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The unique travel hack that is guaranteed to help beat jet lag

<p dir="ltr">Experts have revealed how to beat jet lag on your next overseas holiday, and it all comes down to your modes of transport. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sleep researchers said it's good news for cruise lovers, as exposure to sea air and bright natural light improves sleep to cure the annoying condition quickly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some experts say to avoid travelling by plane all together, and always opt for cruising holidays instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, if you have to travel to your cruise by plane, being on board is a great way to tackle the dreadful feeling, compared with holidaying on land, Panache Cruises said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Lindsay Browning, expert at Trouble Sleeping said exposing yourself to bright lights at the right time after a long-haul flight is one of the most powerful things we can do to boost and help shift circadian rhythm, and being on a ship is the perfect place for that.</p> <p dir="ltr">"As a general rule, you want to get lots of bright light exposure during the daytime and avoid light at night," Browning said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"When travelling on a cruise ship, you will naturally get a lot of bright light exposure during the day, helping your circadian rhythm.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"Further, when travelling by ship you will have a cabin with a proper bed and curtain, enabling you to sleep at night when you want to."</p> <p dir="ltr">The company claimed research showed how prolonged exposure to sea air can improve blood oxygen levels, boost vitamin D, and improve breathing leading to higher-quality sleep, helping to rid travellers of pesky jet lag so they can enjoy their holidays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Flight attendant reveals how to score a free upgrade

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has shared her number one trick for securing an upgrade on your next plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">American flight attendant Cierra Mistt revealed the one question you should ask at check-in to score an upgrade to first class, with the hack working almost every time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt started her now-viral video by saying her hack to get a free upgrade was top secret. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s look at the big picture. Everyone is flying right now, and no one is more excited about that than commercial airlines,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The majority of airlines are overbooking every single flight they have.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It comes from the last month of me trying to get home and not even being able to get on standby because every single flight has been oversold,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am not talking about one or two seats. I am talking about 10-30 seats that have been oversold.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said this overselling of flights presents an opportunity to travellers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If everyone does show up, including the extra passengers that were oversold their tickets, the airlines have no choice but to financially compensate,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flight attendant shared that airlines “normally start off with vouchers for $500 or something”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Normally they say a voucher but you can ask for it in cash,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Depending on the flight and how desperate they are, they will go up to, like three, four, five thousand dollars.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is where the free upgrades come in.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said not only could you ask for a free upgrade in such circumstances, but you could “also ask for other incentives”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For example, drinks, dinners, breakfast, even a hotel if you have to stay overnight until the next flight,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, yes, you can also ask to be upgraded to first class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her video received more than a million views, with people praising the hack and sharing how it has worked for them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I got upgraded to first class by doing this,” said one person. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok / Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

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Airline selling international flights for under $400

<p>Looking to jet off to Europe without breaking the bank? Well, now might be your chance! Budget airline Scoot has just unveiled an irresistible March sale, offering one-way flights to various European and other international destinations for less than $400. With more than 60 destinations on offer, travellers from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are in for a treat.</p> <p>Scoot, known for its affordable fares and quality service, is the low-fare subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. The airline kicked off its one-week sale on Tuesday March 19, much to the delight of eager globetrotters. From Greece to Japan, and from Singapore to Indonesia, there's a plethora of destinations waiting to be explored.</p> <p>Among the highlights of this enticing offer are flights to Singapore starting from a mere $198, Athens from $355, Osaka from $315, and Denpasar from just $189. With such competitive pricing, it's no wonder travellers are scrambling to secure their seats.</p> <p>However, with great deals often come limited availability. While Scoot has not disclosed the exact number of seats up for grabs, travel experts advise acting fast. Graham Turner, from Flight Centre, <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/scoot-launches-march-sale-with-flights-to-europe-from-395-c-14009924" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cautioned 7News</a> that while the deals are fantastic, they're likely to be snapped up quickly. "There won't be a lot," he warned, while stressing the importance of doing thorough research before making a booking.</p> <p>It's essential for travellers to note that the fares advertised are all one-way and do not include additional charges such as taxes, checked baggage, WiFi, in-flight entertainment, food or flight changes. Despite these add-ons, the base fares remain incredibly competitive, making Scoot's March sale an attractive option for those seeking budget-friendly travel options.</p> <p>If you've been dreaming of am international getaway, now is the time to turn those dreams into reality. But don't delay – Scoot's March sale is set to run only until Monday night March 25, giving travellers just a limited window of opportunity to snag these incredible deals.</p> <p>So, whether you're yearning to wander through the historic streets of Athens, indulge in sushi delights in Osaka, or relax on the pristine beaches of Denpasar, Scoot's March sale has something for every traveller's taste and budget. Don't miss out on this chance to explore Europe without breaking the bank!</p> <p><em>Image: Scoot</em></p>

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Why you should travel solo this summer

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-mccamley-446927">Claire McCamley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-huddersfield-1226">University of Huddersfield</a></em></p> <p>When you think about booking a summer holiday, you might think of trips with partners, friends or family. The idea of going on holiday alone can be daunting, or even unappealing. It raises all kinds of questions – who will you talk to? Who will you eat with? Will you be safe?</p> <p>There has long been a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0267257X.2015.1073170?journalCode=rjmm20">stigma against solo consumption</a>. Societal norms encourage us to be with someone – leisure experiences are billed as something to <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2019-0584/full/pdf?title=dining-alone-improving-the-experience-of-solo-restaurant-goers">share with others</a>. There may also be a level of guilt or self-indulgence associated with solo travel, feeling as if you are shirking responsibility or abandoning time with family.</p> <p>An increase in <a href="https://www.euromonitor.com/article/single-person-households-to-record-128-percent-growth-by-2030">single-person households</a>, however, means the hospitality industry is now serving solo consumers in addition to families and couples. The continuously <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2020/05/11/is-a-blurred-work-life-balance-the-new-normal/?sh=5c9db6341813">blurred line</a> between work and play, particularly for Millennials and younger generations, makes it easier to work remotely or travel as part of our jobs. We are more transient than ever, and have more opportunities to work and travel alone without feeling completely disconnected from the rest of our lives.</p> <p>In recent years, people have been <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/whats-behind-the-rise-in-solo-travel/">increasingly</a> travelling alone – including younger vacationers. They also share their experiences to a large audience on social media – the hashtag #SoloTravel has over 7 million posts associated with it on Instagram. Solo travellers are taking part in the growing <a href="https://www.futuresplatform.com/blog/solo-economy-new-consumption-patterns">solo economy</a> – new products and services targeting the lone consumer.</p> <p>Hotels, <a href="https://www.ncl.com/uk/en/freestyle-cruise/solo-cruising">cruises</a>, restaurants, tourism <a href="https://www.flashpack.com/">companies</a> and festivals are showing how design, staff and technology can be tailored to accommodate – and even encourage – solo consumption in travel. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14705931211017184">Our research</a> into the experience of solo consumers in coffee shops offers insight into how solo consumption can be as pleasurable and fulfilling as going with a partner or friend. Through <a href="https://www.research.ucsb.edu/sites/default/files/RD/docs/FREEWRITING-by-Peter-Elbow.pdf">freewriting</a> exercises, these consumers shared their own experiences. Their words offer some reasons you should try it too.</p> <h2>Be together, alone</h2> <p>Our research participants highlighted key factors that help them enjoy their solo experience – high seats and window views allowing them to sit back and observe others’ lives without any direct interaction or connection. You don’t need to arrive with others to feel part of a social environment. Alone in a crowded square or on a busy beach, the proximity of other people and their conversations can be a source of comfort, distraction or even entertainment.</p> <blockquote> <p>The seat is important -– I like the window especially a stool and “shelf” table facing out … I see people, imagine their lives, see cars and life pass by. I watch other customers, I watch the street out the window, the cliché of “watching the world pass by”. The setting, context and environment of the café are important to that moment of pause.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Take time for yourself</h2> <p>Being alone can be a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/14705931211017184">therapeutic experience</a>, a time to process thoughts, feelings and emotions and leave you ready to tackle the world again. Perhaps take time to write, draw or practice another creative activity in your own time. Bask in your own thoughts without feeling pressure to please anyone else or force a conversation.</p> <blockquote> <p>Sitting alone with my thoughts can be a comforting experience; picking a seat, getting comfy…I can find silence with my thoughts and don’t feel any pressure to act for anybody or involve myself in a conversation that doesn’t interest me.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Get out of your comfort zone</h2> <p>Being able to do your own thing, without needing to consider others can be relaxing and can also give you the opportunity to do something you’ve never done before, free of judgement. You might want to go to some sort of class, shop or have a complete chill-out day.</p> <p>Findings from our research indicate that time spent doing things alone can relieve some of the pressures that companions can bring. Alone time gives you the space to experience things in your own time and take in your surroundings without distraction. In doing this, you may find yourself in new situations, away from your comfort zone – an energising and enthralling experience.</p> <h2>Embrace solo traveller culture</h2> <p>Solo travellers have their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431921002516">own way of doing things</a>, they have a shared behaviour and process and often become a collective in themselves. They acknowledge the process of travelling alone and respect others doing the same, and may even seek out spaces to be alone, together. Solo travellers can engage in a shared experience and dialogue while maintaining their own individualism – helping each other when needed, but also leave one another alone.</p> <blockquote> <p>We search for places where we feel we fit … We are happy to smile at one another. We don’t need to chat to engage. We are happy on our own with a coffee. I am amongst my tribe.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/184000/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-mccamley-446927"><em>Claire McCamley</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-huddersfield-1226">University of Huddersfield</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-travel-solo-this-summer-184000">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The art of ‘getting lost’: how re-discovering your city can be an antidote to capitalism

