5 Essential Items to Get Through a Long Flight
Long, cramped flights remain a necessary evil facing inter-continental travelers. Even travelers flying from one end of the country to another face discomfort and irritation posed by extended flight times. Lack of blood circulation and an inability to stretch out are hallmarks of these long travel times. Flyers toss and turn in their seats to no avail, searching for a comfortable position to drift off or catch up on excess work. While a little irritation is inevitable, here are a few tips to smooth out some of the problems posed by a long flight. 1) Travel Pillow: It may not be chic, but the travel pillow exists for a reason. The headrests of airplane seats are cold, unforgiving, and upright. You can try letting your head hang, drifting off with your head swooping lower and lower until you reach sleep, but you will pay for it later (One heck of a neck and back ache). Leaning against the side provides some relief, if lucky enough to have a window seat, but it remains a balancing act more than a comfortable sleeping position. For those looking to avoid the pain of future neck problems and the agony of the middle seat, take a travel pillow. They wrap around your neck and provide spinal relief in addition to a comfortable resting surface for sleep. Plenty of pack-able options are available to keep the pillow from occupying too much space, so there’s really no reason not to take one for those never ending flights. 2) Eye Mask: The eye mask certainly isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean it has lost its functionality. This might sound a little obvious, but airplanes can be a bright place. Passengers constantly turning on and off reading lights in hour four of a seven hour overnight flight can be maddening, disrupting your sleep and leaving you further jet-lagged at your destination. Instead of dealing with constant changes in cabin light, try wearing an eye mask instead. It will block out the light, and keep the nearby stimuli to a minimum while you try to sleep through a long flight. It may not be fashionable, but rather than suffering through sleepless lengthy flights, you might find yourself a little more rested at your destination. 3) Tablet/Computer/Phone: Chances are, your phone follows wherever you go. Most people in the world today rely on smartphones for up to the minute work updates and entertainment. Don’t make the mistake of tossing the phone in the overhead compartment. Too often, passengers stow their phones and essentials in the overhead bin, only to struggle through stepping over other passengers, shimmying out into the aisle, just to rummage through the overhead compartment to find the right bag, then search for the phone within the bag. Obviously it can be a hassle, and your fellow seatmates will not appreciate the necessary body contortions needed to allow you access to what you should’ve kept with you all along. The same goes for tablets and computers. Long flights are an excellent place to catch up on work or a little bit of reading, so don’t forget to bring a personal laptop or tablet along for the flight. Just stow it in a computer bag under your seat to help keep your mind off the crawling clock, ticking ever slower until your arrival. Most long commercial flights provide Wifi services for passengers now to keep passengers entertained. Just don’t forget to turn down the brightness as a courtesy to fellow travelers! 4) Chargers/Portable Chargers: Sadly, there’s nothing worse in today’s world than a phone dying or tablet running out of battery leaving you feeling stranded (I know it’s sad, I’m not proud of it, but it happens to all of us). Fortunately a savior exists in the form of a portable charger, or just the regular charger. Just don’t forget to bring the cords with you on the plane and not packed inside your carry-on overhead or in check in bags below. For traveler convenience, many large commercial jets have USB ports and regular outlets for each seat. Even if no such ports exist, portable chargers are widely available in electronic shops and local department stores, providing battery bursts to sustain your phone fix throughout the flight. The way phones and tablets have been woven into the fabric of daily life; it really is an essential item. 5) Travel Blanket: Another in the line of comfort items, the travel blanket combats the often cold cabin temperatures experienced by passengers. Many roll-able and pack-able options are available for travelers without a lot of space for extra weight in their bag. Now, many airlines do offer travel blankets to chilly travelers, but those blankets are often pretty sketchy. There’s no way to know how often the blanket has been used since the last wash, and sticking your face into someone else’s used blanket is a little less than ideal. If you simply don’t have space for a small spare blanket, just make sure to carry a sweatshirt on with you to keep warm. Bonus) Wallet: This one doesn’t necessarily qualify as it’s rather obvious. Long flights are a time drain and leave passengers with hours of boredom. Fortunately, airlines often offer in-flight entertainment options, such as Wifi, television, and movies to keep passengers occupied. Unfortunately, the only way to access these entertainment opportunities is through credit card purchase. Although you may want to resist temptation, you never know when the boredom of that 10 hour flight will get too overwhelming, so keep your wallet on your person. It should go without saying, but you never know when you might need it!