Or any plane ride for that matter. Domestic. International. Heck, even a puddle jumper.
Flying is tough on your body. Take care so that you come out on top.
Consider this your ultimate guide on how to prepare…what to do before, during, and after…so you can not only survive your international flight, BUT THRIVE, shorten your recovery time, and hit the ground running. After all, you do not want to waste any of that precious vacation time 🙂
BEFORE YOUR LONG FLIGHT
1. Make sure your immune system is in tip top shape!
Eat your fruits and veggies starting well in advance. Take your vitamins. Etc.
Drink water. Start hydrating DAYS in advance.
2. Get a good night’s sleep.
Ok, easier said than done. I get it! Especially if you suffer from travel anxiety like me.
When it comes down to that final night, you need to have your ducks in a row. This preparation starts WAYYYYY in advance.
I actually have a whole separate post on reducing travel anxiety. Keep reading, and check out that post later on by clicking >>>HERE<<<
Here are a few things to consider in advance…just to give you an idea…
Passport. Do you have one? Do you need one? When does yours expire?
Call your credit card companies in advance and put a travel notice on your account.
Go to your bank at least a week ahead of time to get your foreign currency.
Have a plan for how you are getting to the airport. Are you driving or getting a ride? Are you leaving during rush hour? Are any of the roads you need to use under construction? Do you need to park your car at the airport? Give yourself plenty of time.
What is your plan for when you touch down? Uber? Taxi? Subway? Get yourself a guidebook and figure it out.
Confirm your hotel reservations.
Handle that shizz WELL in advance.
Are you catching my drift?
Check in as soon as you can. Print boarding passes. Make sure your passport and ID are packed. Will you be checking a bag?
LEAVE EXTRA TIME.
Lay out your travel outfit the night before too.
Easing anxiety is all about the prep.
3. Leave yourself plenty of time in the morning.
You do not want to be rushed, frazzled, stressed, and then forget things. Wake up earlier than you think you need to. Plan plan plan.
If the email doesn’t come through, make sure to check your spam folder! 🙂 Drag the email to your primary inbox so you never miss something important!
AIRPORT PREP FOR YOUR LONG FLIGHT
1. DRINK WATER.
LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER. Flying is dehydrating. Start hydrating the day and night before, and DO NOT STOP. The first thing I do after I clear security is buy myself a big bottle of water 🙂
2. Eat before you get on the plane.
It doesn’t hurt to get to the gate early. Ask if the flight is full/if anyone is sitting in your row. I did this before my flight to Portugal, switched my seat, and had a row to myself 🙂 It negates the whole window vs aisle seat debate. You can sleep again the window, stretch your legs out, and get up whenever you want without the guilt of asking someone to move!
3. Pack your carry-on and personal item wisely.
Now this step kind of depends on the airline you are flying and also on if you are checking a bag. Will this item be stored overhead? Are you stuffing it under the seat? Make sure you pack your in-flight essentials in an easy to access spot. What are the in flight essentials that will make your trip more comfortable you ask? Well…
Your own (comfortable) earbuds/headphones. Noise cancelling headphones are my DREAM!
An eye mask
A neck pillow
Sanitizing Wipes. As soon as you sit down, wipe that shit up…tray table, arm rests, window you’ll be leaning on, etc.
Contact case, solution, and glasses
Gum (for the elevation change and also for your “morning breath”)
Bring ear plugs for when you are ready to sleep (not just for your plane, but they could come in handy at your hotel, hostel, etc.).
I made a carry on checklist (available below) to get you thinking.
I also have a list of my MUST HAVE travel accessories you can access by clicking >> HERE <<
4. Double check the charge on your electronic devices ahead of time.
Do you have an external battery? Is it charged? Did you pack your charger? If you forgot, you still have time to buy a super over priced replacement now 🙂
You’ve been drinking a lot of water.
DURING YOUR LONG FLIGHT
1. Get comfy and spruce up your space.
First, I take my sanitizing wipes that I packed in my carry on and wipe down the tray table, arm rests, and anything else I deem necessary. Do you know how often that stuff gets cleaned in between flights? Me neither. I’m guessing it’s pretty rare.
Then I assemble all my little gadgets like my neck pillow, ear buds, handsanitizer, and eye mask. If you are storing your carry-on in the overhead compartment, put a luggage lock on it to give yourself a little peace of mind.
Maybe I sound paranoid, but there are sketchy people who will try to go through your stuff. Also, I keep my passport in my purse and snuggle that baby up tight next to me.
2. Keep drinking that water.
Consider skipping the wine. Alcohol dehydrates. Red wine will also give you a headache.
Who am I kidding though? I can never resist!
Here’s a picture of me NOT taking my own advice. Sometimes you gotta splurge! (Just beware the consequences + red wine headache.)
3. Eat again.
I have started taking the vegetarian option on my international flights. After I had a touch of food poisoning on my flight to Greece, I’m not 100% sure I trust the airline chicken anymore.
4. Walk around.
After the meal service, get up and walk around a bit if you can. Also, use the bathroom.
5. Read a book.
Consider reading a book instead of staring at the bright screen. Blue light from screens will keep you up. Sometimes I will watch a movie during dinner service, but then I switch to reading my guidebook for a bit. That usually does the trick and puts me right to sleep 🙂
6. Try to sleep.
West is the Best, and East is a Beast.
(I’m talking about travel direction my friends.)
I struggle so hard with jet lag every time I go to Europe from the States. If you follow these steps and try to get some sleep on the plane, then you are one step ahead. I usually try to sleep on the plane for as long as possible. This is where the eye mask and ear plugs come in handy 😉
After Your LONG Flight
1. Once you make it to your destination, try to stay awake.
Get out into the sun (if the sun is shining at your destination).
Try your best to switch your mindset to the local time, and try to not think about what time it is back home. If you have to nap, then make it a quick one.
Get out there and enjoy your first day! Get as tired as possible and then go to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you’ll be as good as new!
Now that you’re ready to tackle a long flight, make sure you pick up my Carry-On Packing List by putting in your email below! You’ll want this handy before packing for any trip!
Next, check out my post on Reducing Travel Anxiety >> HERE <<
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