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Top Tips: How to Prepare for a Long Flight 

Be Comfortable and Entertained Along the Way

Train for the flight 

It is hard to avoid staying up late the night before a long flight packing and finishing work and home projects. But try to get a good night’s sleep in a real bed before you fly. In the days leading up to your flight, build up your stamina and immune system by drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking a long walk or getting a good workout. 

Stock up and charge up

Not all airplanes have in-seat power outlets — or outlets that work. Some older planes require two passengers to share one plug. And finding available outlets at the airport can be difficult. Charge all your gadgets before you fly, and bring a charged backup battery. Load those gadgets with movies, books and other material. Add a few magazines, a paper book, a pen and a notepad for good measure. A long flight can feel even longer when you can’t sleep, have seen the movies that interest you on the in-flight entertainment menu and have nothing to do. 

Dress for success

Wear comfortable clothes whenever you are air-traveling, but for long flights be sure to dress in layers you can add or remove easily as the temperature in the cabin — and in your body — changes. Consider compression socks, sweaters or sweatshirts that can double as pillows, and a scarf or shawl that can double as a blanket. Wear shoes you can loosen, and avoid taking them off as a courtesy to your seatmates. 

Get geared  

Your airline may supply thin pillows or blankets in the economy cabin on long haul flights, but your journey may go smoother if you bring along healthy snacks, noise-cancelling headphones, an eye mask, a neck pillow, ear plugs, your own pillows and blankets, and plenty of anti-bacterial wipes. Try a test run at home in an uncomfortable chair.

During the flight 

Good prep will set you up for a successful long flight.  But be sure to use those bacterial wipes, drink water, stretch and move when you can, eat the healthy snacks you’ve packed, and go easy on the carbonated sodas, alcohol and caffeine. If meals are offered, opt for salad and protein instead of pasta. And if you plan to sleep, let your seatmate know it is OK to nudge you awake if you snore, or if they need to get past you to get out of the seat.   

—Written by Harriet Baskas

—Top photo is from AdobeStock

This article appears in the Winter 2023 edition of AAA Washington member magazine, Journey.

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