More than 81 million cars will be made this year, but sometimes you have to take to the skies. And when you do, even short flights can feel like they last forever. Between checking luggage, standing in line at airport security, and waiting around to board the plane, you’re often tired of flying before you even get to your seat.
However, particularly long flights over five or so hours can become the stuff of nightmares. Difficulty sleeping, boredom, hunger, and lack of personal space are just a few of the factors that make long flights torturous for even the most patient travelers.
Though a long flight will likely never be a smashing good time, there are strategies that can make extended trips more tolerable. If you’re going to be 3,500 feet in the air for many, many minutes, try these tips to make your flight fly by.
- Bring as Much Entertainment as You Can
One hour can seem like two when you have two feet of personal space and nothing to do. Multiply that by however many hours you’ll be flying, and you’ll have an idea of how much entertainment you need to prepare. Matadornetwork.com recommends to pay the extra cash flights that offer for movies on the plane. If that’s not an option, try to download movies at home to have ready for the flight. Bring an extra travel battery to charge your phone or tablet while you’re watching shows so that you don’t have a boredom emergency.
- Plan Layovers Beforehand
Long flights punctuated by long layovers make for a miserable couple of days. Do yourself a favor and find ways to enjoy your on-the-ground time. Research airports ahead of time to plan out where you’ll eat, freshen up, and where you’ll need to meet your connecting flight.
- Find the Legroom
At any one time, FlightAware estimates that there are about 9,728 planes carrying 1.27 million people in the air. In other words, planes are pretty crowded. If you can, pay the extra cash for seats with more legroom. Smartertravel.com suggests using flyer miles and working with airline companies whenever you can to upgrade during extremely long flights, or else pay the price of a sore body and a head swimming with exhaustion when you land. Though you may not be able to swing first class, some airlines let you pay a fee to choose your seats in advance. Look for seats near exits or along the aisles.
- Get Cozy
At high altitudes, the air is much colder, and even the best-insulated planes can get chilly. If you plan on sleeping at all on the flight, wear something that you feel warm and comfortable in. Loose clothes work best, as well as comfortable shoes. Though you may be tempted to look presentable and well-dressed for the day, on a super-long flight, don’t hesitate to bring out the warm ‘n fuzzies. You’ll be surprised how many other passengers do the same.
- Bring Snacks
Finally, even though long flights often offer complimentary meals and snacks, the food in the air is sometimes unappetizing. Pick up a few snacks in duty-free airport shops that you can bring along for the ride. On airplanes, you can feel a little less guilty for eating out of boredom.
Though a long flight is rarely a fun flight, you can make the trip more bearable. Follow this guide to pass your high-flying hours in a little more comfort and style.