How to Enjoy your (very long) Flight

Hello and welcome to Flight Wandure.

Today we are going to take you through a few comfort safety measures before your next flight so that you can embrace the flying experience in all its glory and arrive at your destination happy and ready to go!

Let’s paint the picture for you. You arrive on the plane only to find that you have the dreaded middle seat. So you make friends with the person in the aisle seat so that when you inevitably have to pee halfway through the flight (thanks water and coffee and tea, and any other beverage I get my hands on), they will be happy to let you pass by (yes, I am one of those people).

You arrive on the plane only to find out that you have the dreaded middle seat.

Confined to a metal tube at 60,000 + feet in the air many are prone to panic, others prone to sleep (we are all a touch envious of you!), movie watching, podcast listening, journal writing, reading, chatting, and eating galore. We are a diverse crew when we travel, but what we all have in common is that we are in the same place at the same time - each of us with a different story, the same destination, and a multitude of experiences abound. This “community in the air”, as I like to think of it, is yours to discover. And each flight you embark upon, you can adopt a different air travel persona. You can be the sleepy one, the chatty one, the introvert, the extrovert - your own unique “you” for your own unique experience.

So how can you make your flight experience bearable, and dare I say it, enjoyable?

1. Build a community on the plane

Listen to conversations going on around you - you don’t necessarily need to interject or take part. Just listening can be entertaining enough! I once had a woman on a flight try to set me up with her son, on another flight I received incredible wisdom from a man I shared 3 hours of conversation with, and another, a pen pal who I still communicate with today.

Maybe you’ll meet a travel buddy! This once happened to me on a flight to Panama City, Panama. We chatted the entire flight, and by the time we landed, we decided that I would stay with her family for the night. Her parents picked us up at the airport and we forged a lasting bond! We bonded so profoundly that later in my travels, I returned to spend time with her family and was exposed to a side of Panama I never would have seen had I not had that pivotal conversation in the sky.  

Oh and make friends with flight attendants - a kind smile can go a long way (extra snacks, an extra bottle of wine… and the best part, an extra pillow....yes please!).

2. Bring your comfort “must haves”

Sleep is an essential piece of any long flight. I am low maintenance and use my hoodie, my beloved grey hoodie that is about as old as air travel itself, that I pull over my eyes to get some otherwise elusive sleep. But for the more sophisticated amongst us, a sleep mask is lovely. I also always bring a pair of warm socks for my ever cold feet, my water bottle to fill once through security and again multiple times on the plane! And if you are going to a country where the tap water is potable, you can re -fill to your heart’s content throughout your travel days to stay hydrated! A book, because you can’t go wrong with a book. A scarf to keep you warm and act as a pillow - it’s magic. And the usuals, gum to help your ears with the air pressure (and your seat neighbour will thank you because you will be minty fresh and have a piece to share with them - great conversation starter too --- “You: Would you like some gum before take off?, Seat Neighbour: Yes please!” ---- or not, you can have a silent flight too. No judgment).  Oh, and naturally hand cream, because flights are notoriously super dry.

Oh and headphones, always remember headphones! And finally, SNACKS because you are in a tube in the air and delays happen!

3. Look out the window and embrace the wonder of air travel

We control so much of our daily lives, or at least feel as though we are in control. When we step onto a plane, our lives are placed in the hands of a stranger. This thought is daunting and delicious all at once. How often do you get to relinquish control of your life to someone else, and engage in any activity (within limits) without external pressure. This is the start of your adventure. Your time of imposed rest. No emails to respond to. No texts to check. Just time for yourself to relish in the moment. Take this time to meditate.

Try taking one deep breath in to the count of 4 and one deep breath out to the count of 5. Repeat this 10 times, and feel yourself relax. You shoulders, your face, your hands. You will sink into your seat in no time at all. For assistance, try a meditation app on your phone!

There are many different types of meditation, from Taoist to Transcendental to Yoga Nidra. Explore the many options and find a meditation that best suits your energy.

This is the start of your adventure. Your time of imposed rest. No emails to respond to. No texts to check. Just time for yourself to relish in the moment.

4. Download your faves before you leave

Speaking of downloads, be sure to download your favourite podcasts in advance of traveling. For those who have never “podcasted” before, try a travel podcast. Or for the entrepreneurs amongst you try NPR’s “How I Built This” with Guy Raz, or “Hidden Brain” with Shankar Vedantam. Or for the true crime lovers, “Serial” (season 1) or for tips on how to stay well behaved while abroad, “Locked up Abroad”.

You can also download Netflix shows, movies, and e-books to assist in your entertainment! A great book - either on your e-reader or the old fashioned hard copy that you can leave at a hostel in exchange for another. Who knows, your book could end up traveling more than you!

5. Bring an extra set of clothes, toothbrush, deodorant etc. in your carry on bag

Most of us have been that person. That person whose luggage never arrives. So if you did not manage to pack all of your belongings in a carry on (and to those of you who can, you are superhuman), you may be that person whose luggage is a little less prompt than you - the luggage that went rogue and joined another flight. And so you may have a few days without your proper luggage. And in the event that happens, you will have a set of clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, chargers, and any essential medications.

6. Walk around to get your blood flowing

On a long flight, getting up and moving - even if you are in the dreaded middle seat - is essential to ensuring that you are healthy along your travels. And you get to see the lay of the land. Smile at the cute kids, make small talk as you wait for the bathroom. Get a feel for the community you’re in!

7. And finally, on a really long flight, dream about your adventures to come

Relax. Enjoy the ride. Conserve your energy for the many experiences ahead. And if you haven’t planned the adventures just yet, check out Wandure when you arrive - we’ve got you covered!

Safe and happy travels,

Your crew at Wandure.

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