You are all set. You have prepared you luggage; you have confirmed your hotel reservation; you have studied your itineraries well; and you have your flight booked. All you need to do is to go to the airport and you are on your way to Europe. And yes, you are excited!! A European vacation is always a dream come true. But there is one problem: the flight from New York or Dulles to Europe is at least 8 hours and longer if you are coming from the mid-west or from the west coast.
Most people overlook this one important part of traveling, especially when crossing the Atlantic or even the Pacific. Plane travel eats up a big chunk of your vacation so you have to make sure that you remain comfortable during the entire time you spend on the plane as well as how well you adapt to Europe's time zone.
Choose a good seat on an airplane
* If it is your first time to cross the Atlantic Ocean, you might be the person who will fight tooth and nail for a window seat. This makes no sense at all since all you can see is nothing but clouds. What you should be choosing is an aisle seat. Again, the flight to Europe can last at least 8 hours so you want an easy access to lavatories.
* If your problem is motion sickness, choose a seat at the middle of the plane or a seat toward the wings.
* Choose a seat on emergency exits and those behind the dividing walls if you want more leg room.
* If you are traveling with children, choose a seat near the lavatory.
* Eager to disembark? Choose a seat that is near the exit doors.
* If you don't like rubbing shoulders with your seatmates, choose a seat at the back.
* Front seats are often the quieter part of the plane; if you want peace and silence.
Prevent jet lag
* Days prior to your vacation, change your sleep-wake cycle gradually to Europe's time zone (5 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight time).
* At the beginning of the flight, set your watch to Europe's local time. This also goes if you are traveling to other places.
* Do not sleep on the plane when it is day time in Europe. To stay awake, keep your shades open, read a book with a light on, listen to lively music, cruise the aisles of the plane (if the seatbelt sign is turned off, of course) or watch a movie if it is available.
* Sleep on the plane when it is night time in Europe. To minimize the noise, wear earplugs or earphones. You should have adjusted to the local time at this point - all you need is to maintain it.
* Coffee, alcohol and tea can increase dehydration. Avoid these drinks when flying.
* The cabin's air is dry and dehydration can aggravate the effects of jet lag. Drink plenty of water.
Gone are the days when plane travel is considered a luxury. Now, you have to do a lot of things in order to make time fly, stay as comfortable as possible, and arrive fresh and ready to hit the streets of Paris or Rome and experience a European vacation you truly deserve.
Until next time, let me know what travel articles you would like to see, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy