Taking the Pain out of International Flights

Someone once said that getting there was half the fun. Obviously whoever said that didn’t spend much time stuck in airports or squeezed into economy seating on international flights. I, on the other hand, have. Making the most of your trip starts with taking the pain out of international flights.

 Tips for taking the pain out of international travel from CNOW

That Stale Sandwich Costs HOW Much?

Unless you can subsist on twelve pretzels and a miniaturized bottle of water, you’re going to need a little nosh before you board that long flight. Though some airports are getting better when it comes to eateries -notably a small extension of iconic Jerry Remy’s in concourse “C” at Boston’s Logan, where you can grab pub grub worthy of Bean Town and even passably good Chowdah –   most still subscribe to the old “standards” of bland, stale, and over priced fare.

If you’re looking at a long layover the better bet is often an airline club lounge.  These airport oases feature a veritable cornucopia of quality bites, comfortable seating, charging stations, and even grownup libations. On a recent flight with Aer Lingus I was invited to visit their lounge. Though it was a bit cumbersome to get to, once there the chef-prepared food, self-serve cocktail station, WiFi, and even take-away snacks were well worth the trek.

Not a member of the elite circle for the carrier you are flying with? No worries, several airlines offer one-day passes for purchase when traveling with them or on partner carriers.  With many in the $30-$50 range, they can easily pay for themselves after a refuel and a drink or two.  

Get Me OUT of Here!

One of my favorite tips for getting the best price on international flights, is to book them with a long layover. The added bonus here is you get a mini-trip out of it  – if you plan things properly.  Plus you get to escape the airport and stretch those gams, not to mention it’s great for staving off cabin fever in kids and adults alike.

Some of our best trips have been long layovers!

Turn a layover into a mini trip

I Was Promised There Would Be WiFi…

Nothing is quite as frustrating as hitting cruising altitude only to find out that the WiFi you were so stoked about is spotty, at best. Don’t physics play a role here?? I mean you’re closer to the damn satellite so shouldn’t the WiFi work?! Yeah, not always. 

As any good Scout will advise you… always be prepared.  Not just for the WiFi letdown, but for less than attractive on-board entertainment options like; $5 headsets that ONLY work on the two-pronged plane outlets, nonfunctional video screens, and… Boyhood (I’ll never get those twelve years back) 

My advice? Load up that playlist, download some flicks you WANT to watch (important not to confuse this with streaming – no WiFi = NO streaming,) grab a good old fashion page turner. Last, but not least, take along GOOD headphones. Nobody wants to hear the the fussy baby in the middle of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock soliloquies. Nobody!

I’ve become enamored of  BackBeat Fit wireless headphones by Plantronics – sent to me by Verizon Wireless for a test drive.  I’d never have expected that going wireless would make such a difference.  No more tangles (or cords stuck in the hairbrush in my purse.) The sound is on par with over-ear headphones like Beats, without messing the do or making you a target for a snatch and grab.

The Cold Shoulder

Let’s talk travel pillows. Call me picky, but there is no way I’m resting my head on the multi-user flatbread that passes for an airline pillow. That said, I’m not so keen on lugging a bulky travel pillow around the globe either.

The solution? An inflatable neck pillow. There are several on the market. Some in the classic “U” shape, others with a more ergonomic design like the Bucky Gusto.  REI carries a number of options you can test before buying.

Ugh, I’m So Bloated!

Okay, this may border on the wrong side of “TMI” but I tend to swell up like a tick during long flights. Not only can this be unsightly and uncomfortable, it can also be unhealthy.  For years I’d tried to stave off the bloat with extra hydration and moving about the cabin as often as I could. This can present issues on two fronts if you hit turbulence.  It isn’t fun to be over hydrated and stuck in your seat.

Find yourself a good – even cute – pair of compression socks and  maybe cut back on the water a bit. You may still swell a bit but you’re not going to have to grin and hold it.

Sweet Dreams, Baby

 If there is one universal truth to all air travel it is that the best fight is one you can sleep through.  As I often travel with kids in tow, this isn’t always possible. Neither is it an option if you can’t seem to nod off. Popping an Ambien at nine in the morning is often even less practical. This leaves us to turn to more homeopathic avenues – which are likely better for us anyway. 

Valerian has long been used to help ease the path to dreamland and has several application options as an essential oil. Some other options are lavender, and camomile. On the less holistic side there are a plethora of sleep aid products out there that contain active ingredients like diphenhydramine – which incidentally also helps with motion sickness and is an antihistamine that may help ease symptoms of allergies.*

I hope these few tips will have you enjoying every leg of your next adventure. Have tips of your own? I’d love to hear them!

Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse Spa
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Spa at JFK (photo credit: Virgin Atlantic Airlines)

 

 

* please be sure to check with your doctor before taking anything to help aid in sleep.

Disclosure: Technology item(s) mentioned were sent to me for review, no monetary compensation was provided. Opinions expressed are entirely my own, because honesty is always my policy. I have relationship with Verizon Wireless as part of the #VZWBuzz Social Media Team, but have not been asked to, nor required to provide a positive opinion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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