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Study Abroad Tip: How to Survive a Long Haul Flight

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Saint Mary's chapter.

You’ve recently received the news that you were accepted in a study abroad program. Congratulations to you; what an exciting journey you’re about to embark on! However, now you have to endure a long (and possibly dreaded) flight overseas.  Whether you have experienced international travel before or you are a first timer, there is an equal necessity to plan in order to make sure the flight goes smoothly.  Below are some pointers to assist you in making your travel experience the most comfortable (and tolerable) it can be.  

1. Correctly stock your carry-on:

This is the most important part of a long haul flight.  In order to keep yourself feeling fresh there are a few things you should be sure to pack.  These include a toothbrush, face soap, face lotion, deodorant, perfume, a hairbrush, and a change of undergarments.  It is also a great idea to pack a compact mirror and cosmetics if you wish to go bare faced for the flight, but want to put on a full face before landing. 

2. Plan how you will spend your time:

Long haul flights can range anywhere from 6-24 hours, so you have ample opportunity to accomplish several things while confined to your seat. A few good ways to kill the time are downloading content from Netflix, packing a novel, bringing a coloring book, or starting a travel diary. 

3. Make conversation with the people around you:

This may seem quite intimidating or annoying depending on what kind of personality you have, but making conversation with those around you can be an interesting way to spice up your flight.  I have met numerous interesting people from all over the world by chatting with my seat neighbors.  Just make sure not to bother them if they have headphones in (I’m pretty sure that’s a universal sign for not wanting to interact with others).   

4. Consider the food you are eating:

One thing is for sure, while on an international flight, you will get fed plenty.  Make sure you evaluate what you eat before you put it into your body.  Airline food is often heavily processed and can be very difficult to digest/cause stomach irritation.  Try to stick to fruits and vegetables and don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. 

5. Stretch often:

Make sure to get up from your seat and move around the plane every once in a while to insure your blood is still flowing.  I suggest taking a walk to the bathroom and back a few times in order to stretch out your leg muscles.  Feel free to even stand up in your seat to loosen up your neck and back as long as you don’t disturb the people near you. 

6. Be considerate to others:

If there is anything I have learned from traveling so frequently, it’s that people on airplanes are THE WORST.  I’ve experienced everything from having my seat kicked to getting sneezed on.  Be respectful of the space you are sharing with other humans.  Try to keep quiet and be on your best behavior and hopefully, everyone else will do the same.      

A senior at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN studying Theatre, Film, and English. An avid lover of indie films, thrift stores, and color coding. Trying to do it all, sometimes succeeding.