The prospect of flights can be the exciting beginning of your adventures abroad, of well-earned holidays and much-needed breaks. It may also mean early mornings, multiple stop-overs, long-haul flights or even travelling with young children… But who cares? because your holidays await; the sun, sea and sand, or the snow-capped slopes are on the other side. If you are dreading the flight, our travelling tips for surviving the plane journey will help everyone in need.
Flying might be exciting, but the prospect of possibly being up in the air for several hours (even up to 12 or more) can cause the most frequent flyers to feel tired, a little bloated and, generally, in need of a refreshing shower. These feelings are normal, and there’s plenty we can do to make every journey more comfortable, convenient and enjoyable. Whether it’s tiredness, swollen legs or dry skin, these travelling tips will reform your next flying experience.
The clothes you choose have a significant impact on the way you feel during the flight. Comfort is crucial, so think trainers over boots (definitely over heels) and leggings or sweatpants over stiff jeans. You’ll also want to be able to regulate your temperature, and this is where easily removable over layers come in. You can take the layers off when too warm. Likewise, planes can often prove a little cold and, not all flights have blankets for travellers. So, those additional layers will come in handy if the air-con’s just a little too cool.
The argument for the window seat is not reserved for kids, we all have our seating preferences. Knowing, of course, that you may not get your ideal seat, take a few accessories to help you out; for example, an eye mask if you’re not a fan of the bright window seat.
You can find out exactly where you’re sitting on Seat Guru – you just need your flight number.
Opportunities for food and snacks are rife, both in the airport and on the plane. However, to start your holidays as smoothly as possible, be aware of what you’re eating and drinking to avoid any unnecessary gas or bloating. In this vein, you’ll want to avoid fizzy drinks and fatty foods. Similarly, try not to cram in a last-minute meal just before boarding. Give your last meal before your flight plenty of time to digest.
It’s also worthwhile checking in with the airline as many offer the chance to check flight meals ahead of time, so you can prepare.
Staying hydrated is one of our flying tips which can help combat many effects of flying. We get dehydrated when we fly because of the lack of oxygen in the cabin; cabins are dry, often with only 10% humidity compared to the 30 to 60% which we are used to. Take in water regularly while flying, even if it means joining the queue for the bathroom once or twice.
Top travelling tips for hydration: don’t spend any extra pennies in the airport or onboard, take a reusable water bottle and fill it up in the airport – economical, sustainable and healthy!
Moving around while you’re in the air is hugely important, so while you’re staying hydrated, comfortable and warm, get up. The NHS advises ‘an active break from sitting every 30 minutes’. While perhaps a little excessive when flying, it is necessary to keep moving; try every one or two hours.
Anyone who’s done a yoga class will tell you the benefits of exercising on the plane (as seen in GQ) and, in particular, elevating your legs; it encourages the movement of fluids in your legs, reducing swelling. If there’s an empty seat in front, try putting your legs as high as possible; stretching your muscles can wake up your body.
Indirect flights are not always popular – particularly with young children – but they needn’t affect the mood of your holiday. Firstly, if your trip involves a stop-over, try and pack light or spread luggage over different suitcases. More stop-overs means more chance for misplaced bikinis and trunks.
Secondly, a stop-over is a great opportunity to kick back and relax. Today, most airports offer lounges for passengers (you can find more info on Lounge Buddy) – although you might have to pay. Alternatively, you could ask someone heading over to the lounge if you can enter as their guest.
Lastly, download your airline’s app to ensure you do not miss your connections. You can find flight details and some even offer countdown features to keep you on the right track.
Sleeping on a plane can be difficult for some, while others can snooze from takeoff to touchdown. How can you make it easier? Travel pillows can be bulky, however, with so many options available, you’ll quickly find a suitable flying companion. An eye mask, earplugs and a blanket are often provided for you on a long-haul flight, but it never harms to have your own. Plus, if you’re a nervous flyer, earphones with your favourite music might help you nod off too.
Top travelling tips: Exercise can work a treat! A run, or even a long walk before heading to the airport (if you can squeeze one in amongst the last-minute packing), will help you rest during your flight. Tire yourself out and get snuggled into that pillow.
Being bored in a confined space is no one’s dream scenario. Luckily, we have a multitude of options available to us to steer us away from boredom. While you may have inflight entertainment providing a good selection of films, technical issues happen and not all planes have this option – so pack your own. Books and magazines are also a good idea as they don’t run out of power, and magazines can be shared with your neighbours. Of course, phones are great too – offering games, music, movies and books; everything we could need to entertain us, right? But, remember your phone is unlikely to endure hours of playing music, games and a couple of movies. If you have a portable charger, then bring it. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to get one – it’ll come in handy for the holidays too!
Travelling with children
It’s the annual summer holiday and, for some, that means travelling with your children. You must ensure you understand the charges and regulations for flying with children – particularly for those under two. While some airlines charge for one thing, others may be free; keep an eye out for the best deals for your family holiday. If you are travelling with young children under the age of two, it’s also worthwhile pre-ordering your baby milk to avoid any fuss on arrival.
Pack the essentials in your flight bag, such as wet wipes and, of course, spare clothes. You don’t want to be stuck 30,000 feet in the air with a child who doesn’t like heights…
Consider a backpack for each child and fill with entertainment. Colouring books, crayons and small sets of Lego are, relatively, cheap and can keep the child happy for several hours. If all else fails, hand out small notes to fellow passengers mentioning you are travelling with young children, and pack earplugs!
Make all of your holidays enjoyable from start to finish and step up your long-haul flight game with these flying tips! There’s no better way to get pepped for the luxury holiday destinations that await when stepping off the plane.