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-dobson-1093706">Stephen Dobson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>Do you remember what it was like to discover the magic of a city for the first time? Do you remember the noises, smells, flashing lights and pulsating crowds? Or do you mostly remember cities through the screen of your phone?</p> <p>In 1967, French philosopher and filmmaker Guy Debord <a href="https://files.libcom.org/files/The%20Society%20of%20the%20Spectacle%20Annotated%20Edition.pdf">publicised the need</a> to move away from living our lives as bystanders continually tempted by the power of images. Today, we might see this in a young person flicking from one TikTok to the next – echoing the hold images have on us. But adults aren’t adverse to this window-shopping experience, either.</p> <p>Debord notes we have a tendency to observe rather than engage. And this is to our detriment. Continually topping-up our image consumption leaves no space for the unplanned – the reveries to break the pattern of an ordered life.</p> <p>Debord was a member of a group called the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Situationist-International">Situationist International</a>, dedicated to new ways we could reflect upon and experience our cities. Active for about 15 years, they believed we should experience our cities as an act of resistance, in direct opposition to the (profit-motivated) capitalistic structures that demand our attention and productivity every waking hour.</p> <p>More than 50 years since the group dissolved, the Situationists’ philosophy points us to a continued need to attune ourselves – through our thoughts and senses – to the world we live in. We might consider them as early eco-warriors. And through better understanding their philosophy, we can develop a new relationship with our cities today.</p> <h2>Understanding the ‘situation’</h2> <p>The Situationist International movement was <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt183p61x">formed</a> in 1957 in Cosio di Arroscia, Italy, and became active in several European countries. It brought together radical artists inspired by spontaneity, experimentalism, intellectualism, protest and hedonism. Central figures included Danish artist <a href="https://museumjorn.dk/en/">Asger Jorn</a>, French novelist <a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/author/michele-bernstein-10219/">Michèle Bernstein</a> and Italian musician and composer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Olmo">Walter Olmo</a>.</p> <p>The Situationists were driven by a <a href="https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/34141">libertarian form of Marxism</a> that resisted mass consumerism. One of the group’s early terms was “unitary urbanism”, which sought to join avant-garde art with the critique of mass production and technology. They rejected “urbanism’s” conventional emphasis on function, and instead thought about art and the environment as inexorably interrelated.</p> <p>By rebelling against the invasiveness of consumption, the Situationists proposed a turn towards artistically-inspired individuality and creativity.</p> <h2>Think on your own two feet</h2> <p>According to the 1960 <a href="https://hts3.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/situationist-international-manifesto.pdf">Situationist Manifesto</a> we are all to be artists of our own “situations”, crafting independent identities as we stand on our own two feet. They believed this could be achieved, in part, through “<a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/psychogeography#:%7E:text=Psychogeography%20describes%20the%20effect%20of,emotions%20and%20behaviour%20of%20individuals">psychogeography</a>”: the idea that geographical locations exert a unique psychological effect on us.</p> <p>For instance, when you walk down a street, the architecture around you may be deliberately designed to encourage a certain kind of experience. Crossing a vibrant city square on a sunny morning evokes joy and a feeling of connection with others. There’s also usually a public event taking place.</p> <p>The Situationists valued drift, or <em>dérive</em> in French. This alludes to unplanned movement through a landscape during journeys on foot. By drifting aimlessly, we unintentionally redefine the traditional rules imposed by private or public land owners and property developers. We make ourselves open to the new unexpected and, in doing so, are liberated from the shackles of everyday routine.</p> <p>In <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-10-8100-2">our research</a>, my colleagues and I consider cities as places in which “getting lost” means exposing yourself to discovering the new and taken-for-granted.</p> <h2>Forge your own path</h2> <p>By understanding the Situationists – by looking away from our phones and allowing ourselves to get lost – we can rediscover our cities. We can see them for what they are beneath the blankets of posters, billboards and advertisements. How might we take back the image and make it work for us?</p> <p>The practise of geo-tagging images on social media, and sharing our location with others, could be considered close to the spirit of the Situationists. Although it’s often met with claims of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/when-why-not-to-use-geotagging-overtourism-security">over-fuelling tourism</a> (especially regarding idyllic or otherwise protected sites), geo-tagging could <a href="https://www.melaninbasecamp.com/trip-reports/2019/5/1/five-reasons-why-you-should-keep-geotagging">inspire us</a> to actively seek out new places through visiting the source of an image.</p> <p>This could lead to culturally respectful engagement, and new-found respect for the rights of traditional custodians as we experience their lands in real life, rather than just through images on our phones.</p> <p>Then there are uniquely personal and anarchistic forms of resistance, wherein we can learn about the world around us by interweaving ourselves with our histories. In doing so we offer a new meaning to a historical message, and a new purpose. The Situationists called this process <em><a href="https://www.theartstory.org/movement/situationist-international/">détournement</a></em>, or hijacking.</p> <p>For instance, from my grandfather I inherited a biscuit tin of black and white photographs I believe were taken in the 1960s. They showed images of parks and wildlife, perhaps even of the same park, and cityscapes of London with people, streets and buildings.</p> <p>I have spent many hours wandering the London streets tracking down the exact places these images were snapped. I was juxtaposing past with present, and experiencing both continuity and change in the dialogues I had with my grandfather. In this way, I used images to augment (rather than replace) my lived experience of the material world.</p> <p>Urban art installations can also be examples of detournment as they make us re-think everyday conceptions. <a href="https://www.cityartsydney.com.au/artwork/forgotten-songs/">Forgotten Songs</a> by Michael Hill is one such example. A canopy of empty birdcages commemorates the songs of 50 different birds once heard in central Sydney, but which are now lost due to habitat removal as a result of urban development.</p> <p>There are also a number of groups, often with a strong environmental or civic rights focus, that partake in detournment. <a href="https://popularresistance.org/dancing-revolution-how-90s-protests-used-rave-culture-to-reclaim-the-streets/">Reclaim the Streets</a> is a movement with a long history in Australia. The group advocates for communities having ownership of and agency within public spaces. They may, for instance, “invade” a highway to throw a “<a href="https://pasttenseblog.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/road-rave.pdf">road rave</a>” as an act of reclamation.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bUL0C_T-Sqk?wmode=transparent&amp;start=999" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>As French avant-garde philosopher <a href="https://www.themarginalian.org/2014/07/24/the-poetics-of-reverie-gaston-bachelard/">Gaston Bachelard</a> might have put it, when we’re bombarded by images there is no space left to daydream. We lose the opportunity to explore and question the world capitalism serves us through images.</p> <p>Perhaps now is a good time to set down the phone and follow in the Situationists’ footsteps. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221606/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-dobson-1093706"><em>Stephen Dobson</em></a><em>, Professor and Dean of Education and the Arts, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-art-of-getting-lost-how-re-discovering-your-city-can-be-an-antidote-to-capitalism-221606">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Flight attendant reveals why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed the gross reason why you should never use the toilet paper on a plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">The seasoned cabin crew member, an American woman named Cheryl, shared the three things she would never do on a plane after seeing what really goes on behind closed doors on an aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">Her first tip for any traveller was not to use the toilet paper in a plane bathroom. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing her tips in a TikTok video, she wrote, "If you examine the toilet paper, I promise you're going to see water droplets on it, or what you think are water droplets."</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think we can trust most men to make it in the toilet on a normal day, let alone flying at 36,000 feet with turbulence."</p> <p dir="ltr">To combat this, the flight attendant recommends bringing a travel pack of tissues in your hand luggage to use instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">She also warned her viewers against wearing shorts on their next flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I would never wear shorts on a plane. You're going to freeze to death," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cheryl pointed out another valid reason to opt for long pants on a flight, stating, "Say we have an evacuation. You have to go down the slide. Your butt cheeks are going to be sizzled off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, Cheryl urged travellers to never book less than a three-hour connection between flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Delays can happen for a million and one reasons. The likelihood that you're going to miss your connection is pretty high if you're booking shorter than three hours," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Ultimate holiday hack to turn just 17 days of leave into 45 days of leisure

