With the holiday season fast approaching, many Americans are facing long flights or car journeys home so they can spend time with their loved ones over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
According to the AAA, almost 113 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles away from home over December. And with winter notoriously one of the most stressful times for travelling given the unpredictable weather, it’s no surprise that lots of people dread journeys during this period.
So, if you’ve got a long trip coming up over the festive season, read on, as we reveal our top tips on travelling comfortably on long-haul flights and seemingly never-ending road trips.
How to travel in comfort on a plane
While we’d all love to travel in first class, for most of us, it’s just a far-flung dream! However, there are things you can do to make travelling in economy a much more enjoyable experience. And, if you can’t get enough of these tips, have a read of our guide on how to sleep better on a plane, which will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised no matter how far you travel!
1. Choose the right seat
Travelling comfortably on a plane starts long before you even get on it! When it comes to booking your flights, paying a little extra for your seat can help your trip become much more restful. For instance, if you’ve got long legs, then snagging an emergency exit seat means you can stretch out.
And, if you don’t want to be disturbed by your fellow travellers wanting to go to the bathroom (unless that person is you!), book yourself a window seat, so you don’t have to get out of your seat every five minutes.
Some airlines also offer quiet sections of the plane, too, which can be worth taking advantage of.
2. Wear comfortable clothing
Let’s be honest: no one cares what you look like when you’re on a plane! So, instead of struggling into those slightly too-tight jeans and pairing them with your new heeled boots, opt for comfy.
You can’t go wrong with a pair of tracksuit bottoms or yoga pants, with an oversized sweater or hoody (and flight socks, if you’re travelling long-haul). Make sure you take plenty of long-sleeved tops you can layer, as flights are notorious for constantly changing temperature; and the last thing you want to feel is ridiculously hot, or freezing cold.
3. Don’t forget your neck pillow
If you want to get some sleep on your flight, a neck pillow can work wonders. Not only will it help keep your posture relaxed, but it can stop your neck and shoulders from feeling stiff, too.
If you’re a side sleeper, then this is where the window seat really comes into play, as airlines will usually provide you with a separate pillow for long-haul flights, so you can snuggle up to the side of the plane.
4. Don’t forget your other flight essentials
A neck pillow is crucial; but so are eye masks, earplugs, and noise cancelling headphones, so you can shut out any unwanted noises and light while you’re trying to get to sleep.
Alternatively, if you know you’re not going to get any shut-eye; then you might as well keep yourself entertained by downloading the latest TV show you’re bingeing on your phone or iPad, as well as books or puzzle books that’ll make the time (literally) fly by.
5. Download a white noise app
If you’ve been blasting tunes in your headphones or gone for the noise cancelling option and you’re still not getting to sleep, then a white noise app could be the answer. After all, if you think about when you sleep at home, it’s unlikely you’ll be in total silence – you might have traffic or birds tweeting to keep you company.
A white noise app can help to reduce noise around you on the flight while providing soothing background noises to help lull you to sleep. And if you find that doesn’t help, then have a read of our guide to discover the coloured noise that works best for you.
How to travel in comfort in a car
OK, so we can all agree that travelling by car is just plain boring – it’s not like you can stand up and go stretch your legs. Everyone knows if you’re a passenger (and your driver doesn’t mind!), the best way to get through it is to go to sleep.
These tips we’re about to share will help passengers get some shut-eye, and drivers get through the journey stress-free.
1. Adjust the lighting
If you're travelling during the day and want to get some sleep, then just like on a plane, make sure you bring your eye mask with you. You might also want to bring your noise cancelling headphones along if you’re travelling on a coach with a load of strangers.
If you’re travelling at nighttime, then if it’s safe to do so for the driver, dim any internal lights that could be distracting.
2. Fold down your seats
Many cars will have fold-down rear seats that essentially double up as a bed. Keeping your seatbelt on (safety always comes first!), create a flat space in your boot by folding down your seats, and wrapping a blanket over you, to trick yourself into thinking you’re actually in bed.
3. Create your own DIY pillow
If you don’t have a neck pillow, then all’s not lost! You can easily make your own by rolling up your jacket and placing it at the back of your neck to support your neck and head; or you could bring a blanket with you to rest your head on.
4. Share driving duties
If there’s a few of you travelling together and you’ve got a long way to go, it’s only fair to split the driving between you. Allocating 2-3 hours to each person will ensure you all get a much-needed nap while going the distance. Just make sure that when you switch, you do so safely at a service station, and take a minimum of a 15-minute break where you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
If you’re still feeling sleepy, then power nap in the car at the service station. The last thing you want to be doing is driving while tired, as that could cause a serious accident.
5. Plan your caffeine consumption cleverly
If you know you’re going to need an extra boost when driving, then by all means, treat yourself to your favourite cup of coffee. However, be aware of timings and not having one too late, as it could stop you from getting to sleep when you’ve reached your destination.
So, if you’ve been dreading the long journey back home for the festive period, hopefully we’ve helped to ease that stress a bit! For more sleeping tips and hacks, including tips on sleeping with a cough (which we’ll all no doubt be struggling with over winter!), head on over to our blog.