How to Prepare for a Long Flight
Long-distance flights are not fun - the longer you are sitting in a cramped airplane chair, the more uncomfortable you tend to be. Even if you are an experienced flier, making the best of your long-haul flight takes some preparation. Here are a few tips that will help you get ready to cross an ocean.
Keep yourself entertained
Plan how you're going to spend those long hours on the flight. If you're going to use your electronic devices, make sure to charge them beforehand and take a USB cable and portable charger with you - the last thing you want to to have your phone or laptop to die after two hours of use when you're on a fifteen-hour flight. Also, prepare what you need beforehand so that you aren't wasting battery trying to connect to the internet - i.e. download movies, music, e-books, a game app, open your documents, etc in advance.

You can also take this opportunity to unplug and get away from screens and electronic devices. Read a paper book, write in your journal, color a mandala, knit, or do whatever else you choose to relax. Pack the things that you will need for these activities, bearing in mind your airline restrictions.
Take care of yourself

First of all, make sure that you stay hydrated. Take an (empty) refillable water bottle with you and fill it up at a fountain before you board, as flight attendants will only come by once in a while to offer you a drink. If you're flying for more than 4 hours, you will likely be served a hot meal, but bear in mind that options for food restrictions are often limited to veg or non-veg. Take a few non-perishable snacks with you such as dried fruits, pretzels, or crackers to munch on while you fly.

Another thing that shouldn't be underestimated is the close proximity to hundreds of other people in the cabin, a few who will likely be sick. Post-flight colds are quite common, so stock up on hand sanitizer, tissue, and wet wipes. A cloth or paper facial mask can also help germs at bay.

Keep your toiletries and medicines in your carry-on bag (Include your tooth brush and mini tooth paste, eye drops, sleeping pills, allergy medications, prescriptions, etc.) It may sound silly, but not being able to brush your teeth for 12 hours is a nightmare, and if you need to take medicine regularly it's important to keep it on your person, in case your luggage gets lost.

Lastly, take care of your skin. Dry cabin air can cause breakouts, especially if you already have sensitive skin, so take some facial wipes and a small container of your favourite hydrating mask and moisturizer and apply it before and after takeoff.
Get comfortable

Sleeping is one of the best ways to spend a long-haul flight, as you will land more rested and less jet-lagged than you would have been otherwise. However, sleeping in an economy-class seat is not an easy feat, unless you are prepared for it. Here are some essentials that will help you sleep the flight away:
  • A neck pillow: A good pillow can make all the difference, even though they may look silly. Make sure to get one that supports your neck even if you put your head to the side, and also packs up small enough to fit in your carry-on.
  • An eye mask and earplugs: Blocking out the fluorescent indoor lights and the sound of that crying baby three seats behind you is crucial to being able to sleep on a plane. Plus, it won't matter if you fly during the day or night with these - you'll be able to sleep either way.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: There's a reason why you will see these noise cancelling headphones in every business class flight - if you're a frequent flier, being able to block out the sound of the plane and listen to your own music is worth the expense (I prefer rain sounds when I am trying to sleep).

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Loose or stretchy pants, a long-sleeved shirt or cardigan, and flats or running shoes will make the flight far more comfortable for you. Remember that although your destination may be warm, planes are usually air-conditioned and will be quite cool (especially in overnight flights - a cool environment helps passengers to sleep better).

If you can, book in advance so that you can get your preferred seat. An aisle seat is useful because you can easily get up and walk the aisle to stretch your legs - however you are more likely to be disturbed by refreshment carts and other passengers passing by. If you book a window seat, you can rest your head on the side of the plane, but it's more troublesome to get up out of your seat if needed.
As a few last pointers: If you have time, go to a gym and have a hearty meal before you depart. Avoid alcohol before flying as it can make you more dehydrated. Above all, long flights don't need to be stressful. In fact, they can be seen as an opportunity to relax and catch up on your book or a few episodes of your favorite TV show. Enjoy your flight!

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