If we’re honest, few of us really enjoy flying. It’s the necessary evil that gets us to our dream destination in the shortest space of time. There are plenty of ways you can make the experience more bearable. Here are Mundana’s travel hacks for your next flight.
Increase your chances of an upgrade
Turning left on the plane is a privilege and few of us would turn down the chance to do so. If your budget doesn’t stretch to a full price ticket in business or first class cabins, see if you can secure an upgrade. Stay loyal to one carrier and sign up for their air miles scheme. Look for credit cards that offer points as incentives, though always pay off your balance monthly to avoid incurring interest charges. At the airport, ask check-in staff if there are any upgrades available on your flight. If it’s oversold, offer to take the next flight in exchange for an one. Free upgrades are increasingly scarce, but you may be able to pay for one which would still be considerably cheaper than the regular fare. On board, offer to move if someone needs to switch seats.
Minimise jet lag
Jet lag ruins a good holiday – it’s no fun waking at four in the morning when you’re off work and expecting to indulge yourself by sleeping in. Try to alter your routine a few days before you travel or at least during the flight. If it’s late at night at your destination, don’t eat a large meal. It’s best to eat smaller snacks – avoid anything that will make you feel bloated – and drink plenty of water throughout your flight. Instead, pop on an eye mask to regulate your exposure to bright light and try to fit in a nap. When you arrive, aim to go to bed at a normal time – daytime snoozing will just prolong the agony. Limiting the use of electronic devices like phones and tablets late at night will also improve your chances of nodding off.
Dress and pack with the airport in mind
Airport security procedures are there to keep us safe. But that doesn’t mean the queues are frustrating and the irritation we feel when the person in front of us is dithering isn’t real. Think about how to pass through this section of the airport as quickly as possible. Wear slip-on shoes if you are likely to be asked to remove them. Avoid a belt if you don’t need one. Carry coins in a purse rather than a pocket. Have all your liquids and gels in the correct sized bottles and make sure they fit into one clear plastic bag according to regulations. Ensure your laptop is easily accessible while you’re landside; repack it with a view to protecting it from pickpockets before you leave the airport at the other end. Most importantly of all, make sure you are unfailingly polite to security staff.
Drink plenty of water
It can be very tempting to accept a glass of wine or two as we jet off to the sun, but it’s almost the worst thing you can do. Flying is very dehydrating and the addition of alcohol just worsens that impact. As well as drinking plenty of water onboard, try to avoid too much tea and coffee which some say have a diuretic effect. Spritzing your face with a pocket spray will help; if you have forgotten to bring one, splash water onto your face every few hours. Applying a good moisturiser to your face and hands will also help you feel more comfortable. Continue this routine when you arrive at your destination and remember, if you start to feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Stretch your legs
It’s not good for our bodies to be folded into cramped spaces. Regardless of which cabin you’re flying in, try to get up and stretch your legs every few hours. Many airlines publish suggested exercise routines in the in-flight magazine. Try periodically circling your ankles, rolling your neck and stretching your calf muscles. For those most at risk of DVT, it’s worth investing in a pair of compression stockings for flights over five hours. They work by putting a little pressure on your legs which helps to maintain blood flow. A short stroll around the cabin can help, but try not to get in the way of members of the cabin crew if they’re trying to serve passengers or you won’t be popular.