Tall Traveler’s Guide

Tall Traveler’s Guide

Traveling is an exciting thing you can do to unwind and enjoy a holiday. But it’s easy to make an anticipated trip into an uncomfortable and endless ordeal. Unfortunately, most of the world’s designed for the average sized person—that’s why it’s called average. So those of us above and beyond six feet have to prepare specifically for the small seats with low backs, the lower ceilings, and limited leg space. Here are some tips that can have you getting to the fantastic destinations you want to see, and getting there in the most comfortable condition possible.

Always Choose Comfort Over Savings

Road trips are great fun for everyone, provided you’re not confined to a car too small for your comfort. So for the tall people headed on the road, plan better than letting your 5’6” friends drive their vehicles. The gas mileage might be better in a tiny little town car, but the journey will not be. Use a vehicle that provides ample leg room and a roof that you won’t be brushing against just for sitting up straight. In addition to that, plan your seating arrangements in advance to everyone’s satisfaction. Don’t seat the tall people behind other tall people, in order to maximize leg room for everyone. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs, whether they be about the reclining of the seat or just a quick stop to stretch your legs. The point of a road trip is to enjoy the journey, and that’s not possible if someone is miserable in the car.

Sit in Exit Rows

Flights can be the worst test for anyone clearing six feet. While it isn’t so bad in first class, express flights or coach are tests of knee integrity and your patience. The seats on planes are unfortunately designed with the average person in mind, much like the rest of the world, so taller folks (and those of us with long legs) wind up brushing their legs right into the back of the seat in front of them. While it’s not a perfect fix, one of the simpler remedies is to unload the seat pocket from in front of you. The Skymall and other magazines, along with the other literature the airline loads into there, can take up a much-needed inch or two that can keep your knees away from irritations and abrasions. Another, albeit more circumstantial, fix is to keep a look out for the emergency exit row. By design, the emergency exit rows are wider to allow people to funnel through quicker in the event of the emergency. But to tall folks, they’re a haven. The extra width means extra comfort, particularly on the long flights. Keep an eye out for a vacant emergency exit row, if you’re prepared for the responsibility, and ask the flight attendant if it’s okay to occupy it or swap with the current occupants. If you plan accordingly, most airlines will allow you to reserve an emergency exit row seat when booking your flight. Lastly, be mindful of the overhanging luggage space! It’s easy to forget after a long flight, but you’re constantly at risk of hitting your head.

For All Means of Transportation, Travel with a Neck Pillow

For any passenger travel, be it train, plane, or car, most comforts are designed for people 5’10” or below. Which means the taller folks have to compensate, and one of the best ways to do so is to pack a travel neck pillow. You could end up with a seat with a very low headrest, forcing you into constantly adjusting so you can relax just right. Grabbing one of the neck pillows and using it in place of or supplementing your headrest can save you some of the dreaded neck and back pain from a long ride. While not exclusive to tall people, wearing comfortable clothes for transit is key. Loose fitting clothes can prevent you from the constant adjustment in your seat. Wearing a loose jacket or sweatshirt can also help you stay warm, particularly when your fellow passengers have a different taste for air conditioning than you. Just make sure all of this is malleable, so you can adjust it to fit differing climates that may change in the car or on the flight.

Although there are increasingly more tall people in the world, the spaces just haven’t caught up, so it falls on us individuals to compensate. Hopefully with these pointers, you can avoid the lightly bruised knees or stiffness of unstretched legs when traveling to your destination with all the excitement you set out with.

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