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Thursday, January 18, 2018

10 Things to bring on a long flight to keep from going insane

Alisha McDarris


Long flights are torture. You know, the ones that span oceans and drop you in a time zone so incongruous with the one you just left that you don't even know what day of the week it is. Plus, sometimes I think I must have the attention span of a barn swallow. I don't honestly know what sort of attention span a barn swallow has, but I can't imagine it's lengthy. They do tend to flit around a lot. So I need plenty of options to occupy my time and attention. Unfortunately, long flights are an unavoidable part of travel, so I find that the best way to avoid losing your mind in that cramped airplane seat with two inches of legroom and no way to move without elbowing the guy in the seat next to you in the ribcage every time you move is to be prepared. For anything. And possibly everything.

 Here are our favorite things to bring along on a long flight to help keep our sanity.


1. A book 

Like a real, actual book. Made of paper and ink and stuff. Batteries die. Eye strain after looking at a tiny screen for six hours is real. You can't have your laptop out for takeoff and landing anyway. Grab several books if your not sure you're gonna like the first one.

2. A pillow

Whether it's a simple inflatable neck pillow or one of those ridiculous-looking ostrich-shaped things that had me ROFLing for five minutes the first time I saw one, they make a huge difference when trying to catch some Zzz's in an upright position.

3. A sleep mask 

See above. For me, this is also vitally important as I've been told I sleep with my eyes open, which is apparently mildly unsettling.

4. A blanket 

It may seem unnecessary, but if you're gonna be on an airplane for 16 hours, you're gonna want to get cozy. Plus, planes are freaking cold! A large shawl, scarf or towel (obviously) will do, too.

5. All the episodes 

Got your iPad or compact laptop (even 15" models don't fit well in economy seats)? Before you take off, download all your fave episodes or any movies you've been meaning to see from your Netflix or Amazon Prime account.

6. Headphones and a diverse playlist 

I don't know what I'm going to want to listen to after I board a plane. Maybe rock. Maybe electronica. Maybe the Les Miserables soundtrack. Pick your faves from multiple genres and make sure they're downloaded to your phone prior to takeoff.

7. Socks 

Even if it's hot, don't be that guy walking around barefoot, stinking up the plane. Just. Don't.

8. Snacks 

Lots of snacks. You're not gonna want to pay $8 for that tiny bag of pretzels. So stuff your pockets. For a long haul on a cheap flight that doesn't offer meals, stuff some sandwiches or cold noodles or some such in there, too.

9. Something to keep your hands (or your brain) busy 

I have a hard time sitting still, even if I'm watching TV or listening to music. I want to be doing something. So bringing a coloring book, knitting, brain teasers, word puzzles, stuff like that, will help keep you from going stir crazy.

10. Work 

Unless, of course, you're vacationing. We don't vacation; we travel, which usually involves some sort of work while we are away, even if it's travel-related. There's no better time to catch up on a project, be it a personal project like a photo book or screenplay or a work thing, than when you're stuck in a flying metal tube for 12 hours.

A good book and a cup of orange juice on a long flight. Where my Vonnegut fans at?


Have your own fave items for planes? Share 'em! Happy travels!

Alisha McDarris / Author & Editor

Alisha is a freelance writer and photographer based in Austin, TX. She loves her tiny house, vegan food and experiencing the community of travel in far away places. She’s also pretty sure she’s addicted to coffee. [Portfolio]

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