This blog post was updated on October 26, 2018.
It’s the 36-hour bus ride, the three flights to get to Europe and the 9-hour train ride with seemingly no end. These are those long travel days where we spend our time just watching the clock crawl along. I’m a few hours away from one of those dreaded long travel days. With two flights in my future, an early morning wakeup call of 4AM and very little time to sleep in between, I’m not entirely looking forward to that delirium that sets in when you are running on no sleep and have no idea what day it is. However, I have lessened the burden on my long travel days with a few tips learned through trial and error. If that 36-hour bus ride is in your future, here are a few way to make those hours a little less painful.
Eat Breakfast: Even if it is 5 in the morning and the sound of cornflakes doesn’t make your stomach growl with joy, before heading out the door, you need to force yourself to eat at least something. Long travel days are notoriously unreliable in terms of meals. You never know when you will be eating your next real meal. You can avoid the crankiness by eating breakfast or some sort of meal no matter the hour before you leave.
Check Bags or Lightened Your Load: If you tend to over-pack, a long travel day will make you pay for it. If you have heavy carry-on luggage, you will quickly exhaust yourself carrying it from gate to gate or airport bathroom to bathroom. Luggage can essentially be like a giant workout for those on multiple flights. It involves lifting, loading and carrying distances you probably didn’t bank on when you packed your bag. Either lighten your load and pack less or consider checking your bag to get rid of the dead weight bringing you down.
Pack Snacks: Just as it is important to eat something before a long travel day begins, it is also crucial to pack snacks for your journey. Unless you want to fork over airport prices for a small pack of peanuts, snacks should be a part of every traveler’s long travel day survival guide. Your destination could be several hours away and you could be running on empty with no way to get more to eat. A few snacks to tide you over will save you from growing even more tired and irritable with the long journey.
Hydrate: On long travel days, I try to drink as much water as I can. Keeping hydrated on your journey will help when you arrive. You will be less tired and more ready to take on the day post-endless bus ride. I always fill up water bottles at drinking fountains and request water on airplanes. This helps me feel fresh and less rundown on long travel days unlike sodas and caffeine.
Keep Busy: The long travel day can be particularly long if you just sit there. Rather than watching the clock tick, keep as busy as you can. Answer emails. Bring work with you. Dive into a good book. The more time you spend just sitting there waiting to get to your destination, the more you will be conscious of the time.
Move around: It is not just vital to move around on long plane rides. Travelers going by car, bus or train should move around whenever the opportunity presents. On long car trips, you need to get out and stretch every few hours. On long travel days, I specifically try to reserve aisle seats so that I know I won’t be trapped into my seat if my neighbor decides to take a snooze for 6 hours.
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