Mistakes made by travelers on a long-haul flight

On the list of ways people want to spend their time, sitting on a plane for hours on end probably isn’t high. But long-haul flights are a necessary reality if you have to travel far.

“A long-haul flight can certainly be intimidating and stressful,” said Casey Brogan, consumer travel expert at Tripadvisor, told HuffPost. “Airports and security lines are definitely generating anxiety among travelers, especially with new guidelines and ever-changing restrictions. But it’s important to remember that the journey to get there is not the vacation, and relaxation awaits.

Besides focusing on the positive light at the end of the tunnel, there are also plenty of ways to make flying a little more enjoyable. A simple approach is to understand what not TO DO.

With that in mind, HuffPost asked travel experts to share common mistakes travelers make when it comes to long-haul flights — and their tips for avoiding those pitfalls.

Wear uncomfortable clothes

“The most common mistake people make on long-haul flights is not dressing properly,” said Phil Dengler, co-founder of The vacationer. “Since you’ll be sitting in the same seat for six hours or more, it’s essential to be as comfortable as possible.”

Avoid heavy, restrictive clothes and instead choose soft fabrics and stretchy clothes for maximum comfort and comfort. Wearing layers is useful for changing cabin temperatures. And don’t forget to invest in compression socks for your health and comfort during long-haul flights.

“While I’m generally a fan of dressing well on flights, super long haul flights are where I see a lot of people make the mistake of dressing too cute and ending up feeling awkward” , said Gabby Beckford, founder of the trip. to place Light packs. “I always get compliments on my flight cut ― matching neutral sweatshirts up and down. Or, I recommend bringing a comfortable flight for a change once you reach cruising altitude.

In addition to wearing comfortable, stretchy clothes, you’ll also want to avoid wearing tight, restrictive shoes when traveling.

“Loosen the laces so you can put them on and take them off to get comfortable,” Brogan advised. “At the end of the flight, you will probably find that your feet are swollen. It’s normal and it’s another reason to choose comfortable shoes.

Choose a seat near the toilet

Your seat selection can make a big difference in the quality of your flight experience. If you’re looking for a more peaceful time, consider choosing a seat that’s not in a high-traffic area.

“Sitting by the toilet may seem convenient, but it’s never fun to be in that row when a line forms outside the toilet,” said Paul Jacobs, general manager and vice president of Kayaking North America. “Sit far back and use the step to stretch.”

watch the clock

As the saying goes, “A watched pot never boils”. Likewise, time will seem to move much slower during a long flight if you keep looking at the clock.

“Once on board, set your watch to the time of where you’re going to land, but try to avoid looking at it and counting the hours,” advises Brogan. “Likewise, don’t look at the ‘where are we’ map. You’ll land soon enough!

Forgetting to recheck upgrade options

Don’t assume you can’t afford to upgrade your seat on a long-haul flight. Check upgrade options when you check in for your flight online.

“I always check in as soon as the option is available – 24 hours before flight time through the airline’s app,” Beckford said. “When you do this, you will see what seat options are available. Often on the day of the flight, upgrades will be significantly reduced in cost.

“For example, on my flight from Cape Town to Newark, upgrades were originally $3,000, but on the day of the flight, those same upgraded seats were $700,” she noted. “This little upgrade will definitely make a 14-hour flight more enjoyable.”

Noise canceling headphones, comfortable clothes and a nice neck pillow can make all the difference on a long flight.

Enes Evren via Getty Images

Noise canceling headphones, comfortable clothes and a nice neck pillow can make all the difference on a long flight.

Travel without sleeping

“You should bring good earplugs or noise canceling headphones if you plan on sleeping in,” Dengler said. “Plus, a good sleep mask can make a huge difference. Finally, I recommend finding a good neck pillow before flying.

He noted that “not all neck pillows are created equal,” so do your research and find the right one for you. “Get the ones that attach to the headrest,” Jacobs said. “He’s a total game changer.”

