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Going on a vacation? We bet you’re excited. We also bet that, unless you somehow managed to score a seat upgrade or you splurged on a first class ticket, you’re not so excited about the prospect of packing yourself into those tiny seats like a sardine in a can. No one ever is.

The good news is that while flying these days kind of sucks, there are a few small things that you can do to maximize your comfort. Try and incorporate some or all of these hacks next time you’re headed to the airport. Your mental state will appreciate it.

 

Book your seat in advance

Lena Dunham

If you have the option to pick your seat online, do it. It’s so easy that there’s no excuse not to. At the same time, check in online if you can, too. It’ll save you lots of lineup time at the actual airport. Like to conk out by the window? Ensure you get one. Want an aisle seat to secure that little extra bit of legroom? Go for it. And if your companion likes that seat too, why not get two of them across the aisle? That way, you’re still technically sitting beside each other and no one has to have that dreaded middle seat.

Wear loose-fitting clothing

Loose Clothes

Should you slouch your way to the airport in sweats? Probably not. Odds are you’ll never get upgraded to first class looking like a slob. But there is something to be said for wearing light and loose clothing on a plane. With so many other constricting elements at play (the small seat, the big guy sitting next to you), you’ll be thankful for the comfort.

Keep the area under your seat clear

We get it, no one wants to be “that guy” rummaging through the overhead bin mid-flight for something you forgot to take out of your bag. But by keeping the area under your seat clear, you can stretch out your legs and maximize your personal space — even if Joe Schmo in front of you decides to launch his seat all the way back.

Bring good quality earphones, AND backup buds

Ron Swanson

Noise-cancelling headphones are where it’s at. With them, you won’t have to listen to your noisy neighbour, that screaming child or anything else that’s bound to set you off. The problem? Most airlines only allow earbuds to be plugged into their own system during takeoff and landing. So be sure to pack both kinds in order to stay zoned out all flight long.

Build a travel “pouch”

This goes a long way in helping make sure that aforementioned area under the seat stays clear, and that you’re not having to go into the overhead bin. There are many handy, oversized travel “wallets” out there, big enough to hold the essentials: your passport, money and cards, a pen (always, always pack one), a small pack of gum and earbuds. It fits easily into the pouch in front of you, and is easy to carry if you have to go to the bathroom and are travelling solo.

Pack a snack

Kristin Wiig

Airlines can be very picky about what’s allowed through customs and what isn’t, so be sure to check the rules before you head out. However, packing a simple sandwich or cup of soup (just ask for hot water) for the flight not only means you get to eat what you want, but you’ll save some dough too. Worried your snack won’t make it through customs? Grab a bagel or muffin from the airport’s coffee shop (plenty of them have Tim Hortons and Starbucks), along with your own coffee or tea and water bottle. That way you don’t have to wait until the attendants are serving beverages to enjoy one. Not a fan of plastic bottles? Pack an empty bottle from home, then fill it at the water fountain once you’re through screening.

Get a gadget

We all hope for good movies on the plane, but sometimes those systems just go down. Rather than take the risk, pack a tablet with a preloaded movie or television series to watch just in case. Or, if you’re a gamer, download a new gaming app on your phone before takeoff. When you need to tune everyone around you out, there’s nothing better than an absorbing but silly game.

Bring a battery pack

Aside from making sure that your gadgets are fully charged before flying, these suckers mean that you can keep the electronic fun going long after you’ve realized that the electrical outlet on the back of the seat in front of you doesn’t actually work.

Take a Gravol

supernatural

If you’re one of those people who can’t sleep on a plane or get jittery when there’s turbulence (a seat near the wing will help with that problem), popping a Gravol before your flight will make you nice and drowsy, hopefully inspiring a long in-flight nap.

Pack your own essentials

Sure, some airlines have teeny, tiny pillows and scratchy blankets to hand out (although increasingly they seem to be designation for first class passengers). But nothing beats your own stuff. If you tend to get cold or need a good pillow in order to catch some shut eye, your best bet is to bring it yourself.

Definitely get up

Flying

There are people who like to stay seated for the entire flight. We don’t recommend being one of those people. Getting up and moving around, even if it’s just to walk up and down the aisle, not only stretches your sore joints but it keeps the blood flowing to improves circulation. And that’s a key component to prevented blood clots from a flight.

 

Happy flying!

Flying