If there were one aspect of travel that could be labelled as monotonous, it would ironically be during the period where you’re covering the most miles. Air travel can be a uncomfortable experience, particularly if you’re travelling on a budget.  Here’s our guide to helping you minimise your discomfort.

If you wonder why airline food always seems to be a bit tasteless, it’s because the altitude and cabin pressure on a plane tends to numb taste buds and dull the olfactory senses. Airplane food tends to be high in calories and sodium to compensate for this, so you may want to lay off if you’re conscientious about your diet.

Stay away from food and beverages that are greasy or carbonated prior to a flight. Diuretics, such as coffee, alcohol and tea, may lead to dehydration, which can cause increased stress and irritability.

If you’re flying solo, you should try to get a window seat, particularly if you have a strong bladder. If you take a middle or aisle seat, you’re going to have to wake up and shift every time the passengers sitting in the same row of you need to use the washroom.

For those travelling with a partner, you may want to try booking a window and aisle seat in the same row to minimise the chances of having an empty seat for added space, as long as the flight isn’t full.

There’s nothing quite as tedious as queuing with a hundred other people in an unfamiliar airport, staring at the baggage carousel, and hoping that your stuff didn’t get lost in transit.

It’s best to try to get everything fit into a carry-on, but if that’s not an option, make sure that you paste a sticker on your luggage to differentiate it, or opt for a more distinctive looking colour than just black.

Some travellers experience pain in the ears during plane travel, due to the unequal pressure that develops in the eardrum when the plane takes off and descends. particularly during take-off and landing.

The most cost-efficient way to fix this is to get yourself a pair of air-pressure regulating ear plugs, which are sold in most airports and pharmacies.

Other fliers may snigger at you for bringing your own pair of shades or eye masks, but you won’t regret it when the shitty inflight movie comes on. Eliminating light will help you regulate your circadian rhythms, and help you get better quality of sleep.

If you’re planning on working on your laptop, apps like fl.ux may prevent you from disrupting your circadian rhythms when you plan to take a nap.

Bring a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, unless you’d like to engage in the blood-sport of toddler tossing. A travel playlist that you can access without an Internet connection will help save your sanity.

Songs that have a steady tempo of 60bpm cause your brainwaves and heartbeat to synchronise with the rhythm, which aids in achieving a state of relaxation. If you can’t find music that specific, stick to classical music of around 60-80bpm, on a playlist of at least 45 minutes.

Alternatively, you could just stick to Ed Sheeran.

Raphael Lim

about Raphael

Raphael has interviewed Superman, gotten choked out by mixed martial artists, and sworn off food for a week without ending up looking like Gandhi. Yes, truth can be stranger than fiction. You can read his scribblings primarily in the Disrupter and Storyteller sections. He can be reached at raphael@departuremag.com.

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