<p>As we bid a fond farewell to 2023, it's time to embark on a journey to the land of strategic annual leave planning!</p> <p>If you've ever dreamed of turning 17 days into a mind-blowing 45 days of leisure, all while maintaining the illusion that you're a dedicated worker, you're in for a treat. Let's delve into the art of time manipulation, the Australian way!</p> <p><strong>1. The Great Christmas/New Year Escape: 10 Days of Holiday Magic</strong></p> <p>Picture this: You, sipping a cocktail on a beach, far, far away from workplace shenanigans. To achieve this utopia, sacrifice a mere three workdays from December 27–29, and voila! You've magically transformed a three-day leave into a decadent ten-day escapade. Christmas and New Year's resolutions? More like "Avoiding Office Drama and Perfecting My Tan".</p> <p><strong>2. Australia Day 2024: Because One Long Weekend Isn't Enough</strong></p> <p>To those who believe in the power of the long weekend, rejoice! By judiciously taking a single day off on January 29, you can extend the Australia Day break into a glorious four-day affair. This means more time for BBQs, cricket, and pretending to understand the rules of cricket.</p> <p><strong>3. The Great Easter Egg Hunt (for Extra Leave Days): 10 Days of Bunny Bliss</strong></p> <p>Hop into Easter with a bang by utilising four days of leave (April 2–5). This cunning plan transforms a regular four-day weekend into a lavish ten-day extravaganza. You'll have so much time; you might even consider crafting an intricate Easter egg treasure map for your colleagues. After all, sharing is caring.</p> <p><strong>4. ANZAC Day 2024: A Gallant Nine-Day Journey</strong></p> <p>For those who appreciate a good remembrance day, why not remember to take four days off? By strategically choosing your leave days around ANZAC Day, you can turn a regular nine-to-five existence into a leisurely nine-day bliss. It's the perfect opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of the past while contemplating your sacrifice of precious annual leave for maximum leisure.</p> <p><strong>5. The Grand Finale: Christmas and New Year 2024/25</strong></p> <p>Looking to dominate the festive season and secure a 12-day break? Fear not! By cunningly using five days of leave (December 23–31), you can transform a modest two-day weekend into a 12-day holiday bonanza. It's like taking a break in 2025 while still clinging desperately to the end of 2024. Time travel, anyone?</p> <p>In conclusion, dear Aussie worker bees, remember that strategic annual leave planning is an art, a dance between days off and public holidays. While others are stuck in the mundane, you'll be sipping piña coladas in your time-warped holiday paradise.</p> <p>So go forth, plan wisely, and may your leave days be as abundant as your laughter during this comedic time-travel adventure!</p> <p><em>Image: Getty </em></p>

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The sky’s the limit: A brief history of in-flight entertainment

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381">Olusola Adewumi John</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a> </em></p> <p>As the winter holidays draw near, many of us are already booking flights to see friends and family or vacation in warmer climates. Nowadays, air travel is synonymous with some form of in-flight entertainment, encompassing everything from the reception offered by the aircrew to the food choices and digital content.</p> <p>These services all add value to flying for customers. Passengers are now so familiar with in-flight entertainment that to travel without it is unthinkable.</p> <p><a href="https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/10/19/2762903/0/en/In-Flight-Entertainment-Connectivity-Market-to-Worth-21-03-Bn-by-2030-Exhibiting-With-a-15-9-CAGR.html">The in-flight entertainment and connectivity market grew to US$5.9 billion as of 2019</a>, a testament to its economic impact on both the airlines and the GDP of countries with airline carriers.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment is so ubiquitous that, even if all other airline services were offered, <a href="https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/19427/will-airlines-compensate-me-if-my-entertainment-system-is-not-working">the airline ensures a refund is made to the passenger affected</a> if television content cannot be accessed.</p> <h2>A brief history</h2> <p>In-flight entertainment has evolved significantly over the years. Before in-flight entertainment media was introduced, passengers entertained themselves by reading books or with food and drink services.</p> <p>The original aim of bringing in-flight entertainment into cabins was to attract more customers, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including the theatrical and domestic media environments. It was not initially for the comfort and ease of travelling, as it is today.</p> <p><a href="https://www.academia.edu/5023683/A_History_of_INFLIGHT_ENTERTAINMENT">Inflight entertainment began as an experiment</a> in 1921, when 11 Aeromarine Airways passengers were shown the film <em>Howdy Chicago!</em> on a screen hung in the cabin during the flight. Four years later, another experiment was carried out in 1925 when 12 passengers on board an Imperial Airlines flight from London were shown the film <em>The Lost World</em>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/air-space-magazine/when-did-inflight-movies-become-standard-on-airlines-180955566/">It wasn’t until the 1960s</a> that in-flight movies became mainstream for airlines. Trans World Airlines became the first carrier to regularly offer feature films during flights, using a unique film system developed by <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1962/06/02/inflight">David Flexer, then-president of Inflight Motion Pictures</a>.</p> <p>Starting in 1964, in-flight entertainment evolved to include various media types like 16-mm film, closed-circuit television, live television broadcasts and magnetic tape. In the 1970s, for example, airplanes might feature a large screen with a 16-mm projector in one part of the plane, while small screens hung overhead in another section.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/when-did-airlines-install-seatback-entertainment-20190711-h1g51b.html">Seatback screens were introduced in 1988</a> when Airvision installed 6.9-centimetre screens on the backs of airline seats for Northwest Airlines. They have since morphed into the larger screens we are familiar with today, which are found on nearly every airline.</p> <h2>In-flight entertainment today</h2> <p>Most airlines nowadays have personal televisions for every passenger on long-haul flights. On-demand streaming and internet access are also now the norm. Despite initial concerns about speed and cost, in-flight services are becoming faster and more affordable.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment now includes movies, music, radio talk shows, TV talk shows, documentaries, magazines, stand-up comedy, culinary shows, sports shows and kids’ shows.</p> <p>However, the rise of personal devices, like tablets and smartphones, <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/the-weird-and-wonderful-history-of-in-flight-entertainment/">could spell the end for seatback screens</a>. A number of U.S. airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Air, have <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/airline-seatback-screens-may-soon-become-an-endangered-species">removed seatback screens from their domestic planes</a>.</p> <p>This decline is par for the course. To arrive at the complex system used by aircraft today, in-flight entertainment went through a number of different stages, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">as identified by aviation scholar D.A. Reed</a>.</p> <p>It started with an idea phase, which saw the conception of the idea, followed by an arms race phase where most airlines adopted some form of it. Currently, airlines are facing challenges in the final — and current — phase of evolution, and are dealing with failures linked to business concept flaws or low revenue.</p> <p>Now that most air travellers carry electronic devices, fewer airlines are installing seatback screens. From an economic standpoint, this makes sense for airlines: removing seatback screens <a href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/business/airlines-travel-entertainment.html">improves fuel costs</a> and allows airlines to <a href="https://www.flightglobal.com/systems-and-interiors/united-ups-757-density-with-new-slimline-seats/126574.article">install slimmer seats</a>, allowing for more passengers.</p> <h2>More than entertainment</h2> <p>At some point in the evolution of in-flight entertainment, it started to serve as more than just a form of entertainment or comfort. Now, it’s also a competitive tool for airline advertisements, and a form of cultural production.</p> <p>In-flight entertainment has become an economic platform for investors, business people, manufacturers and entertainment providers, especially Hollywood. It also plays a key role in promoting the national culture of destination countries.</p> <p>However, the evolution of in-flight entertainment hasn’t been without its challenges. As a form of cultural production, it often reflects the interests of advertisers, governments and business entities. It also follows that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0641-1_10">certain ideas, products and cultures are sold to passengers</a> via in-flight entertainment.</p> <p>The lucrative practice of capturing and selling passengers’ attention to advertisers was not limited to screens, either. In-flight magazines have always been packed with advertisements, and by the late 1980s, these advertisements had spread to napkins and the audio channels.</p> <p>Despite its shortcomings and precarious future, in-flight entertainment still offers passengers a sense of comfort, alleviating concerns about being suspended over 30,000 feet above sea level. If you end up flying during the holidays, remember your comfort is partly thanks to this innovation.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218996/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/olusola-adewumi-john-1490381"><em>Olusola Adewumi John</em></a><em>, Visiting Researcher, Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-skys-the-limit-a-brief-history-of-in-flight-entertainment-218996">original article</a>.</em></p>

