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Flying long haul is now a fact of life, whether it’s for business, seeing a relative or celebrating a wedding – most of us will have to travel more than six hours in one go at least once in our lifetimes.
In a perfect world, we’d fly business class and lounge in beds for the entire duration of the flight. However, the reality is that we don’t have the bank balance of Kanye West and therefore have to ‘slum’ it in economy like normal people.
Flying long haul can be dull, often uncomfortable and, in such close quarters to a plane full of strangers, often irritating.
So how do you combat the tedium? We asked the experts at Travelbag who have done enough long haul journeys to provide these top five best hacks to get you through those long hours in the air…
1. Bulk download a box set
When it comes to sitting still for something, we’ll be good for about two hours. Give us a box set, and we could happily spend three days transfixed. So whether it’s Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Games of Thrones – get hold of a show that you’ve wanted to watch but have never got round to. It will kill a lot of time.
2. Sleep - with the help of a long haul kit box
What’s in a long haul kit box? Everything you need to shut out the outside world for a while, namely, earplugs, eye masks and a neck pillow. This is the kit you need to drown out crying children, bright lights and neck cricks – and you’ll thank yourself for it four hours into your flight.
The idea of striking up a conversation with the person sat next to you might strike fear into the heart of some flyers. However, if you’re going to be sat next to someone for a while, you might as well get to know them. Some of the most unsuspecting people have a great back story to them. However, if they’re adjusting their headphones or securing their eye mask while you’re telling them about the trip to Indonesia that you took in 2005, they might just want to be left alone.
4. Bring a change of clothes
This sounds strange, but we swear by this trick. Apart from assisting a fellow passenger who accidentally spilled a bottle of Sprite all over herself one time, these spare clothes allow you to have a halftime refreshment stop on your flight. When you start feeling a bit muggy, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, wash your face and change your clothes. You’ll return to your seat feeling a lot cleaner and happier.
5. Learn something new
If you’re stuck in a seat for several hours, you might as well make it worthwhile. If you’re going to a country where English is not the first language - learn some phrases in their language. Bring a book that teaches you about the history of the place you are visiting. Work out a timetable of places to visit, if you haven’t already done so. If you’ve done that, feel inspired by your travels and work out a plan of action for the next twelve months - maybe another long haul trip somewhere!
Bonus tip: Try for an upgrade
Look, it’s always worth asking. If you want to see if you can blag your way through to the front seats, make sure you arrive early, you look presentable and you ask nicely. Flying with more comfort and luxury does wonders to the tedious nature of long-haul flying. Upgrades always work better when you travel solo, but it’s still worth asking if you’re travelling as a couple.