved ones.
If you're flying long routes, one of the best things you can do to guarantee you don't get overly bored mid-air, is to set a few pennies apart and purchase an internet data package, that can work out as a time killer.
7. Always carry with you your flying traveler's kit
Often ironically mentioned as "the 4 traveler's treasures", we all agree that one of the most sought after long commute kit consists of four irreplaceable items: inflatable neck pillow, sleep mask, ear plugs, lightweight blanket. Availing yourself of this kit can really mean the difference between you arrived at destination well rested and recovered, and you feeling overly tired and stressed.
If you are a frequent traveler and often engaging in intercontinental flights, we strongly recommend you get yourself one of these by investing a few spare dollars. They can in fact be purchased for less through e-commerce websites, or individually. If you don't mind quality and want to save a few pennies, then the total expense should not be in excess of 10$. However, if you want to invest in top notch resting equipment, 50$ will be more than enough to secure a proper rest.
8. Get your energies replenished
It stands to reason that an ideal journey would include at least a coffee break, or a lunch break, ideally every couple of hours. And while we know that the frequency part is not possible, at least when on board of an airplane and partaking a direct flight, the most obvious piece of advice that one can recommend is to treat yourself with an appropriate meal.
Most of the times, an hot meal package is included for flights that last 6 or more hours; however, to save up on bills, a handful of low-cost carriers require passengers to purchase such package when booking tickets, or, to say the least, before departure day, for a set price. For such flights, it is also possible to purchase it on board for an extra fee on top of the that price. Ingesting a few calories into your body will ensure you don't run out of essential ingredients that your body needs in order to function properly and to face the long hours ahead.
9. Stretch your muscles every few hours
Sitting down long hours have a negative impact for the body, not only while you're busy working on your office desk, but also while you're forced to rest on a tiny space for a long amount of time and unable to perform large leg movements.
Thus, it becomes extremely important to get up from your assigned seat, at least every couple of hours, and perform a few recommended body stretching exercises aimed to contain the strain that long haul flight take on it. Among these, rolling your neck, raising your calves and toes, stretching and rolling your shoulder, are the most effective. Repeating such exercises for a set amount of time ensures them proper efficacy. Walking lunges are also useful. Taking advantage of these steps will also be helpful in combatting DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), a condition that is more likely to appear when sitting down all day.
10. Replace your sim card
In the modern era, smartphone play an important role towards providing us with an extra layer of safety, ensuring we touch base with our friends and acquaintances, and ensuring we properly connect to all the people that we may require to get in touch with, both for emergency cases, and for our daily duties. Thus, making sure to replace your sim card, in case you are heading to an exotic country, enables you to never miss out on some of mobile phones' main purposes.
Whether you need to double check your online hotel reservation or address, make a quick call, or post your fancy shots on social, doing this extra step might go a long way towards a smooth and safe trip. Alternatively, you might want to opt for international phone carrier or service, or, in case you don't want to miss a minute without internet connection, get yourself a portable wi-fi router.
11. Wash your face regurarly and use a small deo stick
Flying a commercial airlines often means hundreds of people co-living for a certain number of hours, in a relatively tiny space. This scenario is often the breeding ground for the spreading of bacteria and germs, and consequently foster unhealthy and unsanitary issues. Thus, ensuring proper hygiene, when in close contact with others, becomes essential.
In order for you to get a little feeling of refreshment, you might want to wash your face with cold water, this will help momentarily you get rid of eventual drowsiness and stress episodes. One of the healthiest habits you can take is to wash your hands properly with antibacterial soap, and, especially during such circumstances, it becomes even more important, as your hands may get in contact with common surfaces and areas. Sweating is also a common factor occurring, and the intense pre-flight activities, such as arriving at the terminal, check-in, boarding, can be the reason behind. For this, your best bet is to carry a very small deo spray or deo roll-on that can come to rescue during some unwanted and embarrassing excess sweating moments.
Next time you're flying to the other side of the world, following these small pieces of advice can literally save your day. We'd be more than glad if we really do it!
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