The summer travel season is well underway. You’re likely to see more out of state license plates since a lot of individuals, couples and families opt to drive to their vacation destination. The latest study from Choice Hotels International found that 72% of vacationers are going to road trip for their vacation. Not surprising considering that gas prices are much lower this summer.
But airports will be just as busy. Maybe you saved up to visit a European national park rather than one in the U.S.? Maybe you’re short on time and want to take the quickest route? Maybe you just prefer flying?
Either way, there are many articles online with tips on taking long road trips but not that many on how to prep for an extended flight. Well, here it is. Take it from someone who has used all means of travel – when you plan ahead it will seem like the vacation has already started on a long flight.
Combat Changes From the High Altitude
Some people will always argue that humans aren’t meant to fly. The bodily changes that happen at high altitudes would support their point. But the thing is, we are flying so people should be prepared for the affects of traveling miles above land.
Wear a Good Pair of Compression Socks
On a plane, you’ll be sitting for long stretches, which causes blood to pool in your legs and feet. It’s a good idea to get up every so often, but wearing compression socks can also help. Don’t worry – womens compression products are much more stylish and comfortable today than they were a few years ago.
Stay Well Hydrated
The dry air of an airplane sucks the hydration right out of you. Even breathing can speed up the moisture loss. Flight attendants often say their number one rule for flying is to chug water so dehydration doesn’t become an issue.
Even though airplane cabins are pressurized, the air pressure inside is still higher than normal. The World Health Organization estimates that the cabin pressure is the equivalent of being about 7,000 feet above sea level.
Many people experience pressure in their ears as the plane ascends and descends. Popping them is the only way to relieve the pressure. Fortunately, chewing gum can get your ears back to normal.
Slather on Sunscreen
Many people don’t realize that UV rays can penetrate windows allowing some of the rays to come through. At higher altitudes, UV rays can be much more intense. This may be why pilots and flight crews are twice as likely to develop melanoma compared to the average person. If you’re flying during the day don’t forget to liberally apply sunscreen every few hours.
Pack to Get Through Security
Now that we’ve covered the health related stuff, let’s take a step back and discuss airport security. You may have heard the horror stories from earlier in the year when travelers had to wait in security lines for hours at some airports. Some things you just can’t control, but there are ways you can try to make it go a little smoother.
- · Get to the airport early – as in at least an hour before your flight boards (not when it leaves).
- · Wear shoes that slip on and off easily.
- · Don’t wear a lot of metal accessories.
- · Already have your liquids separated and in a plastic bag.
- · Follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids – 3.4oz maximum, in a one-quart bag, one bag per person.
- · Check your bags for prohibited items before you head out the door.
Pack Reading Material
Planes are one of the few remaining places where people can’t be glued to their phones the entire time. And that’s a really good thing. Research has shown that reading is the quickest and most effective way to relax.
I suggest that you buy an old fashioned paperback book about the area you plan to visit. A long flight will give you plenty of time to look over maps, finalize itineraries and discover interesting facts you didn’t have time to learn before.
Charge Up Your Devices
Most airplanes still don’t have chargers for people outside of first class. If you’re flying across the country or overseas your devices probably won’t make it through the entire flight unless they are fully charged ahead of time. If you have space in your bag, it’s a good idea to pack a portable charger to circumvent the problem during vacation.
Drown Out the Distractions
Headphones, earplugs and an eye mask. If those three things weren’t already on your packing list go ahead and add them right at the top.
Unless you’re flying first class (where they will provide you with these things) you never quite know what you’re going to get when you step on a plane. You could have energetic kids right behind you or someone who loves to talk nonstop. During a long flight, you may also want to get some shuteye so you’re ready to hit the ground running once you land. Trust me, those three items will make a world of difference in regards to how enjoyable the flight ends up being.