Travelling to an exotic destination and exploring the unknown is always exciting. Unfortunately, long plane rides aren’t always fun. Here are five ways to make the journey more comfortable so you are well rested by the time you reach your destination.

Choose the right seat

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The seat you select will have an impact on your entire journey, so choose with care

Where you’re seated in the plane will contribute significantly to your comfort. Exit row, aisle and window seats are typically the most coveted, so try to secure these in advance, preferably when you buy your ticket. Business travellers tend to prefer seats at the front, as this allows for a quick exit. But you might wish to avoid the bassinet rows as these are preferred by parents with babies – if you need some shut eye, crying babies might not help! Leisure travellers who wish to take photos of the sunset (or sunrise), should pick window seats. Try to sit at the back where there may be more empty seats (not over the wings).

If the airline doesn’t offer the seat selection option when you buy your ticket, set a reminder to check-in online as soon as this option is available for first pick of available seats. Some airlines also charge a little extra for ‘premium’ seats such as exit row or bulkhead seats – these could be well worth the investment, especially if you have lanky proportions that don’t fit well into a regular economy seat.

It’s important to note that different planes have different seat layouts, so check forums such as SeatGuru, which provides seat maps for almost every type of plane on major airlines so you can make an informed choice.

Exit row, aisle and window seats are typically the most coveted, so try to secure these seats in advance, preferably when you buy your ticket.

Make space for yourself

Many travellers make the mistake of scattering personal items on their seats and in their seat pockets. However, this can make your seat feel even more cramped. Instead, minimise clutter so you have more personal space on the flight. Only pack essential in-flight items such as a book, iPad or eye mask together in a small pouch or folder to save space.

Additionally, flight attendants from several major full-service airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas to name a few, will hang bulky coats in a closet if you ask politely. You can also stow away magazines and catalogues in the seat pocket up in the overhead compartment to earn yourself a few extra centimetres of leg room.

Figure out your in-flight amenities

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In-flight amenities differ for each airline so check beforehand what’s available on your flight

Before you fly, find out what kind of in-flight amenities the airline provides. It’s always useful to know if there’s Wi-Fi on board, or whether a charger port and earpieces are available so you know what to stash in your carry on – a USB plug or a power pack charger, for instance – to complement the amenities. Also ask if toiletries are available, so you can bring your own if the airline doesn’t provide what you need. If you can’t do without your favourite drama, find out beforehand what entertainment options the flight provides so you can pack your iPad if they don’t have what you want. If you’re a workaholic, don’t forget to carry your laptop and charger so you can work as you fly.

Exercise before you get on the plane

Exercise helps reduce stress and also works up the body enough to want to rest, so you can spend a few hours getting some quality sleep. The airport also has beautiful orchid, butterfly and sunflower gardens, where you can wind down and enjoy some nature, while also giving your mind and feet the workout they need. If you’re travelling with kids, let them run around the airport’s playgrounds so they, too, work off some energy.

Once onboard, don’t forget to move about from time to time – walk up and down the aisle and flex your legs. It is necessary to keep the blood circulation going to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which leads to the formation of blood clots due to lack of movement.

All these activities will help lull you into a calm state of mind that’s conducive to deep sleep. After all, rest is essential to ensure you’re fresh when you reach your destination!

Make yourself at home

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Wear comfortable clothes on long flights

There's plenty you can do to get comfortable during your flight. Change into loose and breathable clothing that won’t restrict your movement and bring along a comfortable neck pillow to support your head when you fall asleep. The microbead neck cushion at Muji to Go is a great option as it moulds snugly to the contours of your head and the seat. Alternatively, indulge in your favourite facial mask, such as Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask, which goes on invisibly and perks up your complexion so you look fresh and alert when you disembark.

With so many options to travel to the farthest corners of the planet, the world is truly your oyster. And with these travel hacks to make a long-haul flight pleasant, you’ll be back at Changi Airport before you know it, raring to make plans for your next trip to yet another far-flung destination.