Flying coach as you explore the world doesn’t have to be miserable – not with these 15 helpful tips. From hygiene and hydration to entertainment and healthy snacks, these tricks will help ensure that flying coach is a breeze:
1. Bring a Travel Pillow
If you’ve ever done a long flight, you know how uncomfortable it can be. If it’s not the lack of space, perhaps your seat is too hard, or your arms are cramped in their positions. If it’s not that either, perhaps there just isn’t enough air circulating throughout the plane, and you’re sweating through your clothes. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt that flying a coach is not always fun—and sometimes even downright miserable.
But what if we told you there was something out there that could make all these issues go away? What if we told you about the magical world of travel pillows? Many people don’t realize how much these handy accessories can help them feel more at ease on their flights (or trains). Many travelers consider themselves “travel pillow connoisseurs” because they know how important having one can be when trying to get some shut-eye during those long hours spent traveling!
2. Pack a Light Blanket in Your Carry-on
Airplanes are notoriously cold, especially on long flights. The good news is that you can bring a small light blanket in your carry-on and cover up with it if you need extra warmth. It’s also best to bring one that’s not too heavy or bulky—otherwise, it’ll just take up space in your bag and be hard to pack.
Don’t forget to put the blanket in your carry-on before heading to the airport!
3. Find the Most Comfortable Clothes for Your Flight
You will be in an airplane for a long time when you fly coach. You’ll want to wear comfortable clothes and be easy to move around.
- Wear clothes that are easy to take off and put on (e.g., sleeves with buttons instead of zippers)
- Wear clothes that don’t have lots of pockets where things can get lost (e.g., avoid jeans)
4. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Drinking water and other non-alcoholic beverages will help you to stay hydrated, which can help prevent dehydration and the headaches that can come with it.
Don’t drink too much coffee or alcohol, though! While caffeine and alcohol both have diuretic effects, meaning they make the body release more urine than usual, neither is good for you in large quantities. If you drink too much coffee or alcohol on a flight (or at all), your heart rate will be higher than usual, potentially causing an increase in blood pressure as well as putting stress on your heart muscle itself; as a result, drinking too much could lead to heart failure or stroke if left unchecked over time
5. Watch Out for Germs on the Plane
It’s common for many people to touch their hands to their faces and then wipe their mouths, or touch the seat in front of them and then put their hand in their mouth or nose. To avoid this, try not to touch your face at all.
Also, wash your hands before and after eating—even if it is peanuts! If you do happen to touch something like the armrests or tray table, use sanitizing wipes (provided by flight attendants) to clean them off before touching anything else with those same hands; it might seem silly, but it’s better than catching something nasty while sitting on a flight where there are thousands of people around!
6. Wear Compression Socks or Sleeves
If you have a long flight ahead of you and are anything like me, your legs might feel a little swollen and tired. Compression socks or sleeves are great for reducing swelling. They also help to improve blood flow to your feet and ankles, which helps prevent swelling in the first place.
7. Take a Walk Whenever You Can
- When you’re in coach, the aisle seat is your best friend. You can use it to walk up and down the plane if your legs get sore or get snacks from the galley at any time.
- If you’re sitting near a window, use that as an excuse to get up and stretch now and then: looking out at the clouds helps take your mind off how uncomfortable flying coach can be (or how claustrophobic it feels).
- Don’t forget about those little pockets under each seat for storing things! They’re mini storage units where no one will bother taking anything from them (this is not true of overhead bins).
8. Stretch Before and After Your Flight
Stretch before and after your flight. This can help blood circulation, muscle tension, and deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot). If it’s been a long day of travel or you have time to kill in the airport before your flight, it’s best to stretch so you don’t cramp up on the plane.
9. Take Advantage of Layovers
If you have a layover, use it.
Explore the city you’re visiting. If there’s an airport in your destination city, then by all means, use that time to explore! You might even be able to find some cool stuff like food trucks or local businesses that will make your trip more authentic and memorable.
Use layovers as an opportunity for some much-needed rest. If you’re flying from America’s East Coast to Europe, this might mean sleeping in a bed instead of on a plane seat with tiny pillows and blankets that get tangled around your arms (it’s happened). Or if you’re traveling from Los Angeles to New York City on one of those annoying direct flights where they make all passengers deplane in Chicago and then fling them back up into the air again after only 10 minutes on land (no, seriously), then sleeping at home may be better than fighting off sleep deprivation during yet another flight delay while also trying not to piss yourself with fear every time another engine fails and makes everyone onboard highly nervous about whether we’ll get off safely or not after having already lost two planes recently due to their respective engines failing mid-flight…
10. Bring Healthy Snacks on Board With You!
- Try to avoid foods that will make a mess or spill. Cleaning up crumbs and sticky messes in your seat is not fun. If you want something sweet, choose something that can be eaten with your hands (like granola bars) instead of something messy (like muffins).
- Choose snacks that are easy to eat. You don’t want anything too heavy or complex—and if it needs utensils or napkins, make sure they are easily accessible and stored away when not in use.
- Choose snacks that are easy to pack. If you have food allergies or limitations on what foods you can eat while flying, then consider this while packing your snack bag ahead of time so as not to have any issues with bringing on board the plane with you—or worse yet: having someone else bring on board for their consumption only because they couldn’t find any other options available for sale at security checkpoints (or even worse than this: being asked by flight attendants themselves whether there’s anything wrong with having an empty bag!).
11. Check Out the Airline’s Entertainment Options Ahead of Time
Before getting on the plane, check out the airline’s entertainment options. Some airlines have better entertainment options than others, so it may help to know what’s available before sitting in your seat.
12. Bring a Good Book, Magazine, or Crossword Puzzle!
Read! It’s a great way to pass the time and kill boredom. I recommend bringing a good book or magazine to read, but if that isn’t your style, try crossword puzzles. They’re enjoyable and good brain exercise too!
13. Pack Your Earbuds or Headphones if They’re Essential to You
While most airlines offer headphones for purchase, they aren’t always the most comfortable or durable pair. If you know in advance that your favorite pair of earbuds or headphones is essential to you, pack them with your carry-on luggage so they won’t get lost while waiting in line to board.
14. Be Ready to Get Comfy
There are several reasons to sit in the middle of a plane. First, it’s easier for flight attendants to serve you if they don’t have to walk around your seat. Second, sitting in the middle means you’ll be surrounded by people on either side and won’t feel like an island in the sky (or wherever else you’re flying). Third, it means that if someone gets sick during or after take-off or landing—which is more likely than not—you’ll know right away to stop them from throwing up on your things!
Another good strategy is to get a window seat so that other passengers won’t recline their seats into yours when they feel like napping. Or maybe flip that idea and choose an aisle seat so people will lean back into yours when they want some extra space (or privacy). Maybe even consider sitting near one end of the plane, so fewer mouths are breathing down on yours…
15. Wash Up as Soon as You Get to Where You’re Going!
Whether it’s a hotel room or a friend’s house, wash your hands with soap and water, then use hand sanitizer. If there is no sink, use the hand towel in the room to wipe off any dirt that didn’t come off with just water. Then take out your face wipes (or do what I do and use baby wipes) on your face and neck to further cleanse yourself. Finally, jump in for a shower if possible—it’ll help refresh you after being in an enclosed space for so long! After all of this cleaning up, feel free to brush your teeth or use mouthwash if possible.
This might seem like a lot to remember, but we promise it will pay off in the long run. You’ll be thanking yourself when you’re comfortably stretched out in your seat, watching a movie on your headphones while eating snacks that you packed yourself. And when the flight is over, any layover time may feel more like a fun adventure than an annoying break in your trip. Bon, voyage!
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