As cabin crew, I’m used to travelling the world and within a timespan of two weeks, I could have been in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia! So much flying certainly takes a toll on your body, and it’s not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night wondering where on earth you are!
It can be hard getting up in the middle of the night to go to work, flying for anywhere between 6 and 16 hours, and then wanting to explore the destination when you get there!
I’ve tried to think of a few of my top tips to survive long-haul flights, and feel as refreshed as possible once you get there.
- Stay hydrated
This has to be my absolute number one tip. I have a reusable water bottle that I use on every single flight (including when I’m travelling as a passenger) and refill as often as possible. On an average flight I probably drink around 2-3 litres without even trying, as it’s so easy when you have the bottle next to you at all times.
It’s best to stay away from alcohol and coffee as well, as these make you more dehydrated. (Although if you’re travelling in business or first and they offer champagne…well even I wouldn’t be able to resist one glass!)
- Eat sensibly
Now we all know airplane food isn’t the healthiest of all. Our taste buds change in the air so lots of extra salt and flavourings are usually added to make sure meals doesn’t taste bland in the air.
My advice would be to bring your own food if you can – I know that’s not always realistic on a long flight especially if you have a stop-over somewhere. However throwing together a fresh, healthy salad doesn’t take long at all and you’ll feel so much less bloated than if you eat what’s being served onboard!
- Good headphones
I made an investment in a pair of BOSE QC15 headphones a couple of years ago before embarking on a long trip to visit my sister Lizzie and her American boyfriend Jarett, and it was by far one of the best travel investments I’ve made! Any noise cancelling headphones make a world of difference when travelling, especially if there are screaming babies nearby, which is inevitable! They block out all sorts of aircraft noises and I couldn’t recommend splashing out a little and getting a good pair enough.
- Get some exercise
Obviously I don’t mean during the flight, as you’ll definitely get some odd looks from the cabin crew if you start doing galley yoga mid-flight, but once you arrive at your destination! If the weather is nice, head outside and get some fresh air, as you’ll need it after that long plane journey. If not, some light exercise always makes me feel so much better after a flight.
Do try and stretch your legs a bit during the flight if you can – you’ll notice your legs and ankles aren’t as swollen even if you just walk to the galley and back once an hour or so.
- Earplugs & Eyeshades
I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds it tough to fall asleep on those tight economy seats. If you get lucky the flight might not be full and you can stretch out across a whole row, but more often than not you end up cramped in your seat for hours on end. Most airlines offer earplugs and eyeshades if you ask for them, although they can almost always be picked up cheaply in the airport before the flight. If you’re trying to get some sleep they make a world of difference when the cabin is noisy and bright!
- A good book & magazines
I love to read, and never seem to find the time at home. (Although we all know cabin crew have more than enough days off!) Most airlines now have in-flight entertainment systems offering a wide selection of movies and TV shows (and my airline has won prizes for the last 15 years at least!) but if like me, you get bored after 1 film, take a book! After all, you’re stuck in your seat for hours on end, so if not on a plane, when will you find the time? Magazines are my guilty pleasure, and on a recent flight back from the UK I bought 3 magazines and didn’t watch a single film the whole flight!
- Bring a jumper & scarf
So often it can get really chilly inside the plane, so even if I’m travelling in the middle of summer in Dubai (40-50 degrees!) I’ll bring a jumper and scarf with me. The scarf can double up as a blanket if it gets especially draughty, which is always handy.
- Be nice to the crew!
Maybe I’m biased because I’m cabin crew, but if you’re polite and friendly you’ll be treated the same way! It doesn’t hurt to say please & thank you when we’re serving your meal and drink (although most people seem to forget this the minute they step on the plane)!
So there you go, a few tips to hopefully make those long flights a little easier. I hope some of these come in helpful for your next flight, and don’t forget, drink plenty of water!!