Flying can be a scary thing for some people, especially if you’ll flying for over 10 hours. But even if you aren’t afraid of flying, it’s not easy to be comfortable on a 10-11 hour flight in economy seating. But I have a few tips that may help get you through it.
Tip 1: Bring a carry on that will fit under the seat
If you have a carry on that will fit underneath the seat in front of you, you can reach down and get it at any point in the flight. If the bag has to go in the overhead compartment you won’t be allowed to get what you out of it if the seat belt sign is on. You don’t want to be that person constantly getting up to move if you don’t have the aisle seat.
Tip 2: Snacks and water
Longer flights, especially international ones, give you a complimentary meal, but I was already hungry and snacking before they even came around for drinks the first time. Bring dry snacks in your carry on, like granola bars. If you don’t bring them from home, the airport stores usually have a good selection of dry snacks for your flight. You won’t be allowed to bring liquids through security, so buy a water or two before you board.
Tip 3: Entertainment
Movies will most likely be free on your flight, but if you’re on a longer flight it will get boring to watch movies back to back (unless you’re me, then you might watch Mamma Mia on repeat). Bring a book or download games on your phone before you board to give yourself something to do. Depending on your reading speed I would suggest bringing two or three books for your travel to different countries.
Tip 4: Sleep
For some, sleeping on a plane is nearly impossible, but I can sleep anywhere (it’s an art that I’ve mastered well). So, I suggest bringing an over the counter sleep aid for those of you who aren’t able to sleep sitting up. Of course neck pillows are most helpful on flights and you will most likely be provided with a complimentary blanket. And of course, bring headphones.
Tip 5: Make friends
If you don’t want to sleep on the plane, look around. I was surrounded by other students who were with IBS on my flight to Europe. One of my close friends now from the trip was sitting right across the aisle from me. Talk! It won’t be hard to spot others traveling with IBS. Who knows, you might be talking to a future friend!
Flying can be the worst part about traveling, but if you’re prepared it can be bearable! As always, take advantage of the situation you are in. Meet people, step out of your bubble. The plane ride is only the first leap on your study abroad trip, it may not be the most exciting, but it’s just the beginning.