Nowadays, in-flight movies have great selections. But you’re not always flying, and the plane doesn’t always have a TV. So what to do? I recently traveled for more than 24 hours straight (including layovers). So I can say with confidence: it’s hard, but you can do it. Also, I know I have more do’s than I have don’ts. I guess I’m just a positively-thinking person? Sorry if I’ve disappointed you with my 7 do’s and only 4 don’ts. But remember, these are just suggestions from me – you can disregard them if you’d like, but these are what I’ve found helpful.
- Do: Bring a good book: It can be a book you’ve read before, or one that’s been sitting on your list for a while. Just bring something that you know will take up your time and keep you engaged.
- Don’t: iPhone/electronic games: If you’re on a long flight/trip, it has a good chance of running out of battery. These days, a lot of airports provide outlets to charge your phone/computer. Regardless, I would go with the paper book (or other non-electronic things) if possible, but if you trust the battery level to power through (literally!), then go ahead. I’m not there to stop you! If you’re going internationally, your phone bill will thank you later if you turn your cellular data OFF and go into airplane mode for the entirety of your trip.
- Do: Sleep. It seems like a no-brainer, but you want sleep – that new time zone demands it. If you’re like me, you’ll be needing a Pillow Pet or some kind of cushion so your neck doesn’t fall off, and maybe an eye mask/ear plugs so you can black out (in a good way, of course). For your trip, you might want to try falling asleep to the tune of your destination’s time zone, so you’re not COMPLETELY jet-lagged.
- Don’t: Talk too loud. Respect other people by keeping quiet. They might be trying to sleep, didn’t read this blog post, or forgot their earplugs at home – and now they’re depending on you. You might be sitting with your best friend for the next 12 hours, but everyone else doesn’t have to know.
- Do: Bring food. Check ahead of time to see what meals you’ll be getting, if any. If you have a lot of layovers, this can be important. Even if you are getting food, it might stink and you might be allergic to it. If you have layovers or transfers (i.e. plane to train to car, etc.), then who knows – you could get delayed, and you don’t want to pay 5 times what you should be for a bottle of water, amiright? This is especially important on buses, where the only food is at the station. Plus, you get the food you want, when you want it. Sounds good to me!
- Don’t: Bring fragile foods. You might love your fruits and crackers, but they can get easily smooshed or explode and then leak. That would be terrible. Also, for the sake of your fellow travellers, don’t bring anything strong-smelling: you can have egg salad or tuna any other day.
- Do: Bring toiletries in your carry-on: Brushing your teeth, a splash of cold water on your face, or for the ladies out there, some eyeliner is one of the best ways I know to freshen up. A little mouthwash works too, if the space is an issue. For plane rides, make sure it’s 2 ounces or less! A comb can go a long ways as well. These tools are best utilized at the very end of the trip, like the last hour (or every 12 hours, depending on your travel time). I know that you know that you need a toothbrush, etc. But I would make a note to myself: bring it in the carry-on. It’s easy to stick it in the suitcase, but when you need to look pulled together as soon as you hop out of a taxi, bring those toiletries. Maybe a mint, too. Hopefully it won’t, but carried-on toiletries become much more important if your luggage gets lost!
- Don’t: Ladies, if it’s that time of the month, you don’t want to be caught unprepared. I think that’s all I need to say about that.
- Do: Bring puzzles, etc.: Scrabble grams, sudoku, crosswords – all legends. They drive me crazy, but hey – you will have the time to work through it! When I’m sick of my book but can’t seem to sleep (shoutout to the crying baby), a good Scrabble gram will keep me engaged and doing something.
- Don’t: Leave luggage unattended. If you’re travelling with a friend, ask them to watch it while you use the bathroom. If you’re not with a friend, make a friend! Ask them to watch your things for you. You might also want to bring your most-valuable things (i.e. phone, wallet) with you to the bathroom or wherever.
- Do: bring a notebook or journal. I journal a lot, so while I was travelling, I wrote a couple entries. But you don’t have to be a consistent journal-er to find time to write down your thoughts on your 13-hour flight! I’m sure most people don’t, but I also practiced my cursive and made a list of the things I was going to do once I landed. At the same time, paper isn’t limited to journaling! My brother and I have this game where one person draws an unnamable squiggle or line, and the second person has to make it a recognizable object. Once I drew a swirl, and my brother made it into a snail. Another time Jon drew a boxy shape, and I made it Spongebob. It passes the time, and it’s fun!
And an extra “do”: Locate the bathroom. it seems a little weird, and I might be the only person to do this kind of thing, but on a long ride I’ll find the bathroom and utilize the facilities… to get my crazy out. See, I have wiggles. They need to come out. So I get them out by doing some exercises like squats or high knees or just any kind of movement. Tip: Don’t do anything too crazy in a bus bathroom, it could shake it and you could get weird looks after you walk out!
But above all, do TRAVEL and LOVE IT. After 18-hour flights and 24-hour travels (including layovers, etc.), I can say travelling can be VERY hard and can definitely take a toll on you! But it can also be VERY worth it. Don’t let a bad experience get you down – there are still so many beautiful, amazing places out there to see! Take a deep breath, remember why you’re travelling, and book your next flight. 😉
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” -Mary Ann Radmacher