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8 signs you should be booking a group tour

<p>Not sure if you should take a tour or go it alone? These are the times you’re going to want that expert on hand.</p> <p><strong>1. When you’re on a really tight schedule</strong></p> <p>A tour will help you squeeze in as much as possible in a very short time. It will plan out a sensible itinerary with no backtracking or wasted journeys and will give you a realistic idea of how much you can fit in for a day. Plus you won’t have to puzzle out public transport for yourself.</p> <p><strong>2. When you’re feeling nervous</strong></p> <p>Arriving in a new place can be scary sometimes, so having someone to walk you through it will make all the difference. If a city has a reputation for being unsafe or if it’s just your first time in a foreign country, a tour will give you a great worry-free introduction.</p> <p><strong>3. When there’s a big language barrier</strong></p> <p>We’re lucky in that much of the world speaks English, so we can usually muddle our way around. But in some countries you’ll find there’s a significant language barrier, so having a native speaker is going to make all the difference.</p> <p><strong>4. When you want to meet some locals</strong></p> <p>This might sound counterintuitive, but an organised tour can be one of the best ways to meet some locals. First of all, your guide is likely to be local and can introduce you to their hometown. Secondly, it’s daunting to walk into a crowded bar or cool café when you don’t know anyone. A guide can smooth the way and ensure you don’t get stuck in tourist traps.</p> <p><strong>5. When it’s really busy</strong></p> <p>If you don’t fancy joining the huge line outside a popular museum or waiting hours for tickets, a tour could be the way to go. They can often organise private or after hours visits, get special passes to cut the line or take you to areas that are off limits to the general public.</p> <p><strong>6. When it’s the law</strong></p> <p>Want to visit North Korea? You’re going to need to join a tour. Some governments have restrictions in place that mean foreign tourists can only visit when accompanied by a registered tour guide and independent travel is simply not an option.</p> <p><strong>7. When you’re doing something really adventurous</strong></p> <p>Trekking, white water rafting, canyoning or safaris – for safety reasons you’re going to need to join a tour. These kinds of activities can be dangerous, so you don’t want to be risking them on your own. A tour or private guide will show you the best way to get your heart pumping.</p> <p><strong>8. When you’re going right off the grid</strong></p> <p>Places like Antarctica, the Arctic, remote corners of Africa or tricky countries like Russia are best done on a tour. Often the logistics of simply getting there are impossible for the independent traveller or you will need help navigating the complex visa process. In these instances, it’s a relief to put yourself in someone else’s hands and just concentrate on having fun.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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12 expert ways to manage stress at airports

<p><strong><em>Betsy Goldberg writes for <a href="http://blog.virtuoso.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Virtuoso Luxury Traveller</span></a>, the blog of a <a href="http://www.virtuoso.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">global luxury travel network</span></a>, and she enjoys nothing more than taking a holiday.</em></strong></p> <p>Airports should be happy places. They’re the beginning of a journey, either to a new place, a vacation, business meetings, time with family and friends, or back home.</p> <p>If you’ve spent even a brief amount of time inside an airport, though, you know that’s not the case. They can be stressful places with people running to and fro trying to make flights. All while dealing with their day-to-day life via their phone. No surprise that a psychologist has even developed an air travel stress scale.</p> <p>Air travel stress gets to virtually all of us. But it doesn’t have to. How can you reduce the drama?</p> <p><strong>1. Put things in context</strong></p> <p>A lot of reducing air travel stress comes simply from having a good mindset.</p> <p>The most important thing is to start with the right attitude, says Rishi Piparaiya, author of Aisle Be Damned: “We’re talking about an extremely complicated industry, where millions of people fly in the skies in metal tubes at the speed of sound. Sure, something may go wrong, but our ancestors would spend a lifetime to make the journey we make in half a day.”</p> <p>Here’s another take from Brent Bowen, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He noted that in 2013 the overall performance of U.S. airlines hit its highest point in 24 years.</p> <p>“The number of customer complaints has gone down,” he says. “Mishandled baggage has gone down and on-time performance has improved. So technically, based solely on the data, (the flight experience) has improved over the last 25 years substantially.”</p> <p><strong>2. When to fly</strong></p> <p>Leisure travellers tend to fly on weekends. Business travellers are crowding airports Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Therefore, book your flights for the quieter days of Tuesday and Wednesday when you can.</p> <p>Book an early-morning flight if possible to avoid more air travel stress. Airlines are less likely to have delays first thing in the day.</p> <p><strong>3. Use a packing list</strong></p> <p>This prevents “Oh no!” moments at the airport. If you’re not even at security yet and you already think you’re missing something and don’t have the time to go get it, the rest of the airport experience probably won’t be great.</p> <p>Avoid that kind of air travel stress before you get to the airport by starting with a packing list. Also, learn how to effectively pack a bag.</p> <p><strong>4. Check in promptly</strong></p> <p>Airlines let you check in online 24 hours before your flight. Do that to avoid lineups at the airport. Another bonus: it may help prevent you from being bumped off an oversold flight.</p> <p><strong>5. Carry on what you can</strong></p> <p>The advantages: less to potentially lose in your checked luggage. No baggage fees. And a faster exit from the airport when you arrive.</p> <p>Always carry on essentials like keys, medications, valuables and anything critical for business meetings. You don’t want to arrive in the Caribbean and be waiting days for everything you need to actually enjoy the Caribbean.</p> <p>So remember that air travel is actually much more effective than almost any human mode of transport in history. And in the past few decades, the experience has technically only improved. Take a deep breath when that air travel stress hits you.</p> <p><strong>6. The early bird approach</strong></p> <p>People fall into very distinct camps on this. Earlier tends to be better (especially around peak travel times like holidays). If you know security lines might be longer, why gamble and add more air travel stress?</p> <p><strong>7. The full charge</strong></p> <p>Phone batteries are getting better as technology continues to develop. And more airports are offering outlets and charging stations. But always get to the airport on a full charge. If you encounter a hiccup, you’ll need your device as a resource.</p> <p><strong>8. What to wear</strong></p> <p>Layers will help you navigate varying temperatures inside the airport and on the plane. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in, in case of a last-minute dash to a connecting flight. Wrinkle-free clothing is great, both for the journey to your destination as well as your trip itself.</p> <p>As far as footwear goes, wear something easy to slide on/off to get through security faster. In larger airports, you’re likely in for a big walk to and from your gate, so comfort is a must as well.</p> <p><strong>9. Entertainment</strong></p> <p>Unless you’ve booked an entire row on the plane, your seatmates are a random act of chance. They could be great – and not bother you. Or they could be challenging in many ways.</p> <p>So load up on distractions. Those include magazines, books, e-books, movies, TV shows and work you need to complete. They’ll also help in case of delays while you’re still in the terminal.</p> <p><strong>10. Your fellow passengers</strong></p> <p>Airports are amazing places for people-watching. If you stop at an airport bar or restaurant, you can usually strike up a conversation easily. You might be sitting next to someone from halfway around the world. You don’t get that chance every day, so take advantage of it.</p> <p>Want a conversation starter? Talk about the fastest way to board passengers. You’ll make some new friends and relieve your mutual air travel stress.</p> <p><strong>11. Airport lounges</strong></p> <p>Another place to meet new people: an airport lounge. You’ll await your flight in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. And you’ll enjoy peace and quiet, comfortable seating, food, drinks and reading materials.</p> <p>First-class and business-class travellers and elite frequent flyers have access to their airline’s lounge. Also, certain credit card holders enjoy complimentary access. For everyone else, there’s a day pass. A pass at an independent lounge will run you about $30 to $50.</p> <p><strong>12. Advisors as air travel stress relief</strong></p> <p>There are dozens of reasons why working with a professional travel advisor is a good idea. See here for real-life stories from actual travellers. One of those: an advisor can reduce air travel stress. Your advisor will work with you on itineraries, the best flight times, and any adjustments. If something crops up at the airport, you have a trusted resource one call away.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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"Absolutely insane": Dad's plane act goes viral

