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12 Tips and Tricks for How to Survive Your next Long Haul Flight

16 hours on a plane can either leave you feeling fresh or fatigued. To make sure you enjoy your flight, here's our guide to help you prepare and feel on the top of the world when you land.

Author: Rhiannon
27 Dec 13:49

Preparing for your longhaul flight is something which can really make a difference to your travel experience.

There are a few little tweaks which you can add to your routine which will make sure that the 16 hours in the air leave you feeling fresh, relaxed and ready for the day… and here they are, all in one place.

Drink lots of water

Hydration is key.

Although there’s no magic number on how many glasses of water you should be drinking, health experts recommend drinking more than you usually would. Cabin air is dehydrating.

We’d recommend buying a large bottle of water whilst airside, after security (you won’t be able to take the water through with you).

You can also take an empty water bottle to fill up. Most airports will have fountains and you’ll also be able to ask a flight attendant to help you fill your bottle whilst on board.

Take your own headphones

Headphones are great for the flight and many airlines will kindly provide you with a set to enjoy the onboard entertainment. But they aren’t usually the greatest quality.

Having your own set of headphones, especially noise cancelling ones, will guarantee you a little peace and quiet on your journey. They’re also great for using when watching the onboard movies - just make sure the jack is a regular one and you’ll be all set.

Sleep if you can

We know how exciting it can be when you’re finally jetting off to camp.

You’re on your way, the beginning of your journey, your mind will be reeling with all those unanswered questions - What will it be like? What will I be eating? Who will be there?

But this is a great time to have a little nap.

When you arrive at camp it’s going to be go go go. You’ll be moving into your bunk, meeting lots of people and battling the jet lag. It’s overwhelming, especially if you’re tired. So use these next few hours to get your head down and recharge before the organised chaos of summer camp begins.

Pack your essentials in a separate bag

Having a separate bag with your essentials in is a great plan. It means you can access them easily when asked, none of that awkward rummaging, and you’ll be able to quickly check you’ve got your essentials at all times.

Best thing to use is a clear wallet or transparent pencil case, so you don’t need to open it to see what you’re looking for.

It’s also a great idea to keep the bits you’d like for your flight in here too, we’d recommend popping in your headphones, phone charger cord, a pen, lip balm, an adaptor and a few tubes of sweets.

Other important documents you should keep together are;

  • Passport (with visa inside)
  • DS-2019 Form
  • SEVIS Receipt
  • Camp Address, phone number and contact person
  • Onward travel instructions to your camp
  • Copy of your flight itinerary
  • Your insurance documentation
  • Your medical form and police check
Stow your carry-ons in the overhead locker

To make the most of the small space you have, resist the urge to pop your backpack on the floor in front of you. Instead, make sure you pop it in the locker above your head, as although it may seem a good idea to have your stuff super close, you’ll soon be glad for the extra foot room.

This is why having the separate wallet also comes in handy. You’ll be able to quickly separate the things you need, like your headphones, whilst not needing to root through your bag.

We’d also recommend freeing up a book and a hoodie now too and putting them by your chair. It makes it so much easier to have them by your side, rather than asking the person next to you to begrudgingly stand up. Stay popular and plan ahead.

Pack snacks

We all love a cheeky snack, and when you’re on the plane, the last thing you ever want to feel is uncomfortably hungry.

Plane snacks from the onboard magazine can be very expensive. So to avoid an overpriced pot of Pringles, make sure you pack a few nibbles to see you through.

We’d recommend packing protein-rich snacks, like almonds bars, bananas or a yoghurt as these will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Avoid Alcohol

Despite how fun it may seem, alcohol isn’t a great idea when flying. You’re going to be dehydrated on the flight and the effects of alcohol whilst you’re in the air will be a lot stronger. When you land it’s also likely you’ll feel groggy, unwell and, from the high sugar intake and depressive side effects, less able to deal with jet lag.

Be smart and stick to the hydration. You’ll definitely feel a whole lot better.

Don’t forget you’re also heading out to work at summer camp so make sure you start with a good first impression. No need to be sent home for what seemed like a good idea.

Wear comfy clothing

Travel in comfort and arrive in style. Although you want to make a good first impression, it doesn’t mean you need to travel in a suit.

Opt to dress comfortably, and if you’re wanting to arrive dressed smart, take a change of clothes with you to pop on when you arrive.

One of the greatest things about summer camp is no-one cares what you’re wearing, so start strong and travel in your joggers, you’ll be grateful for it.

Wear layers

One thing we can promise is that you can never be sure of the temperature on your flight. Sometimes the aircon is blasting and sometimes it’s hotter than the sun.

Make sure you layer up so you can also layer down. Layers are the way forward when adapting to the temperature and keeping comfortable.

Bring a neck support

When times are tough, you can always rely on a neck pillow for support.

Joking aside, a neck pillow is a great investment if you want to travel in comfort. If you’re not sure about carrying a doughnut style pillow round with you, opt instead for an inflatable one which you can use as and when you need.

Bring your own entertainment

Inflight movies are great, you can catch up with all the latest blockbusters, whilst tucking into your in-flight ready meal, making the journey fly by. But what happens when the screens aren’t working properly - or if the plane doesn’t have screens; suddenly that 7-hour journey doesn’t feel so short.

Make sure you have a good book in your bag, or that you’ve downloaded your Spotify playlists, so you always have something to do. It’s also great to have something on you for those moments when you’re waiting in the airport.

Charge all your devices before you fly

There’s nothing worse than running out of battery, especially if it’s going to be a long time before you can charge your device again.

Make sure all of your gadgets have juice before you go, you may even be asked to turn your device on at security (including laptops), as part of new security measures.

To avoid any battery fear, invest in a portable charger pack. They’re also great for when you’re travelling after camp too.

Fly east to west

One you won’t have much control over, but a great little fact for beating jet lag is to fly east to west. Thankfully when heading to camp, you’ll be doing this without even trying (if flying from Europe).

There’s a science to it, but it’s mainly to do with the fact it’s easier to go to bed later than your usual bedtime than earlier. Imagine we told you that today you had to go to sleep at 5 pm, you’d probably spend some time laying in bed staring at the ceiling but if we said you need to stay awake until 1 am then go to sleep, you might struggle to stay awake near the end but once 1 am hit, you’d be happy to fall asleep straight away.

With the change in time zone, heading west means you’ll have a later bedtime, by 5 hours in NYC, so you should cope with the time zone a little better.

Rhi is our company wordsmith. Having been to summer camp for 6 years, there's nothing this veteran doesn't know.

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