As I begin preparing for my trip to Europe in June (more on that later!) I started to discuss the challenges with other blogger and travel friends about preparing for an overnight flight. Sure, they can save you time and money when going to far away destinations, but if you show up dead tired, it isn’t going to be a great start to your trip. When you have limited time, it is almost a requirement to show up fresh and ready for the adventure ahead. So here are my tips to preparing for your next red-eye flight:
The strategic seat pick
Knowing where you sit on the plane can really help with eating and sleeping. Let me explain. If you aren’t lucky enough to snag an exit row, make sure you are in a seat that fully reclines ( or as much as those economy cabins do) and not one that is next to the kitchen, where eager and friendly flight attendants will be chatting away and preparing meals for a good portion of the flight.
I always review Seat Guru to ensure I have at least a fully functioning seat far enough away from the kitchen so it isn’t too loud, but close enough so I don’t get my wine food last once served. It’s all about priorities people! (Also see eating and drinking strategically below)
Choose a window seat (and a smaller row)
I am one of those lucky people who don’t often have to pee a lot on planes (Apparently really need to up my water intake…) so I always opt for a window seat regardless of how far I’m flying. I like to sort of cocoon myself in. But I think it is particularly import to red eye flights because you can lay your head against the window for as long as you need for sleeping. This is key for me, because regardless of if you have the best neck pillow in the world, propping yourself against the window is always easier.
I also suggest trying to go for the window seats that are in smaller rows; I am talking two seats across if your plane offers it. That way, people in the middle and aisle aren’t going to keep jostling you if they get up a lot. If you only have to worry about one person next to you, it is a lot easier.
Eat and drink intentionally
According to The Daily Meal, the less you eat and drink on a red-eye flight, the better. I like to indulge in the free wine myself, but if you are on a red eye and wanting to get some sleep, try to keep the processed food, wine and caffeine to a minimum. And that means remembering that before you get on the flight, as well as during. Your body takes time to process food, booze, and caffeine. So the least processed food and drink you can eat ( I am thinking water and salad people) the better. Also, make sure you eat before your flight or as quickly as possible during your flight so your body can digest and you can get some shut eye.
What you wear matters
You know comfy clothes are key for sleeping in a bed, and this is also vital for sleeping while sitting in an airplane chair. Make sure what you wear on the flight does not cut off, bulge, grab, ride, or otherwise make you fidget for the entire 12 hour flight. You want to be able to relax and sleep, not wish you could rip off all your clothes. So prepare in advance by not giving a f%$# what people see you wearing on the plane. If you know you can’t sleep without your flannel pajamas, bring those in your carry on and change before you take off. If you want slippers to keep your feet warm, bring those along. Make sure what you wear can easily be packed and stowed in your carry on, and you have an outfit ready for when you land.
Remember: being prepared for a red-eye flight, means you are also prepared for after you land. You want to make the most of this precious adventure and get moving. So hopefully after a good few hours of sleep and a healthy meal, you are ready to see what your host country has to offer.
I have a lot of good items I use for travel that I want to share with you. Things like a great eye mask, awesome travel products, AND a great carry on that I swear by. AND my trusty journal, of course!
Have you heard of the Pack This Journal yet?
It’s a travel journal made with YOU, the traveler, in mind! Perfect for your next red eye.