<p>A man has gone viral on TikTok after his daughter posted a video of him sleeping on the airplane floor during a long-haul flight. </p> <p>"More room for everybody," she captioned the video of her dad lying down wedged between two rows where their feet would normally go. </p> <p>In the video she also added an overlay text which said: "you have ur airport dad I have my Asian dad." </p> <p>The video has since racked up over 12.4 million views, and while most were impressed by the "hack" others were appalled. </p> <p>"This is so smart – never thought of that," one person wrote. </p> <p>"Smart but I'd lay a blanket down underneath. Thank you airport dad I will steal this idea," added another. </p> <p>"I been alive 25 years, ain't never seen this move before," commented a third. </p> <p>"They do [allow it] on long flights. As long as nobody complains then they don't bother you," added a fourth. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 580px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7290309715286904095&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40bynataliebright%2Fvideo%2F7290309715286904095&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast8-p-0068-tx2%2FoclABAhjhvzjImA6AdbRfwsiNEqBAyICYXEzX8%3Fx-expires%3D1700780400%26x-signature%3D8dYowfoSYD7T5QgGgwn53z%252B4BI8%253D&amp;key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>A few others were shocked and pointed out that airplane floors aren't exactly clean. </p> <p>"As a past flight attendant, you don't want to know what I have seen on those carpets," wrote one person. </p> <p>"When I was taking my flight attendant course one thing they said to us over and over was to never walk barefoot on the aircraft... nevertheless lay down," added another. </p> <p>"Man made his own trundle bed," joked a third. </p> <p>While another eagle-eyed commenter was shocked that he would voluntarily wear jeans for 15-hours, "jeans for 15 hours is absolutely insane," they wrote. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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5 genius travel hacks no-one talks about

<p>Genius travel influencer Grace Cheng has amassed a large following on Instagram by sharing her luxurious international adventures. But she's not just about the pretty pictures and glamorous destinations; she's also got some practical tips and tricks up her sleeve – one of which makes so much sense you will be a little cross you didn't think of it yourself.</p> <p>In a recent video, Cheng revealed her top five travel hacks that "no one talks about" – and while some of her tips were met with skepticism from readers and viewers, others were completely floored by how simple and effective they were.</p> <p>Tip 1: Freeze water bottles to get them through security</p> <p>Amazing, right? Cheng's first tip is such a game-changer for anyone who's ever had to throw away their water bottle at airport security. She claims you can actually take a full bottle of water through security ... <em>if it's frozen</em>.</p> <p>The logic is that ice is solid and water is liquid, so all you have to do is freeze the water before you leave for the airport. Then, before you hit security, just drink whatever has melted and carry on the rest.</p> <p>Cheng calls this one the "biggest hack ever" – and we're inclined to agree. No more paying for overpriced bottled water at the airport!</p> <p>Tip 2: Use a hair to check for hotel room intruders</p> <p>This one seems a little paranoid, but if you're ever worried about someone entering your hotel room while you're out, Cheng has a clever solution. She suggests taping a hair at the bottom of the door frame. When you come back to your room, you'll see if the hair has been broken or not. If it has, then you know someone has been inside.</p> <p>This is a pretty simple and effective way to check for intruders, and it's definitely worth trying if you're feeling paranoid.</p> <p>Tip 3: Board your economy flight last to get an empty row</p> <p>If you're flying economy, Cheng says you should always board the plane last. This is because it will give you a chance to see which seats are empty.</p> <p>Once you've spotted an empty row, you can politely ask the flight attendant if you can take one of the seats. With a little luck, you'll end up with a whole row to yourself, which is basically like flying business class.</p> <p>Tip 4: Book with the same hotel chain to get upgrades</p> <p>If you're a frequent traveller, Cheng says you should always book with the same hotel chain whenever possible. This is because you'll be more likely to get rewarded with upgrades and better customer service.</p> <p>Hotel chains often have loyalty programs that reward repeat customers. So, if you're always booking with the same hotel chain, you'll eventually start to rack up points that can be redeemed for upgrades, free stays and other perks. Solid tip, Cheng!</p> <p>Tip 5: Always carry a universal power adaptor</p> <p>Cheng says this is one of the most important travel hacks she's ever learned. She used to have to keep buying different adaptors for every country she visited, but now she just carries a universal adaptor with her.</p> <p>This is quite the lifesaver for any traveller who wants to avoid the hassle of finding and buying adaptors in every new country they visit.</p> <p>Overall, Cheng's travel hacks are a mix of clever tips and solid, commonsense advice. But whether you love them or hate them, there's no denying that they're worth checking out.</p> <p>So, next time you're planning a trip, be sure to give Cheng's hacks a try. You might just be surprised at how much they can make your travels easier and more enjoyable!</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CxMol_HLl3w/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CxMol_HLl3w/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by grace | TravelCreator✨ (@graceccheng)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Travel Creator @graceccheng / Instagram</em></p>

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Using social media for your holiday ‘inspo’ can be risky and even dangerous – here’s why