Fly without entertainment

“Before your flight, download movies, music or podcasts to your devices like phone, iPad or laptop and make sure they are fully charged before you travel so you have guaranteed entertainment options “Brogan said. “On a recent flight, my in-flight entertainment wasn’t working properly, so I was glad I downloaded some movies to my iPad as a backup for the hours in the air.”

Your entertainment doesn’t have to involve a screen either. Bring a book or magazine or do a crossword to keep you entertained.

“You should always have something to do on a long-haul flight,” Dengler said. “Sometimes it can be sleeping, but I recommend always having access to entertainment.”

Overlooking Seat Options

“Be sure to select your seat in advance,” said Ravi Rothtravel expert and host ofThe Gaycation Travel Fair.” “You don’t want to be stuck in a middle seat on a long flight. Most airlines don’t charge a seat fee for economy, but if you can splurge, I say go for comfort plus or economy plus. Extra leg room is essential.

Paying for business class isn’t feasible for most people, but you may have saved enough to compromise with a premium economy ticket.

“Select a window seat if you plan to sleep,” Dengler said. “Pay extra for a seat in the exit row if you’re more comfortable with more leg room. It really depends on the time of the flight and whether or not you plan to sleep.

Determine which seat position you prefer before booking a long flight.

“Window or aisle – you really have to decide which is more important to you,” Jacobs said. “You can lean against the window or have the freedom to get up and stretch whenever you feel like it. I prefer the aisle every day.

Sleepless Boarding Game Plan

“It’s important to understand what you will be doing during the flight,” Dengler explained. “Is it a red-eye flight where the goal will be to sleep? Or is it during the day when you will have to stay busy? »

Try to sleep when it’s dark at your destination, rather than at your origin. And if you plan to sleep during the flight, avoid caffeine and try to walk around the airport to tire yourself out before boarding.

“Watching movies can make you sleepy, so connect to Wi-Fi instead and work or shop when you need to be awake,” Jacobs suggested.

Jet lag is very real, but there are various tactics to make it easier to manage the time change, even after a sleepless red eye.

“Don’t take a nap once you’ve landed at your destination,” Roth said. “Turn on so that you synchronize your body with the local clock. You will adapt much better to the new time zone.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, though. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t adapt quickly.

“Don’t force yourself to sleep just because you want to,” said Laura Ratliff, senior editorial director of TripSavvy. “I’m a big fan of an ‘espresso nap’ on arrival – I take a quick espresso, draw the curtains and force myself to sleep for 25-30 minutes. It helps me get through the day without having my eyes watery and I’m just tired enough to sleep at night.

Feeling obligated to talk all the time

“When you travel with co-workers, you don’t have to sit next to them,” Jacobs said. “A long flight is a long time to chat.”

Unless you need to work collaboratively during a flight, choose your own seat on a business trip if possible and try to put some space between you and your colleagues. You will spend a lot of time together at the airport and then at your destination.

“Plus, you don’t need your co-workers to see or hear you sleeping,” Jacobs said. “Sit separately, it’s not rude. They will appreciate it too.

Rely on airplane food

Unless you’re seated in business class, you’re not guaranteed to have a lot of meal and snack choices, so if you’re particular, it’s best to eat just before the flight or come prepared with your own food.

“I always bring my own snacks on long-haul flights and have never regretted it,” Dengler said. “Food options can be limited, which ensures that I can eat what I want and when I want.”

Neglecting personal care

Being on a long flight can feel like some sort of alternate reality where time and rules don’t apply, but it’s still important to take care of yourself and your body when you can.

“Get up to walk around and stretch every few hours,” Brogan said. “Your legs will thank you when you get there!”

Remember to stay hydrated and take the vitamins and medications that are part of your daily routine. You will feel much better during your trip if you do what you can to take care of yourself during the transit process.

“On long flights, I have a little ritual of brushing my teeth, washing my face, and applying lotion about an hour before landing,” Ratliff said. “My favorite lotion is Le Labo’s Rose 31 – the scent helps lift my mood a bit, and now it’s become such a habit that I associate this smell with getting off the plane and exploring the world. ‘a new place!’

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