The excitement sets in as I leave way too early to go to the airport. I don’t care that I’m going to have to sit there for hours, I’m ready to start my journey, and surround myself with other travelers. I finally get on the plane and we take off. Something happens after about 7 hours of flying. I feel fatigue and frustration. I know I should sleep, but I can’t. I want to lay down soooo bad (being horizontal would bring such joy), but I can’t even extend my legs because I’ve been blessed with lengthy ones. What happened to all that excitement I was experiencing hours ago?
Sometimes the flight to your destination can be taxing. It all becomes a domino effect as you finally get off the plane, and want to explore, but the jet lag starts setting in. Here are a few tips to make sure you feel ready to go as you walk out the airport door.
Time Your Flight Carefully
Being strategic when planning a flight for a new place with a significant time difference can reduce jet lag. My favorite time to arrive is in the afternoon. It is good to see some sunlight to help adjust to the new time. Then, I only have to stay awake for a few hours until I can go to bed and get into the new time zone.
Take a Shower/Bath Before you go
This one may sound odd, but cleanliness correlates to feeling good. I take a shower at night, so sometimes when I flew it would have been over 30 hours since I was last clean. After visiting the restroom and sitting in all that recycled air, I feel disgusting when I finally arrive. I have found that taking a shower before I go allows me to feel refreshed longer and helps minimize a stuffy nose as well.
Walk Around the Airport
Although I arrive fairly early at the airport, I’m not just sitting there the whole time. I like to get up, walk around, and check out the shops. I have found that this reduces restlessness when I have to sit for an extended period of time on the plane.
I typically wear my bulkiest clothes and shoes on the plane so I don’t have to try to fit them in my luggage. Plane temperatures vary greatly, so wearing layered clothing can help you reach a comfortable level. Being on a plane that is too hot or too cold can make a long flight feel never-ending.
Bring an Inflatable Neck Pillow
This is really important if you are in a middle or aisle seat. If you have a window seat, you can lean against the side of the plane. If not, you may find yourself leaning against your neighbor. I wear my pillow even if I’m not sleeping. It is nice to have the neck support even if you are just sitting back.
Listen to an Audiobook
My kindle saved me on my last flight. Our plane was having technical issues with the entertainment systems, so we had no entertainment for a 9 hour flight. I have a hard time reading on a plane because I start to feel nauseous, so this wasn’t a great option. Instead I plugged in my headphones and listened to a book. Audiobooks are great for a couple reasons. One, it provides entertainment to help the time pass. Second, listening to a book allows you to shut your eyes and rest.
Even if you don’t sleep on a plane, resting can be almost as helpful. I can never sleep on the trip over to my destination. I’m sure it is psychological since I can sleep just fine on the return journey. Some people take medication to help them sleep, but I don’t. I have found that closing my eyes and clearing my mind recharges my energy more than sitting there and thinking I should sleep.
The first few times I flew, I never got up. I didn’t drink anything on my way to Ireland because I didn’t want to disturb the person next to me to go to the bathroom. When we finally arrived in Dublin, I felt sluggish and not ready for adventure. Over time I have learned that it helps to break up the flight by getting up. Don’t feel bad about asking your neighbor to move, just ask politely, or try to plan your bathroom break when they get up. Drinking water helps diminish groggy symptoms as well.
Do you have any tricks that help you get through the flight? Please share!