Our top flight tips to make sure you arrive in Hawaii feeling happy, rested, and ready to explore the islands.
General: DIY / How-To
So you're finally getting ready for that trip to Hawaii. You've been packed for days, you can taste the aloha, and the plane flight is imminent. But, oh, what a flight it will be. Five to six hours or maybe longer. Packed in like a sardine with the unwashed masses. This can't be fun.
Well, you're right, it won't be fun. This isn't the heyday of airline flights where people would get dressed up and excited to fly. These days flying is a chore at best and an incredibly stressful experience at the same time. It is what it is and you just need to get through it. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks to making getting through your flight easier and providing you with a better experience. Follow these tips and you may just come off the flight with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step.
FoodThis might be the biggest one of them all so we'll start with food. You want to eat healthy meals. Avoid anything greasy and anything that will make you gassy! It has been suggested that foods rich in carbohydrates like whole grain breads, spaghetti, and oatmeal make it easier to deal with jet lag. Depending on your flight take off time and duration, you'll either eat before or during your flight so choose wisely.
In addition to eating a healthy meal, pack some healthy snacks. If you get hungry on the plane you'll likely cave and buy the sugar laden items they sell. Instead, bring your own healthy snacks in your carry on bag. Peanuts are a great choice as are protein bars and trail mix. Go for high protein snacks. Avoid sugary snacks, especially with kids.
In all cases of food, don't over do it. You don't want to be overly full on the plane. In fact, eating before your flight and then simply snacking during the flight might be a good option too.
Are you eating the airline food and want to be served first? Well aren't you brave! Request a special meal (vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, etc). Those meals are generally served first. Of course, you'll still wait for that beverage cart like everyone else so buy a water after the TSA check point and carry it on.
Drink UpStaying hydrated is just as important as eating right on your flight. Air travel in general tends to dehydrate your body more than normal. The solution is to drink plenty of fluids. Of course, most of us tend to drink less on the plane because we don't want to be in the tiny, gross bathrooms. Doing that leads to headaches and other issues so drink up.
Water is best as always. Coffee isn't a good choice as the caffeine will keep you awake and dehydrate you further. Green tea is a great choice that may help with jet lag. Ideally, you'll want decaffeinated green tea. Alcohol is usually not a great choice on the plane as it can lead to dehydration. Save the mai tais for when you get to your hotel bar.
ClothingWearing comfortable and loose fitting clothing is the best way to go. Dress in layers so that you can easily and quickly adjust your temperature comfort levels. Planes are notorious for being too hot or too cold depending on where you sit.
A scarf or even a small beach towel is a great way to keep you warm and it can double as blanket and even lumbar support. Wearing socks will keep your feet warm and allow you to remove them if they get too hot. Many travelers opt for compression socks. These can help you avoid leg and ankle pain as well as swollen feet and even blood clots.
On the footwear front, go for closed toed shoes. They'll keep your feet warmer but also a much safer option in an emergency situation where there could be broken glass, sharp metals, and other hazards.
ComfortMany travelers swear by neck pillows and they're a great option if you plan to sleep. Even if you don't sleep, they can be comforting to have and take some strain off your neck.
Aircraft seats are unbelievably uncomfortable with their odd concave shape. Try using that scarf or your sweater for lumbar support, your back will thank you.
If you have noise canceling headphones then pack them along. They work great to drown out engine and passenger noise. Download some meditation music or white noise like ocean waves to help you calm down and relax.
Another option is to use ear plugs. These are cheap and disposable and we always pack several. Even if you don't use them on the plane, you might be glad you have them in the hotel. After all, a hotel is full of annoying noises like ticking ceiling fans, noisy air conditioners, or snoring spouses.
ExerciseExercise is especially important on a long flight. The last thing you want to do is stay seated for many hours at a time. When it is safe to do so, get up and walk around to stretch yourself out. Take a trip to the bathroom or snack bar area on the plane. We suggest doing this every hour if possible.
If that's not possible, exercise in your chair. Stretch your back and hold it. Move your feet around in circles at the ankles. Roll your shoulders and stretch your arms out. Anything is better than nothing.
EntertainmentDon't rely on the airline to entertain you or your kids. They'll likely fail miserably at that. Bring plenty of books and magazines to read. Pack crossword puzzles and bring a deck of cards. Crayons and coloring books are great for kids.
On the electronic side, download shows and movies to your iDevice of choice. Get apps and games that work offline and don't forget the headphones. Make sure all devices are fully charged and consider buying a small USB battery backup device to keep you going.
Location, Location, LocationWhere do you sit on the plane for the best experience? There isn't any one good answer for that. It often comes down to the lesser of 250+ evils. Generally speaking, a window seat is a great choice as it gives you a wall to lean against if you want to sleep. It also means you won't be bothered when somebody gets up to use the bathroom.
Some like sitting by the plane's wing and say there is less turbulence there because it's close to the plane's center of gravity. Others like sitting in front of the engines to get as far away from engine noise as possible.
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