Interning Abroad

How to (Almost) Enjoy 8+ Hours in a Plane

By in Interning Abroad

You are about to embark on an amazing internship abroad. You know the destination will always be worth it. However, the odd transition in an effectively timeless and confined space with 300 strangers could be better. Here are some tips to make your travel as pleasurable as possible. These tips are tailored specifically for 6+ hour trips but can be used in some variation for all durations.


1. Seat Selection

This is important! Most airlines let you choose your seat during the ticket purchasing process; if not you can always ask a crewmember at the counter when checking in your bag. What you are looking for can basically be broken down into three camps.


The movers:

If after 2 minutes of sitting down you forget what a normal amount of leg space is and need to see what it’s like to have full range of motion again. Then the aisle seat is built for you. There is nothing worse than trying to do the awkward shuffle in-between your two new neighbors every 5 minutes.


The dreamers:

There are multiple advantages to having the window seat. As far as makeshift beds go, the window seat is your best bet. You are going to have to give up your accessibility to the rest of the plane but sometimes the preferred sleeping position is worth it. The biggest advantage is that you can see directly through your window. There is a certain feeling that comes from seeing your destination for the first time after countless hours flying. That mixture of relief, excitement, nervousness, and anticipation can be exhilarating as you arrive on the runway.  


The late comers:

If you find yourself stuck in the middle seat, promptly crawl into the baggage space and make yourself comfortable. Ok, the middle seat isn’t that bad, but there are not a whole lot of benefits to that position. Turn your headphones on and lock into the 6 seasons of Breaking Bad: downloaded specifically for this situation.


2. Preparation

Preparing a small ‘survival bag’ can be the difference between a relaxing, entertaining transit and a mind-numbingly boring countdown. Your bag needs to be small enough that you can put it under the seat in front of you without cutting off your precious leg space! Here is what you need:


Change of clothes:

Comfortable clothes or pajamas for the duration of the flight. Just before the captain asks everyone to return to their seats, run to the bathroom and change. You will hit the runway feeling like a million bucks (almost).



The screens on airplanes are very small, and are not known for their 4K resolution. Movies on your laptop will be better, games on your phone are more interactive, and books are a million times better than in-flight magazines. It’s a no-brainer.



Planes are loud. Really loud. It almost feels like it is more important to bring a good pair of headphones than your luggage. A good pair of over-ear headphones can help you carve out some personal space on your way to your international internships.



Airplane food is not as bad as it is portrayed, but you can always do better. Tactfully choosing a variety of healthy bites that are accidentally left at home might be a blessing in disguise. This will allow you to buy chips and candy at the airport.  Lifesaver.



It’s hard to feel hygenic on a plane. Having a toothbrush and some travel toothpaste can make a huge difference with the unclean feeling of sitting still for prolonged periods.


3. Movement

Moving regularly has a lot of benefits on the long flights on the way to your international internships. Stretching increases circulation, reduces stiffness, and passes the time. You will often see people doing tentative squats in the unused space at the back or middle of the plane. Remember to keep it gentle, it is not the time to complete your P90X routine in the aisle.


Hopefully, by using these tips and tricks, you will have an almost pleasant and relaxing half day in your new waiting room. Keep in mind that you have nothing but time. Try to do everything in slow motion and enjoy the feeling of not having to rush anywhere. You are on your way to an amazing internship abroad and cultural experience!

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