I’m in France now and ready to begin my education as an international student! I’m thrilled to be here and I’ll have another blog post following soon about how my first week went, but before that, a few tips for you on traveling comfortably.
I don’t know about any of you, but I do pretty well on plane rides between 2-4 hours. But really, 4 hours is my attention span max. My struggle is entertaining myself and sleeping because I don’t sleep on planes very well at all, I’m still not quite sure how some people can fall asleep sitting straight up… In this blog post, I’m going to go over the things I tried that made my 15 hour plane travel bearable as well as somethings I wish I had done.
- Booking your seats
This option is not available to everyone, but if you can swing it, I highly recommend trying this tip. When my husband and I booked our 8 hour flight, we were able to pick our seats. We noticed that our flight had a center section with 3 seats next to each other so we decided to book both outside seats, in hopes that the middle seat would not be taken because it was by itself. Our theory was that if someone did book it, we could nicely ask them to let us sit together because we were married, but if it didn’t get booked, then we would have an empty seat between us for extra wiggle and leg room. (A major bonus for two people both over 6 feet tall!) When we got to our flight, we found that no one had booked the seat despite the rest of the flight being pretty full! I definitely did a happy dance on the inside.
- Get a full night’s sleep before your flight.
This is something I wish I had done. Unfortunately, I got about 2 hours of sleep and even that is questionable because of how excited I was. (It was like Christmas!) But because I failed to get enough sleep, I was exhausted on my domestic flight to Chicago. I tried to sleep on that, but as I said before, it’s really hard for me to sleep on planes, especially if I know it’s a short one.
- Don’t waste space on pillows and blankets.
The only pillow I packed in my carry on was a neck/travel pillow, but I saw some people with full on bed pillows. Once we got on the plane, those people wound up stowing their pillows in the overhead bins because the plane had provided pillows and small blankets for us already. (I’ve heard from other people that this is a common practice for overseas flights.) So don’t waste your carry on space with a big fluffy pillow. If you want to have it when you get to your destination, then try to fit it in your checked luggage.
- When it’s time to sleep on a flight, try to stay on your new sleep schedule for your new destination.
This is important because the sooner you can correct your sleep schedule for the new time zone, the sooner you will be a happy person again. Ours lined up just right so that we could be sleeping on the plane when it was about midnight in France. So we got lucky, but to help with this, in case you’re not so lucky, I recommend bringing a good eye mask and some good, comfortable earplugs or headphones.
- Drink lots of water!
I cannot stress this enough. It is so common to get dehydrated on planes because you don’t want to be that person who gets up every hour to use the bathroom. When it’s an 8 hour flight, it’s OK to be that person! If you know you have a small bladder, get yourself an aisle seat, but don’t not drink water because you don’t want to get up. When you get to your destination, you are going to be so busy finding a train, finding luggage, storing luggage on your train and you will already be exhausted from your flight. You do not want to add dehydration to this list. It can make everything else even more miserable than it already is. Trust me, I made this mistake and it was NOT worth the fewer bathroom breaks.
So you have the basics. If anyone else has any more tips to having a comfortable flight, please let me know down in the comments sections. I’d love any further tips for my next 15 hour flight back to the United States.