I am writing this blog while regrets are fresh in my mind and the things I did do right I am ever so grateful for. Last early Friday morning, I left for South Korea, and right off the bat I did a few things wrong. The main flight from Toronto to Seoul was 13 and a half hours. Learn from my mistakes my friends.
Don’t pack the night before an early morning flight
I really didn’t plan things well; I worked until 6:00pm as I didn’t want my coverage feeling overwhelmed with a list of things to do. I got home in a bad mood and I had to pack, and barely had any time to spend with my fiancé besides barking at the poor guy.
Book your seats in advance & pay the extra money if you can for the extra leg room
I missed the check in and seat selection which I could do 24 hours before my flight. The only seats left were the monkey in the middle seats & the emergency exit seats which cost an additional $120.00 to upgrade. My fiancé took pity on me and spotted me for an upgrade.
Get a good night’s sleep!!!!
If you are traveling for more than five hours it is going to be a long day; if travel time including connections, cabs, subway, or whatever is over 20 hours, you really need your rest the night before. I went to bed at 11:30pm and got up at 4:30am. I packed until close to 11pm and then called my parents hence the lateness, hence the pack in advance.
Drink lots of water before the flight(s), between connections, during the main flight and after the flight
Drink copious amounts of water, especially if your flight is longer than ten hours. Don’t worry about how often you have to get up and use the teeny tiny airplane toilet; it is so important to stay hydrated.
I did drink water and probably a liter of it with the 24 hours of travel but it wasn’t enough. Traveling by air is super dehydrating and it also can contribute to the dreaded “traveler’s constipation” where you cannot “go” for days. Hydration is your friend.
Wear a moisturizing lip balm.
I did not wear a lip balm and my lips are now chapped to heck. Didn’t even think about the dry air impacting my lips, but it did. Chapped lips are super uncomfortable. I have been soothing my lips with Burt’s Bees, but preventing the issue would have been better.
If you plan on sleeping bring a sleeping eye mask.
In case of screaming babies or chit chatters when all you want to do is grab some shut eye, be sure to put a pair of ear plugs in your carry on.
And a neck pillow for comfort and so you don’t end up rolling over on the passenger sitting beside you. I did bring a neck pillow, thank goodness.
Bring hand cream and wear comfy shoes. Recycled air wreaks havoc on your skin and the dehydration causes your body to retain water, and your feet will swell, I have had friends who have taken off their shoes to rest and then struggled getting them back on before landing.
I like my Birkenstocks and I love L’Occitane’s hand creams; lavender is a nice relaxing scent.
I have done my share of long flights, but I have had some bumpy rides along the way and a few landings which brought me to tears. My anxiety around flying is intense now, so attaining a prescription of Ativan has been a life saver for me. If your anxiety around flying is preventing you from traveling or making you a nervous wreck for hours on end, I recommend talking to your doctor about what options might work for you.
Bring snacks with protein for in between flights or domestic flights
In Canada, we no longer get a snack on our domestic flights (unless you are flying Porter). Food, water and snacks at airports are comparable to buying popcorn at the theatre now… EXPENSIVE! So, if you’re hoping to not drop big money before you reach your destination bring snacks. I like almonds, and a piece of fruit. However, the fruit has to be consumed before crossing seas. As for water or beverages, you will have to bite the bullet and pay a high price or bring a container and fill up with tap water.
Enjoy the free alcohol BUT don’t over do it…
International travel usually includes cooked meals and free booze and they don’t limit you on how much alcohol you can have, but when you are 30,000 plus feet above the ground, the altitude can make you susceptible to feeling your drinks a bit more intensely. Also, alcohol is dehydrating and you’re likely to obtain a wicked headache. Make sure you drink water with your beverage of choice.
I enjoy a glass of red!
I am using a picture from Air Canada as they are the ones whom I chose to fly with for this trip.
During a long flight get up and walk around a bit. Stretch your legs to avoid cramping
Be kind to the flight attendants and be kind to those sitting near you too. Just be kind and be patient. Flying is stressful for a lot of us and many of us have connecting flights and limited time between flights. If you are not in a rush, step back and let others take the lead when exiting the plane.
Happy travels! Stay tuned for more on South Korea as I try to embrace a culture tremendously different from anything I am familiar with.
Peace & Love – Rachel