This post was most recently updated on December 22nd, 2014

You may be able to tell from the title of this post how my last flight went.  I recently traveled between New York City and Dublin.  The flight is about 6.5 hours with a five hour time difference and I boldly chose the red-eye to maximize the time I had for my trip.  Theoretically, this works out great because you leave the eastern United States at night, sleep on the plane, and arrive in the early morning. You may need a nap since your nightly sleep is most likely shorter than you’re used to but this schedule minimizes the effects of jetlag.

The way back is a bit different. The flight is actually longer because you’re traveling from east to west.  The time difference works in your favor if you enjoy having an extra five hours of daytime. You don’t miss a lot of time which is nice if you need to get back to work or jump right into a set schedule.  The flight home is always a little bit more arduous. The excitement and anticipation of your trip is over and the knowledge that shortly you’ll be ‘back to reality’ is inescapable.  Still, there are some things you can do to minimize the trials and tribulations of a long flight home.


Don’t spill your drink!

This tip is pretty self-explanatory. If you think you’re going to flip over that flimsy cup on your tray, don’t accept the complimentary beverage. And if you do, just know, you risk sitting in a cold wet puddle of soda for several hours.


Bring supplies.

If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs. If you know you want to read, bring a book. Bring snacks, water, gum and something to lean on. Bring whatever you need to be comfortable. Even if you think this is the opportunity to show off the ease with which you travel or your light packing skills, it’s not.

Get cozy.

Bring something warm to cover yourself in once you’re airborne. It can be pretty cold up there and blankets are quite the coveted item, especially when several have been used to create a buffer between the soda soaked seat and your backside (see above).


Don’t miss the meals!

It’s hard not to fall asleep while comfortably sitting in a soaking wet seat. But, if offered a complimentary meal, you must power through and wait to decide if you want beef or chicken. If you think you’re not hungry and drift off to sleep, you’ll regret it later when you wake up starving and everyone else is comfortably snoozing with satisfied appetites.


Do (or don’t) make friends with your seat neighbor

This is a tricky one.  While becoming friendly with your neighbor is unavoidable for many of us, you may regret it during hour three when you know in detail the activities and whereabouts of your seat neighbor’s 15 grandchildren. However, this individual can be an important ally when needing someone to make sure you don’t miss your meal, or when you’re in the market for extra blankets and pillows.


Check the floor 100 times before leaving the plane, and then check it again.

Losing something on an airplane is second only on the scale of “lost forever” to losing something in a taxicab. If you’ve dropped something, unless you check the floor and seatback repeatedly, it’s unlikely you’ll realize it’s gone until you’re home and can never retrieve or confirm ownership over your precious lost item.  The exhaustion and stress of travelling make you all the more susceptible to losing something important.


Have safe and happy travels, and remember, don’t spill you drink!


Photo credit: alobos Life

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