Surviving Economy Class

For most of us student travelers, the only fares that we can afford to take trips abroad are economy flights, and believe me, economy class is no walk in the park. After surviving my fair share of 13+ hour flights, I think I am beginning to get the knack of things and how to stay comfortable on those long hauls. Here’s my top tips for being able to get through those long flights:

  1. Wear comfortable clothes

I can’t stress enough how important this is. When I’m heading to the airport for the long flights, I always wear super comfortable workout gear and slip-on flats so that I can easily take on and off my shoes when going through security. Make sure that you can move freely in the clothing so that you can comfortably sit in various different positions while on the plane. I don’t know about you, but crisscross applesauce is one my go to positions on any flight. I like being able to pull my legs up on the seat with me.

2. Bring a large scarf

A few christmases ago I was gifted this poncho/scarf thing that has forever changed my life when it comes to traveling comfortably. The scarf is about 5 feet long and about 1.5 feet wide and wraps around your body like a shawl with small buttons to hold it together in the front. I can use it to wrap myself up, use it as a scarf in incredibly cold weather, and it can also be used as a blanket if I ever get stuck in the airport. You’ll want to carry something like this with you that you can use for multiple purposes and I’ve found that large square scarves tend to be my go-tos for this. You can wear them as skirts to go into the temples, they can be used to drape over your head and provide you with shade, then can be laid out as beach towels, and used as blankets when its cold.

3. Electronics are crucial

This is pretty much a no-brainer and since nearly everyone on the planet has a smart phone these days, you’re sure not to forget it. Before I go, I hook up my iPad and iPhone with lots of fun apps that will keep me occupied for long periods of time. I also upload videos like “Ted Talks” and various audio books so that I can just put headphones in and zone out a little bit. Plus it tends to be more soothing that music alone and I can tend to listen to them for longer; sometimes listening to music with headphones too long gives me a headache.

4. Eye mask, anyone?

Another gotta-have-it for me is my eye mask. It’s just a plain black eye mask that folds up compactly so it barely takes up any room in my bag and it does a great job of blocking out unwanted light. It’s also just comfortable, which is never a bad thing.

5. Take a sleeping aid

If you’re like me, then it’s literally impossible for me to fall asleep on planes. I don’t know what it is about it, but I have the hardest time ever falling asleep during the flight. It probably has largely to do with sitting in one position at the time, but nonetheless, I’ve found that taking a sleeping aid, even if I don’t actually fall asleep, helps to relax my body and make sitting in the plane chair easier.

6. Free Alcohol

Remember, alcohol is free on international flights. Enough said. You’re welcome.

What are your tips for surviving those long flights abroad?


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