40 Tips for surviving a long-haul flight
Being trapped in a stuffy airplane might sound like your worst nightmare, but it can also be a comfortable and enjoyable experience. With a little preparation and a list of things to do, your flight will be more bearable. This post will describe how you can fly in the most comfortable way and provide 40 tips on food, drinks, and things to do, so you can survive the long flight and start your holiday relaxed.
Dress comfortable and wear layers
Wear comfortable clothes. Sometimes you will feel cold, other times you will feel warm. In order to keep your body at a comfortable temperature, wear layers.
Bring your own (neck) pillow
Most airlines will provide pillows on a long-haul flight, but you can also bring your own (neck) pillow. Then you know for sure it is clean and comfortable.
Bring your own headphones or earplugs
Like the pillow, most of the airlines will provide headphones and some also earplugs. You can wear a headphone to listen to music, but also to isolate yourself from the surrounding noises. And, with earplugs you will sleep nice for sure!
Pack anti-bacterial wipes
Planes can be dirty sometimes, so anti-bacterial wipes might become handy to wipe down your arm rests, seat tray, etc. Now that your little seat if sanitized, it can help you to relax better.
Pack an eye mask
Some airlines will provide an eye-mask on a long-haul flight, but it is always good to bring one yourself. Now, you can also sleep during the day!
Use a travel blanket
Use the travel blankets that are provided by the airline. They will keep you warm when the plane’s air conditioning is on and will make you feel more comfortable while sleeping.
If you are planning to sleep, make sure your fastened seat belt is visible for the flight attendants. If not, they will wake you up when the seat belt signs go on. If your seat belt is visibly fastened, they will not disturb you.
Bring some toiletries in your best carry-on luggage, so you can brush your teeth or use some deodorant. It will make you feel fresh and relaxed again.
Snag a window seat
I think that a window seat is very nice during a long-haul flight. It will provide the opportunity to take a nap in a comfortable position against the wall and you do not have to get up when your neighbors go to the bathroom.
Avoid seats close to the toilet or crew kitchen
A seat close to the toilet or kitchen can let you stay awake all night. The noise of people walking by, toilet flushing, door slamming, or the light of the crew kitchen can be quite annoying sometimes.
Avoid crying children
Stay away from the front of the plane as this is often where you will find babies on (international) flights.
Choose a good airline
The airline you fly with can make a big difference in how comfortable your journey will be. Do some research before you book. Have a look at leg space, type of on-board food, on-board entertainment, or read reviews of other passengers.
Food & drinks:
Enjoy some snacks
Do not get hungry! During long-haul flights, you can always walk to a kitchen and take some snacks or drinks. Most of the time they will be available for free and you can just take them. Also during the night! You can also bring some snacks yourself, so you know for sure that you will not get hungry in between the on-board meals.
Air travel will make you dehydrated, so it is very important to drink enough water during the flight. You can always ask a flight attendant for some water or take it yourself from the kitchen.
Enjoy the free (alcoholic) drinks
Most of the drinks are free! Even the alcoholic drinks… So, enjoy a glass of wine, local beer, cup of coffee, or soda. Remember to drink responsible.
Caffeine will keep you up and dehydrate you further, so if you would like to sleep, avoid the coffee.
Read a book
Books are always nice to read! There are plenty of stories to feed your wanderlust. I love reading and like books that inspire me to travel and dream about new adventures. This list will provide you with the 44 best travel books ever!
Have a conversation with your neighbors
Meet new people, start a conversation with your neighbor, or talk with that person that visits the bathroom at the same time as you. Flying is a great way to meet new people. Everyone travels with their own story…
Enjoy the view!
When you are sitting at a window seat, do not forget to enjoy the view. When having long-haul flight, you have a high chance to see either the sunset or sunrise from above. Do not miss this opportunity. You can also try to find shapes in the clouds. Dolphins? Dragons? If you do not have a window seat, you can always walk to one of the door windows to enjoy the view.
Learn to draw
Pack a small sketchbook, some pencils, and try out your drawing skills.
Color in a coloring book
Coloring is believed to have therapeutic benefits, and can relieve stress, so why wait? Bring a coloring book and start coloring! If you do not want to bring a coloring book, there are also plenty of coloring smartphone apps.
Relax! Do some meditation, listen to calming music, or do breathing exercises.
Watch movies via the in-flight entertainment or your tablet
I am a movie lover! I love to watch movies via the in-flight entertainment. You can also bring your tablet to watch movies on. I especially love to watch travel related movies. This list shows the 60 best travel movies ever!
Shop from the on-board duty free
Shopping! Who does not love it? Buy a miniature plane, nice perfume, cigarettes, or some extra food. You can all buy it from the on-board duty free magazine.
