The best collection of long haul flight tips, that make cramped spaces and hours on a plane so much better!
I’m only 5 feet tall and so I never really think about comfort when flying. I always have lots of room and can sleep anywhere at anytime.
I didn’t realize how bad it was for others until I flew with my ex to Europe.
I knew enough to arrive to the airport early so we wouldn’t have to rush or if he was “randomly chosen” for additional screening.
When you travel with someone who has tattoos it’s good to give yourself extra time to reach the departure gate.
Things went so smoothly, until we got on the plane and I realized we were a bit unprepared for his first long haul flight.
It can be tough to sleep and you don’t want to arrive exhausted in Rome.
There wasn’t much I could do except suggest a nap and take note of what to do so that others won’t make the same mistake.
Long haul flight tips
I’m not so picky when it comes to food. I’ll pretty much eat anything but many people have sensitive stomachs and often have to decline a lot of food.
You do not want to be on a long haul flight and be hungry. Next time we’ll Bring snacks, like nuts, dried fruit and a couple protein bars.
I’ve seen some people bring cup of noodles and ask for the hot water they add to tea,
Unless I’m flying on Air France where delicious French cheese is included, I generally order a vegan meal.
It means you’ll get beans and rice with fruit for dessert instead of some kind of dicey meat.
Although I don’t recommend that for flying to Spain, my mother and I had an atrocious meal and she didn’t eat – thankfully I had snacks.
Upgrade to the Front Row
Most often window seats are great for sleeping and legroom- except for very small planes where it is angled.
It’s best to find out what kind of plane you’re on in advance. Sometimes paying to upgrade to the front row is worth it.
Travel Neck Pillow
This may be one of the most important long haul flight tips.
I once loathed neck pillows and I previously couldn’t fathom dragging one around for an entire holiday.
I don’t want to sound privileged by complaining with these long haul flight tips.
But unbelievably many still planes that don’t have power sources at the seats. This means your iPhone is probably going to die before you land and you’ll be forced to listen to on-flight music.
I really like the LinearFlux LithiumCard because it’s lightweight, the size of 5 credit cards and has two outlets.
I had been traveling solo for the last 5 years so I never paid to pre-book a seat or worried about legroom.
As soon as the flight settled in the person in front of us fully reclined their seat.
This left 12 inches between my ex’s face and his television screen.
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay for the seat reservation check out Seat Guru, which has airline seat maps and a comfort rating system.
An eight hour flight can get a bit grimey. Keep these travel-size (under 100ml) products in your carry on:
- travel toothbrush
- hand sanitizer
- lip balm
- moist wipes
Block Out the World
Of course everyone recommends an eye mask and noise cancelling earphones but they can be so expensive and I’m not even sure I can justify $400 for them.
But I did find these great Monoprice Noise Cancelling Earphones just over $100.
As tempting as it may be, this is not the time to break out yoga pants. You want breathable layers as flights can be hot and cold.
I tend to wear a free flowing dress and throw tights in my bag.
Whatever you choose, a cardigan and cotton scarf and socks are key as you never know how cold a plane can get until you’re freezing and have to buy their crappy $12 blanket.
One of the best ways to fight jet lag is to stay well hydrated, which isn’t really possible if you’re waiting for the attendant to give you 100ml every 2-3 hours.
Bring a waterbottle and when they come by ask if they can fill it.
Most are happy to accommodate, only a few times have the attendant given dirty looks, which I just ignore.
If you want to step it up even more consider bringing Emergen-C for your water.
Not only does it have Vitamin C to ward off your coughing fliers but more importantly it has electrolytes to help keep you hydrated.
This is more of a “do as I say not as I do.”
I love to have a glass of wine with dinner but if you want to avoid jetlag the best thing to do is abstain from alcohol 24 hours before the flight and during the flight.
If you’re a wine lush like me just remember 1 drink = 2 in the air so it’s easy to get drunk.
This may like one of the bonus long haul flight tips but it’s actually painful to arrive hungover in a foreign land.
Should You Pop Pills?
I know a lot of people recommend Ambien, Ativan or over the counter sleep aids like Benadryl.
I’m not a fan of these as it’s not real sleep and if something happens, like needing to emergency land in another city I’ll be groggy.
Also it’s recommended that you get up and walk every two to three hours.
I have taken homeopathic Valerian and Melatonin which sleep to help relax rather than knock me out.
Whatever you choose try it before you get on the plane to see how it works for you.
Now it’s your turn, what long haul flight tips did we miss? What are your best hacks for a great long flight?