6 Ways to Stay Zen During a Long-Haul Flight

Many travelers experience a funny combination of excitement and dread while waiting to board a long-haul flight. On the one hand, there are plenty of good reasons to be enthusiastic. No matter how frequently you fly, journeying across continents and over oceans never gets old. Who doesn’t love looking out the plane window and glimpsing a glorious natural wonder or a spectacular sunset? Plus, boarding a lengthy flight means you’re only hours away from embarking on a long-awaited adventure.

And yet, one obstacle does stand between you and that epic adventure: the flight itself. Spending six or more hours in a cramped plane seat can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Even the most experienced travelers struggle to sleep soundly during a long-haul flight, and many passengers arrive at their destinations feeling stiff and under-slept.

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: long-haul flights don’t have to be a burden. There’s no need to face your next flight with dread. In fact, armed with our tools and techniques for in-flight relaxation, you might just find yourself enjoying your time on board.

1. Pack snacks.

Buying overpriced junk food at the airport might be convenient, but packing healthy snacks will make your plane flight easier on the soul (and stomach). One day before your departure, prepare a few plastic bags of tasty treats and stash them in your carry on. Make sure at least one snack is packed with protein. You never know when you might need the sustenance.

2. Use essential oils.

Essentials oils aren’t just for spas anymore. A few drops of these supercharged scented oils has a powerful effect on your energy and mood. Lavender oil promotes restfulness and relaxation, and peppermint reduces nausea and increases energy. Pack a small bottle of each and dab a few drops on a tissue whenever you need a boost, or pick up an oil-infused sleep mask before your flight.

3. Bring a change of clothes.

No need to choose between feeling comfy on the plane and looking good when you land. Pack pajamas or sweats in your carry-on and wear your favorite travel-chic outfit to the airport. After takeoff, head to the restroom to change into your comfy clothes, then relax and enjoy the flight. Before your final descent, change back into your travel outfit. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to arrive in style.

4. Stay hydrated.

Plane flights dehydrate the human body like nobody’s business. Avoid dehydration headaches by drinking at least one cup of water every hour. Want to prevent that uncomfortable dry skin sensation? Don’t use facial sprays or mists, which actually increase dryness. Instead, apply a heavy layer of moisturizer before takeoff. The thick lotion will act as a shield to prevent your skin from losing moisture.

5. Stretch, stretch, and stretch again.

Hear the ding of the seatbelt sign turning off? Make like Pavlov’s dog and leap out of your seat. Walk back and forth down the aisle, bend down and touch your toes, do squats in the lavatory – whatever it takes to get your body loosened up. You can even try out a few in-flight yoga poses while you wait in the lavatory line. Blood clots present a real risk, as do painful muscle cramps and stiff joints. Avoid the discomfort by stretching as often as possible.

6. Plan to sleep, but prepare for insomnia.

If all goes according to plan, you’ll be snoozing peacefully within a few hours. However, circadian rhythms don’t always cooperate, and you can only re-read the in-flight magazine a handful of times before you start going stir-crazy. Instead of feeling frustrated by your wakefulness, make the most of it. Flip on your reading light and immerse yourself in a novel. Listen to a podcast, binge-watch a new show, or practice meditating. Try to enjoy the peace and quiet of the darkened cabin. Before you know it, your adventure will begin.

How do you stay calm and comfortable on a long-haul flight? Share your favorite tools and techniques with us! 

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