So long-haul flights and layovers associated with a long flight can and tend to be quite dreadful… So, therefore this blog.. My first long-haul flight was a direct flight to Los Angeles from Amsterdam, which was alright considering I would go to Sydney, Australia later that year…..
So how to survive a long-haul flight, what I didn’t do for my flight to Los Angeles was “changing or adjusting my sleeping rhythm”. If I would have done this, it might have “tempered” my jetlag. However, a jetlag isn’t that bad to be honest, you will survive. Just get in the “sleeping rhythm” when you arrived at the destination. But try to get some sleep on the plane, no matter what your destination is (West or East from Europe), really try to get some sleep (a few hours will help already).
The longest and most dreadful experiences I had while traveling, was my layover at Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) airport, which was a 13 hour layover, and became a 15 hour layover in the end. To me it was horrible, as I couldn’t catch any sleep while flying from Brussels to Bangkok (approximately 11 hour flight). This broke me and my sleeping clock, the most unfortunate thing that happened at Bangkok airport was that my suitcases weren’t labelled through. This prevented me from visiting Bangkok…. Which was an additional downside of the long layover.
Tips on long-haul flights & layovers
Before actually flying focus on the destination and the specifics, time difference, flight time and all aspects of the flight you will take. The most important tip for a long-haul flight is to try and get some sleep on the plane, or try to adjust your sleeping rhythm. Second, if sleeping on the plane won’t work, when you know this is the case as you experienced it before, then there are two things you can do. First, is changing your sleeping rhythm in advance. Second, is try and book a hotel near the airport and make the layover a couple of days so you can recover from your flight and prepare for the next one (most of the large airports have one or even a few, which are most of the time near the airport or even attached to the airport). Even one night in a hotel, a comfortable bed, a shower and just the ability of walking around a bit after a long flight is also a big plus.
When sleeping on the plane is no issue for you and you have a long layover at the airport, make sure that your bags/suitcase(s) are labelled through. You buy yourself a couple of hours in the city you are located and prevent yourself from being bored to death of having to stay at the airport, or carry your bags/suitcase(s) around.
Finally, a way of tricking your brain into sleeping easier is setting your watch and phone to your destinations’ time zone ahead of the flight. This will help you both in staying up when you shouldn’t sleep as well as make you more sleepy when you should be.
Have a safe journey!