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/samuel-cornell-1418374">Samuel Cornell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-peden-1136424">Amy Peden</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>How do you choose your next travel destination? Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are handy tools for holiday research, full of #inspo for new and beautiful places to go.</p> <p>However, behind those mesmerising selfies, highlights and reels, there’s often a stark reality that isn’t shared. Our <a href="https://www.jmir.org/2023/1/e47202">ongoing research</a> shows that dangers abound from social media related misadventures. These include the hidden dangers of getting to the location, as well as the ecological strains on sites that get overcrowded with tourists.</p> <p>Australia, with its breathtaking natural wonders, is no stranger to the downsides of social media tourism. Many people have been injured, needed rescue or even perished when visiting trendy places.</p> <h2>The illusion of safety</h2> <p>Influencers are in the business of presenting the best version of their experiences – not necessarily the safest. Our interviews with influencers who make content of beautiful places in nature, reveal that they see themselves as entertainers more than guides.</p> <p>When it comes to the risks associated with the places they promote, they don’t view safety communication as their responsibility.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/lookouts/figure-eight-pools">Figure Eight Pools</a> in New South Wales’ Royal National Park are one potent reminder of how online portrayals and reality don’t always match up. The photos showcase tranquil pools with glistening waters. But many visitors, enticed by these images, have faced the peril of sudden large waves washing over the rock shelf and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-28/call-to-close-access-to-social-media-favourite-figure-8-pools/10853854">even causing injuries</a>.</p> <p>Babinda Boulders, near Cairns in Queensland, is another such location. Wrapped in lush rainforests, this waterhole might seem inviting, but its <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/calls-for-change-aussie-tourist-spot-qld-21-deaths-babinda-boulders-060358597.html">tragic history of drownings</a> speaks volumes – 21 drownings since 1965, and three since 2020.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-962" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/962/4183438c91d92e8e594f9a0700092002547b3c60/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Despite this, the pull of picturesque posts lures visitors into prohibited and <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/warnings/grim-truth-about-deadly-queensland-waterhole/news-story/5f02dfcc25edb2978022d41eebed03ca">dangerous areas</a>.</p> <p>Josephine Falls in Queensland has also <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/aussies-fume-over-dangerous-mistake-at-deadly-waterfall-theres-always-one-064337596.html">experienced numerous incidents</a>, all requiring resource-intensive rescues. Unfortunately, for many visitors, the warnings provided by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are to no avail – the lure of social media content is simply too strong.</p> <h2>A burden on local infrastructure</h2> <p>Aesthetically pleasing, curated tourism content sets unrealistic expectations. Visitors who want to see the “insta-famous” scenery often find themselves underprepared for the actual experiences, sometimes leading to unsafe choices.</p> <p>Drone shots can be particularly misleading. While they capture expansive vistas from above, they mask the ground-level challenges and dangers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.grampiansguide.com.au/explore-location/37/the-balconies/">The Balconies</a> in the Grampians National Park in Victoria is another infamous spot for taking risky photos for Instagram. To get the photo they came for, tourists must traverse a barrier. The viral content has led ever-increasing numbers of people to these rocks for a shot – risking their lives for the same photo hundreds of others have posted.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-963" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/963/b612524d8c78779f930243d11b92356d3902097e/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Additionally, geotagging (attaching metadata, such as latitude and longitude coordinates, to a photo) has its merits, offering travellers directions to exact locations. However, it’s a double-edged sword.</p> <p>When a location becomes popular on social media, the influx of visitors can strain local infrastructure. As <a href="https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/jervis-bay-and-shoalhaven/hyams-beach">Hyams Beach</a> in NSW went viral on various platforms, the once-peaceful coastal village grappled with traffic congestion and overwhelmed local resources.</p> <p>Lincoln’s Rock in the Blue Mountains in NSW, once a little-known spot, was transformed by geotagged posts into a magnet for tourists and influencers. Some would engage in risky behaviours at the cliff edge. It’s one of many lookouts that once had few footprints, and is now a popular vista with little infrastructure.</p> <p>Some regional areas simply don’t have the infrastructure or capacity to handle a large influx of tourists. As social media algorithms <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/12/3356">push trending posts even further</a>, once-secluded gems face threats of overtourism.</p> <h2>Be a responsible tourist</h2> <p>While it’s easy to fall prey to the siren call of viral destinations, it’s essential to approach with caution and do proper research before you set out.</p> <p>It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, especially in natural areas, and not get tunnel vision, or “<a href="https://theconversation.com/metourism-the-hidden-costs-of-selfie-tourism-87865">tourist gaze</a>”.</p> <p>Fortunately, in Australia, national parks provide detailed information about popular locations. They can be relied upon to give accurate information and a true representation of the area, including safety information and guides for great hikes and the best lookouts.</p> <p>All states in Australia have parks agencies that provide this information online (and they’re on social media, too).</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-964" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/964/b56b02bd5c1accfd6f19f18a6e549b4f667c66bf/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>Things to keep in mind</h2> <ol> <li> <p>Social media is a highlight reel. Before diving into that enticing pool or hiking that mountain, do thorough research. Don’t let it be your last swim</p> </li> <li> <p>engage with locals, understand the history, the culture, and importantly, respect the environment</p> </li> <li> <p>it’s also essential to challenge the content we consume and share. By geotagging responsibly and authentically portraying experiences, we can safeguard Australia’s treasures</p> </li> <li> <p>social media is a powerful tool but needs to be wielded wisely. Australia’s natural wonders are worth more than just a fleeting snapshot; they deserve our utmost respect and care.</p> </li> </ol> <p>So, as you scroll through your feed, dreaming of your next escape, remember that every location has a story beyond its pixels. Dive deep, explore responsibly, and treasure the real over the reel. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216434/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/samuel-cornell-1418374"><em>Samuel Cornell</em></a><em>, PhD Candidate, School of Population Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-peden-1136424">Amy Peden</a>, NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Population Health &amp; co-founder UNSW Beach Safety Research Group, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/using-social-media-for-your-holiday-inspo-can-be-risky-and-even-dangerous-heres-why-216434">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Easiest travel hack to save big on the cost of flights

<p>Planning your upcoming holiday and haven't nailed down your flight bookings just yet? Well, hold off a bit because there's an optimal strategy to maximise your savings.</p> <p>A recent research study conducted by Expedia has unveiled a golden nugget of advice: Booking your flights on a Sunday can lead to substantial savings, potentially up to 20 percent off your airfare.</p> <p>This valuable insight is part of Expedia's 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, which is packed with useful information to simplify your trip planning process.</p> <p>Let's dive deeper into this Sunday-saving strategy. When you compare booking your flights on a Sunday to the common practice of booking on a Friday, you'll likely discover substantial cost savings. Considering that average ticket prices have soared by approximately 20 percent compared to last year, any opportunity to trim your expenses becomes paramount.</p> <p>Now, you might be wondering how far in advance you should secure your flights for optimal savings. If you're embarking on a domestic adventure and have your travel plans locked in more than three months ahead, you're in a prime position to economise. The study's findings indicate that travellers who booked their domestic flights at least 14 weeks before departure managed to pocket an average savings of 20 percent compared to those who procrastinated until the 11th hour.</p> <p>On the other hand, if your journey is taking you across international borders, there's less need for anxiety. International fares typically exhibit a fair degree of stability during the six months leading up to your travel date. The sweet spot for booking your flights for an overseas escapade is ideally at least one month prior to departure. This early booking ensures both availability and the potential for cost-effective fares.</p> <p>Here's a summary of the Expedia report's findings:</p> <p><strong>Book on a Sunday to save up to 20% on average<br /></strong>Travellers who booked on Sundays instead of Fridays tended to save, on average, around 20% on domestic flights and international flights. The best day of the week to book has been Sunday, while the day to avoid has been Friday, for the past four years.</p> <p><strong>Book at least three months before domestic flights to save 30% on average<br /></strong>The sweet spot for snagging the best price on domestic flights falls between 70 – 100 days before departure (so about three months in advance of travel). Travellers who booked during that period saved 30% on average compared to those who waited until the last minute (0 – 30 days before travel).</p> <p><strong>Book six months before international flights to save 25% on average<br /></strong>Travellers who booked around six months in advance of international travel saved an average of 25% compared to those who waited until three months or less to book. The key to booking international airfares is to book as soon as possible, with prices traditionally cheapest 160 days or earlier before departure.</p> <p>So be sure to set an alarm or mark your calendar for a Sunday when booking your flights, and if you have long-term travel plans, secure your domestic flights at least 14 weeks ahead. For international journeys, booking a month before your departure date will help you make the most of your travel budget. Happy travels!</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Traveller shares hilarious hack to ensure the middle seat on a plane stays empty

<p>There is nothing more joyous than boarding a plane and being seated next to an empty seat, ensuring you have a comfy flight by not being squished in with other travellers. </p> <p>But with this joy can also come sheer disappointment, when you get comfy in your extra space before a last-minute traveller comes to claim the empty seat.</p> <p>To combat the chance of someone robbing you of your space on a cramped plane, one traveller has shared the hilarious lengths he goes to in order to make sure the middle seat on a plane stays empty. </p> <p>The traveller posted the video of his hilarious hack to TikTok, sharing his trick with others to guarantee some extra space every time you fly.</p> <p>He put his arm upright inside a spare hoodie, placing a hat on top of his hand, to make it look like the seat was already occupied – preventing anyone else from taking that spot.</p> <p>The video has since been taken down, but has been reshared by other accounts.</p> <p>Of course, this hack only works on flights that have open seating policies, where passengers choose their own seats once on board, rather than having them assigned.</p> <p>The trick seems to work, with passengers avoiding his row and taking up empty seats elsewhere. </p> <p>Some viewers called the hack "genius" and said they would try it out for themselves next time they travel. </p> <p>However, others were skeptical, wondering how the trick would work if passengers eager to be seated are walking towards the two front on, rather than from behind. </p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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"Embarrassing" travel pillow frequent flyers swear by

