6 ideas that will help you survive a long-haul flight

Categories:Guest Post | Travel

The total amount of time for someone traveling from let’s say Los Angeles to Sydney is 14 hours- meaning 14 ‘wholesome’ hours of screaming children, whiny elderlies, and leg-pulling cramped conditions. Fourteen hours spent listening to the rusty whirring of the airplane engine, all, of course, served with the inevitable jet lag, waiting for you at the end.

The nuisances of a long haul travel can range in severity from downright ‘deep vein thrombosis’ dangerous to watching ‘dumb and dumber’ on repeat. Luckily there are some interesting ideas to help you pass time during extra-long flights; making the ordeal a tad bearable.

The life of a traveler

In all traveler’s honesty, flying really isn’t that bad. It only begins to feel annoying when you become moody in a cramped space.

Personally, I have flown on 35 ‘college’ flights, through cosmos holidays, so far in two years, and not planning to end the journey anytime soon. During my fair share of relaxed but equally crazed, dramatic flights, I have come to learn a few tricks to make the time pass quicker. So, there you have it: six easy, fun things you can do during a flight to keep yourself entertained.

1. Keep moving

Photo source: https://dohafmc.com/services/obstetrics/exercise-and-travel-advice/

You may not realize it yet but it is actually quite important to keep the blood circulating when you’re seated for a long time. A couple of years ago, aboard a flight to Hong Kong, AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher suffered a mini stroke, with blood temporarily stopping from flowing to the brain.

For those young travelers concerned, many foreign carriers are pretty good at demonstrating in-flight safety videos and exercises. As a periodic opportunity, grab the bathroom breaks and stretch your body as much as you can; you could also walk a few steps at the back of the galley for a few minutes. Try to make a game out of it: how many languages can you hear throughout the walk, how many phones or hats do you count, how long does it take, and can you beat that record?

2. In-flight gaming and Inflight apps

The majority of big in-flight magazines have a wide selection of games from crosswords and Sudoku, to word searches, trivia or other puzzles. Even if you’re not into mind-juggling puzzles, these are an extremely good way to kill time.
If your crossword book is already worked in, try asking your neighbor for theirs (or secretly switch them while they’re in the restroom). Or, you can always bring your own pack of Uno too.

In case you’re a frequent flyer, probably the best way to pass time on board is to play a game on your mobile device. While this may be a choice for most young users, keep in mind that these also drain your battery fast. However, there are lots of other applications you can try. Games like Angry BirdsWhere’s My Water, and pretty much any other arcade game has several levels to keep you engaged for a hours at a time.

 4. Eat to your heart’s content

Consider eating fairly light and healthy meals in the days leading up to the flight. Trust me when I say this: there is nothing worse than sitting with a heavy cheese burger like a stone in your stomach when you’re trapped in an aluminized tube of prolonged claustrophobia. When you combine this with long hours of little to no movement, you’re going to feel uneasy and in fact, gross.

It all depends on your personal discipline: you can absolutely choose to skip the meal service to combat jet lag. However, if you have strong olfactory cues, they can severely kick in your hunger pangs.

Even though airlines tend to serve the correct portions – think along the lines of Asian and European sizes – the food is probably not going to be enough to keep you going for the long haul. Pack something extra that is easy to snack on.

The aisle seat comes in handy during the meal service. Once half of the plane begins to digest their food, you can be sure that the bathroom is going to be occupied soon. Don’t forget that you’re on a big aircraft, which means that there are lots of people on board. You’re clearly at the risk of getting majorly uncomfortable in your seat while everyone else uses the toilet.

There is, in fact, an opportune time to go. When the flight attendants have served the food and are no longer blocking the path to the bathroom, there should be a short window, right before the meal trays are collected. Instead of waiting till the collection point comes, choose to take this free time as a golden ‘loo’ opportunity.

4. Have a drink

I bet you know they always ask us to avoid any kind of carbonated or alcoholic beverage while flying, especially if you’re a young student traveler, but then they sneakily pass the cart by your seat at least a thousand times offering exactly that. If you plan not to get hammered, which you shouldn’t, one drink is not going to hurt. So, pick whichever drink you like and enjoy the ride.
In case you don’t want to spend 15 dollars on a drink off the menu, think about bringing your own cans or plastic bottles with a cold beer from home. Bottles of 100ml or less are perfectly legal to carry on the flight and will save you a lot of money as well.

5. A book is your best friend

Whether you decide to grab the local newspaper at the airport, bring an e-reader, a magazine, or haul a 2000-page novel, reading definitely helps pass time. Even if you’re not an avid reader, when you open a book on an airplane, you will suddenly be on page 101 without even realizing it.

A travel themed book is usually suggested to get yourself in the voyaging spirit. It is probably better to bring a piece with a plot to keep you captivated, however, a guide book on your upcoming destination can be helpful too.

6. Get a seat mate; Socialize

Socializing? Isn’t that what texting or online chatting is for?

Maybe the person sitting on your right is heading to the same place. Maybe, they are flying off to Europe to eat baguettes, while catching the sunset on their private helicopter. Just maybe, the person sitting on your left is an escaped felon, fleeing to start a new life. Have some fun, engage with them and know their stories. You will probably never see this person again.

In all seriousness, I have had some amazing 5-hour chats with various passengers around the world. It’s great especially if you both have a connecting flight since you will have someone to pass time with at the airport too.

All in all

The main thing about most of these ideas is what works for one individual may have a completely different impact on another. But like anything, it’s only with time and after lots of practice does someone get used to flying long distances. Still, the many strategies mentioned here can significantly cut down the ‘long haul’ flight stress significantly. The only important thing to remember is that the flight does eventually end at some point.


About the Author: Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter.

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