If you are coming to study with us at LTC in England, you may be making your first long-haul international flight. While some students come to us from Continental Europe and only have to be on a plane for a couple of hours, others come from quite far away and may be on a plane for up to 12 hours or longer. While a flight that long is never going to be incredibly comfortable, we wanted to share some tips for those of you who have a long international flight in your future.
- Bring a scarf and some socks
Even if you are coming from a hot country, or it’s summer time where you are going, bring some sort of light scarf and a spare pair of socks for your plane ride. The air on airplanes can be quite cold, and at the very least you can use your scarf as an extra pillow (or even an eye cover for sleeping).
- Bring noise-canceling headphones or earbuds
You will appreciate having these, whether you’re trying to sleep, want to watch a film, or are just listening to music. Research has also shown that the roar of a plane engine and other background noise in general can cause stress. Noise cancelling headphones or earplugs will block out noise, but will also block out other noise- like crying babies.
- Stay hydrated
One of the reasons people suffer from jet lag is due to dehydration. Try to drink more water in the 24 hours before your flight, and make sure you drink water during the flight too. Try to stay away from drinking caffeine. Your skin will also get dehydrated during the flight, so remember to bring lip balm, hand lotion, and even face cream to stay nice and fresh.
- Pack light, but bring entertainment
If you are coming to study abroad, you will definitely have checked luggage so don’t bring too much in your carry on/hand luggage! Remember that the more you bring with you, the less space and legroom you will have at your seat. However, you should bring a book or magazines, music, or games to pass the time. And make sure you have at least one physical thing – a puzzle, a crossword or a paperback book – to do when your phone dies and you can’t use a charger!
- Move and stretch
It’s very important to keep blood flowing in your body, even while on a cramped flight for hours. Use toilet breaks as an opportunity to move around and stretch your legs – try doing some light exercises in the back of the plane, or at least walk up and down the aisle once or twice. And don’t worry about looking strange – you won’t be the only one who does this! Airlines like Virgin and Qantas suggest exercises be done every three or four minutes, every hour. Their suggested exercises include rotating your feet in circles, keeping heels on the floor and pointing your toes up as far as you can, and rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards.
What would you suggest travellers do on a long-haul flight? What’s the longest flight you have ever taken?