Have you got some long-haul flights coming up? Traveling to a new country but dreading the flight? Then keep reading for our 10 tips on how to survive a long-haul flight.
Getting ready for a new adventure in a new destination is exhilarating. If you’re exploring far and wide, you may be a little nervous about the long-haul flight ahead of you. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
There are a few things to consider when traveling; before the flight, during the flight, and after the flight.
Sometimes these days (or even the flights alone!) can be 12 hours long and without some must-need items, you can be left feeling tired, and dehydrated. That’s not a good start to your vacation!
So you want to know how to survive long-haul flights? Let’s dive into our tips for surviving huge travel days, with a huge list of our flight essentials.
1. Comfortable Travel Outfit
How do you start preparing for your long-haul flight to ensure it’s a smooth process? The first thing is looking at how you will stay comfortable, and that starts with what you wear.
It is important to dress comfortably. This doesn’t mean you have to wear your sleepwear, but loose clothing, or clothing with give, is key. This will stop additional swelling on the plane.
A comfortable pair of trousers or jeans, a loose shirt, and a cardigan or jumper can make all the difference. You can also opt for athleisure if you prefer. You’ll be more comfortable during the flight and also avoid having to constantly tug at your clothing.
Remember you have to wear this for the duration of the day! So choose something you have worn before.
Another key point to consider is the weather at your destination. It’s great to wear a comfortable outfit but if you arrive at your destination and it’s hot, you will be regretting that jumper!
Our last thought on this is that the plane can often get chilly, so bringing a packable jacket, travel blanket, or just an adequate amount of layers will often prove key to comfort.
2. Comfortable Shoes
When on long flights, it is important to wear comfortable shoes. This will allow you to move around easily and prevent swelling of your feet and ankles.
In addition, wearing open shoes will help keep your feet cool and dry. Tight shoes can cause your feet to swell and get sweaty, which no one wants on long flights.
Shoes like sandals and flip-flops are great for a warmer destination, or for a winter destination, a lighter trainer can be great for the plane.
However, to save space in your bag, you may want to wear your chunkiest, biggest shoe. Just be mindful that you have to wear these for the full day.
We usually prefer to wear, or at least bring socks, both for passing through security (if you have to take your shoes off), and if you take your shoes off to relax even further on the plane itself.
Whatever you choose to wear, make sure they’re comfortable!
3. Carry-on Luggage
Now that we know what you will be wearing when traveling on your long-haul flight, it’s time to look at how you will be carrying all your essentials on the plane.
Your bag has to fit the airline’s regulations, making that your starting point here will allow you to determine what size of carry-on bag you can take.
The phrase “less is more” is very important when we talk about hand luggage. When packing your bag make sure you don’t overfill it, this will save carrying a heavy bag around the airport! Not only that, but if you leave space in your carry-on, you have the option to fill it with souvenirs or exchange items from your main luggage in the case it ends up being overweight.
Let’s take a look at some essentials you need to pack in your carry-on bag:
- Phone and charger
- Power bank
- Hand sanitizer and hand moisturizer
- Travel documents and passport
- Lip balm
- Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
- A small pack of wet wipes
- Travel pillow and eye mask
- Spare layer, i.e jumper or cardigan
- Refillable water bottle
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Any medication you may need
You don’t have to bring all of these in your carry-on, they are just some suggestions so pick the ones that work for you!
4. Stay Hydrated
Did you know you lose 8 ounces of water every hour you fly? It’s very important to keep hydrated while you fly. Not only will this combat what you lose, but it will also help reduce any swelling in your feet from flying and keep you feeling refreshed.
Carrying an empty water bottle through security and filling it up once you arrive in the departure lounge is a great way to make sure you have enough water for the flight. (It also proves handy as a refillable bottle so you don’t have to buy many water bottles at your destination.) Good for the planet and great for you.
Another top tip is to avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol on the flight, as this can dehydrate you. If you do fancy a drink, balance it out with some water in between.
Don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendant for more water, as keeping hydrated is key when flying long haul.
5. Bring Snacks
When you’re on a long flight, it’s important to have snacks with you to keep you energized. Not everyone loves plane food and sometimes, you just want something else to eat (not to mention a lot of airlines are skimping and giving out smaller and less satisfying snacks these days).
Having snacks with you avoids those cravings and keeps you happy onboard.
