Surviving My First Long-haul Flight and The Carry-on Essentials!
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I started the year by flying across the globe for the first time! However, as an individual susceptible to motion sickness, I was nervous about sitting through two 14-hour flights. To help ease my nervousness, I built a plan using a combination of methods that worked for me in the past. I want to share them with you!
My Thought Process
My strategizing started when I booking my flight. I had to decide whether I could tolerate a nonstop 14-hour flight or would need a break along the way. Usually, I choose nonstop without questions but remembered that the consequence of motion sickness is vomiting. If I were to reach that point, I definitely would want an opportunity to get up, reset, and freshen up. I didn’t have faith in airplane bathrooms so breaking the flight into two legs quickly became the more attractive option.
The first leg of my flight to Dubai was 10 hours followed by a 90-minute layover and then the remaining 4 hours (with the same in reverse returning to the states). Since I can’t feel motion while I’m asleep, I knew I had to do my best to sleep through most, if not all, of the 10 hours. Thankfully my departing flight was at midnight, so I made sure to get up early on travel day which helped tire me out. Sleeping wasn’t a priority for a second flight because I had packed a few carry-on essentials (which I’ll reveal below) that would help keep me comfortable for shorter durations.
Once I decided this was my winning formula to surviving a long-haul flight, I bought my essentials then waited for travel day to see if I’d be successful!
I’d say I was about 90% successful with going to Dubai being smoother than coming back to the states. Here’s why – before takeoff from New York, I took 1 Dramamine tablet to help mitigate any symptoms and 1 Melatonin supplement to help me fall asleep. This combination allowed me to sleep 8 of the first 10 hours – I even missed one of the in-flight meals. My layover allowed me to stretch my legs (I flew economy) and buy a new water bottle for the remaining 4 hours. For shorter flights, I’ve found ginger supplements are sufficient in preventing motion sickness plus they are non-drowsy, so I was comfortable taking it on top of what I had when I left New York.
Coming back, I planned to follow the same pattern of taking the ginger supplement on the shorter leg which was first up, then Dramamine with Melatonin on the longer leg that followed. However, I was so tired from my 8 days of adventure that I could not stay awake on my 4-hour flight which made it extremely difficult to fall asleep on the 10-hour leg. That was my mistake – being awake during the longer portion meant I felt the Dramamine start to wear off and when that moment happened, I started to feel dizzy, and nausea started to creep in. I quickly got my water and went to the bathroom in case I had to vomit but more importantly, I needed to center myself. Thankfully, I didn’t throw up but dealt with a slight headache the rest of the flight which made me incredible antsy. I tried a few more times to fall asleep but I couldn’t manage to do anything longer than a cat nap.
I'm not quite sure what I would've changed. I'm just happy I survived and was able to feel comfortable for most of the ride. Being hyper-focused on my well-being also taught me that most of the stuff in my carry-on was useless when I faced a moment of panic. As a result, below are my travel essentials. If you see me carrying anything else, it's just for decoration (😂😭).
My Carry-on Essentials
Dramamine – To mitigate motion sickness symptoms (Note: Consult your physician before taking any medication)
Melatonin – Aids in falling asleep (Note: Consult your physician before taking any medication)
Ginger Supplements – Natural remedy to mitigate motion sickness symptoms
Blackout Eye Mask – Blocks out lights to help you stay asleep (i.e., sun or reading lights)
Wired Headphone – To listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks without having to worry about losing an Air Pod
A Salty Snack – Helps curb the active feeling of nausea and settle an upset stomach
Water – To stay hydrated
Disinfect Wipes – To kill germs
(my overpacked bags)