How do we make a long flight comfortable while flying coach? Quite well actually 🙂 because we are prepared. All you need is to choose the right travel comfort accessories & products. I bring with me an emergency kit for (pretty much) every eventuality on board. This kit goes into a clear plastic 1-gallon zip lock bag, which is stored under my seat. Here is what’s in my kit:
Headphones (for tv, music, phone)
USB cord (to charge my phone, many airlines now have plugs)
Passport (always keep on you and easily accessible)
A good travel credit card (one with no international transaction fees). If you do need to buy something on an airplane you’ll need a cc, make it easily accessible.
Pen (to fill out documents)
Printed out itinerary, tour and attraction tickets, hotel information (although we are very electronic in the US in many places printed out copies are still required)
Painkillers – in this small bottle I have a selection of Tylenol, Tylenol Pm, Advil and Motrin. You can alternate painkillers if you really get in trouble. Useful for people who get migraines or get back pain from sitting very long.
A water bottle – Of course, you are not allowed to bring a full water bottle into the airport. But an empty one is just fine. You can refill it from the water they serve on the plane (that at least is still free), or buy a fresh one at the airport and refill it.
Vitamin C –If there was a miracle drug, this would be it. Put a small pill into your water bottle and wait 20 minutes for it to dissolve, shake well. The water will taste slightly sour a little bit like lemonade. Each time you refill your water bottle adds another pill. I promise whatever germs are in the air you won’t catch them. It really works!
A small bottle of Vaseline – The air in an airplane is exceptionally dry. Dabbing a small amount of Vaseline on the insides of your nose will help keep it moist for hours, both increasing your comfort level and helping fight off infection (many studies show that nose dryness contributes to catching colds).
A small pack of wipes – As every trekker knows when you can’t take a shower, use wipes! They really do work, and I bring face friendly ones because I like to remove whatever product I am wearing before I go to sleep. Just make sure to bring a second pack for your flight back.
A small bottle of facial lotion (to put on before you go to sleep).
A small package of sunblock – to put on before you leave the plane. Very important to keep your skin looking amazing 🙂
Earplugs – although this picture shows only 2 make sure to put at least 6 into your kit! They are small and always get lost at the worst possible moment. And the last thing you want is to be stuck to some big snoring guy with no plugs.
Sometimes the flight attendant might be able to get you some, but don’t count on it – discount airlines, discount service. They are disposable after one use so make sure you have plenty of the flight back.
Face mask – absolute life saver. Between this and earplugs and travel pillow its almost like you are in private room in 1st class 😉 (ok almost lol)
Snacks – I avoid airline food like well… food in coach, but I will pick at it (if I am awake when its served) because sometimes things are tolerable. DON’T count on airline food and you won’t be disappointed.
I like having several bars, lots of chocolate covered goodies (dark chocolate is better for you), nuts and other healthy things and of course fruit! Fruit is a little tricky because you aren’t allowed to bring it into a country.
But dispose of whatever you have on the airplane and you will be in compliance with all regulations. Make sure everything is freshly washed before you get on board. On the way back pick up fresh local fruit and dispose of it before you leave your flight.
If you must have a hot meal many noodle bowls will taste better than airline food (just ask for hot water). I am usually just fine with my bars for 24 hours.
Ask for vegetarian options when booking your seat, usually, they are slightly more tolerable, vegetarian meals may make you more comfortable flying in coach.
Toothpaste and toothbrush – Try to brush your teeth before you go to sleep because you never know how gross the bathrooms will be when you wake up.
Nail file (I will literally always break a nail on an airplane. Its basically a rule).
Lip moisturizer helps deal with dry air.
A pack of travel tissues.
Panty liners – This might be TMI for some, but if you can’t take a shower and change your clothes for 12 to 24 hours these are a life saver.
Melatonin pills – Melatonin is a chemical that is naturally produced in your brain when you fall asleep. It’s also beyond awesome for fighting jetlag.
Here is how I use it: The moment we are safely in the air and its safe to move through the cabin, I switch my phone clock and my mental clock to the time in the new location, even if the difference is 8 or 12 hours.
As far as I am concerned it’s now not 12 pm but 12 am. Try to get a window seat if at all possible so you are not disturbed by passengers going in and out for the restroom.
If I know I am going to get hungry in an hour or two I’ll eat before I go to sleep (one of my snacks so I don’t have to wait for the awful airline food.) If it’s time to go to sleep in the location you are flying to, then its time for you to go to sleep. Whenever its 10 or 11 pm in the location where I am traveling, I pop 2 melatonin pills, and if necessary (like if it’s the middle of the day in my take off time zone) two Tylenol pm pills.
I go through my sleep routine, put on my facemask, earplugs, pillow and to go to sleep. You may not get great sleep, but you will get some and most adults can be quite functional on 4 or 5 hours. When you do land you act like it’s the time where you landed.
Don’t go to bed before 9 pm local time. At 9 pm local time take 2 more melatonin pills (and a sleeping pill or two if you know you need it) and THEN a hot shower, for some reason it always works best if you take the pills before the shower.
For me, this means I suffer virtually no jet lag and I am completely functional the moment I get to my location.
Travel Pillow – You will notice mine doesn’t look like most people’s. The truth is there is almost an infinite variety, and I’ve tried several. So far this is the one that works best for me, but it might be some time of trial and error. Keep trying until you find one that works well for you. A great travel pillow will keep you more comfortable in coach, especially if you score a seat next to the window.
Sleeping pills – if you need them (I keep mine together with the melatonin). I like Tylenol Pm but most of the counter things will work for me. Make sure you try it at home to know how it’ll affect you first.
Duplicates of everything disposable in another ziplock bag for your trip back. Make sure you have everything on this list in another one-gallon ziplock bag for your trip back and you’ll be just as comfortable when flying home. I don’t do checked luggage so I store it in my carry on.
The most important thing to bring on board – LOW expectations. You are flying coach for a reason – because you are a sensible, price savvy traveler, and if you follow me on twitter you are probably getting a killer deal on this flight (@traveltipstergo). Don’t expect anything except to get to your destination safely and you won’t have a problem on board 🙂
Hope these useful tips & tricks will help you in future. Read more post here on Traveltipster for amazing travel ideas, pictures and itineraries of my travels from around the world <3