Everyone dreads the cross country flight. 10+ hours of being stuck in a small seat with nowhere to go is no fun. You start getting restless, your legs start cramping up, and it’s hard to sleep. We’ve done these flights numerous times and are going to give you some of our most recommended tips to help you travel more comfortably.
- Avoiding Jet Lag – Jet lag is the disruption of the body’s rhythms with travel across time zones, plus probably pre-travel sleep deprivation. You need to adopt the ‘rhythms’ of your destination to help adjust, so set your watch to the destination time as soon as you are on board. Flights east generally caused worse symptoms than those westbound. A general rule of thumb is that the number of days needed to recover is equal to two-thirds of the time zones crossed. With westbound flights, the number is half the time zones crossed
- Wear Shoes – Never, repeat, never, use plane toilets without wearing shoes. The flight attendants work hard to keep these areas clean but you can guess what some of the splashes on the floor are and do you really want to walk in that and then take it back to your seat? You need loose comfortable shoes as your feet can swell during the flight so we recommend traveling in lightweight sandals.
- Basic Toiletries – Even with liquid security restrictions, you are allowed basic toiletries on board. Do check before traveling in case the situation changes. We’d advise taking a small toothpaste (under 100 ml) and toothbrush, a small moisturizer, and deodorant. This should also stop people taking too long on the toilets. Remember you can freshen up in the airport toilets when you collect your luggage if you have friends coming to meet you and you’re worried about smelling.
- Wear Layers – You’ve got to contend with busy airports at each end, and different levels of air-conditioning on the plane, so layers are best. Try a body warmer/vest with pockets as it gives even more ‘hand luggage’ space.
- Stretch Regularly – Get up and stretch regularly if possible, or at least circle your ankles once an hour. This helps maximize blood flow to your extremities, as sitting down for long periods of time is not recommended. The in-flight magazine will have pictures of the recommended exercises.
- Chewing Gum – Chewing can help with the changes in air pressure, as can sucking on hard candy. Remember, your ears don’t always pop just at take-off and landing times, but during the flight too. Chewing gum can also help if you feel nervous as it gives you something to do.
- Use Cushions – To help ease lower back pain, place one of the pillows provided between your lower back (just below your ribs) and the seat. If you are trying to get some sleep do support your neck, you can use your own inflatable neck pillow or scrunch one provided by the airline.