Let’s face it, nothing is worse than sitting around an airport waiting on an endless connection. We live a culture of instant gratification and the word “wait” just isn’t in our vocabulary anymore. To make matters worse, a long flight usually spells no phone activity unless you want to pay some exorbitant fee for Wi-Fi on the plane. The following tips should help you get through the longest of flights and layovers to make your travel as exciting as possible.
These days, most people stream their content and when the Internet goes, so too does your entertainment. Most music services provide an option for you to download music onto your phone. Download as much as your phone can store and don’t be picky. You’ll never know what you might be in the mood to listen to when you wake up in the middle of a twelve-hour flight.
Movies and TV shows can be a little bit more tricky. If you want to proceed through legal channels (i.e. not torrent) there are some streaming services that let you download their content. Amazon Prime and Google Play are two examples of services that let you do this. Hold off on your favorite TV show and binge watch on the plane.
If you are a frequent traveler, you have probably seen the warnings in the back of the airline magazines about deep vein thrombosis which is a serious medical condition which occurs when you have been sitting for too long. Most people don’t have to worry about this, but it is a good idea to get up every so often and stretch.
Go the back of the cabin and as unobtrusively as possible do the basic stretch routine you have probably done since grade school. Flight attendants won’t mind provided you are not in anyone’s way (or making horrible grunting sounds).
Bring some basic toiletries too such as toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and lotion. This bit of freshening up will make the experience way more comfortable for you and your neighbors!
Of course, you can stretch a bit more when you’re in a connecting airport – which more often than not may be Dubai – one of the most used transit hubs. While there, you can check out the city – here’s a handy first-timers guide.
It is no fun hauling a huge suitcase in between flights or onto the plane. Try to fit everything except for what you want on the plane in your check-in luggage and just have a small bag. Then think about what you really need on the flight. Most long haul flights these days have in-flight entertainment consoles so double check if you really want that laptop or not.
Snacks are always a good idea as it may be a long time in-between meals on board. Be sure to get a bottle of water on the other side of security as it is very easy to get dehydrated. Gum, lip balm, and wet wipes are also key.
For book lovers, now is the time to seriously consider an E-reader. Yes, the feel of the book, smell of the pages, blah, blah, blah. But be realistic, one mid-size novel is heavier than an e-reader and if you happen to dislike this book or are in the mood for something else, you don’t have many other options. Just as people have embraced the ability to hold thousands of songs in their pocket, so too should you enjoy the ability to have thousands of books.
Everybody has his or her own lifestyle and views on drinking. However, a few glasses of wine help to make the flight an enjoyable experience. If you like to drink a little more than the average person, it is quite easy to purchase something from the duty-free store and take nips of on the plane. Of course, be discreet and be sure you know your limits. You do not want to be the person constantly getting up every twenty minutes particularly if you have a window seat in a full row (which is why avoiding beer is a good idea). Make sure to stay hydrated too or you will wake up on your flight with a splitting headache.
It may seem obvious, but just chill out. Many international travelers, particularly those going on vacation, seem to be the most stressed out. Oddly enough, usually the frequent business travelers are those who are the most cordial to interact with. Remember, you are on your way somewhere great and view this as part of this experience. In the old days, people used to romanticize train trips and though it is hard to do this when security personnel are groping you or rummaging through your belongings, remember that it is all a part of the journey.
Even if you aren’t the writing type, bring a little notebook with you and describe your feelings. Are you excited about the upcoming trip? What are your expectations? You will be happy to re-examine this after your journey and particularly a few years later when your memory may have faded a bit. It’s also a great way to kill time.
The old cliché is life is that it is not the destination, but the journey. Of course, this doesn’t really apply to traveling. Nonetheless, with the right preparation and mindset, traveling can at least be a pleasant experience so that when you arrive wherever you are going, you are fresh and ready for the adventures that await.