Don’t mind me. I’m just trying to get comfortable. (GIF: Andrew Rothschild)
I had never been to South Africa before, and I was beyond excited.
I was running around in circles like a-gerbil-in-a-wheel excited. Then I got the South African Airways plane ticket and realized just how long the flight was.
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For the uninitiated, the direct flight from New York to Johannesburg is 18 hours. I was not going direct (Although, I did on the way back.). I flew from New York to Washington D.C., and from D.C. to Johannesburg via Dakar, Senegal. People have given birth in less time than it took me to reach my destination.
That is a lot of time to spend in a small tube hurtling through the sky.
To spare you the agony that I endured, I have written a handy-dandy survival guide for hellishly long flights. Because (trust) the flight is worth the trip to South Africa.
1. Wear the right clothes, or bring something to change into during the flight. In business class, a lot of airlines will give you a comfy sleep suit to change into. Why not bring your own? Or wear one on the plane. There is nothing worse than having to suffer through a constricting pair of jeans as you start to bloat at 35,000 feet. Bring loose, comfy pants; a roomy, dark top (So when you pass out, you can slip that constrictive bra off.); and a nice dress to easily change into just before you (finally) deplane.
2. Pack your carry-on appropriately. Every carry-on should have: a travel pillow, a scarf (which can convert into a blanket), an iPad or books, a large bottle of water, some snacks, and slippers/slipper socks.
An eye mask is just one of the essentials you do not want to forget. (Photo: Thinkstock)
3. Bring your own business-class-style goody bag. Pack your own amenity bag that includes: an eye mask, a toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, hand cream, eye cream, and deodorant.
4. Load up on distractions. Download some meditations on to your iPad, iPhone, or whatever gadget you own. Load up on books, games, and that television show that you have been dying to binge-watch.
5. Don’t forget to eat. Getting “hangry” — hungry plus angry — ain’t no joke on a plane.
6. Stay sober-ish. Drink no more than three to four alcoholic drinks during the entire flight. There is nothing worse than being flat-out wasted, or waking up hungover, on a flight.
7. Stock up on some ZzzQuil or melatonin. If you do consult with a physician for the stronger stuff, be careful of Ambien. You don’t want to turn into an Ambien Zombie.
8. Beg, borrow, or steal your way into business class.
It’s a heck of a lot more comfortable than this …
You should have seen the bed head this gave me (Photo: Andrew Rothschild).
9. That didn’t work? Try to score two empty seats next to each other. Bribe someone to move if you have to.
What would you pay to be able to lay down? (Photo: Andrew Rothschild)
10. Still no luck? Try another sleeping concoction because the surest way to survive a flight this long without killing anybody is asleep.