Our best traveling fights have had one key ingredient: Lack of sleep. The culprit? The dreaded RED EYE. We live in the western US, so our intercontinental flights almost always involve bivouacking in the “flying tube.” While we are far from being “Red Eye Ninjas”…we have come up some sure fire solutions that make traveling on little sleep a little more sufferable as a couple.
It’s no secret that the fighting couple often takes different flights to the same destination. Often this is out of necessity, as we may have sky points on different carriers. With that said, we often elect to travel separate because we can’t stand sitting next to each other. Luci likes to talk to Mike. Mike likes to ignore Luci. We end up fighting before we even leave the runway. So, we fly separate or elect not to sit by each other if we are on the same flight.
We treat complete strangers nicer than our spouse. It is the truth! Flying solo or at least separated might be best for all involved. The thought of being seatmates on our recent 16 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, Ga is a new definition of hell for us. So Mike took a detour, made a stop in Paris and our marriage was saved. Crisis adverted. Typically, Mike flies with the heavy luggage, arrives two or three hours before Luci and meets her at the gate with a luggage trolley and a plan to exit the terminal. Sweet huh?
But aren’t you two missing out on great conversation (fight) time in route? Good question. No, we don’t think so. Airplanes have to be one of the worst places to discuss heady relationship concerns. You really can’t face each other, and hearing each other is always a challenge over the roar of the Pratt and Whitneys.
What if one of the traveler’s flights is delayed or cancelled? This actually happened to us on our recent trip to Thailand. Luci’s connecting flight to her international flight out of Portland was nixed. Stress! But thanks to email, Mike found out, was able to adjust the plans and he spent a night solo in Bangkok… Yes, delays and changes can occur. They always do. But candidly with flight service, delays and changes seldom extend longer than 24 hrs. We typically add in some flex time at the front and back end of our journeys to accommodate iffy air service. If being delayed a couple hours is the worst thing that happened on your trip, you are in good shape.
We are planners. We live by the adage: Fail to plan-Plan to fail. We do take it a little overboard. Mike likes his excel spreadheets! Set your clocks ahead to the destination time, and then lay off the caffeine if the sun isn’t shining in your last stop. Plan ahead, you know that you have an 8 hour flight. Make a plan of attack to survive. Make your list: one movie, 30 mins of reading and then shut eye. Depending on which direction you are flying, you may want to sleep on the front or back end of the trip.
Division of Labor
One of the best ways to avoid the Red Eye Fight is to agree in advance, when both parties are sane and sober, what each is going to be responsible for. Have a conversation about what bags are going to who’s responsibility. As we mentioned above, Mike is the muscle for the heavy baggage. Luci on the other hand is the keeper of the camera and anything delicate ie art work, prints, ect. Agree in advance who is carrying the passports and cash.
Food and Water
One of the most underrated component of successful red eyeing is body fuel. Grumpy will move into your relationship if either one has not eaten for long periods of time. Pack some grub for the flight. One of the challenges we have run into is landing at breakfast time, when our tummies are telling us it’s time for dinner.
In the immortal words of the one of the greatest rock bands of all time Guns N’ Roses, “It takes a little patience.” Again, follow the steps above, and build in some sleepy time at your destination before you hit the streets of Rome. Regardless if you planned the trip months in advance or if you are booking a holiday at the last minute, take the time to make a plan. Happy travels!