Your bags are checked. You made it through security. Your ticket in hand as you line up to board a metal machine with wings that flies through the air at lightning fast speeds. 11 hours later you’ll have landed at your international destination with swollen feet, bed head and hopefully only minor jet lag. While a lot of people have experienced long-haul flights, that doesn’t necessarily equate to a well prepared flyer. I have been on over 20 international flights myself and I still find that if I don’t make a list of things I need to prepare for a long flight I end up forgetting crucial elements, like dressing in layers or having enough snacks in case I don’t like the in-flight food menu. Here’s a list of my tips for international flights, some are from learning the hard way and some I’ve gathered from other travel savvy friends. Preparing yourself will make traveling more enjoyable and ensure smooth sailing or should I say flying from one country to the other
- This starts before you even get to the airport. When booking your flight make sure you choose your seat based on your needs. For example I’m one of those people who can easily fall asleep on a plane so I often pick the window seat so I can put my pillow against the window to help prop my head up. If you’re someone who likes to get up a lot or tinkles frequently then choose the aisle seat.
- I recommend to all travelers when its domestic or international take a u-shaped neck pillow with you. These come in a variety of fabrics depending how soft or firm you like your pillow and can be purchased at travel stores or even target. If you can fall asleep it will be that much more comfortable and if you can’t at least you can make yourself as relaxed as possible by having something to rest your head on as you read or watch a movie. It also makes as a great lower back pillow if you need the extra support there instead of your neck. I promise the neck pillow is a life changer
- Speaking of comfort some more flight essentials are a lightweight blanket, earplugs, socks and an eye mask. These items will keep you warm,drown out unwanted babies crying or that bright light the guy next to you is shining as he reads his book. Planes can be quite cold and loud so these items are necessities for a comfortable flight. Which takes me to my next tip and that is to dress in layers
- Layer are not only helpful for in-flight temperature fluctuation but also in case your destination ends up being a different temperature than your departure.
- Another element crucial international flights Don’t overload your carry-on bag. Some airports are extremely large and require trams from one terminal to another, it’s a hassle to have to lug around and oversized and heavy carry-on bag after you’ve been on a plane for half a day. It’s even more frustrating if you have a layover and you’re in a hurry to get to your next gate but you have a 20 pound bag slowing you down
- So in order to make sure your carry-on is light weight but still has the necessities here’s a few recommendations for items in your bag:
- A change of clothes, underwear and a toothbrush just in case your checked bag gets lost or delayed
- Chapstick and lotion to keep your skin moisturized in the drying recycled in-flight air
- Hand sanitizer
- Pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol for unexpected headaches. I also get indigestion sometimes when I fly so I always have tums handy
- A water bottle and snacks like nuts, dried fruit and a granola bar just so I don’t have to purchase overpriced airline food if I’m still hungry after the in-flight meal
- Your own headphones are also a must. can’t tell you how many times the airline headphones suck for lack of a better word
- Get up and walk around at the very least every 3 hours to get your blood flowing. I used to work for a doctor who told me every time I took a flight to get up and walk to lower the risk of blood clots. Blood clots are a serious health concern no matter how old you are. Compression socks can also help prevents clots these can usually be purchased at your local drug store
- A book or magazines to entertain you just incase your in flight movies are in french and the only french word you can decipher is Merci at least you have back up entertainment to get you through the a few hours of your long flight
The more you travel the more you can add on to my basic list and personalize it for your specific needs for worry and hassle free international travel!