Travel Like A Cabin-Crew Pro

Above: Learn how to travel like a cabin-crew pro (Photo: paul prescott/Shutterstock)

Who better than to get travel tips than a member of the Emirates cabin crew? After all, they travel up to 23 days each month—with eight days total (but not in a row) at home base in Dubai. Sharon Wang’s been a cabin crew member with the airline for more than four years and she’s learned how to juggle the month-long roster, which can include any mix of long haul, layover or turnaround flights. Some of her top tips on how to making a lifestyle that includes regular air travel simpler and more comfortable.

Make managing your sleep a priority

Since layovers can often only be 24 hours, you have to learn how to manage your sleep well if you want to get the most out of your destination, says Wang, who is a Vancouver native. “Sometimes it can be hard to sleep in the middle of the day but you have to train yourself. So maybe you make yourself go to bed earlier so you wake up earlier,” she says. “And sometimes, you may not get the six hours you want, but at least you get some sleep.” And if you haven’t budgeted your sleep time well, sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and go, she says, or compromise and go explore the city for a few hours then return to the hotel for some snoozing.

Pack gym clothes

Even with her busy schedule, Wang manages to fit in time to work out. The hotels have gyms, so even if you don’t feel up for going into the city, you can fit in exercise there.

Prepare mentally for the time zone you’re traveling to

“If I know I’ll be at a place, I mentally prepare myself for that schedule, and start to sleep according to the schedule there.” Wang adds that she also knows she can’t assume that if she lands at night time that she’ll get the sleep she needs. “You never know if you’ll have a delay, for example.”

Accept that even with the best of plans, jet lag happens

Even pros like Wang who travel all the time suffer from jet lag. “Sometimes you just have to suffer though it,” says Wang, who says traveling from North America to Dubai can be very difficult when it comes to jet lag. “There’s no secret cure—just try to drink lots of water and eat well.”

Pack items to make your flight more comfortable

Wang says she always brings earplugs when she’s traveling for pleasure, along with a scarf and socks to help keep warm on the plane.

Pack efficiently

Make a list in advance of a big trip, says Wang, and give yourself enough time to pack so you can lay things out so you can see it all. Roll your garments to save space in your luggage and aim to bring things that don’t need ironing, she says. Even though Wang is traveling all the time, she says she and the rest of the cabin crew do still manage to forget items.

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