I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Thailand and it was a truly incredible experience! However, the flight to get there was over 12 hours, yikes! Before the flight I did my best to prepare by reading as much information on traveling and how to survive long flights. After my research and personal experience, I have created some tips to help you survive a long flight that is 10+ hours.
Tip 1: Hydrate
Before boarding the plane do your best to hydrate. Prior to boarding for my long flight I focused on drinking at least 64 ounces of water, this amount may vary depending on your size, but a good rule of thumb is to drink at least half of your body weight or more in ounces of water. Example a 150lb person should drink at least 75 ounces of water daily. I also carried a refillable 32-ounce water bottle with me throughout my entire trip to ensure I was drinking enough water. Not only is it important to hydrate before your flight, but be sure you are focused on drinking enough water throughout your entire trip.
Tip 2: Exercise
Prepare for that long flight by moving your body the day before you travel. Plan an active day to prepare for your journey. For example, plan on spending the day outside or on the go. Go for a walk or jog first thing in the morning, then treat yourself to a swim at the lake or indoor pool, and then finish off the day with some restorative yoga. Be sure not to overdo the intensity of exercise as you don’t want to be super sore for your long day/s of travel.
Tip 3: Pack a Tennis or Lacrosse Ball in Your Personal Item
I happened to be very sore the day of my long flight and my tennis ball was a lifesaver! Not only did it help relieve some soreness, but it gave me something productive to do while sitting in the airport and during the plane ride. I was able to perform myofascial release on most of my body while traveling, score!
Tip 4: Wear Activewear on the Flight
I aimed to pack very light on my trip so I was sure to wear active clothing the day I traveled, including running shoes. This allowed me to have activewear with me during my travels without having to pack extra clothing. I hand washed my active clothing in hotel sinks to reuse the same clothes for multiple workouts and travel days.
Tip 5: Pack Healthy Snacks
If you are anything like me, I snack when I am bored so having some healthy snacks to munch on throughout the flight was a life-saver! I packed things like raw nuts, organic fruit strips, rice cakes, etc.
Tip 6: Get an Aisle Seat
I made the grave mistake on my flight to Thailand of not requesting an aisle seat, big big mistake. I was miserable in the middle seat and felt like I could get up very little due to not wanting to disturb the gentleman sleeping next to me. My body hurt from sitting so much and my ankles and feet swelled up like crazy. I could not get my shoes back on! However, on my way back to the states I made sure to request an aisle seat and got up as much as I wanted, which greatly helped to prevent swelling and discomfort. Oh, and I also could use the bathroom whenever needed which helped me to drink more water and stay hydrated.
Tip 7: Move Around
Once you get on the plane do your best to move around. I do not necessarily mean get up, but shift positions regularly in your seat. If you have the room, which I was fortunate enough to have on my flight back to the states, I sat cross-legged, I sat with both feet up on my seat with my knees pulled into my chest, I sat with one leg tucked under my other leg, etc. This really did help!
Tip 8: Plan for Discomfort
I hate to say it…but plan to be uncomfortable. No matter what tips I can give you, you ultimately will still feel uncomfortable. It is a long time to be confined to a small space and just mentally prepare yourself for it.
Tip 9: Sleep
Try to sleep as much as possible on the flight. This really helps make the time to fly by (pun intended!). On both my flights I took a cold medicine that causes drowsiness and this worked very well to help me sleep on the plane, especially since I did have a cold when flying to Thailand. Avoid sleep aids, as these can make people do strange things such as sleepwalking, talking, etc. and you don’t want to be freaking people on the long flight.
Things to pack in your personal item to help you sleep better:
- Earplugs – other passengers can be quite noisy
- Eye mask – the lights go on and off during a long flight which can be very annoying when trying to sleep
- A non-prescription mild sleep aid – Melatonin is a great option
- Neck Pillow
- Pajamas or comfy clothes to sleep in
Tip 10: Plan Some Active Days When on Vacation
After that long flight you will no doubt need sleep initially, but afterward be sure to plan some activity to get your blood pumping! Now I am not saying to get up and hit the gym every day while you are on vacation, but just plan some active days. For example, when I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand we went to the Grand Canyon Water Park, which was essentially an inflatable obstacle course in a man-made quarry, so cool! This was definitely a workout without actually “working out”.
Other Things Helpful to Pack in Your Personal Item for the Flight:
- Hand sanitizer – traveling is dirty!
- iPad or tablet cued up with entertainment
- Adult coloring books – These kill a lot of time
I hope these 10 simple tips help you to survive your next long flight! Please feel free to comment below with any other tips that you have found helpful to survive traveling!