How to Survive Airports and Long Haul Flights

Ahh everyones least favourite part of travelling, amirite? The lines, security, the recycled air, the SWOLLEN FEET. You can’t wait to be on holiday but you just really, really want the next 14, 20, 32 (??) hours of travel to be over with. Unless you’re flying first class with Emirates or something, I’m not sure many people enjoy this part. We can’t bypass the travel part, we can only survive it. I’ve taken my fair share of fights and I think I’ve developed and learned some good tips to make the best of the worst part of travelling. And well, sharing is caring! Here are my tips and essentials on how to survive airports and long haul flights.

Flight Notifications

I think this is my most important tip. SIGN UP FOR FLIGHT NOTIFICATIONS. All of them. Ideally, from the website of the airport you’re flying from. I recently flew from Vancouver, BC to London, England and decided to sign up for flight notifications from the Vancouver airport. I only decided this because my flight to Vancouver was delayed and I was afraid of missing my next flight and I wanted updates as quickly as possible. When I landed in Vancouver (35 minutes before my next flight was supposed to leave), I received an email my flight to London was delayed an hour! Thank god, I would make it now.

When I got to check in, the airline employee me told me that the gate was closed. In which I responded that I got an email that it was delayed an hour so why was it closed. Get this. THE EMPLOYEE OF THE AIRLINE HAD NO IDEA THAT THE FLIGHT WAS DELAYED. It was only when I told her this that she looked into it more, called someone, spoke to the woman next to her (who also didn’t know that my flight was delayed) did she provide my boarding pass. Even the flight billboards weren’t updated with the delay. I only made that flight because I signed up for notifications from the Vancouver airport website. If I just got off the plane and checked the billboard I would never had gone to check in. My 20 hour journey almost became a 35 hour journey.

Pillow

You know those geeky travel pillows you see people use? They are SO worth it. Whether it’s on flights, trains or car rides. Sometimes I even put it on the tray in front of me and use it like a semi-regular pillow. I’ve increased my hours of sleep on a plane since getting one.

The Other Essentials

Sleeping mask, ear plugs, fuzzy socks, scarf that doubles as a blanket, drugs for sleeping and/or nausea.

Water

And not alcohol or salty drinks (I’m looking at you tomato juice). The last thing you want to do is get dehydrated on plane. Plane air is SO dry already. Fill up your water bottle after you pass security. I love my Swell water bottle (they actually work!).

Accommodations

So this is when you’ve left the airport. Depending on what time you arrive (late at night), I’d suggest booking a hotel/ hostel a little further from the airport. I know, I know hear me out. I once had a flight delayed from 11:30pm to 12:30am. At the time I was thankful af that I booked a hotel 1.6 km’s away from the airport. However, once we landed at 2am, no taxi or Uber was willing to take us there because the drive wasn’t worth it to them. We ended up having to walk there at 3:00am, down a sketchy street in a foreign country. If I was alone I would have either just slept in the airport or offered more cash (which would suck if you’re on a budget) to make the ride worth it to the driver.

Entertainment

Download movies and shows and bring a big book. I’ve had flights where the entertainment system was down and I didn’t have any other form of entertainment. If you bring a book, you can read it during your entire holiday and then give it to hotel staff, another local or donate it to a library or bookstore. Plus, you’ve now freed up your carry on!

Comfy Clothes

You’re not on a catwalk. Leggings, sweater and comfy shoes. Also, pack a pair of sunglasses to hide the bags under your eyes on arrival.

Airline Rules

If you’re taking a new airline, research it. I once had to pay a check in fee with a budget airline that was new to me because I had no idea you had to check in online no earlier than 2 hours before the flight. None of the emails I received mentioned it. And to be honest, after I paid the fee, I had to do A LOT of digging online to even find out you had to do this. That’s how the budget airlines get you! Don’t start your holiday by paying an unexpected fee.

Be Nice

To everyone, always. But for this post specifically, to the airline employees and flight attendants. I swear I haven’t had to pay the checked bag fee before because I was nice and chatted with check in employees. Also, the flight attendants are the ones taking care of you in the sky. Listen to them and remember your pleases and thank yous.

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