Although you wouldn’t know it by my lowly Silver Elite status these days on Delta, I have done a fair amount of international travel. Later this week, I’ll be in the air for over 20 hours, traveling from Minneapolis/St. Paul to New York (JFK) to Dubai to Columbo, Sri Lanka. My fellow World Vision travelers and I have been trading flying tips on our Facebook group, and several trip members are worried about sleeping or not sleeping on the flights.
While I doubt any of us will take an $18,000 shower on Emirates Air, I’m sure we’ll all survive. That being said, here are my top ten trips for international flying:
1) Don’t beat yourself up. I don’t sleep much on flights. Never have, and I doubt I ever will. But I no longer bum out about that. Instead, I just know that I won’t be sleeping, and I’ll have to suffer through some exhaustion upon my arrival.
2) Don’t over-medicate. I’ll take a melatonin pill, but I think that the stronger sleep-aids are a recipe for disaster. They don’t necessarily put you to sleep, but they definitely make you groggy. And if you have any weird side-effects, you’re pretty much screwed.
3) Work out the day before. Being that I’ll be sitting and sitting and sitting, I make sure and get a serious workout the day before the flight. I mean a 2-hour, sweaty, intense workout. Get the endorphin rush, the lactic acid release, and you’ll possibly sleep more on the flight.
4) Don’t set an alarm. For the week before the trip, I go to bed as early as possible and sleep as long as possible. I won’t try to realign my sleep with Sri Lanka because it’s like a dozen time zones away. That would be futile. Instead, I will go into the trip well-rested.
5) Pre-hydrate. In spite of the warnings to avoid alcohol on flights and to drink only water, I will drink some booze. So I’ll make sure to drink a bunch of water in the 48 hours before the flight to compensate.
6) Watch good movies. If there are any good movies en route, I’ll be sure and catch them, even if it means less sleep. Looks like I’ve got a lot to choose from.
7) Don’t watch bad movies. There are a lot better ways to spend the hours than watching a stupid movie, like…
8) Write your book. A long flight is a perfect time to start that book that you’ve always wanted to write. I’m at about 11,000 words on my current manuscript, and I hope to double that by the time I return in a week.
9) Gas-X. ‘Nuff said.
10) Don’t do anything on day one. When you arrive at your destination, take a day to sleep, work out, sleep some more, and get your bowels moving.
What are your tips for international flights?
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