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While a trip to Europe is incredibly exciting, there's the small matter travelling to the other side of the world. Personal preference plays a big part in how you approach the journey. You've got plenty of choices: From selecting a window seat or an aisle, deciding whether or not to stopover on the way and choosing an airline, there's a lot to consider. Here a few top tips to get you started.
Some people swear by having a stopover when travelling to Europe, just to have a mini break and experience a new destination. If you’re travelling with a young family, then a stopover is a good way to break up the trip, giving the kids a chance to rest. You might even consider choosing an airline based on where you're interested in stopping over.
In terms of increasing comfort on the flight, there is no substitute for upgrading cabin service. As you'd expect: There are plenty of options. Select airlines have Premium Economy, which, as the name suggests, is a class that sits between Economy and Business class. The features of this class vary depending on the airline, but at the very least will include more leg room and some extra amenities.
The classes get more luxurious from there, whether it be Business Class or the incredibly indulgent First Class. Emirates and Singapore Airlines even have First Class suites on their A380 aircraft.
If you have a young family, consider Air New Zealand’s Economy Skycouch. The armrests between three seats can be raised and footrests pulled up to create a flat 1.55m by 74cm area that the kids can play or sleep in.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your consultant has preselected your seat well before check-in. Where you choose to sit will depend on personal preference. An aisle seat means you are uninhibited to get up and stretch or use the bathrooms, while a window seat provides less interruptions so sleeping is easier.
If you're travelling Economy, ask about springing for small upgrades like bulkhead seats, which can offer much more space and legroom. You've got to be quick though — there are only a few on each plane!
There are a number of things you can do to help arrive at your destination as refreshed as possible. Staying hydrated is especially important, as the air in a plane is very dry. Just as important? Walk the aisles and stretch often throughout the flight, as this will help blood flow and leave you feeling less like the Tin Man.
And as tempting as it is to have an extra wine (or two!), try not to overdo it. Alcohol is drying and can interfere with air travel's most precious commodity: sleep.
Many travellers pack sleep aids on the flight so they're as rested as possible when they land. If you do, be sure to test them before you leave — a 12-hour flight is no place for a trial run.
Whether or not you opt for a sleep aid, you'll benefit from ear plugs, a sleep mask and loose, comfortable clothing in layers. While all airlines will offer blankets and small pillows on long flights, some travellers prefer to bring their own large scarves or hoodies to stay cosy. Even consider packing slippers for your flight — the more comfortable you can get, the better your changes of banking lots of Zs. And that means a happier arrival for an incredible trip.
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