What not to do: on a long flight

What Not to Do on a Long Flight title page

Hi wanderers!

Continuing on with the Wanderlust + Heart and Hopeless Wanderer blog collab, this week I’m going to run through what not to do on a long flight. I’ve had a lot of experience with airplanes, airlines, and flights of all kinds (some provide the cutest mini wine bottles, it’s adorable), so I’ve got a lot of advice for you!

Winter has finally hit Winnipeg (comedian Kevin Hart landed in the middle of a blizzard!), and a lot of us are already dreaming of summer (if you’re really aching for some sunshine and beach time, check out this list of tropical vacation destinations!). If you’re thinking ahead to warmer days and flights to exotic destinations, these tips on what not to do on a long flight will be a big help.

  1. Do not forget to sleep
    • I’m not a nervous flier but I tend to get a little wired when I travel – it’s hard not to get excited when you know you’re embarking on an adventure! My best advice for flying, though, is to make sure that you rest. If you’re flying internationally, you may have several  flights, long layovers, and stressful connections, and you’ll want to be well rested to tackle those situations. Flying can also mess with your natural sleeping rhythm (jet lag is definitely a thing), so it’s important to rest up and use those flying hours as sleeping hours.
  2. Do not wear uncomfortable clothing
    • This is key. Not everyone can step off a plane à la Miranda Kerr – her off-duty style tops even my best days. If you’ve got a long flight ahead of you (or several!), I recommend going full comfort. Airport security isn’t high heel-friendly, and cold airplane air isn’t summer dress-friendly, so make sure you dress for the flight, not the destination. You can always change into a different outfit upon arrival (just pack it in your carry on!). Opt for a more cozy outfit (like Kendall Jenner) – you won’t regret it.
  3. Do not just sit there!
    • I learned this lesson the hard way. I had one 16-hour continuous flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Atlanta, Georgia, and I really didn’t anything but sleep and watch movies – really, what else is there to do but sit? I know airplanes are confined spaces and there isn’t much room to move around, but I highly recommend getting up at least once an hour – walk to the washroom, walk up and down the aisles, do a little stretch break between cabins. Just do something, no matter how silly you feel! Your legs will thank you – my legs were so swollen after that 16-hour flight that they were sore for almost two weeks.
  4. Do not be mean to the flight attendants
    • Flight attendants are your friends. Be friendly and kind, and they will return the favour! If you’re an easy passenger, they’ll make your experience much better.
  5. Do not be a crappy seat mate
    • Don’t be a grump. Don’t take up more space than you need to. Don’t make a mess with your food. Don’t turn your music up super loud. Basically, be a nice human. I have met such nice people while flying! If your seat mates are willing, chat with them and get to know them. You don’t have to become best friends, but you’ll want to be comfortable with them for 6+ hours you’re on a flight with them.
  6. Do not forget to drink water
    • Remember when my legs got really swollen on that 16-hour flight? Well, part of the reason for that was because I wasn’t moving around or stretching my legs – but the other part of that was not drinking enough water. Flying is extremely dehydrating – common side-effects of flying are dry skin, sore throat, and chapped lips for me! All signs of not consuming enough water. Airplane food is also notoriously salty – that salt, combined with dry/stale airplane air, makes for an unhappy body. Take care of yourself and drink water throughout the flight.
  7. Do not ignore your body clock
    • Similar to my advice about getting rest while you fly, make sure you also pay attention to your body clock and give it time to adjust to new time zones. A great way to prep for a new time zone and avoid jet lag is by taking along some melatonin – melatonin is a natural hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles and can help fend off bad sleeping habits while travelling.
  8. Do not binge watch
    • Give your brain and your eyes a break! Bring alternative forms of entertainment when flying – I always pack a book, an iPod (great for music and games), a magazine, and a puzzle book (sudoku or crosswords are my go-to). If you’re travelling with a friend, chat with them! Play a game with them – no shame bringing a pack of cards. This will help prevent zombie-ism.
  9. Do not leave your headphones at home
    • And by headphones, I mean those of the noise-cancelling variety. You don’t realize how loud airplanes can be until you try a pair of these – they’ll save you some ear- and headaches (and save your hearing in the long run). These also come in handy when flying with crying babies (no offence, babies! I know you’re tired and yes, you’re very cute, but your screams are shattering my ear drums!). Trust me, get a pair of these and you won’t regret it!
  10. Do not be nervous!
    • Flying isn’t for everyone and that’s okay! You’re surrounded by strangers in a confined space, travelling at extremely high altitude at supersonic speed – it’s not natural and can be hard on your body. That being said, it can also be exciting. Relax and get comfy – your adventure is about to begin!

Not planning on flying anywhere anytime soon? No problem – Winnipeg was just named one of National Geographic Traveler’s top 20 travel destinations in 2016, the only Canadian city to make the cut!! If that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is. It may be snowy here, but we have good people and lots of great things to do. I ❤ Winnipeg.

Make sure to check out Elizabeth’s post next week on Wanderlust + Heart as she explores what not to do when travelling with a buddy. I’ll be back with more fun tips, too!

Until then, stay well!

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