<p>When it comes to travelling in economy, looking glamorous usually takes a back seat, with many people prioritising comfort over anything else. </p> <p>Travelling in cattle class presents its own issues with getting comfy on a plane, especially when sitting in the middle seat. </p> <p>However, a committed frequent flyer has discovered the "travel hack of the year" with an unusual looking travel pillow that means you can get comfy anywhere. </p> <p>“When you got the middle seat for a 13-hour plane ride,” wrote adventurer Annie Wright, 23, in the captions of a viral TikTok testimonial dedicated to the strange-looking, yet in-demand inflatable travel pillow.</p> <p>In the video, which has racked in a whopping 26.6 million views, Ms Wright, a law student in the US, shared footage of herself puffing into the plushy prop that’s offered by <a href="https://www.kmart.com.au/product/inflatable-front-travel-pillow-43238989/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Amazon</a>.</p> <p>For Aussies, you can snag the innovative travel pillow from <a href="https://www.kmart.com.au/product/inflatable-front-travel-pillow-43238989/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kmart</a> for a breezy $18.</p> <p>“I wasn’t sure if I’d like it and omg SO worth it!” cheered Ms Wright in the clip’s caption. “Total upgrade.”</p> <p>This new pillow puts the round-the-neck pillows to shame, as the expandable cushion, designed with an ergonomic 45-degree angle, offers support to the head and neck and inflates in just seconds. </p> <p>Once inflated, users are meant to position the pillow — created with a face cutout at its apex and two arm holes on its sides — on their passenger tray tables and lean forward into a relaxed position.</p> <p>The hot commodity’s details also noted that it can “help you stay away from injury and insomnia, make you rest more comfortable during the journey, easier to fall asleep, and sleep longer,” according to Amazon. </p> <p>According to the online Kmart reviews of the product, one traveller said it was “awkward looking” but “really comfortable” and perfect for long-haul flights.</p> <p>Folks under the #InflatableTravelPillow TikTok hashtag have hailed the headrest the “travel hack of the year.”</p> <p>However, haters of the portable bedding have deemed it an “embarrassment.” </p> <p>“My back just hurts watching this,” said one commenter beneath Ms Wright’s post. </p> <p>“Yeah I have social anxiety I would be too embarrassed to use it,” penned another.</p> <p>But in response to the criticisms, Ms Wright wrote, “People keep saying this [pillow] is embarrassing, but what’s more embarrassing is being caught with your mouth open just knocked out.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Why a holiday is good for you – even before you take time off

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juan-perez-fernandez-1254221">Juan Pérez Fernández</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidade-de-vigo-3910">Universidade de Vigo</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roberto-de-la-torre-martinez-1257409">Roberto de la Torre Martínez</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/karolinska-institutet-1250">Karolinska Institutet</a></em></p> <p>You have spent the past few days on a cloud over your forthcoming, well-deserved holidays, and will go back to daydreaming about them as soon as you finish this article. And the truth is that the benefits of a good holiday can be felt even before the trip begins. Scientific studies show that merely looking forward to a future reward can be <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/25/eaba3828">even more rewarding</a> than the reward itself. This is so thanks to a small molecule called dopamine, which we will talk about later.</p> <p>But, before we continue, let’s think about a few questions. Are holidays really necessary? Why do we need them? And, above all, what are the benefits of a few idle days?</p> <h2>Rest increases cognitive flexibility</h2> <p>Although this may seem unbelievable, there is very little scientific literature that explores the direct benefits of holidays on our brain. What does seem indisputable is that they are essential. This was concluded by <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261517714000685">a 2016 study</a> in which 46 workers from a Dutch company participated.</p> <p>The workers were asked to undergo a test in which they were given objects (for example, a hammer) and asked for the greatest number of uses for their objects in the shortest possible time (construction tool, weapon, paperweight, etc.). What the researchers observed is that, after two or three weeks of vacation, workers had greater cognitive flexibility. Or, to put it another way, they were able to think of a greater number of uses for the objects compared to the results obtained a couple of weeks before the holidays.</p> <p>Most studies concur that, from a biological point of view, one of the main reasons for this increase in cognitive flexibility –and for the benefits of holidays in general– is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/smi.1434">stress reduction</a>.</p> <p>We will all agree that work generates stress. But we have to make a small distinction here: stress in and of itself does not have to be bad. When it is sporadic, <a href="https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/article/003211.htm">it is usually even beneficial</a> because it activates mechanisms that help us carry out the daily actions of our work, such as meeting a deadline (the authors of this article are working on that right now).</p> <p>The “other stress” – the one that has negative connotations for everyone – is chronic stress. It occurs when it is prolonged over time, either because we are under constant pressure or due to situations that we cannot handle. It generates fatigue, higher levels of anxiety, irritability, and anger. And yes, it’s definitely bad.</p> <h2>Recipe for a holiday that recharges your batteries</h2> <p>The main thing that a good vacation can do for our mental health is precisely to reduce chronic stress levels. When we are idle, our brain is able to reverse – at least temporarily – the negative effects of being under stress. And here comes the key: for holidays to be truly effective, we have to ensure that they really free us from the stress of our work. That is, we must avoid continuing with pending tasks, answering emails, etc.</p> <p>On the other hand, it is essential to prevent our holidays from creating new stressful situations for us.</p> <p>Another key is to enjoy the wait. Why is it that the mere act of waiting for our holidays makes us happy? We mentioned <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine">dopamine</a> a few paragraphs ago, which is produced in the neurons of two brain regions known as the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substantia_nigra">substantia nigra</a> (because of its dark colour under the microscope) and the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventral_tegmental_area">ventral tegmental area</a> (located in the centre of our brain, more or less behind the ears).</p> <p>Both regions, which are home to between 400,000 and 600,000 neurons in humans, send axons to numerous areas of the brain. Through the release of dopamine, they play a key role in the pleasant feelings brought on by new experiences and rewards. Therefore, knowing that our holidays are coming increases the dopamine levels in our brain and gives us that feeling of pleasure.</p> <p>Similarly, the best holidays are those in which we enjoy new experiences (such as exploring different places) and rewards (like that seafood platter we have been waiting for all year). Of course, what one finds rewarding is entirely subjective, and what is pleasant for one person can cause stress for others.</p> <h2>To enjoy or not to enjoy</h2> <p>This system that generates pleasure is also affected during chronic stress. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s12276-020-00532-4">Science shows</a> that high or chronic levels of stress, such as those we are subjected to throughout the year during our workday, are capable of causing a reduction in the amount of dopamine released and/or changes in how it is metabolised.</p> <p>The worst thing is that the changes do not only occur in the substantia nigra or in the ventral tegmental area. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s12276-020-00532-4">It has been found</a> that chronic stress is even capable of changing the number of dopamine receptors in the areas that receive these projections. When this occurs, depressive behaviours often develop. Therefore, a vacation that frees us from stress will help to rebalance the dopaminergic system.</p> <p>What is still not entirely clear is whether taking holidays for a long period provides better effects than taking them in a staggered way and in shorter periods.</p> <p>Be that as it may, good holidays are good for us. So, we encourage our readers to find activities that make them feel good, recharge their energy, and reduce their stress so as to reboot their dopaminergic system. Happy travels!<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/209406/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juan-perez-fernandez-1254221">Juan Pérez Fernández</a>, Investigador Ramón y Cajal, CINBIO, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidade-de-vigo-3910">Universidade de Vigo</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roberto-de-la-torre-martinez-1257409">Roberto de la Torre Martínez</a>, Investigador en el Departamento de Neurociencias, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/karolinska-institutet-1250">Karolinska Institutet</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-a-holiday-is-good-for-you-even-before-you-take-time-off-209406">original article</a></em>.</p>

