To my fellow travelers out there, we know that in many cases the “traveling” itself is actually the worst part. Some locations more than others can have excruciatingly long travel times while you wait in cramped anticipation to land at your final destination. Sorry to break it to you, but Floo Powder still only exists in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
When I first left for Zambia I had 30+ hours of travel time ahead of me. During one of the three flights it took to get there, I remember thinking to myself that I was crazy and wondering what I got myself into. Over a days worth of traveling?! I was for sure going bonkers. The good news is that my sanity returned after finally arriving in Livingstone, and I had a terrific experience that was totally worth the travel time. How did I survive? That is exactly what I am here to tell you today.
My ultimate flying necessity: Dramamine. I won’t fly without it. It cures my motion sickness like a charm, even allowing me to comfortably read on the plane. It also helps put me to sleep when I need to catch some zzz’s. Sleep is critical, especially on those long overnight flights. It could mean using a neck pillow or eye mask, having a drink, taking sleeping pills, or listening to music. Whatever it takes, do what you need to so you are able to get some rest and feel somewhat refreshed when you arrive.
Make sure you take advantage of long layovers! If you have the time, get out and see a new (or familiar) city. It will beat sitting around in an airport any day! (Well, maybe not for much longer with the crazy cool airports that are developing, like the growing Dubai International Airport or Singapore’s Changi Airport). For now, do some research on where you have a layover. See if it is feasible or even a good idea to leave the airport behind for a while and check out what the city has to offer. There are always forums (check TripAdvisor!) where people give advice on things to do in the city where you have a layover, the best transportation to take from the airport, how much time you will need, etc.
On the way to Zambia, my sister and I spent a day in Frankfurt, Germany and on the way back home we spent a day in Zurich, Switzerland. I got to explore two new cities just because of layovers! Had we not stopped in Zurich on the way home I would have missed out on enjoying the beauty of the spectacular sunrise over Lake Zurich. I’d say that definitely beats spending long hours in an airport.
They key with layovers is to make sure you pack a change of clothes in your carry on. I would not walk around in Germany or Switzerland in yoga pants, but I also do not want to wear jeans on a long flight. Packing a change of clothes to have with you is good to do anyway, just to be prepared for that worst case scenario where your luggage could get lost.
Just want to kill some time? I enjoy reading on flights. I can knock out a whole lot of reading with long flight times. The in flight movies are also a great option. They usually have quite a few choices of TV shows or movies to watch on most flights. The SkyMall magazine is another good choice that is always a winner. It is amazing some of the items that they sell in there! And finally… snacks! Eating is always a fun time-killer, right? You will be glad you have something to much on when you start to get hungry in between those lovely in-flight meals.
Have more long flight survival tips? Share in the comments!