Challenges and suggestions for flying on long trips
Let's talk about flying
When we speak of travel, the experience often glorified but we rarely discussed are the challenges of traveling, especially flying. Unless you are taking a road trip or a cruise ship adventure, you can't avoid getting on an airplane. It is hard to find updated tips online because things change rapidly with technology and political influence. If you are flying first class, you probably don't have much to worry about, and this experience is irrelevant. However, if you are traveling on a budget and would like to maximize your benefit and comfort, you may find my experience helpful while you are planning and researching for your next adventure.
How I get free flight tickets
People always ask how do I get to travel so much. I am not going to pretend I work four jobs for years before making these trips. I am grateful and fortunate to have an extra budget for traveling, but I still plan my trip carefully and save money whenever possible so that I can use it on my trip for a better experience. First, I don't pay much for my flight tickets, and I use air miles to exchange for free tickets. Credit card companies offer free miles when you sign up for a new credit card or when you upgrade your cards. Before you apply, look around to find the best deal. For example, Citibank offered me 50,000 miles for a new card, but for the same credit card category, I found 60,000 miles offered on American Airlines website. During my daily life, all my expenses are on my credit card. You may be surprised how fast things can add up. If you book it at the right timing, you may be able to get two free international round trip tickets with 60,000 miles. Usually, it takes three months before the credit card companies release those free miles, so don't sign up at the last minute before your planning, as I always say, it is crucial to plan it early!
Seats on Airplanes
Anyone who has traveled abroad is probably aware that the service and amenities are better with non-US airlines. When I am not using my frequent flyer miles, I tend to look for non-US flight companies. For example, I would totally book Japan Airlines to Tokyo instead of American Airlines if the price is right. I am 5 foot 9", and with American Airlines, leg room is pretty much non-existent with economy seating. With Japan Airlines, my knees get an extra 6 - 8 inches of space before they bump into the seat in front of me. With a long flight, it is important to have extra space for your legs to move around. Staying still for too long, you may get restless legs, which is the worst torture in travel! For that reason, I alway carry some Hyland Restful Legs pills with me when I fly. Find something that works for you if you have a restless legs issue in your daily life. If you are a shorter person or don't mind tight space, American Airlines has great movie selections! On my trip to Tokyo, I watched four movies to keep my mind of the cramped space, so that I wouldn't feel like stuck in a hole.
Crappy Airlines Food
I have never flown first class, so I have no idea if the food option is decent for first class. After traveling for years, I could tell Airlines companies are cutting cost, even for Japan Airlines. Food is getting worse and I just didn't have the appetite for it during my last trip. When I was eating on the American Airlines flight to Tokyo, I was wondering if the prison food could be better, and I am not picky when I fly. While I was on my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo with Japan Airlines, the flight attendants were offering Western food or Japanese food. I was glad that I chose Japanese food option because somehow it looked and tasted so much better than when I opted for Western food. If you are flying Air Asia in Southeast Asia, they usually don't provide meals, but you can pre-order food while booking your flight. I thought that's better because the food quality is more acceptable than provided free meals and the price is quite reasonable for American standards.
I admit being on a long fight is hard, but that is going to be harder if that's all you are thinking about. Travel is not just about the destination; even the unpleasant flight experience can turn out to be a good experience if you are in the right mindset. Take a few seconds to meditate, breathe in and out slowly, and allow yourself to be in the moment. My daily schedule is extremely busy, and my mind jumps here and there like crickets in the spring, so I usually use the idling time on a flight to think about all the lovely moments in my life. At last, don't forget to have your medication with you at all times. Blow up your neck pillow, sit back and watch some movies. Relax your mind so that you can fully enjoy the spectacular scenery when you arrive at your destination.