We all know the price of food at the airport can be extravagant, so bringing snacks with you saves you both money and time. It also allows you to avoid eating unhealthy foods. That said, you’re on holiday, so we will leave the “healthy” part up to you!
Looking for some snack inspiration? Check out these airport snack ideas:
- Fruit: apples, oranges, bananas, or grapes
- Nuts: almonds, pistachios, or cashews
- Biscuits: non-perishable biscuits
- Meal bars: Muesli, Luna, Kind, Clif etc.
These are just a few examples of what you can bring with you. However, make sure you’re checking the airline recommendations when it comes to bringing food onboard the plane.
6. Eye Mask and Pillow
If you like to get sleep on the plane, then these items are essential. Getting comfortable on the plane can be tricky, but an eye mask and pillow help. Because who doesn’t want to wake up fresh, excited to explore a new destination?
An eye mask will help block out any unwanted light, whether the sun shining through the window or the light from the TV screens, you can relax in the darkness.
A travel pillow can also help make sure you’re comfortable and supported. Depending on the style you purchase, they can be foldable, easily packed in your carry-on bag, or easy to attach to your bag. This can help avoid those awful neck aches you get after a long flight.
Both of these travel items could help improve your sleep on the plane, making these long-haul flight essentials in our opinion.
7. Bring Some Entertainment
Whether you’re traveling alone or with family or friends, entertainment is essential to pass the time on a long-haul flight.
Most planes now have inflight entertainment. Putting on a film or tv series is great, but if you prefer to have your own entertainment, it’s a great idea to bring a kindle, book, or download a podcast on your phone.
A lot of airlines also have WiFi for purchase on their airline site once you are on the plane or through an app beforehand. Make sure you check if you are planning on browsing online in case you need to buy that prior to your flight.
Having something to focus on will allow the time to pass faster. Make sure you try to relax during the flight and enjoy the experience!
8. Get Up and Walk Around
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s so important to get up and walk around on long flights. Every few hours, get out of your seat, stretch your legs and take a little stroll down the aisle. Make the most of those bathroom breaks! This will help avoid any cramps or swelling in your legs.
If you’re unable to get up and walk around, make sure you at least do some simple leg exercises while seated. This will help keep the blood flowing and reduces any discomfort.
These can include:
- Ankle Circles: Lift your feet off the floor and gently circle your ankles, imagine drawing circles with your toes.
- Knee Lifts: One at a time lift your knees towards your chest and repeat multiple times on each leg.
- Shoulder Rolls: Lift your shoulders up to your ears and roll them down your back, keep rolling your shoulders for 30 seconds then switch to rolling them forward.
9. Book your Seat
One of the most essential tips for a smooth long-haul flight is to book your chosen seat, when possible. This will allow you to select the seat that works best for you.
A great way of planning where you will sit is to check out the seat map of your plane to get a feel of where you would prefer to sit. Let’s have a look at a few of the seat options:
- Aisle Seat: Great for a little extra leg room and if you need to use the restroom.
- Towards the back of the plane: This is a great option if you want to get away from the younger children crying as they are normally seated at the front.
- Extra Legroom: If you’re tall it could be worth upgrading to an extra leg room seat for extra comfort.
- Window Seat: A great option for those who love to admire the views.
- Try to avoid the dreaded middle seat: Unless you have someone you know next to you, it can be awkward to get out to use the restroom and uncomfortable to sleep in.
You may have the option to book your seats in advance but note this sometimes comes at a cost. You have to balance your pocketbook with your desire for comfort; sometimes it’s worth paying a bit extra (and sometimes you can just use mileage or reward cards to book at low or no cost).
If you’re looking to save a little money, a great tip is to check the seating policy with your airline. Usually, a few days prior to flying you can book your seats for free, still allowing you to choose the seat you want.
10. Take Time to Relax
One of the best things you can do on a long-haul flight is to sit back and relax. Whether that’s just closing your eyes and daydreaming of your vacation to come or listening to some music to calm your mind.
If you find it difficult to relax on planes, there are a few things you can do to help. Try putting on some soft music or an eye mask to block out any distractions and make you feel more comfortable.
Once you’ve found a position that’s comfortable for you, focus on your breathing and try to clear your mind. If your mind starts to wander, just bring your focus back to your breath.
Take some time for yourself on the flight; you’ll feel much better when you land.
There you have it, our favorite tips to help you survive a long-haul flight. Now all you have to do is figure out where your next exciting adventure will be!