Do you dread being cramped up on an airplane with a bunch of screaming kids? Here are some hacks to make your trip a bit more enjoyable.
10. Take Care of Your Ears
First things first: if you’re sick with a cold, don’t fly! It can damage your eardrums, and you could end up losing your hearing temporarily. Next, to block out annoying sounds, make sure you bring some earplugs with you. Noise-canceling headphones will work as well. Another option is to avoid sitting near loud kids. According to The Independent, a flight attendant wrote on Oyster.com that you can lessen your chances of sitting next to a screaming baby by “choosing a seat that’s located far from the partitions on board. These partitions, which go by the technical name ‘bulkheads,’ are the only places on an aircraft where a parent can safely secure a baby’s bassinet — and are, therefore, where most children under one year old will be situated.”
TIP: Children’s ears are especially sensitive to pressure changes, so if you’re flying with yours, make sure you give them something to drink or suck, such as water, pacifiers, lollipops, etc. And, if by chance they have a stuffy nose, give them a few drops of saline prior to takeoff and landing.
9. Watch What You Eat and Drink
First of all, make sure you drink something–preferably water. And, plenty of it. That’s because airplane cabins have low humidity, and you can easily get dehydrated or end up with a bladder infection or cystitis. Avoid drinking alcohol as it could make you further dehydrated. If your kids are on the flight, make sure they drink plenty, too.
As for food, you just might be better off bringing your own. Not just because airline food is typically gross, but because you’ll need to be careful what you eat while flying. According to the BBC, Alwin van Drongelen, a chronobiologist at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, says that it’s best to eat light and healthy while in flight. That’s because fatty foods can make you feel uncomfortable when you’re trying to sleep. If the airline doesn’t have anything that’s considered light and healthy, then you’ll be prepared by bringing your own salad or fruit or something similar.
Another reason you should bring your own food and snacks? Food-borne illnesses. This can be especially true on flights that originate in countries with poor hygiene standards.
8. Fight Jet Lag
There are a number of things you can do to keep jet lag at bay. One thing to do is to eat foods rich in carbohydrates like oatmeal, whole grain bread, and pasta. They’ll help induce the secretion of insulin which will make it easier for you to avoid jet lag. Or, rather than eating, you could go on a fast right before a long-haul flight. That will ease your jet lag as well. Another option is to take an over-the-counter sleep aid like Ambien or synthetic melatonin.
TIP: If you happen to be flying with your kids, a way to make jet lag easier on them is to gradually shift their bedtimes and nap times a week before the trip.
7. Give Yourself Extra Legroom
If you can’t pay extra for a seat with lots of legroom, create some legroom yourself. Start by packing light. Take as few bags as possible with you on the flight so the space by your feet can be free. Next, pick the right seat. This could be an aisle seat, emergency exit rows, or bulkead rows–the seats directly behind the walls or curtains that split up the plane. These are good for extra legroom because they don’t have any seats in front of them.
DID YOU KNOW?
There’s still one more way you can get extra legroom–the secret legroom button! According to an article published by MSN, there’s a button that only the flight crew knows about that can be pressed to lift the armrests up and give you more leg room. The purpose of the button is for allowing an easy exit during an emergency. It’s also there for disabled travelers. Unfortunately, not all planes are equipped with this feature.
6. Get Moving
Speaking of your legs, did you know that travelers on long-haul flights are at risk for developing blood clots? Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can result from being seated too long. As a result, you could end up with swollen feet and ankles, not to mention leg pain. Therefore, you’ll want to move around a bit on the flight. This will help stop the blood from pooling in your feet. Another thing you can do is wear compression stockings. Also, don’t put luggage under the seat in front of you. You’ll want to keep that space free so you can move about as needed.
5. Be Comfortable
In addition to giving yourself extra space for your legs, you’ll also want to make sure you wear comfortable clothes–anything with elastic will do. Or, anything loose fitting, for that matter. Comfortable shoes are a must, too. If you’re traveling First Class, be aware that there is a dress code. You should check your air carrier’s rules to make sure you don appropriate attire. And, don’t forget to pack a travel pillow. Pack a scarf, big shawl and warm socks, too, just in case the flight crew or other travelers adjust the thermal comfort in the cabin to a level that’s not to your liking.
4. Bring Your Own Entertainment
Download movies, TV shows, books and anything else you can think of to your electronic devices. And, don’t forget to charge them before you leave. And, if you’re traveling with the little ones, make sure you pack their favorite toys. You might want to consider bringing bubbles, too, travel expert Samantha Brown said in an article published by Forbes. “Bubbles allow kids to jump and run in delight before they get on a plane. I’ve also used them a couple of times when I’ve been on a plane where there’s a screaming child, and the poor parents haven’t equipped themselves. It distracts the baby… Every child and every baby loves bubbles,” she said.
3. Pack Light
Packing light will help you save space. It’ll also spare you from having to struggle with a bunch of heavy bags, which could lead to health problems. According to the BBC, Richard Dawood, a general practitioner who specializes in travel medicine at London’s Fleet Street Clinic, says that dragging around heavy luggage “raises the risk of muscle strains and musculoskeletal problems that will only be compounded by immobility and cramped seating once on board.”
Packing light can also help you save on baggage fees. One way to do that is with wearable luggage like the BauBax jacket. This jacket comes with 15 built-in features, including an inflatable neck pillow, a drink holder, compartments for storing your electronic devices, and gloves. The jacket comes in four styles: blazer, bomber, windbreaker, and sweatshirt. It costs anywhere from $149 to $199.
TIP: For items you absolutely cannot leave behind, consider shipping them to your hotel. Just make sure you check with the hotel first to see if they’ll be willing to hold your packages.
2. Get a Cheaper Upgrade
Did you know that by simply asking for an upgrade, in addition to being loyal to your airline, you could actually get bumped up to, say, First Class? Even if you’re not a loyal traveler, some airlines will still offer upgrades at a reduced price the day of the flight, Celessa Dietzel, a flight attendant, told Business Insider. You need to “be in the boarding area good and early during boarding, because this is when you’ll hear the announcements for last-minute upgrade purchases you might be able to get,” she said.
1. Get Free Stuff
If you want to get free stuff on your flight, complain. “Complaining gets some people free stuff,” a flight attendant told Business Insider. Just be careful you don’t complain too much. That free stuff might also come with a free slap in the face or free saliva in your drink if you happen to rub someone the wrong way. But, if something goes wrong while you’re on the flight, feel free to complain to someone about it. It just might get you a free meal or drink. Some travelers are even upgraded and given more points.
Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments below. Thanks for reading!