How to survive a long-haul flight

Airplane for an International long-haul flight

My advice for your next Long-Haul trip

Are you dreading your next long-haul flight? Don’t let jet lag ruin your trip! As a seasoned traveler, I’ve picked up some valuable tips and tricks to keep you refreshed and ready to go upon arrival.

Whether in business or economy class, these flight hacks will help you make the most of your journey. So buckle up and prepare to conquer your next flight like a pro with these tips!

Overnight Flight or Daytime?

If you are flying overnight, make sure to sleep. Don’t be distracted by the airline’s offer of food and drinks.

I find it best to eat before the flight and try to go to sleep as soon as we take off. The flight attendants usually let you sleep, not waking you for service.

If you are flying during the day and arriving at night, do not sleep on the flight. Plan to have lots of entertainment for yourself so you don’t sleep. Here are more of my tips!

14 Tips & Tricks for Surviving a Long Flight

  1. Choose what is essential to you in a seat. Aisle or Window? I am a window person. For a long-haul flight, I prefer to have the space to lean on and not be bothered by the aisle activity. Some prefer the aisle seat to be able to move around, not bothering their row mates. It’s a personal preference. Whatever your preference, select a seat at the time of reservation. You don’t want to get caught in the middle seat for a long-haul flight.
  2. Upload movies, music, or books before leaving home for flight entertainment. Don’t plan on the airline for entertainment. It’s frustrating to plan on air entertainment and have a broken monitor. I bring my Kindle and iPad on all my International flights.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes. I wear a sports bra, athletic or yoga pants, a T-shirt (long or short), and a comfortable sweater or jacket. My husband wears a graphic t-shirt, athletic pants, a 3/4 zipper lightweight jacket, and athletic trainers while on a long-haul flight.
  4. Pack snacks. Airline food is the worst. First-class food is not much better. Plan on something that can last hours in your bag. It also comes in handy to have snacks while touring as well.
  5. Carry a reusable water bottle in your bag. Once security is cleared, fill up with water. The best way to avoid jet lag is to stay hydrated.
  6. Earplugs. Especially if you are sensitive to sounds, they are necessary for sleeping on a flight.
  7. Compression socks. It doesn’t matter your age; long-haul flights often cause swelling in the feet and ankles. Nothing is worse than your feet not fitting into your travel shoes properly, causing blisters and pain. To prevent deep vein thrombosis, it is best to wear compression socks.
  8. Thin slippers or booties. I always have a pair of fit kicks in my bag to wear on long-haul flights. Usually, I wear my bulkiest/heaviest shoes on the plane. I change out of those into the fit kicks, so I’m not barefoot on the flight.
  9. Pack a sleep aid. I prefer melatonin. My husband swears by Tylenol PM. Sleeping during an overnight flight is one of the best ways to avoid jet lag. 
  10. Neck pillow. Avoid a stiff neck upon landing, and get a good neck pillow.
  11. Eye mask. It is especially important if you are sensitive to light. You don’t want to be seated next to someone using their light to read when trying to get some shut-eye on a long-haul flight.
  12. A travel blanket. This is a must for me. I’ve had this travel blanket for years now and love it.
  13. Noise-canceling headphones will work double duty to listen to music or a show and drown out that screaming kid.
  14. Survival kit with hair & skin items. I always travel with a small kit with lip balm, hand lotion, a nail file, a hair tie, and a small comb. I will also have a few essential pain meds and a face wipe in the kit.

I hope you find these travel tips and tricks helpful while surviving your next long-haul flight.

Woman walking with a suitcase and a passport.

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7 Comments

  1. Great tips! I used to work as a long haul flight attendant and instead of compression socks I’d urge anyone to keep moving as well. Stand up from time to time and make a little round.

  2. For me, the main problem in long-haul flights is falling asleep, especially if flying in the economy class, so I think that taking melatonin might be a handy solution ! Thanks for the helpful tips!

  3. Helpful tips. I usually don’t sleep well on a flight, but have never brought something for it. I always bring a book (or 2 or3) with me. Because the air flight entertainment system has failed me, either broken, or non-existent or paid.

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