Travel Tips For Flying

Flying is no fun at all but our tips will make it far more enjoyable.

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Matt Anderson's Take
Traveling is tons of fun, but flying rarely is. What was once a glorious part of the travel experience is now the most dreaded. It all starts with the airport and getting through the check in and security lines. But the worst of it is yet to come, that horribly long plane ride to your destination.

Certainly there must be a better way? Well, good news because there is a better way. Follow our tips and enjoy a better flight experience that will leave you rested and ready to go when you arrive at your destination.

Food

This is the biggest one of them all so we'll start with food. You want to eat healthy meals so anything greasy and anything that will make you gassy! It has been suggested that carb rich foods like whole grain breads, spaghetti, and oatmeal make it easier to deal with jet lag. Depending on your flight take off time and duration, you'll either eat before or during your flight.

I prefer to arrive at the airport early. This allows me plenty of time to get through security without being in a rush, and thus less stressed. I then have plenty of time to sit down and enjoy a nice meal. Because I'm less stressed my body can digest it properly and I'll be happy for that.


In addition to eating a healthy meal, pack some healthy snacks. If you get hungry on the plane you'll likely cave and buy the sugar laden items they sell. Instead, bring your own healthy snacks in your carry on bag. Peanuts are a great choice as are protein bars and trail mix. Go for high protein snacks. Although sugary snacks aren't a good choice, I always bring a snickers bar with me. If you ever feel your blood sugar dipping this is a great way to get back on track and avoid becoming a diva.

In all cases of food, don't over do it. You don't want to be overly full on the plane. In fact, eating before your flight and then simply snacking during the flight might be a good option too.

Eating the airline food and want to be served first? Request a special meal (vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, etc). Those meals are generally served first. Of course, you'll still wait for that beverage cart like everyone else. That will give you time to wonder why you're eating the nasty airline food in the first place.

Drink Up

Staying hydrated is just as important as eating right on your flight. Air travel tends to dehydrate your body more than normal so drink plenty of fluids. Most of us tend to drink less on the plane because we don't want to be in the tiny, gross bathrooms. Doing that leads to headaches and other issues so drink up and just deal with the bathrooms.


Water is best as always. Coffee isn't a good choice as the caffeine will keep you awake and dehydrate you further. Green tea is a great choice that may help with jet lag. Ideally, you'll want decaffenated green tea. Alcohol is usually not a great choice on the plane as it can lead to dehydration.

Clothing

Wearing comfortable and loose fitting clothing is the best way to go. Dress in layers so that you can easily and quickly adjust your comfort levels and internal temperature. Planes are notorious for being too hot or too cold depending on where you sit. Go with several lightweight layers for best results.

A scarf is a great way to keep you warm and it can double as blanket and even lumbar support. Wearing socks will keep your feet warm and allow you to remove them if they get too hot. Many travelers opt for compression socks. These can help you avoid leg and ankle pain as well as swollen feet and even blood clots.

Speaking of feet, wear closed toed shoes. They'll keep your feet warmer but also a much safer option in an emergency situation where there could be broken glass, sharp metals, and other hazards.

Comfort

Many travelers swear by neck pillows and they're a great option if you plan to sleep. Even if you don't sleep, they can be comforting to have and take some strain off your neck. Wearing an eye cover can also help you sleep but you'll look pretty silly. Try a hat over your eyes or just drape an article of clothing over your eyes if needed.

Aircraft seats are unbelievably uncomfortable with their odd concave shape. What hack designed these things? Try using that scarf or your sweater for lumbar support, your back will thank you.

If you have noise canceling headphones then pack them along. They work great to drown out engine and passenger noise. Download some meditation music or white noise like ocean waves to help you calm down and relax.

Another option is to use ear plugs. These are cheap and disposable and we always pack several. Even if you don't use them on the plane, you might be glad you have them in the hotel. After all, a hotel is full of annoying noises like ticking ceiling fans, noisy air conditioners, or snoring spouses.

Exercise

Exercise is especially important on a long flight and it's easier than you think. The last thing you want to do is stay seated for many hours at a time. When it is safe to do so, get up and walk around to stretch yourself out. Take a trip to the bathroom or snack bar area on the plane. We suggest doing this every hour if possible, for three to four minutes.


If that's not possible due to the captain's instructions, exercise in your chair. Stretch your back and hold it. Move your feet around in circles at the ankles. Roll your shoulders and stretch your arms out. Anything is better than nothing so do something.

Entertainment

Don't rely on the airline to entertain you or your kids. They usually fail miserably at that. Bring plenty of books and magazines to read. Pack crossword puzzles and bring a deck of cards. Crayons, markers, and paper for drawing and coloring on is a great option.

On the electronic side, download shows and movies to your phone, tablet, or laptop. Get apps and games that work offline and don't forget the headphones. Make sure all devices are fully charged and consider buying a small USB battery backup device to keep you going.

Location, Location, Location

Where do you sit on the plane for the best experience? There isn't any one good answer for that. Generally speaking, a window seat is a great choice as it gives you a wall to lean against if you want to sleep. It also means you won't be bothered when somebody gets up to use the bathroom.


Some like sitting by the wing of the plane and say there is less turbulence there because it's closer to the center of gravity of the plane. Others like sitting in front of the engines to get as far away from engine noise as possible. The closer to the engine you area, especially if right behind it, the louder your flight may be.
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Matt Anderson
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