10 Ways to Make Your Flight More Comfortable

iStock
iStock

Flying in economy seating can be a drag, especially on tinier airplanes where leg room is at a premium. But just because you're confined to your seat, it doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. Some basic tricks will help ease you through your trip.

1. DRESS STRATEGICALLY. 

Layers are key to flying comfortably. You never know how hot or cold it’s going to be on the plane, so wear clothing that can easily be removed. Soft, breathable clothing like sweatshirts and cotton t-shirts will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. Avoid wool, tight fitting clothes, or scratchy tags. There’s nothing worse than feeling itchy while stuck in a small space. 

2. WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES.

Stay away from high heels or clunky boots when flying. You want shoes that are not only comfortable, but can slip on and off easily so you can get through security without a hitch. Once on the plane, take those shoes off. Feet tend to swell on flights, so wear socks or bring a pair of slippers so your feet can breathe.   

3. BRING EARPLUGS.

Tune out crying babies and chatty passengers with a good pair of earplugs.  With your newfound silence, naptime can finally become a reality. 

4. PACK A LIGHT SNACK.

A small healthy snack will make for a good pick-me-up while flying. Consider baby carrots, trail mix, fruit, or something else that can be easily kept in a plastic baggy. Try to avoid anything greasy that could make you lethargic. Also keep any pungent foods at home: Your neighbors will thank you. 

5. CHECK IN EARLY.

Cross one stress off your list by checking in early. By checking in online before you head to the airport, you'll save some time waiting in line and will also be able to pick your seat ahead of time.

6. PICK THE RIGHT SEAT. 

Everyone has their own preference on where to sit, but that doesn’t mean all seats are equal. Taller flyers would be wise to grab an aisle seat, where it's easier to spread out, while nappers might want a window seat, so they're not disturbed by neighbors who need to use the restroom. All passengers, however, should try to grab a seat closer to the front of the plane—the back is plagued by the engine noise and bathroom smell.

7. HYDRATE.

Skip the coffee or soda and go for water. The caffeine and sugar will just lead to a crash leaving you more tired and dried out than before. Additionally, the air inside the cabin is notoriously dry: Humidity levels are typically around 10 to 20 percent, compared to a typical room's 30 to 65 percent. This dries out your eyes and skin, leaving you itchy and uncomfortable. Don't be shy about asking the flight attendants for more water! 

8. EMPTY YOUR POCKETS.

When trying to settle into your seat, the last thing you need is stuff poking you in your side. Unload the contents of your pockets into the seat pocket in front of you for a smoother ride. If you’re worried you’ll forget your possessions, bring a small bag to store them in.

9. LISTEN TO A RELAXING MIX.

Decide on an airplane playlist before boarding and load up your smartphone or mp3 player. Calm music or a sleep-inducing podcast will help you zone out and feel more at home while flying. For shorter flights, it can be fun to create a playlist of pump-up music to get you in the vacation mindset—some people like to choose music that directly relates to the city they’re going to visit. 

10. UTILIZE THE PILLOW AND BLANKET. 

Most airlines will provide you with a pillow and blanket for longer flights, so you might as well use them! But it's smart to bring a neck pillow or sweatshirt you can roll up to rest your head, just in case a pillow isn't available. 

Meet LiLou: The World's First Airport Therapy Pig

Kseniia Derzhavina/iStock via Getty Images
Kseniia Derzhavina/iStock via Getty Images

There's a new reason to get to the airport early—you might run into a therapy pig who's there to make your trip a little easier. As Reuters reports, LiLou the Juliana pig is a member of San Francisco International Airport's "Wag Brigade," a therapy animal program designed to ease stress and anxiety in travelers.

Aside from her snout and potbelly, LiLou can be recognized by her captain's hat and red "hoof" polish. She spends the day with guests who are happy to take a break from the pressures of traveling. She might comfort them by posing for a selfie, playing a song on her toy keyboard, or offering them a head to pet.

After bringing joy to people's day, LiLou goes home to her San Francisco apartment where she lives with her owner, Tatyana Danilova. In her free time, she goes on daily walks and snacks on organic vegetables. She even has her own Instagram account.

Airports around the world are embracing the benefits therapy animals can bring to customers. The Wag Brigade program at San Francisco includes a number of dogs, and earlier this year, the Aberdeen Airport in Scotland debuted its own "canine crew" of dogs trained to make travelers feel safe and happy. Therapy miniature horses have even been used at an airport in Kentucky. According to the San Francisco Airport, LiLiou is the world's first airport therapy pig.

To see LiLou turn on the charm, check out the video below.

[h/t Reuters]

The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Each State

Hot air balloons drifting over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hot air balloons drifting over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Greg Meland/iStock via Getty Images

In 2018, Americans took about 1.8 billion trips for leisure purposes alone, the U.S. Travel Association reports. But what types of attractions do they visit during those trips? Thanks to new data from Groupon and Viator, a TripAdvisor company, we now have the answer.

Map of the Northeast of the United States, showing a few of the most popular tourist attractions in that region
Groupon

Groupon mapped out each state’s most popular travel experience and classified them according to price, type, and region. Tourists in the northeast United States tend to gravitate toward what Groupon describes as “exploration and discovery” activities, like the Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia, Maine's Portland City and Lighthouse Tour, and the day trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard.

Map of the Midwest region of the United States, listing a few of the most popular tourist attractions in those states
Groupon

The Midwest is by far the cheapest place to vacation, with the cost of attractions in the region averaging about $48. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and North Dakota are great states to visit if you’re looking for a top-ranked food tour, while South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois offer plenty of educational tours and experiences (including a movie site tour for Field of Dreams fans).

Map of the Southern region of the United States, listing some of the most popular tourist attractions in that area
Groupon

Experiences in the South are fairly varied. Visitors have plenty of options, whether they’re looking for a historic tour of Asheville, North Carolina's Biltmore Estate (the largest privately owned house in the United States) or a day of thrills at Virginia’s Busch Gardens amusement park. Tourists in the South do seem to prefer watery activities, though—the region is popular for dinner cruises and dolphin watching.

Map of the Western region of the United States, listing some of the most popular tourist destinations in the area
Groupon

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the West is easily the most expensive region for visitors, averaging about $176 per attraction. Tourists in this region tend to gravitate toward experiences like helicopter tours and hot air balloon rides, all of which push the region toward the pricey end of the scale. Still, if you’re looking for astounding natural beauty, there are few places with more variety than the American West.

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