These days, I find myself in the air more and more often—always earnestly awaiting arrival at my next tantalizing destination. Of course: these flights are usually an agonizing FIVE PLUS hours—sweeping me from my Native New York to the hot spots along the coast and into the islands! At first, I pulled my hair out at around hour three. As someone who can barely sit still for more then 10 minutes long flights are tough. But these days, I’m cool. I’m calm. I’m (mostly) prepared. And you can be, too, with these tips to survive your next gut-wrenching (often horrible) flight to the sea! Tips are for adults 21+ 😉
1. Pre Flight Prep: Make a Much-Needed Pit Stop at the Airport Bar.
Phew. Finally, you made it through airport security—the hellhole that’s forced us to lose more bottles of shampoo and lighters than we can count. You showed your passport; you took off your nice vacation shoes and spun in an awkward circle beneath all those monitors. And you may have even gotten pulled aside to get EXTRA searched (happens to me almost every time) which just makes the whole thing more annoying. But it’s all worth it, right? After all: you’re heading to explore a new location, away from the humdrum (and SNOW) of your everyday life.
And that’s when it’s time for Pre Flight Prep. You head to the airport bar. Remember: you’re not an alcoholic, making bad decisions. You’re already on vacation, and you’re about to go through the stressful, five hour PLUS flight, next to screaming children, snoring grandfathers, or someone who you wish put on some deodorant that morning. You need this. Sip on a margarita, some wine or a delicious mimosa and pretend you’re already at your destination.
Trust me: it’ll make the next few hours easier.
2. More Pre Flight Prep: Hit Up the Duty Free Store and Stock Up: Reading Material, Snacks, and Any Other “Aids” You Require On the Trek.
The glittering Duty Free store is an essential stop as you wait for that airplane to ease onto the runway. Personally, I like to grab a snack or two (especially because the on-board snacks rack up a hefty charge. My entire left arm for a bag of peanuts? No thanks!) Furthermore, I like to grab a trashy magazine to catch up on some gossip and check out new bikini styles. (Always looking for new ones!)
3. Accept that You Can’t Be Prepared for Everything, and See Step Four.
While preparation is key, know as you board the plane that you didn’t think of everything. Despite the buzz you seeped from the airline bar, you’re still going to get annoyed with the guy who kicks your seat throughout hours two and four. You’re still going to feel uncomfortable going to the bathroom in a tiny prison in the sky. You’re still not going to know where to place your arms. (Which armrest is yours??) And that’s okay. That’s where step four comes in.
4. Electronics Save Airplane Boredom
(Make sure your computers are fully charged the night before your flight.. most computers have an 8 hour battery life!)
Hey if Im going to be up in the air for hours with nowhere to go I might as well get some work done.. or even if its not real work ..computers, phones, games etc can keep me entertained forever. I usually try and get some of my photo and video editing done, write emails, blog posts whatever pops up. Anything to keep me focused on something other than the fact that I have no control over the next 5 hours of my life and that planes are small and uncomfortable.
5. Lonely Planet Guides are Awesome
Whenever I am traveling I always like to get the Lonely Plane guide on that destination and reading it throughout my flight always gets me super excited. AND Lonely Planet guides are also huge so they should keep you busy for at least an hour or two alone. Now we are ready for relaxation and we approach Tip #6. (we should be at about hour 2 or 3 now)
6. Seek Bacardi and Drink Until You Can Laugh at Anything
Your Terrible Onboard Neighbors, the Hilarity of the Consistently Awful In-Flight Entertainment, and Even the Reeking Food The Airline Serves You For Dinner.
Make hours two through four your own, during which: you order those tiny bottles of Bacardi (so adorable, and yet so impractical!). You order a mix drink of your choice. You order some Pinot Grigio—anything to make yourself a little sleepy, a little woozy.
And then: the true in-flight magic occurs. After all: normally, you couldn’t care less about the terrible inflight movie selections. Who wants to watch Ice Age 2? Who could even handle the ever-boring Downtown Abbey, Season 3 right now? Not a more sober you, certainly. And yet: with that alcohol pumping in your bloodstream, you find yourself getting really, really into this stuffy British drama. You feel a tear drop down your face when Matthew dies, even though you had no idea who this guy was one hour before.
And then: when the food comes (the normal sodium-rich, steaming pile of schlops), you couldn’t care, either.
After all: you have your liquid dinner, your liquid lunch. You smile at the stewardess when she arrives with your food, but you have no intention of opening that terrible dinner. Plus, you have a packet of Duty Free cheese crackers to blast through, as well as another episode of Downtown Abbey.
Your neighbor leans toward you, her mouth smelling of whatever schlops were in her dinner, and you smile at her, answering her question about your vacation without even getting a little bit mad. You take another sip of Bacardi and think about how nice this is, really: traveling in this tiny tube, above the clouds.
7. Slip On Your Sunglasses, Smile, and Pretend You’re Already at the Turquoise Sea.
Turn your head to the side, slip on your sunglasses, smile, and pretend you’re already at your destination, out of this place (and away from the lingering smell of the airplane dinner!). During this time, listen to a few of your favorite tunes, reminiscent of your vacation. This way, you don’t have to listen to the man a few rows up, coughing. You’re making your own environment. It’s almost like you’re invisible—like you’re not on the plane at all!
8. Enter Your Beautiful Vacation Destination with Bacardi On Your Lips, a Slight Buzz In Your Brain, and An Entire Week of Adventuring At Your Feet. You Made It!
Phew. Burst out of that airplane, head out into the sunshine, and forget the past five hours ever happened to you. You’re free, and you’re on vacation!
The Chica Travelista