This afternoon, @TripAdvisor asked their Twitter followers for any “tips for a first time long haul flyer.” Having learned from experience during dozens of 24 hour+ trips, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes (peeking into first-class being, perhaps, the most regrettable). Please, we implore you: Learn from them! Below, we’ve compiled a list of our most cherished essentials and hard-won tips for enduring a long flight.
Request an Aisle Seat – This one definitely requires some advance planning, but may be well-worth the effort. While you won’t be privy to the majestic aerial views, an aisle seat provides a measurable increase in leg-room; plus easy access to the rest-rooms, which you’ll need if you’re following our next step.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Perhaps the most uncomfortable aspect to a long-flight (assuming you’ve been spared the chatty seat-mate or tight middle-seat) is the dry air and inevitable dehydration with your jet-lag. When the cart comes around, try to forgo the wine in favor of water. To refresh your skin, bring along pre-packaged face-wipes and a moisturizer that’s appropriate for your face and hands. If you really want to get fancy, bring along a “facial mister” (just remember, TSA rules: 3oz. or less).
Don’t Expect Time to Make Sense – When we fly to different time zones, it’s kind of like entering another dimension. For example, when you’re crossing several time zones it can be difficult to time meals with traditional “meal times.”
Bring Snacks – Unless you’re lucky enough to be dining in first-class; you’ll want to bring snacks. Airline food is notoriously bland; and for big eaters, the portion sizes are disappointing to say to least. Bring along healthy(ish) snacks like nuts and dried fruits to satiate your appetite when “dehydrated olives” just aren’t cutting it.
Don’t Rely on In-Flight Entertainment – Unless you feel like watching the same movie three times on a loop, bring a book. Go with a relatively easy-read that hooks you right at the start. And don’t go looking for a book at the airport bookshops; their prices often are notoriously jacked-up.
Bring a Travel Pillow – Spring for a plush one, even if that means you have to carry it. The inflatable versions tend to have sharp-plastic edges that you’ll find yourself cursing come 3am when your face is chaffed with red stripes.
Check for Sandwiches between Meals – This was a fun surprise! Once, while pacing the in the middle of the “night,” one of our tipsters stumbled upon a platter of sandwiches at the back of the plane. They were set out for the few insomniac flyers to snack on before breakfast was served in a few hours.
Get Up Often – We can’t stress this one enough. Get up and walk around. Then stretch a lot. Then, walk around some more. Not only will stretching and walking prepare your body to sleep more soundly before ‘lights-out’, but it will reinvigorate your senses when it’s time to wake up. Walk around as much as you can…
But, Whatever You Do, Don’t Peek into First-Class – Just don’t do it. Once you see their spacious, reclined seats, plush linens and fresh fruit, all the wet-wipes in the world won’t clean up your stewing!