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Travelling by Plane

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 22 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Planes Airplanes Aeroplanes Flying

The vast majority of gap years incorporate at least some travel overseas, and the wonders of modern technology mean that boarding a plane is more than likely on any international gap year itinerary. To make sure that your flights are fantastic, read through these top tips for travelling by plane.

Booking a Flight

If you are interested in finding the most direct flights at the cheapest prices, consider investing in youth travel identification. Ask you travel agent about cards such as, International Student Identity Card (ISIC) - must be a student, International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) - must be under 26 years of age and Youth Hostel Association - cheapest if you are under 26 years of age.

Many gap year travellers prefer to book their flights online and without an agent.

Flight Safety

For everyone's safety, it is imperative that all passengers follow both their airline's regulations as well as the Department for Transport's safety regulations regarding luggage, hand luggage and passenger behaviour. Before you select an airline with which to travel, investigate not only their safety record and reputation, but personal recommendations from former gappers.

If you are satisfied with the safety of your carrier, ensure your personal safety while travelling by plane by asking your GP if there is any reason you should not fly, reading the safety card offered in all seat pockets and by observing the safety film or demonstration.

Other ways to ensure your safety whilst on a flight include; identifying the emergency exit nearest to your seat, keeping your passport and wallet/purse on your person and by putting your travel documents and valuables in your daypack at your seat.

Always remember to stow all hand baggage firmly in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you and consume only non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic drinks and nutritious snacks during your flight.

Flight Comfort

While planes do offer you the chance to move about the cabin and stretch your legs, they will still seem uncomfortable during a long flight. To make yourself as comfortable as possible, wear loose clothing that can shift with you and will keep you covered, wear layers, so that you can adjust along with the temperature, remove contacts and instead fly with glasses to keep your eyes moist, slip off your shoes to help your circulation and drink water consistently to stay hydrated.

Keep yourself entertained by bringing your own iPod or mp3 player. It is a good idea to stand up regularly on long flights, and stretch in your seat. If you suffer from airsickness make sure you take some motion sickness tablets along with you.

Dealing With Motion Sickness While Flying

Motion sickness occurs when the body's sensory perceptions are thrown off and as a result the brain becomes confused. Over 90% of the population will suffer from motion sickness at some time, and flying can often bring on a bout of motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness include:
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dizziness and sleepiness.
  • Headaches.
  • Grey or green complexion.
  • Clamminess.
  • Sweating.
Many travellers find some relief from motion sickness by:
  • Taking long, slow breathes.
  • Sipping water.
  • Laying a cool, wet cloth across the neck or wrists.
  • Putting away all books and magazines.
  • Wearing special wristbands.
  • Taking over the counter medication recommended by the chemist.
  • Wearing motion sickness patches behind their ears as prescribed by their GP.

Getting Over the Fear of Flying

If you consider yourself afraid to fly, or an aerophobic, there may not be much you can do to alleviate your stress. You may want to investigate:
  • Courses specifically designed to help students overcome their fears of flying.
  • Counselling or therapy to explore your fears.
  • Discussing your fears with your GP.
  • Using meditation or yoga to help you remain calm on a plane.
  • Avoiding alcohol during your flight.
  • Bringing a book or magazine or becoming lost in the in-flight entertainment to help forget your fears.
Travelling by plane is almost a necessity if you are planning a gap year abroad. Remember to hunt around for the best price, remain calm and follow all safety procedures and you will have a fabulous flight. Good luck!

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