If you’ve never been on an 8+ hour flight, its not as bad as you think it will be. Ok, maybe it can be. The key to make it go by fast is to come prepared. Pack your suitcase with fun activities, sleep, watch a movie, and eat. For once, time wasters are you friends. Here are a couple of tips to help the time go by faster when you’re on your long flight.
Book an Overnight Flight
When looking for long flights, price isn’t the only factor you want to be searching for. The time that you leave and arrive doesn’t only help you adjust to the new time zone better, but it can make a flight go by faster as well. Time zones are tricky, so make sure to double-check everything. I always make sure to book both my departure and arrival time during the night, so my body can sleep and naturally adjust to the changes. For example, when I flew to Spain, I left Chicago at 9:00pm. I slept through most of the flight, did my transfers, and then arrived in Madrid at 11:00pm the next day. Tired from flying, I checked into my hostel and went right to bed. It helped my sleep cycle naturally adjust to Spanish time and my flight went by really fast!
Jet lag can be extremely hard to adjust to, so naturally changing your sleeping pattern on the flight to your destination can give you a leg-up. Not only does this helpful trick make your long flight go by faster, but it can help you when you’re exploring your new destination.
Let me reiterate: sleep. is. good. Sleep is your new best friend. Buy your sleep aid of choice, take a couple, and pass out. Usually I take sleeping pills like ZzzQuil or something similar. If you’re more of a naturalist, melatonin and lavender oil work just as well. Make sure to get only pills or a small bottle so you won’t have to throw it away when you go through security.
Some people find that they can’t get comfortable enough to fall asleep, and only end up getting extremely drowsy. Don’t let this happen to you! Come prepared. Wear a big coat or sweatshirt that you can use as a blanket or a pillow. Also, neck pillows are an actual gift from God. I prefer the microbead fuzzy ones, but that’s just because I’m kind of a princess. Flights can be cold, so make sure to dress adequately. Dressing warm also saves you space in your suitcase! If need be, ask a flight attendant for an extra pillow or blanket. They usually have some extra. When I flew on Turkish Flights, they gave us a gift bag with socks, slippers, and other small things to keep you comfortable.
Make sure to exercise or do a lot of activities the day before your flight. Take advantage of movement while you can! I like to spend the day walking around Chicago with my mom and brother. Plus, chances are it’ll help you sleep better. Just make sure not to overwork yourself, sore legs on a long flight aren’t fun. When you’re on the plane, take occasional breaks to walk around and stretch. Just getting up to go to the bathroom or taking a lap up and down the isle can get your blood flowing again. Stretching or doing yoga in the isle might seem embarrassing, but it can save you from your limbs falling asleep or cramping.
Come prepared. Make sure to pack a couple of different types of entertainment to switch between if you get bored. I like to bring a couple of books, my journal, and some movies. I love to read. Every long flight I have, I bring at least 2-3 books that I switch between. Some people who are more sensitive to flight movements can’t read while they’re flying. In this case, an audiobook might be a better choice.
Remember, you won’t have 3G onboard. Wifi will likely be expensive, so hold off as long as possible before buying it. Before your trip, you should pre-download anything you want on your computer. It’s easy to buy movies on iTunes, download them, or (if you have a cd port) just bring along disks.
If you’re more of a social butterfly, talk to your neighbors! It’s interesting to learn people’s stories when they’re traveling. You’re also going to be in close quarters with them for a very long time, so why not make a new friend?
Washing your face and brushing your teeth can seem like a luxury when you’ve been sitting down for hours at a time. Bring a small makeup bag filled with personal hygiene products to help you make it through your travels. If you don’t want to Airplanes tend to be dry, so make sure to bring a lot of moisturizing products. Artificial air conditioning blasting on your face for hours at a time can take a toll after a while. Rose water face spray, chapstick, and extra bottles of water can make a world of a difference.
Water isn’t the only thing your body needs. Depending on what airline you book, some food will probably be provided for you. But between meals of microwaved salmon, your body will likely crave something more substantial. Don’t forget to pack small snacks for yourself (Make sure they aren’t liquids or they won’t make it through security. I once had a jar of Nutella taken from me, and I’m still not over that heartbreak). Protein-packed trail mix, easy granola bars, or a fresh piece of fruit are always an easy go-to.
In conclusion, long flights aren’t going to be the death of you. As long as you come into this experience with an open mind and a packed carry-on, you should be fine. Just remember to plan ahead of time and don’t rush yourself. No one ever died from boredom though, right?