The author who wrote:  “life is a journey, not a destination” clearly never endured the red-eye flight from Hawaii to New York. Nothing kills vacation hype more than a flight that overstays its welcome. The ordeal usually leaves you tired and irritated. Instead of spending that first day of your dream vacation exploring or generally having fun, you are inside, in bed, recovering. Sometimes it feels as if you have to plan for that extra recovery day.  It sucks the energy and enthusiasm right out of what should be a relaxing and exciting escape, but like most trials, we can prepare for it. First-class upgrade not required.

Play

You are on vacation to escape the stresses of home and work.  So why would you bring the office with you? Some would have you think that by catching up on work you can easily pass the time  but let’s be honest here, work can drag and it’s usually not fun, not as much as your vacation anyways.  Just as in the office, that paperwork can turn minutes unto hours. Instead of trying to catch up on deadlines, catch up on Netflix. Spend time binge watching a favorite show, beating your high score on an iPhone game, or finishing a good book. Anything remotely fun will propel time forward faster than Microsoft Excel, unless that’s your thing, who are we to argue. If you forgot your phone or laptop, in-flight movies are usually available for longer trips so don’t pass up the headphones. Even if the movie is not in your taste, a two-hour film accelerates time faster than your inbox. The vacation starts at the airport, not the resort.

Walk

Unless the pricey first-class section was in your budget, you’re sitting with your knees crunched up against your chest in coach.  These little irritations easily become legitimate aches and pains in a matter of hours. We tend to focus on removing ourselves from uncomfortable situations, counting the seconds till the annoyances are alleviated. Time stops when you watch the clock so fervently.  The hard and fast solution: get up!  A quick stretch or even a quick walk up and down the aisle can help soothe those cramps. It is healthy for you too. Medically speaking, a stretch every now and then on long flights prevents harsher medical issues. Passengers who remain seated and immobile run the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Little blood clots in the deeper veins. Those will put a damper on any vacation plans quick. Deep vein thrombosis is not super common but preventative maintenance is better than no maintenance at all.

Sleep

You’re not getting good rest on a long flight, period. Approach the flight like you would any ordeal by accumulating energy and rest. Sleep before your flight. A planned snooze during the length of your flight may seem like a good idea, nothing passes the time faster than a nap, but nine times out of ten, the cabin is noisy, shaky, and crammed. Falling asleep naturally is fine; you will feel better the more you stick to a normal sleep pattern, but a botched nap after 20 or so hours of staying up thinking you could outsmart the travel time will only amplify any irritability you already have.

SeatGuru

Make SeatGuru.com your best friend. The website will look at your flight, map out the seating arrangements on the plane and, based both on consumer reviews and plane layout, tell you what seats have the most legroom and which seats need serious fumigation. Many airlines these days allow you to assign yourself seating when purchasing a ticket, some airlines do not assign seating at all. Take advantage of the opportunity and plan ahead with SeatGuru. That little extra overhead storage space or that seat that reclines more than the others could make a load of difference.