Make the Most of Long Distance Flying with These 10 Tips

Make the Most of Long Distance Flying with These 10 Tips

It’s that time of year again, when thousands of us stuff our suitcases, stock up on sunscreen and jet off for another amazing holiday. We don’t doubt that fantastic adventures, lazy days on the beach and some of the best food the world has to offer await you, but first there’s the flight to deal with. Few people enjoy long flights, so here are a few tips to help make your flight as easy and enjoyable as possible.


Window Seat Image

10. Find Your Perfect Seat

Before you even get to the airport, you have an important decision to make…where to sit? No pressure, but the seat you choose could make or break how much you enjoy your journey. There are different opinions about where the perfect place to sit on a plane is, the trick is to find the seat that’s right for you. Here are a few things to consider...


The Window Seat

The window seat is an old favourite for many. It provides a view of the world below, a nice wall to rest your head against, and you are entirely free from having to get up to let other passengers get out of their seat. On the other hand, in these seats, you will find it much more difficult to get out of your own seat. This makes it much harder to make trips to the toilet or to simply stretch your legs.


The Aisle Seat

The aisle seat, on the other hand, will allow you ample opportunity to get up and wander about pretty much any time you like (turbulence permitting). You will, however, have to contend with frequent disturbances from other passengers wanting to climb out over your seat, and airline staff moving up and down the aisles throughout the flight. If you’re planning to sleep through the entire flight, this may not be the seat for you.


9. Eat Well…But Not Too Well!

Airline Food Image

Apparently eating foods rich in carbohydrates can help your body to adjust to a new time zone. Pack a few snacks for the journey, so that if you feel hungry between meals you have something to nibble, but be careful not to overdo it. Your body digests food slower when you fly, so lots of bulky food isn’t necessarily the best idea.

If you’ve never been on a long-haul flight before, you may be surprised to discover that your meals will probably come based on which time zone you’re currently in, which means you may get lunch, followed a few hours later by breakfast. The best we can say is, just go with it…


Image Credit


8. Don’t Forget to Pack These Essentials…

There are 2 kinds of things you need to remember to pack when going abroad. The first is everything you will need when you reach your destination. The second, and easier to forget things, are all the bits and pieces you might need for the journey. Here are some easily forgotten essentials:

  • A Pen: Make sure you have a pen to hand to fill in any necessary immigration documents on the plane (and bring a spare for your neighbour, who will inevitably have forgotten to pack one!)
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Brushing your teeth will add a touch of normality to your day, not to mention keep your teeth nice and healthy.
  • Packing ImageHeadphone Adaptor: Some airlines have special headphone sockets, so it’s worth checking this in advance, and if you’d prefer to use your own headphones, we suggest getting an adaptor to give you this option.
  • Prescription Medication: If you take any prescription medication, make sure you have this with you in case you need it (and in case your checked luggage goes astray). Keep the prescription to hand in case customs need to check this later.
  • Hand Sanitiser: We highly recommend taking a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you…you probably don’t want to know just how dirty planes can get, but trust us, you’ll need this!

The trick to packing the right amount of carry on luggage—everything you need, but not too much—is finding the right cabin case or bag for the job. Pop in and speak to the very knowledgeable staff in our Luggage Department, or have a browse for yourself on our website, here.


7. Keep Yourself Entertained

Entertainment on Plane Image

Most long-haul flights come stocked with a vast selection of films, TV series, music and games to keep you occupied. You can usually look this up in advance to see whether there is likely to be anything that you’re going to want to settle down to for several hours of flying. If not, or if in any doubt, filling your tablet, e-book reader or mp3 player with things you know you love can be a smart move.

If you’re not travelling solo, a pack of cards can be fun, and make keeping yourselves occupied a more sociable experience than simply watching the inflight movies.


6. Soothe your Flying-Nerves

If you’re a nervous flyer, you’re not alone. It’s quite common to have a little apprehension about flying, but we hope that doesn’t stop you from getting out there and seeing what the rest of the world has to offer!

Statistically, you will reach your destination safely, and although at times during the flight you may not feel completely safe, you really are in expert hands.

Plane Image

It may be helpful to inform a member of the crew that you’re a nervous flyer, as they will be able to talk you through any concerns you have and check on you throughout the flight.

The middle of the plane, near the wings, is said to be the most stable place to sit, so should there be any turbulence, you’ll feel it that little bit less if you sit here. Distractions are also a great way to soothe your mind…indulge in films you like, a good book, or the company of a level-headed friend to take your mind off your worst imaginings. It’s important to acknowledge and address your anxieties, but try, also, to counter them with the excitement of your destination, and the holiday ahead.


