Long flights become a part of life when you have family and friends living in different continents. I have picked up a few tips that have proved very useful during these long flights and layovers.
Read instructions related to immigration and flight check-ins because different locations have a different set of rules.
Documents within easy reach:
Some documents to keep handy include your passport and visa, boarding passes and tickets. Have a pen and your destination address memorized (or written down for easy access). It slows everyone down at airports and immigration checks if you have to unpack everything just to look for a pen to complete your immigration forms or if you don’t know the address of the house or hotel you will be staying at.
Choosing the right seats:
I love aisle seats on flights irrespective of the length of travel. Aisle seats ensure freedom to move around without having to interrupt fellow passengers. I try to get up and walk around every hour and aisle seats make that easier to accomplish. I know travelers who sleep throughout the flight and that works for them but for people like me who can’t sleep as well on airplanes, posture changes become very important.
International flights usually offer great entertainment options but these options are of no use if your headphones or system is broken. For those long 14 hour flights, I ensure that my entertainment system works even before take-off. On different occasions I was able to change my broken headsets for better ones and get my seat changed because the sound wasn’t working. It’s also a great idea to carry your own headsets. That way, you won’t have to share it with thousands of strangers and you won’t have to stop watching the movie if they start collecting headsets before landing!
Books and backpacks:
There aren’t options for books on flights, so if you’d like to use the long journey to read, bring a book along. I try not to pack too many books because they make my carry-on heavy. Walking around airports during long layovers is much easier with a lighter and easy to carry backpack.
I have missed several flights in my lifetime, usually because of connecting flight delays. Some of these missed flights were at night and I have had to spend long hours at the airport or have had to check into a hotel. Packing a spare set of clothes, has been my strategy to make these unexpected layovers less stinky. Carry some cash in internationally accepted currency. It will help pay for food and hotels if your credit or debit card doesn’t work.
Some travelers prefer traveling in high-heels and fancy clothes while others dress a little too sloppy. Some fabrics do better than others at staying wrinkle-free and smelling fresh. During long flights and layovers, choose fresh colors and fabric and comfortable shoes and socks! Also, remember that flights get very cold.
Tissues and pillows:
Owing to the number of people who use flight and airport toilets, they get dirty very quickly. Packing a small pack of disinfectant wipes and tissues can help clean a toilet seat, sink and even your hands and face!
Even if you are a pro at sleeping while sitting up, carry a supporting neck pillow. It will help you sleep better since you won’t be nodding off on your neighbor’s shoulder.
The first time I traveled internationally, I had a slightly long layover at Doha. Since I had been fed well on the airline, I didn’t expect to feel hungry during the layover. But the layover required us to wait in lines for security checks for so long that I wished I had saved the chocolate bar from the earlier flight for a quick snack. By the time the security checks were completed at Doha, it was time to board the next flight. After that incident, I try to pack a chocolate or granola bar for such emergency hunger sessions.
So enjoy your next flight and pay attention to announcements and directions about potential delays or gate changes. Lastly, if you feel sick on short flights during take offs and landings, you will feel them on international flights as well so be prepared for that and have a safe journey!
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