tips for long-haul flights

I’m baaaack from my overseas adventure! If you didn’t catch my many tweets or instagrams, I traveled to Singapore over the Thanksgiving holiday to visit my parents’ new place of residence (I know, crazy, right?). It was lovely, perfect and more than I could have expected, but more on that later – first, we had to get there.

To get to Singapore (map below, because tbh I couldn’t have pointed it out to you a few months ago), it requires a 15 hour flight to Tokyo followed by a 2-hour layover and 6.5 hour flight from Tokyo to Singapore. Needless to say, it’s no walk in the park.

Now, I’ve flown to Europe before. I’ve made the 8-9 hour flights and traveled around, but this was something on another level. Spending an entire day on a plane and crossing the international date line requires planning, smarts and expertise – lucky for you, as a product of my still-lingering jet-lag, I’ve compiled my best tips for long-haul flights to keep you ahead of the game and enjoying your trip:

1. Prepare your body.

As important as it is to be stocked up with new music and handy supplies for the flight (hello new T.Swift album), it is even more important to work to prepare your body for the travel ahead of time. In the days leading up to the flight, make an extra effort to drink more water and definitely avoid alcohol – unbeknownst to me, sitting through 22 hours of flying will drain you of every last ounce of hydration in your body, so this will save you lots of trouble on the long flight. Also, try to adjust your sleep schedule gradually towards what your new time zone will be like – making a 13 hour change is not something that should be done overnight!

2. Dress for the ride.

This seems like a no-brainer, but I swear, if I had a dollar for every person I saw in heels on those flights, I could have bought a first-class ticket. I couldn’t believe the amount of effort people went to try to dress to the nines when we were about to sit on a plane for a solid day. Trust me, wear the sweatpants. You won’t see anyone you know, and you’ll thank me 8 hours in.

3. Take care of your feet.

This was one of my biggest mistakes on the flight over. I don’t mind sitting/sleeping for a while, especially when I’m curled up watching movies, which was fine with me. However, after arriving, I found my ankles were swollen to the point of pretty rough discomfort. You should try to stand up and walk around at least once every hour, even if it’s just up and down the aisle, and invest in some good compression socks. They’re not cheap, but I know I’ll be getting some for our next trip across the Pacific – I’m thinking these LL Bean ones look pretty solid. If you can’t get up because of a sleeping rowmate, try flexing your ankles for a minute to alleviate some of the tension – this worked for me on the way back.

4. Charge up.

While most flights these days have USB outlets to charge your phone or other devices, you can’t always count on ’em – mine happened to be broken on one of the flights. I don’t travel anywhere without my external charger: I use the Anker 2nd Gen 6400 mAh, which comes in cute colors and holds three charges for an iPhone 5. It’s seriously a lifesaver – I’m never worried about not being able to contact someone in a sticky situation or capture a great photo from crazy travels!

5. Don’t lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel…er, flight.

Fam Selfie!

If anything, a marathon flight is a mental battle even more than a physical one – that feeling when you wake up from a nap to see you’ve only been sleeping for an hour can be pretty disheartening when you’ve got so many to go. Luckily, keeping the end destination in mind can make it a little sweeter. I was so excited to see my family and explore their new home in Singapore that the journey was just a small step along the way. 🙂

Hope these tips for long-haul flights help you out for your next one – what’s your dream world-away destination? Tell us in the comments below!

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