Your Ultimate Survival Guide for Long-Haul Flights

Posted by Annie Shustrin on Aug 10, 2014

airplane_landing_at_sunrise-1.jpgThere is nothing worse than stepping off a long flight, into a destination you can't wait to explore, feeling terrible.

You are stiff, confused, exhausted, and dehydrated. You've been sitting in the same clothes for hours on end and the last thing you want to do is walk around a new place. Not to mention, you are on your honeymoon. On your honeymoon you want to feel rested and relaxed.

While I've never successfully eliminated the effects of jet lag without the passage of time, I have found a few tricks that make it less painful. There are some things you can do before flying, some you can do while in transit, and some that help once you've arrived.

Drink Water, So Much Water

This is the number one rule of flying, and not just long-haul flying. All flying. Water is the key to flying healthy and feeling good. The air inside a plane has extremely low humidity (it's actually about 10-20%. That's well below normal, which is 50%). Low humidity can cause dry skin, dry eyes, and without enough water, dehydration as well.

Dehydration can lead to headache, fatigue, and in extreme cases, fainting and nausea. Don't ruin your honeymoon with something that is this easy to avoid. Drink as much water as you can and often as you can.

Adjust to the New Time Zone....Before You Fly

On a recent trip to India, I found this advice to be extremely helpful. A couple of days before our trip, we adjusted our schedule by an hour. Then right before the trip, we adjusted by two hours. By adjusting our eating schedule and sleeping schedules ever so slightly before the flight, we found the ten and half hour time difference much less jarring when we landed as we had already knocked off a few hours. Eight and a half, while still huge, is easier.

Once you are on the plane, there's more you can do. Immediately change your watch to the new time zone and plan out your flight activities to line up with it. When it's nighttime in your destination, sleep. When it's afternoon, watch a movie. You get the idea.

No Booze

Drinking on an exciting honeymoon flight may sound glamorous and indulgent, but it will just make dehydration happen even quicker. But if you really want to have a cocktail, make sure you follow the drink with plenty of water and a healthy snack. And try to time the drink so it won't interfere with your new sleep schedule.

Look and Feel Your Best

I always dress for comfort on a flight -- it's definitely not a fashion show. My go-to flying outfit includes my most comfortable travel shoes (with socks for the cold plane air!), yoga pants, a loose T-shirt, and a comfortable sweater. But after sitting in a seat for 12 hours, even my comfortable outfit starts to feel stale.

When I take really long flights, I pack a change of clothes in my carry-on that I put on towards the end of my flight so I arrive feeling clean and put together. I'll also pack a little bathroom bag that includes a face wipe, toothbrush, and deodorant. No one wants a stinky travel partner.

Don't Nap!

Aside from drinking water on the plane, this is a crucial part of defeating jet lag. If you arrive in the middle of the day, do your best to stay up until its time to sleep in your destination. Dozing, napping, taking a siesta -- all bad ideas. They will ruin your chance to sleep during your first full night away and make it harder to adjust. Try your hardest to stay awake and enjoy your travels!

What other survival tips do you have for long haul flights? Tell us over on Facebook.


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