International students know full well what it’s like to be on long-haul flights. With some students making regular trips to and from their home country on their own, it takes a lot to survive long hours seated in one place. Worse yet, some may even experience extremely lengthy layovers, thus turning a simple eight hour trip into one that can last an entire day!
To help students alleviate some of the stresses and burdens that come with travelling alone for extremely lengthy duration, here are some ways you can prepare for a long flight ahead.
Pre-loaded entertainment options
A long flight without an internet connection. The horror! You won’t be able to access Spotify, Netflix or your favourite streaming service while you’re in the air so make sure all your devices come pre-loaded with entertainment options.
But what about in-flight entertainment? While it can be beneficial in that you may get lucky with your suite of options, you probably shouldn’t just rely solely on in-flight entertainment to get you by. Depending on the airline you choose to fly with, your personal screen might not project films or television shows at a desirable quality. Moreover, the sound quality from airline headphones and available choices in entertainment may deter you altogether.
So if there’s a movie you’ve been meaning to watch, a e-book you’ve wanted to read, or an album you’ve wanted to fully listen to and absorb but haven’t had the chance to at home, make sure to transfer it all onto the appropriate devices you intend to bring on board with you.
Of course, you won’t be able to actually listen, read or watch anything on your preferred device if it isn’t fully charged.
Your phone, your laptop, your powerbank, your music player, your e-reader… Whatever devices you have, make sure everything is charged to its fullest before your long flight. You’re in it for the long-haul so if you don’t want to be bored, make sure you’re fully backed up.
And even before you get on the plane, try and minimise use of electronic devices until you’re on board. There really is nothing worse than an electronic device running low on battery halfway through a flight!
Protip: If you’re stopping over at an airport in another country, consider that a pit-stop for you to recharge all your devices. Keep the right USB charger, power cord and a universal power adaptor on you just in case!
Ensure you get the sleep you need
As a student, sleeping is such a luxury so make the most of it when you’re on board.
While airlines do provide blankets and pillows, sometimes having an extra neck pillow will do wonders in helping you fall asleep so make sure to invest in one before you embark your long flight (if you forgot to bring it from home, there’ll be plenty sold at the airport before you leave).
What if you’re the type of person to keep wriggling around in your seat until you find a comfortable spot to fall asleep in? If possible, try and choose a seat that’s best for you when you buy your flight ticket. Window seats are arguably the best spot for anyone wishing to get a good night’s rest (just lay your head next to the window!). If you’re in the middle or an aisle, detach the food tray from the seat in front of you and use that as a head rest (it’s just like sleeping in class, but don’t tell your teachers that!). And if you find you have extra seating next to you, don’t be afraid to take up that extra space for your own comfort too.
Night-time flights also help make sleep that much easier so maybe one in the evening might suit you better? Just hope that the jet-lag doesn’t mess up your body clock too much…
Staying nourished and hydrated
Airline food sucks. Although many airlines have stepped up the quality in their airline food (Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates come to mind), the stigma still exists. Sometimes you may not have an option and will go with whatever food options they provide but just keep in mind that the food is there to help you stay nourished enough throughout your flight.
If you need to, bring your own snacks — peanuts, crackers, sweets and the like will certainly help stave off hunger and boredom. More importantly, make sure to drink enough water during your flight as it is dry in the cabin. Before your flight, make sure to check what kind of foods you can bring on board and ideally purchase them at the airport before you fly.
What are some of the strategies you employ when it comes to surviving long-haul flights? Do you agree with some of the tips above? What are some alternative suggestions you can give to students, or anyone, who is about to embark on a long trip? Provide your suggestions in the comments below!
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.