When people say they like to travel, most likely they are referring to the activities they do at their destinations and not the time spent actually getting there. Traveling can be arduous, especially overseas travel and its unavoidably long flights. If you are apprehensive about an upcoming international flight, whether it is your first or your hundredth, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to ensure your experience is as comfortable as possible.
First, take time to compare not only prices, but itineraries when booking your trip. Pay attention to the number of stops, the time between flights, and the total travel time. It is not worth saving a little money if you end up doubling your travel time. Keep in mind that every connection is a chance for something to go wrong if there are any delays, so minimize the number of stops. Also, make sure you have enough time between flights to make your connection, especially at the airport where you will need to clear customs.
While booking your ticket, you have the opportunity to make choices based on your preferences. In terms of seating, you can usually see a map of the plane and choose from the seats still available. I like to sit as close to the front of the plane as possible because that way I know I will be off and on my way to my connection that much faster. Think about whether you want a window, middle seat, or aisle. If you are able to sleep, you might want to lean against the window. If you have to get up to use the restroom or just to move and stretch frequently, you might prefer the aisle. Try to avoid sitting too close to the bathroom since that is obviously a high-traffic area and can have an unpleasant odor.
You can also choose a special meal at the time you book your ticket. Most airlines offer a diverse selection of meals for individuals with dietary restrictions or preferences. If you decide after booking your reservation that you want a special meal, you can request one from the airline up to a few days before the trip.
In my travels, I have seen clothes and especially shoes that are highly fashionable but quite impractical for moving through an airport. Then there are people who go to the other extreme to be comfortable, traveling in what appear to be pajamas. It is possible to strike a balance, dressing in a way that is comfortable and practical, while still looking nice. Layers are ideal, since temperatures on planes and in airports can fluctuate widely. I tend to travel with a light sweater or jacket even in summer in anticipation of overly air-conditioned environments.
You are allowed a piece of carry-on luggage and I suggest you take one on with you. That said, think carefully about what you will need to access during the flight. Your carry-on might include a change of clothes, your camera, your prescription medications, and any number of things you want with you, but that you will not need during the flight. Things that you might want to access include reading materials, hand sanitizer, snacks and water, your toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, a neck pillow, lip balm, an iPod or MP3, or anything you will find essential in flight. Put those items that you know you want at hand in a bag inside your carry-on bag. That way, once you are on board, you can simply take out the essentials bag, put it beneath the seat in front of you, and stow the carry-on in the overhead compartment. This eliminates the need to rifle through your things upon boarding, or worse, at various times during the trip.
Long flights are a necessary reality of international travel. Taking the time to prepare a little in advance of your travels can make a world of difference during your hours on the airplane. Bon voyage!