November 6, 2012

Tips For Comfy Flying

Well, I’m back States-side, and I have to say I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong; I love to travel and experience different cultures, but coming back home is always such a warming experience. Few things are as wonderful as landing in our home states and driving home to the recognizable sights and sounds. As I was thinking about all of this, I considered my flights. Each flight across the pond was eight and a half hours. That’s a long time. For anyone traveling overseas for the first time, I have some advice about what to bring.

  1. Bring a neck pillow. Airlines provide fliers with a little pillow and a blanket for the flight, and this is nice, but the pillow is not enough. Unless you fly first class, you will not be able to lie down at all. You’ll have to sleep sitting up. The pillow provided by airlines is not enough support for this. Several neck pillow options are available. I personally have a blow-up pillow. It fits nicely in my carry-on bag and is easy to use. I can personalize the firmness since I blow it up. Also available are neck pillows filled with little bead-like things. Fliers can buy these at any market like Target or Wal-Mart, but you can also find them at the airport. If it costs more than say $10-$12, then keep looking. It’s best to buy the ones that button at the front because they provide the best support. I cannot express how invaluable a neck pillow will be for overseas flights. Plus, you can then use the pillow provided by the airlines as a back pillow. This is best.
  2. Bring your own headphones or earbuds. Again, most airlines provide some sort of headphone, but it will not be comfortable and often it is not particularly easy to hear out of. You may want to invest in some sort of adapter that has two ends instead of just one because many European airlines use the two-prong input. Good headphones or earbuds seriously improve movie or tv watching abilities. If they fit nicely in your ears, you are much more likely to enjoy your viewing and listening experience. In combination with the neck pillow, this makes it far more likely that you will actually rest.
  3. I suggest bringing a sleep aid. For me, I use melatonin because I like to stay away from synthetic pills, but any sort of sleep aid will help in the resting process. The better you sleep on the plane, the easier the recovery from the jet lag will be. I promise.
  4. Bring a book, games, laptop, tablet, iPod, or whatever. You will have lots of time on the plane, so take advantage of it. I have written on planes, read books, listened to music, graded, and taken advantage of the provided movies and tv. On long flights, I make sure to bring plenty of stuff to do because sometimes sleep is not an option. When I just can’t sleep, these additional activities help me through the flight.
  5. Don’t forget a sweater or jacket or something. Sometimes those blankets provided by the airlines are not the best. Frankly, sometimes they suck. I always bring a cardigan or fleece with me. Never have I regretted having something. Along these same lines, dress comfy. I wear yoga pants and a t-shirt or a maxi-dress. Figure out what you are comfy in and go for it.
  6. Wear shoes that come off easily. You’re going to thank me if you do.

Lastly, drink plenty of water. This will help with the flight, your sleep, and the imminent jet lag. Flying can be an incredible experience; at the very least, flying leads us to incredible experiences. With a little bit of planning, flying can be more fun and more comfortable.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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