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How can I get better sleep on long-haul flights?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leigh-signal-1462806">Leigh Signal</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em></p> <p>For most of us, the prospect of a long-haul flight is exciting, mixed with a few nerves. We’re off somewhere different – perhaps a holiday, maybe to catch up with friends or family. Even work can be more interesting when you’re in a new location.</p> <p>Of course, you want to arrive fully rested and ready to go. But by its very definition, a long-haul flight involves travelling for a long period of time, often more than 12 hours. If you’re on a flight from New York to Singapore, it can be close to 19 hours.</p> <p>All that time you’re confined in a seat that’s <em>supposed</em> to recline but feels like it hardly moves, while the seat in front seems to recline ten times lower than yours.</p> <p>So, what can you do to get a a decent rest?</p> <h2>Accept the situation</h2> <p>The first tip for sleep in this setting is to relax your expectations a little.</p> <p>Humans are just not well designed to sleep in an almost upright position. Unless you’re lucky to fly in a class with a lie-flat seat, you’re very unlikely to step off a long-haul flight having had a solid eight hours of sleep.</p> <p>Research by colleagues and myself <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/36/1/109/2656896">has shown</a> pilots – who get a bunk to sleep in during their in-flight rest breaks – have light and fragmented sleep. Despite not having great quality sleep, you can be assured <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jsr.12071?casa_token=S_3bRlU31x8AAAAA:BDeXhWwlMUXfDvtz59M0eSRGfXiK2jm45Tsr5uzMM02t3hktXfEEzU9OjSdGwbVZ_YuCIoUvnpDaKO0">our research</a> <a href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/asma/asem/2014/00000085/00000012/art00007">also shows</a> pilots remain very good at their job throughout a long-haul flight. This, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/07420528.2012.719957?casa_token=zoFj2qt5RPMAAAAA%3ANeXdd1ALMMv9zxRJF3GhpoCS3u3eT8Q_kmNqFpsWh7oz1dLyVJgDpU3vo547iGotvX5d9CCiTfi62g">plus findings</a> from <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780444537027000099">many other lab-based studies</a>, tells us that even a short amount of light sleep has benefits.</p> <p>So, even if you can’t get your usual eight hours during the flight, <em>any</em> sleep you do get will help you feel and function better at your destination.</p> <p>Also, we’re not great at judging how much sleep we’ve had, particularly if our sleep is light and broken. So you’re likely to have slept more than you think.</p> <h2>Time your sleep and drinks</h2> <p>The timing of your flight, and consumption of alcohol and caffeine will directly impact your ability to sleep on an aircraft.</p> <p>Assuming you’re adjusted to the time zone the flight departs from, daytime flights will make sleep on board much harder, whereas nighttime flights make sleep easier.</p> <p>All humans have a circadian (24-hour) time-keeping system, which programs us for sleep at night and wakefulness during the day. Sleeping (or waking) against this biological time-keeping system poses significant challenges.</p> <p>We do have a natural decrease of alertness in the middle of the afternoon, which makes this a good time to try for sleep on a daytime flight. On nighttime flights it will be easier to sleep once the dinner service is finished, otherwise you will be battling noise, light and the movement of people around you.</p> <p>As a stimulant, caffeine helps us stay alert. Even if you’re a regular coffee drinker and can fall asleep after drinking caffeine, your sleep will be lighter and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2016.01.006">you’ll be more easily woken</a>.</p> <p>On the other hand, alcohol makes us feel sleepy, but it interferes with our brains’ ability to have REM sleep (also known as dreaming sleep). Although you may fall asleep more easily after consuming alcohol, your sleep will be more disturbed once your body metabolises the alcohol and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5821259/">attempts to catch up</a> on the REM sleep it’s missed out on.</p> <h2>What about taking melatonin or other drugs?</h2> <p>Some people find taking a sleeping tablet or melatonin can help on a plane. This is a very personal choice.</p> <p>Before taking sleeping medication or melatonin you should see your doctor, and only take what’s prescribed for you. Many sleeping medications <a href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cnsnddt/2023/00000022/00000002/art00006">do not allow perfectly normal sleep to occur</a> and can make you feel <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3657033">groggy and drowsy</a> after waking.</p> <p>Importantly, melatonin is a hormone our brains use to tell us it’s nighttime. Melatonin can assist with sleep, but depending on when and how much you take, it can also shift your circadian clock. This could shift you further away from being aligned with the destination time zone.</p> <p>Taking melatonin in your biological afternoon and evening will shift your circadian time-keeping system east (or earlier) and taking it toward the end of your biological night and in your biological morning will shift the circadian time-keeping system west (or later). It gets complicated very quickly!</p> <h2>Prepare your clothes and accessories</h2> <p>Be prepared so you can create the best possible sleep situation within the constraints of an aircraft seat.</p> <p>Wear comfy layers, so you can take things off if you get too hot or put things on when you cool down, and hang on to that blanket instead of losing it under your seat.</p> <p>Light and noise disturb sleep, so pack eye shades and earplugs (or a noise cancelling headset) to block these out. Practice with eye shades and earplugs at home, as it can take a few sleeps to get used to them.</p> <p>A normal and necessary part of the falling asleep process is relaxation, including our neck muscles. When sitting up, this means our heavy heads will no longer be well supported, resulting in that horrible head-dropping experience most of us have had. Try supporting your head with a neck pillow or, if you have a window seat, against the aircraft wall. (Unless you know the person in the next seat well, they are probably not a good option to prop you up.)</p> <h2>Don’t try to force it</h2> <p>Finally, if you wake up and are struggling to go back to sleep, don’t fight it.</p> <p>Take advantage of the in-flight entertainment. This is one of the few times sleep scientists will tell you it’s okay to turn on the technology – watch a movie, binge-watch a TV series, or if you prefer, listen to music or read a good book.</p> <p>When you feel sleepy, you can try going back to sleep, but don’t get stressed or worried about getting enough sleep. Our brains are very good at sleeping – trust that your body will catch you up when it can.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211821/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leigh-signal-1462806">Leigh Signal</a>, Professor in Fatigue Management and Sleep Health/Associate Dean, Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-can-i-get-better-sleep-on-long-haul-flights-211821">original article</a>.</em></p>

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10 driving tips to stay safe in wet weather

<p><strong>Driving in the rain? Follow these tips for safe driving in wet weather </strong></p> <p>This should go without saying, but reducing your speed – as long as you continue to keep with the flow of traffic, of course – is imperative when driving in the rain.</p> <p>After all, between the downpour and spray from other vehicles, heavy rain reduces visibility in all directions, and you need more time to react.</p> <p><strong>Keep your distance </strong></p> <p>Driving in the rain can be hazardous, and if ever there is an incident that requires you – or the driver in front you – to brake unexpectedly, you’ll want to have ample stopping distance on wet roads.</p> <p><strong>Avoid heavy breaking </strong></p> <p>While driving in the rain, you may find yourself in situations – whether you’re hydroplaning or finding yourself in a skid – that will tempt you to hit the brakes abruptly. Do your best to curb that impulse.</p> <p>Brakes can be affected greatly by water, losing a bit of their power when wet, which can be disastrous in an emergency. Easing off the brakes, slowing down and maintaining control of your vehicle is your best bet.</p> <p><strong>Keep both hands on the wheel </strong></p> <p>Control is of utmost importance when driving in the rain. After all, you need to be in command of your vehicle should an incident occur, and having both hands on the wheel while driving in the rain (no snacking or fiddling with the radio!) will ensure you can get out of a sticky situation quickly and efficiently.</p> <p><strong>Keep windows from fogging up</strong></p> <p>When driving in rain, windows tend to fog up as a result of the difference in temperatures inside and outside the car and can lead to decreased visibility. To stay safe and avoid accidents, simply press your car’s defrost button to clear-up the window.</p> <p>Turn on your A/C or roll down the windows by a couple of centimetres to remove the humidity from the vehicle and lower the temperature inside the car. If the issue persists, you may want to purchase a windshield cleaner and defogger.</p> <p><strong>Beware of hydroplaning </strong></p> <p>Hydroplaning happens when your car travels above the water without touching the ground. Given that a driver is left with little-to-no grip with the road and, thus, less control, this can be a dangerous set of circumstances. If you find yourself in such a situation, stay calm, ease off the brakes and do not turn your steering wheel; let your car slow down and the tires reattach to the road surface.</p> <p><strong>Avoid puddles</strong></p> <p>Windshield wipers should always be in working condition. Be vigilant about replacing them once per year, or whenever they start to leave streaks on the glass. Having wipers blades in tip-top shape ensures the best possible visibility when driving in the rain.</p> <p><strong>Stay home if you can </strong></p> <p>If you have no choice but to head outside during a heavy downpour, be sure to follow these driving tips. However, if you don’t have anywhere pressing to be, consider staying home and waiting it out until the storm subsides.</p> <p><strong>Keep your headlights on</strong></p> <p>With wet weather often comes fog and overall gloominess. With your surroundings slightly darkened, turning on your headlights ensures that you can see the road in front of you, and that other drivers can see you.</p> <p><strong>Ensure windshield wipers are in working order</strong></p> <p>Windshield wipers should always be in working condition. Be vigilant about replacing them once per year, or whenever they start to leave streaks on the glass. Having wipers blades in tip-top shape ensures the best possible visibility when driving in the rain.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-driving-tips-to-stay-safe-in-wet-weather" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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