How to Survive a Long Flight- Learning From My Mistakes

So let me start by saying, I am in no way an expert. There are plenty of people that travel far more than me who know about this. However, I’ve made my share of mistakes, and tried to learn from them, so I figure why not share the wisdom I’ve garnered from my errors? Thankfully, the longest flight I’ve been on up to this point is nine hours, because I get a little stir crazy trapped for long periods of time.

My first long flight was when I went to England last year. I flew about an hour and a half or so to D.C., and then got on the big plane. It was a six hour flight, and I was woefully unprepared. Looking back, it was sort of sad. I was SO nervous. I was traveling by myself, and it was my first international flight. Before that point, I don’t think I went more than an hour and a half away from home by myself.

So anyway, I didn’t know how to read my ticket, so instead of the isle seat in the middle, I was in the middle of the window seats. Smashed between two strangers. Um, never again if I can help it. I was having a vanity moment, so I didn’t take any of my makeup off, because I didn’t want to arrive in England the next morning bare faced. I’m sure those of that have traveled can imagine how I looked. For those of you that haven’t, I looked like I was dragged behind the plane instead of riding in it.

I was also super picky about the neck pillow that I wanted. Dad tried to talk me into one of those that goes around your neck, but I wasn’t having it. I wanted one of those bean bag sort of ones. I sleep on my side, I said. That one will work for me. Now, I’d heard about economy seats and how much room they give you. But did I believe it? No. Did that pillow make it out of my overly full carry on once during the flight? No. No, it did not.

So there I was, so cold I was shivering, on this flight, wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into. I think I slept maybe a total of two hours the whole OVERNIGHT flight, and not two hours together. It’s a miracle that I made it to my pickup at the airport, I was so tired. I also overpacked in a major way, but that’s for another post.

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to India with a small group from school. This time, I was determined that I was going to do better. It was also a much longer flight, and we had to hit the ground running, and I didn’t want to be the one that slows the whole group down. We had three flights there, and three back. We caught a hopper to Chicago, then a eight hour flight to Munich. From there, after a couple of hours layover, we had a nine hour flight to India. Whew. I was a world traveler, I could do this.

I watched YouTube videos, I looked at pins on Pinterest. I was determined to pack lighter, and with stuff that I actually needed. You can find the post of what exactly I packed in my carry on in a couple of days.

I showed up the the airport with a light face of makeup, because I didn’t want my travel companions to ask if I was feeling ok. On our flight to Chicago, I listened to some music on my phone, and read on my kindle. We were flying against the sun, so it was my goal to stay awake for about half of the first flight, and sleep when I could, and then try and sleep most of the second flight. I slept some, though not as much as I would have liked, because for some reason, even though I was sitting by myself, I couldn’t make myself get too much stuff out of my bag. I need more confidence sometimes. Mom sent me with a comfort kit, which I will talk about in the what’s in my carry on post, but let me tell you, it was great.

The way back, we had our nine hour flight, and then a six hour layover in Munich, then the eight hour flight, then an hour and a half layover, then an hour and a half flight. Ugh. Let me say this, if you have the money and the opportunity to travel not economy, take it.

On the first flight on the way back, one of my travel buddies described my look to me as full on tourist. I had on an eye mask, big headphones, and a neck pillow. But I slept for like four hours. Then, when we go to Munich, we found an empty waiting area at one of the terminals, and all stretched out on the hard plastic chairs, got out our pillows, and fell asleep. For like three and a half hours. It was beautiful, and we did not wake up to find all our stuff gone. And y’all, when I say we slept, I don’t mean a light doze, I mean I, at least, was dead to the world. You could have one up to me and walked off with all of my possessions, I would have had no clue. Because we were chasing the sun on the way home, I didn’t worry too much about sleeping on our second flight, because we were going to be getting home in the evening, so I knew that I could pretty much go straight to sleep when I got home.

And I did. And it was glorious. So yeah. I’m improving. Still have a ways to go before I will consider myself anywhere close to a seasoned traveler, but I’m much farther along than when I started. And that’s what matters.

Lord willing, I will have the post about what’s in my carry on sometime later this week. Since I’m not currently planning on going anywhere, I will have to drag the stuff out of storage and gather it, but I’m going to try by best to get that up this week. Soon.