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It’s almost time for your long-haul commute. It’s ok if you’re dreading it, we still do too.
When you’re not traveling first-class, it can be rough. Sometimes there are crying kids, the loud talker, and the person who takes an accidental nap on your shoulder. If you’re dreading it or nervous, we’ve hopped the pond a few times flying to Europe and traveled long distances via train and bus, so we’ve collected some tips on how to make your travel experience better!
TIP ALERT: Ease your travel anxiety by practicing some of these amazing breathing exercises!
Essentials of Your Travel Personal Bag
Your chargers! Some planes have power outlets at your seat now so pack them in your personal bag! Or bring a portable charger if there aren’t power outlets!
A sleep aid. If you’re like us, being able to sleep on a plane isn’t easy. So melatonin is our best friend for long flights.
A packable pillow They might look dorky and seem like a money trap at airports, but honestly, they are better than having nothing to support your neck.
Hand Sanitizer and Wipes
Snacks and Refillable Waterbottle
Light Layers or bring a blanket scarf. As people who get chilled easily, it’s sometimes nice to have extra layers on. But if you don’t want to worry about layering up, consider getting a small travel blanket or a blanket scarf to keep you warm on your trip.
The Obvious Items: Passport, wallet, sunglasses, headphones, and your electronics
Read more about packing for your trip on this post!
What to Wear
This is pretty obvious. Wear comfortable clothes! It’s not going to take long for you to want to feel free and flexible in your seat. If you’re traveling in the winter and want to save space in your luggage, wear your bulkiest clothes. Bring along a something that you a layer, either a light pullover or a blanket scarf. These will come in handy if you get chilled!
Your Guide to Surviving Long Flights
While most planes have a good movie selection, it’s still a good idea to bring things to keep you occupied on the plane, unless you’re lucky enough to be able to sleep! Bring an iPad or tablet for reading, movies, and music. If you’re lucky, your plane might even have WiFi! Some flights offer it for free or for a fee. I only use the WiFi if it’s free. Netflix Mobile now allows you to download things to watch later offline, so download some movies and tv shows before you turn off your wifi.
Don’t eat anything that could make your GI tract upset the day before the flight. There’s nothing worse than feeling sick on the plane. Most flights have some “decent” meal options. Though they might be salty, the portion sizes are smaller than the traditional American portion size. If you’re concerned about not having good food, bring some snacks! Most packaged snacks will make it past security with no problems.
Being in a vessel of recirculated air, your skin and body will get dehydrated much quicker than normal. Bring chapstick, hand lotion, and a refillable water bottle. Even though you can’t have the water through security, you can refill it once you get to your gate!
If you’re a fellow blogger or you still have work business to complete, be productive on your flight! It’s better to get it done before your trip that worrying about it on the flight home! The plane is also a great place to do some journaling and reflection.
Personally, we don’t believe in those beat jetlag hacks. The thing we’ve found best is sleeping like normal based on the local time is the best way to adjust to the time change. Taking the nap after the flight or going to bed at odd times before the flight never seem to help us!
Don’t be that cranky person that flight crew gets annoyed with. Happiness breeds happiness and this goes for flights! You never know, you might strike up and interesting conversation with the person next to you!
Book Flights Ahead and Plan
If you’re an airline loyalty customer either as a cardholder or member, you can rack up points to get flight upgrades and perks. Definitely do it! Check out the Points Guy, he’ll be your best friend for this one.
If not, still plan and book ahead. This way even if you aren’t ready to book the flight, you can set up price change reminders to stay up to date. I’ve found that those tips like “book on a Tuesday at 8 PM” don’t really work. When picking your seat, I find the seats on the aisle in the back are the best. Usually, the back has fewer seats in a row, giving you more space.
Surviving Long Bus or Train Rides
Handling a long bus (or train) ride is surprisingly different from tackling a long haul flight. There is even less space than on a plane and you get there slower than regular driving. After our Grand Tour of Europe with EF Ultimate Break, we learned a lot about long bus rides. We were visiting new destinations every 2 and 3 days with up to 6-hour bus rides and many trains rides!
Manage Your Space
There is less space for luggage in the overhead compartment and under the seat on trains and buses. If you have a long of things to bring with you, definitely manage your space and pack smart! We have some packing guides to help you!
Bring more entertainment than what you think you need. Unlike airplanes, buses don’t have private TV screens and most trains don’t either. So make sure to bring movies downloaded to a portable device. And if you’re using your phone to stream music, make sure to have some downloaded to your device too. Buses and trains tend to travel in areas that might not have good phone service. It’s a good idea to plan for not having connecting to the internet.
Like airplane food, train food can be rough! And for buses, you’re on your own! Definitely bring snacks with you and have then readily accessible because, without a lot of space, you don’t want to go digging in your luggage.