5. Battle the In-Flight Insomnia

Some people can sleep pretty much anywhere, but for others it might not be that easy. Bear this in mind before flying long distance, and make sure that, at the very least, you’re well rested before you get on the plane…it may be a while before you get some proper sleep.

Travel Pillow ImageTo help you get your 40 winks, we recommend getting your hands on a travel pillow, an eye mask and some noise cancelling earplugs to block out the hum of the engines (although it’s always comforting to know that those are still working away while you doze). Some swear by sleeping pills to help them with sleeping on long flights, however, we would recommend popping in and speaking to one of our friendly Pharmacists for some advice before going down this route.

If you’re one of the unlucky souls that simply will not be able to sleep sat upright in economy class, no matter what you try, there are a few things you can do to help make this more bearable. Find yourself some good films, music or a book to help while away the hours in the air, but remember that if it’s a night flight you may be sitting awake in the dark for several hours. You could also try taking occasional breaks from the in-flight entertainment, curling up with your pillow, and closing your eyes for half an hour or so to allow your brain a little respite.

And finally, if (and when, eventually) you do sleep, try to sleep according to the time zone you’re headed towards, rather than the one you’ve just left. This will help you to combat jet lag and adjust to the new time zone a little more smoothly!


4. Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated ImageStaying hydrated when flying is extremely important, as the airconditioned air you breathe on a plane can be especially dry. Being dehydrated can cause your blood to thicken and increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis when flying. The trick is to drink plenty of water, little and often, and avoid drinks like tea, coffee and alcohol, which can contribute to dehydration. We recommend buying a bottle or 2 of water in duty free before you board, so that you have water to hand throughout the flight—although you can always ask the flight crew for a drink later. We would strongly advise against drinking water from the taps on the plane.

Bear in mind that some countries do have restrictions in place when buying water before a flight, such as requiring you to keep the bottle sealed in a bag until you board. If you’re flying out of Malaysia, for example, all water in duty free is served in disposable cups, rather than a resealable bottle. It's always a good idea to check what the restrictions are in advance. 

You may also find that your skin, lips, eyes and nose feel very dry from flying, but a little moisturiser, chap stick, nasal spray or some eye drops may help with this. Drop in and speak to our Cosmetics and Pharmacy staff for a little advice on which of these to choose.


3. Dress Comfortably

Wardrobe ImageUnsurprisingly, sitting in the same small space for hours on end as you hurtle across the globe isn’t always the most comfortable of experiences. So, when you’re preparing for your flight, give some serious thought to clothing that is loose fitting, and has some give in it. Whatever you’re wearing needs to be suitable for checking in for your flight, sleeping, eating and lots and lots of sitting. We also heartily recommend turning to a trusty pair of fluffy bed socks to add to your comfort.

Some people prefer to take a change of clothes with them, or even get into their pyjamas after take-off, it really all is a matter of preference. We also suggest bringing some layers, as the aircon can sometimes mean the temperature can fluctuate. Layers will mean you can cool down or warm up as needed.


2. Look After Yourself

Moving Around Plane ImageIt’s important to take good care of yourself when you’re flying, as being inactive for long periods of time and dehydration can put you at risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot that can cause serious complications). To keep yourself in tip top condition, try to get up and move around the cabin every couple of hours. If this isn’t possible, there are exercises that you can do in your seat that will help with your circulation. Flexing your feet back towards yourself, and then pointing them towards the toe repeatedly can help, as can rotating each foot in small circles in your seat. Loose fitting clothing will also help the flow of blood around the body.

You may want to consider flight socks, however it’s important that these are properly fitted for you, so we recommend speaking to a pharmacist if you think this might be a good option for you. If you are concerned that you may be at risk of deep vein thrombosis, it’s wise to visit your GP well before you travel, so that they can prescribe any necessary medication, or fit you for the correct flight socks. Visit for more information and advice on deep vein thrombosis.


1. Plan Ahead!

Travelling with Children ImageFinally, planning makes all the difference. If you’re travelling a long distance with the family, for example, a little extra planning can make the journey much easier and more enjoyable for everyone. This handy Sainsbury’s Bank guide to travelling with children is a great place to start your planning for a journey with the kids.

Putting a little thought into where you’d like to sit, what to pack, what to wear and how to take care of yourself well in advance of your trip means that you have fewer things to worry about on the day. Simply sit back, enjoy the ride, and make the most of the adventure that lies ahead! 


Check out our other travel blogs here!

26th July 2018

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