A Long Haul Flight: Tips on How To Survive It

Traveling overseas can be an exciting experience until you think about that dreadfully long, long haul flight across the ocean in a small economy seat.

 

I have been on lots of long-haul flights in my travel days and there are a lot of tricks I have learned to make the flight more bearable. Here is everything I do to survive those long-haul flights.

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long haul flight

Utilize Your Carry On During a Long Haul Flight

My biggest tip is to pack anything you need during your flight in a carry-on. I would recommend having a bigger bag to put in the overhead above you and having a small bag under your feet, but make sure it is small enough where you still have tons of legroom.

long haul flight tips

In the small bag for under you, that is where I keep snacks, headphones, phone chargers, chapstick, and my neck pillow.

You can keep the bigger items you might need, such as toiletries, laptops, and coats, in the overhead compartment.

Download Podcasts

Podcasts are my secret weapon to flying these days. I ALWAYS have a podcast ready to go before I board my flight. I would recommend saving some of your favorite podcasts of the week to listen to on your long-haul flight.

If you’re not into podcasts, have some music ready and downloaded. Usually, airplanes come with TV screens and free movies these days, but you never know when they might glitch and you are going to rely on your own downloads for the duration of the flight.

Bring a Good Neck Pillow

Something I often overlooked when packing was the importance of a good neck pillow. Find one you like, and no matter how much space it takes, pack it!

I personally like ones that hold my neck upright. This one from target has been my favorite one that I have found and even allowed me to get 8 straight hours of sleep on my flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia! 

Dress Comfortably for your Long Haul Flight

In my opinion, long-haul flights are not the time to be wearing your cutest airplane outfit. Comfort over cute! 

I usually go for leggings and a loose t-shirt dress. But if you are more comfortable in jeans or joggers go for it! Wear what you can sleep in for the flight.

long haul flight airport

Walk Before the Long Haul Flight

Move around and stretch your legs out before the flight! Maybe walk the terminal once or just stand at the gate instead of sitting. Trust me, you will be doing plenty of sitting in the upcoming hours, so use this time and stretch your legs. It will also help you use your energy up so you can sleep on the flight.

airport terminal before a long haul flight

Book a Window or Aisle Seat for a Long Haul Flight

You do NOT want to be on overnight flights stuck in a middle seat with no room. Trust me, been there and done that! Book a window or aisle seat for your flight!

I prefer the window if the flight is less than 8 hours because I probably won’t need to get up much and the window helps me sleep. But I prefer an aisle on those extra long haul flights over the 8 hours because I like the freedom to be able to get up whenever I want. 

long haul flight

Whatever you choose, try not to get stuck in a middle seat.

One of my favorite hacks is if you are traveling with another person, reserve the window and aisle seat in the row, and the odds of someone booking that middle seat are pretty low! If no one sits there, you have the row to yourself!

Pack Snacks for your Long Haul Flight

Packing snacks is my way of looking forward to the flight, I am always excited to eat my favorite candy on the airplane. Plus, if you do not like the airplane food served, you have a backup option.

I try to grab snacks that do not have a strong smell and are easy to eat. Gummy bears are my go-to snack, but bring something that will make you happy!

snacks for your long haul flight

Toothpaste/Brush

I like to brush my teeth before boarding the flight and then once on the flight before falling asleep. Brushing my teeth before bed for me is non-negotiable and has to happen for a good night’s rest.

It also makes me feel cleaner in general.

I would recommend still doing your nighttime routine before boarding the flight. Trust me, you will not be the only one in the airport bathroom getting ready for bed! There are lots of people who utilize this time.

Slippers and Comfey Socks

I love having slippers on airplanes! On a long-haul flight, it is not uncommon for people to take off their shoes. I like to change into slippers for the flight. It makes going to the bathroom more enjoyable and also allows me to sleep better.

Plan Sleep Schedule

Heading across multiple time zones is no joke and jet lag is real. About 48 hours before my flight I start adjusting my sleep schedule. 

For example, if your flight is 7 hours and you land at 6 am in the new time zone, you will want to be super tired when boarding your flight so that you can sleep as much as possible to be adjusted.

Do the math, and find what works for you so that you can beat jet lag.

Drink Water during your Long Haul Flight

Drink water! I mean plenty of water. Airplanes are notorious for being dry and dehydrating. Make sure you drink plenty of water to help with jetlag! Plus moving around to go to the bathroom helps get the blood flowing in your body.

There you have it! That is my list of survival tips for those dreaded long-haul flights. After many successful and not-so-successful flights, I have learned a thing or two to make these flights more comfortable.

Want more? Here are the 12 best FREE things to do in Florence, Italy!

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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