Unless you’re flying in business class, long trips can be pretty uncomfortable. You’re squished with other passengers, legroom is barely enough for an average-sized adult, and the C-shaped seats don’t help either. The result is chronic back and neck pain, sore muscles, and an overall bad experience. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Airplane seat covers, massage balls, and other portable accessories are some of the things that can make a long flight bearable.
Here are some helpful flying hacks that will improve your long-distance air travel.
Lumbar support prevents backaches in a way that airplane seats can’t. And, you don’t have to buy a commercial product. Just fold a jacket or blanket, then use it to support the natural curve in your spine.
Essentially, this makeshift pillow should help you avoid slouching, which is likely to happen when sitting for long periods. This lazy sitting position puts pressure on the lower back, resulting in back pain.
Combining a neck support pillow and the right neck exercises can prevent chronic neck pain after a long flight. But that does not mean you can buy the first neck pillow you see on the internet.
You want a product with memory foam inside. This fantastic cushion technology takes the shape of your neck to provide a comfortable neck support. U-shaped foam pillows are your best option, but make sure it goes high enough to support the head. That allows you to bend a little bit for a nap without risking neck pain or disturbing other passengers.
Recline the Seat and Pull Out the Footrest
Reclining your seat can help reduce neck fatigue, and using the footrest can give your legs more room to stretch. These features are particularly helpful during an overnight flight where most people sleep. However, you might want to get off the seat after a couple of hours for proper stretching. That allows blood to flow to your lower body more freely, reducing the chances of chronic pain and fatigue.
Many people tend to forget about the footrest during long flights, which turns out to be a big mistake. These little helpers will not only take your comfort level up a notch, but you’ll also avoid back pain.
Unfortunately, most plane makers don’t prioritize comfort when building economy-class seats. So, you might want to bring a seat cushion if you’re in for a long ride. The last thing you want is to get stuck in a hard seat on an 8-hour flight.
Still, the airplane seat cushion is supposed to be functional, not a luxury item. That means it won’t upgrade an economy seat to rival a first-class throne, but it will prevent a sore bum at the end of a long flight.
Keep in mind that seat pillows are on the bulky side, so you might want to use the provided pillow or blanket in its place.
A massage ball will keep your blood pumping on a long trip. It will also relieve any tense muscles and make you quite popular with other travelers.
To enjoy its full benefits, place the massage ball behind your shoulders while sitting, then let it do its thing. However, don’t assume that this tool will undo the effects of slouching for hours. You will still need to stand and stretch a bit, even if it means going on scheduled “bathroom breaks.”
An Air Tray
People who bring work to the plane run can run out of tray space pretty fast. Maybe you have a laptop and a couple of hard copy documents, and you still want to have a meal. Adding extra tray space allows you to have more room for all your things and still look organized.
Unfortunately, most trays only work with window seats. That means you have to say this requirement when booking the flight or risk not using the tray. Seat reservations work on a first-come, first-served basis, and there’s no way to get around that during the flight.
Avoid Too Many Liquids
Economy class seats are pretty squished, and asking your neighbor to stand so you can go for a bathroom break can be challenging. Maybe the other guys want to sleep before arriving at the destination, and you keep asking them to stand.
Generally, avoid going overboard with drinks before a flight. This is especially true for people with busy bladders that tend to go off after every hour or two.