As an American student studying abroad in Australia, I need to be able to handle those 16-hour flights like Beyoncé (minus the private jet). I’ve had my fair share of long flights, so I’ve had plenty of chances to figure out what works and what definitely does NOT (floppy hats are a no-go). Here are my tips to breeze through long flights.
1.) Dress for success. By “success” I mean comfort. Wear clothing that isn’t restrictive so you can lounge. Tight socks, pants, tank tops, etc. can reduce blood flow and cause discomfort after a few hours in the air. It may seem like a good idea to dress fashionably and impress all the strangers in the airport. Good luck with that. When you’re five hours into your ten-hour flight, no one will be looking at your outfit. They will be too busy ugly-crying to The Fault in Our Stars while devouring their third snack box. Honestly, just wear the damn fuzzy socks.
2.) Feel good, look good. Stock your carry-on with some essentials to help you look and feel less terrible. This includes:
- Eye drops
- Makeup remover wipes
- Hand wipes (because ewh germs)
- Face/hand lotion
- Dry shampoo
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
*Remember, all liquids must be less than 3.4 ounces and fit into one quart sized plastic bag. Seriously guys. Security is no picnic. Don’t hold up the line with your “Omg I literally had like no idea that I couldn’t bring my 2 gallon jug of tanning lotion.” Like literally, get it together.
3.) Sleep. To avoid major jet lag, sleep if you should be sleeping. If you are flying while it is nighttime in the place you are heading to, try to sleep as much as you can. If you will be arriving at night, try to stick it out and stay awake on the plane. Make sense?
4.) Pack for a slumber party. A mile high slumber party. Where you don’t actually want to talk to anyone. This includes:
- A neck pillow. If you only pack one thing, make sure it’s a neck pillow. It’s a game-changer. You may feel like a diva, but you will be a diva who can snooze in peace without getting a neck cramp every 15 minutes. I would personally recommend an inflatable one. It takes up virtually no space and makes the flight 100 times better.
- Earplugs. Because studies show that babies love to cry as soon as you start to doze off
- Head phones. In case that baby is so loud that earplugs just don’t cut it.
- Eye mask. In case the person next to you refuses to close the window shade because it’s just so riveting to watch sunshine and clouds for 8 hours. Also because nothing says “get away from me” quite like an eye mask.
- A blanket. Flights get chilly.
- Extra socks. If you are going to take your shoes off, it’s polite to put on clean socks. I’d recommend loose fitting ones (see #1).
* Remember to pack these items in an accessible place. For example, tucked away in the overhead bins is NOT an “accessible place.”
5.) HYDRATE. ABOVE ALL ELSE HYDRATE. This is the best way to make sure that you don’t shrivel up on the plane. Bring a portable water bottle and fill it up once you get through security. Every time you are offered water on the plane, accept it. This may make you have to go to the bathroom frequently. That’s good because you should…
6.) Get up periodically. If you don’t stretch your legs, you will get off the flight and feel like you got hit by a train. Get up and walk around. When you go to the bathroom, stretch in the back of the plane. Do some yoga, do some Zumba, do some cross-fit (lol). You do you. Just move.
7.) Treat yo self. Buy yourself some chocolate and a magazine in the airport and take advantage of some “me time.” Flying is supposed to be fun. Rather than counting down the minutes until you land, enjoy the fact that you have 12 hours straight to do nothing other than binge on movies and nap. What a time to be alive.
Good luck with your travels you globetrotting rascals.