International travel is thrilling except for one big part, the long flight there. Not only can long flights contribute to hard-to-kick jet lag, they can also give your trip a pretty rough start. Let me give you a little insight to this, on our flight to Osaka, Japan I got sick… I mean REALLY sick. Honestly… I was throwing up in the bathroom with multiple people knocking because they needed in. Do I suffer from motion sickness? No. But the turbulence on this flight definitely didn’t help out. So we thought of some helpful carry-on items and tips to help you survive your next long flight.
1. Snacks: But not just any snacks. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt content.
These are the snacks we usually bring on a long flight:
-Fruit: clementines, bananas, apples, and grapes are perfect choices for long flights because they have natural sugars, are refreshing, and easy to eat. We also love dried fruit because it is easy to keep fresh and won’t bruise in your bag. Plus many of these are high in vitamin C and will help keep you healthy on the flight as airplanes are breeding grounds for bacteria.
-Vegetables: opt for a sturdy veggie that is great raw. Celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are all great picks. Pair it up with a favorite nut butter or salsa but make sure it follows TSA guidelines.
-Nuts/seeds: Unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, pistachios, etc all make for a great snack and are high in protein.
-Cheese: High in protein and calcium.
-Jerky: Perky Jerky is our go to for high protein and lower fat jerky.
-If you are a chocoholic then check out the dark chocolate wedges from Trader Joes. These are perfect individual sizes to take on your flight.
2. Drink water, A LOT of water. It seems like a given but once you board your international flight it’s easy to start taking advantage of the free soft drinks, coffee, wine and beer, but keeping up with your water intake is the most important. One way to make sure you are drinking enough is to bring your own empty water bottle through security and fill it up once on the other side. You can also purchase a large one in the airport but prepare to pay about $5 for it.
3. Snag an airline toothbrush. On every international flight we’ve taken these go fast! You can also pack your personal one in your carry on but I always like being able to throw this toothbrush away after using it a few times on the flight.
4. Check the airline menu prior to leaving. If you’re a picky eater or have dietary restrictions it’s best to visit your airline’s website and check the menu for the month of your flight. You can even make requests for specific meals (i.e. vegetarian, hindu, gluten free etc).
5. Pack an extra travel pillow. You are provided with one from the airline but to make the flight more comfortable you could buy a blow-up one that will easily fight in any size carry on.
6. Take motion sickness medicine. The original formula of dramamine will not only keep you from getting motion sickness, it will also help you sleep on the plane and that’s a win-win! Even if you’ve never had motion sickness it doesn’t hurt to take one of these for turbulence (it got me last time)!
7. Avoid an airplane cold. Airplane seats definitely aren’t cleaned as often as one would hope. Avoid getting sick from the flight by packing some lysol wipes to clean the seat back tray, remote, and arm rests. Also keep your hands clean with antibacterial hand gel.
8. Try compression socks and wear shoes that are easy to take on and off. Compression socks are used to help increase circulation and prevent blood clots in your legs. When sitting for multiple hours on end, these socks are really important! When thinking about what shoes to wear on your flight, we suggest wearing something that is easy to slip on and off so you can get comfy while seated but also be able get up and move when needed more easily.
9. Get up, stretch, and walk around often. Similar to our last item, in order to keep yourself from feeling cooped up and to help circulation, get up and move! While awake try to walk in the cabin every hour or two. After sleeping take extra time to stretch your legs, back, and arms to avoid feeling stiff. Check out this helpful article from The Week for some simple stretches you can do on an airplane.
10. Grab a good book. International Flights can be a real snooze fest if you can’t sleep or run out of movie options. I carry my Amazon Kindle while Logan uses the Kindle App on his iPad Air. Another perk? If you have a public library card you can often download eBooks for free before you leave!
11. If you can afford it, upgrade your flight. While economy seats aren’t bad for domestic travel, they can get fairly crowded during an international flight. Typically there are four levels of seating on international flights, economy, premium economy, business, and first class. Some of the main differences include: seat space, seat style, meals, and different amenities. Check out your preferred airline’s website in order to find specific details regarding their upgrades.