Do some work
If you still have a lot of things to do, now it is the time to do it! Bring your school books, write that article, or finish your tasks from work. Nowadays, it is still allowed to bring a laptop, so make yourself look sophisticated and smart.
Adjust your watch
A long-haul flight will cross some time zones, so make sure to change your watch to the local time of your destination. It will help you to acclimatize and alter your routine.
Practice your death glare
Any annoying passengers around you? A snoring passenger? Somebody behind you who continuously kicks your chair? A kid who continues screaming? Practice your death glare!
Learn a new language
Bring a language book, talk in another language with a passenger, or use a smartphone application (like DuoLingo or Loecsen) to learn a new language.
Check the in-flight information
I always love it to see where we are or on what speed we are flying. The in-flight information will provide you all the details and you can see your location on a map. Some of the newest airlines, also show views from the cameras that are attached to the plane.
Do some in-seat exercises
Keep moving and do some in-seat exercises. You can for instance lift your feet, rotate your feet in circles, or roll your shoulders…
Charge your devices
Usually you can charge your phone, laptop, or other device via the in-flight entertainment system. Make sure that your phone is full of battery again, while you arrive at your destination, so you can call a cap, friend, hotel, etc. You can also bring extra batteries in case your plane does not have electrical outlets.
Games are always fun! You can buy small sized games that are specially developed for travelling, like monopoly, scrabble, or playing cards.
Move around the plane
Next to the in-seat exercises, you can also stretch your legs by walking around in the plane. Make sure you go up every three hours to keep the circulation flowing in your legs.
Organize your phone
Organize your phone. Delete old photos, organize your applications, and get rid of unnecessary things.
Organize a quiz
Gather some people and organize a quiz. You all may come from different countries, so you can learn others plenty of new things and improve your own knowledge as well.
I love photos from airplane windows. Make sure to take at least a few during your flight.
When you are flying business class, this might be a bit easier on your flatbed, but you can also try it in the passage.
Develop your travel itinerary
Use the time to read about your destination and to plan your itinerary to visit the most amazing places to eat, sleep, party, and discover new culture.
Try to start a wave
Try to start a wave… like in the football stadiums. It will be fun.
Make paper airplanes
Challenge your travel partner or neighbor to make the best paper airplane. You can use the on-board magazine.
Do you like this list? Is there anything you would like to add? Let me know! =)
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I’m glad you talked about choosing to sit next to a window. I have a really long flight coming up and I didn’t know how to stay comfortable. I can see how having a widow would keep you more entertained.
Yes, and it will also provide the opportunity to take a nap in a comfortable position against the wall and you do not have to get up when your neighbors go to the bathroom! Definitely go for a window seat! =)
Who is Ferna?
This is really helpful for me, absolutely saving this one for my next long flight! you rock for sharing this. Love it!
Thank you so much!! =)
These tips are wonderful! I don’t think I’d be brave enough to try the wave or the paper airplane, but they sound fun.
Haha you should try once! It will defenitely be fun! =)
Magda | follow the view
The worst thing for me is always food 😛 As I am vegetarian, I usually get some really suspicious things like the last time for breakfast I got peach form can and smashed potato! 😀 😀 So I always bring my own snacks 😀
Hmmm yeah, I have to agree with you that the airplane food is not always the best… Guess it will be better when flying business- or first class though..
EBONI + IVORY
I loved this post! Especially “Start a wave” ahaha.
I generally really like long haul flights and even coach journeys. I don’t know why, but its exciting and can be a great time to catch up on sleep!!
Exactly! You can just sit back, relax and travel while enjoying the most amazing landscapes or views! =)
Nina Ragusa - Where in the World is Nina?
Some of these are super useful and some are hilarious. Practice your death glare? hahahaha I practice mine on the flights where kids are being annoying and the parents do nothing. Once that kid sees my face – they won’t do ANYTHING annoying near me anymore. I got that look on lock. lol.
hahahha hilarious!!! =)
Great tips!!! I will have to use these tips on my next long haul flight.
This is such a wonderfully compiled and exhaustive list Daphne! And funny too (Start a wave) 😉 You can find some of my tips here: http://www.ayewanderful.com/tips-for-surviving-long-flight/
Thanks Ameeta, I like your list as well. I totally agree that queuing for boarding makes no sense at all! Just sit back and relax! =)
I will a have a long flight next week, thanks for these tips 🙂
You’re welcome!! Good luck and enjoy your long flight! =)
Dear Daphne, I really love your article. It is very useful for long trips. . Keep posting nice articles !!!
Thank you so much Wendy!! =)