Let's say you're all packed for a trip to Bali. Your itinerary is set, your excursions are booked, and you found the most incredible jungle bungalow with a private plunge pool for less than $100 per day.
Now you just have to get there, and unless you shelled out the steep funds needed for a first class seat, 10+ hour flights in coach are not exactly enjoyable. Granted, there will typically be entertainment on board and the meals are free, but there are only so many hours of Kardashian marathons and crossword puzzles you can handle before you start going stir-crazy. Read on for five creative ways to keep your body and sanity intact during a long-haul international flight.
1. Nab an inflatable footrest
When seated for an extended period of time, your feet will inevitably start to swell, and no amount of exit-row legroom can help that. Elevating your feet helps to keep the swelling to a minimum, but unfortunately airlines aren't adding economy footrests to their 757s. So what do you do? Bring your own, of course. Inflatable footrests pack down to nothing and can be blown up en route to make you cozy and comfortable enough to fully relax and hopefully catch some zzz's. You can find cheap options on Amazon!
2. Stretch it out
In addition to swollen feet, other parts of your body will begin to tighten and tense as the hours drag on, leaving you sore and stiff by the time you land. And seriously, that's no way to begin a vacation. On a 15 1/2 hour flight from Atlanta to Seoul, I decided to fight the tense muscles by visiting the bathroom every two hours — to do yoga.
Before you laugh, I'm fully aware of the lavatory's pint-size square footage. So while I wasn't able to do a Downward Dog or Warrior pose, I pulled off an array of other standing stretches that amped up my blood circulation and helped prevent any unwanted stiffness. Tree pose, Standing Arm Rack, Forward Fold, and Side Arm Stretch are all stellar examples of yoga poses that can be (and were) done in tight quarters. Namaste.
3. Create a travel journal
There are always a million thoughts going through your head when traveling somewhere for the first time, so write them down! Start a dedicated travel journal that accompanies every trip you take; while en route, write why you're excited to go to this particular destination, what you hope to gain from the experience, what you are the most excited to see or do, etc. Then on your way home, go back and write about the experience: what did you learn? What surprised you? Jot down a few of your favorites moments or memories so they'll never fade. Not only will this help to pass the time, but you'll have an incredible keepsake to look back on one day or even share with future generations.
4. Vlog your journey
Not much of a writer? Go for the video blog instead. Utilize your camera phone for a funny memoir of the journey. It can be just you or with your travel buddy, and capture every noteworthy moment of the flight, from the excitement of takeoff to detailing the meal (good or bad) to moments of craziness when you realize you're only six hours in and all the laughter, leg pain, and hysteria in-between. String all the clips together when you get home for a hilarious keepsake.
5. Put your creative chops to work
Bring the supplies to make a scrapbook, collage, or even a short storybook while on board. On a flight from Amsterdam to NYC, my fiancé and I wrote a parody song about the modern college girl backpacking through Europe. We were so caught up laughing, feeding off of each other and singing, we hardly noticed that three hours had passed in the blink of an eye. We still hum the song to this day.