By Ryan Hilterbran
Over the years I have done my fair share of traveling, whether it’s been bouncing around the Midwest on family jaunts or jet setting around the world on Cabeau business trips. Roughing it on the road and in the air for 2½ months each year isn’t always easy, so I have developed some tried and true techniques for traveling in comfort, and I hope these tips will help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Get a good seat: This means avoid the middle seat at all costs. While the window seat provides a wall to sleep against and the aisle seat gives you extra leg room and easy in and out access, the dreaded middle seat will only leave you cramped and annoyed. For long flights, it’s well worth requesting and paying a little extra (usually around $50-100) to secure an exit row seat or any area that offers extra leg room.
Bring a travel pillow that works: While this seems like a shameless plug, I cannot stress the importance of using a comfortable travel pillow. It’s literally the difference between sleeping or sitting in bored discomfort for hours. I can say with all honesty that Cabeau’s travel pillows are simply the best; nothing comes close to the comfort and effectiveness of our memory foam Evolution Travel Pillow. Also, don’t be so quick to discard that cheap pillow or blanket the airlines give you, they can actually provide lower back and lumbar support…your back and posture will thank me later.
Book a flight with movies: This is usually hit or miss, but is often available for overseas flights. Watching movies or television shows can really help the time fly by. It’s significantly better if the flight offers Audio Video on Demand, which means your screen is on the seat in front of you. This feature gives you control over what you want to watch or listen to (music is available as well) and allows you to pause the program or song to get up, stretch or use the bathroom. I’d also highly recommend bringing your own noise cancelling or noise reduction headphones. The ones the airlines provide are awful and, because you have to turn them up so loud to hear over the cabin noise and engine roar, they can actually damage your hearing if used for extended periods.
Be efficient and pack light: The less you bring, the less you have to manage and drag around before and after the flight. Most people tend to over-pack and are always tempted to bring those things they think “might” need—which can add up quickly. Since most airlines allow you bring two small bags on board for free (make sure one of these is a backpack—they’re so convenient in so many ways), try only packing those items you 100% know you will use on your next trip. Not only will you likely not even use all of those “must haves,” but you will be amazed at the hassle and space you will save yourself.
Get up and stretch often: This is particularly important for long flights and helps to prevent larger potential issues, like blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, and leg fatigue. While I would highly recommend our own Bamboo Compression Socks (of course), any brand of compression socks will likely work for you. I have flown many times with and without wearing compression socks, and will never do the latter again. They are amazingly adequate at regulating blood flow in your legs, will help to reduce any foot and ankle swelling, and will simple make your feet and legs feel better on and off the plane.