You Need To Know These 10 Easy Long Haul Flight Tips

You Need To Know These 10 Easy Long Haul Flight Tips

Inside: Tips and Tricks to make your next long haul flight a piece of cake

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Night was day and day was night, I was cranky and confused. I stepped off the plane, sweaty, hungry, exhausted and overall feeling gross. And now I had to make my way with the masses of other post-flight zombies to immigration, customs, and somehow find my hotel in a land whose tongue I did not speak. That’s the day I decided that I was never going to take another long-haul flight unprepared. I was gonna learn the tricks to being comfortable on these flights because I never wanted to feel this way again.

Long haul flights are no joke, and during an adult gap year, you’ll probably be on a lot of them.  If you’re going to be in the air for more than six hours, you’ve gotta prepare yourself for the time ahead.  These tips might make your carry-on bag a little heavier, but you’ll have all the long haul flight essentials you need to make yourself comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. 


1. Power plan. Make sure  you can keep all your gadgets powered up throughout your flight. Is there anything worse than getting on an 8-hour flight and realizing that they don’t have any power outlets, or you didn’t pack the right adapter for their outlets?  Don’t be that girl (ME).  Charge everything and bring a portable charger.  My portable charger has saved me so many times.  Landing in a country and not being able to use your phone can really suck.  Prepare accordingly.

2. Load up your devices. Yes! Books, Movies, Music, Podcasts - whatever you need to block out other people and get through.  You will get on a long haul flight that doesn’t have entertainment screens in the seat backs.  Yes, it sounds absolutely primitive, but it happened to me just last month.  Fortunately, I had an iPad and a phone full of goodies to use.


10 tips for long haul flights

3. Wear comfortable clothes.  This may seem like a no-brainer your long haul flight outfit should be extremely comfortable. If you’re long hauling and want to be cute when you land, get cute in the bathroom or a lounge when you land.  I’m team sweats on any flight over 6 hours.  If I could wear a full-body blanket, I would.  There’s a time to be cute and a time to be comfortable - the barefoot people walking around the plane (don’t do this) won’t judge you for your comfy clothes.

4. Pack antibacterial wipes.  Planes are gross.  Wipe that ish down.  Wipe it all down.  Everything you touch.

5. Bring your own snacks/water.  Listen y’all - I am a charter member of the Snack Ministry.  I don’t always bring water, but I always have multiple snacks if not a whole meal.  For me it’s a necessity - I have food allergies, so I can’t eat just any old thing plopped in front of me.  I’ve been on a 12-hour flight where I couldn’t eat ANYTHING served.  Everything had gluten or dairy.  Fortunately, I had enough snacks to make it through the flight.  I’m partial to dried fruits and nuts.  If I can get some dried meats too, it’s a whole charcuterie situation when the flight attendants start serving wine.  Sub-bullet Z - on this “bring your own snacks” tirade - I don’t know about you, but I’m not built to eat on someone else’s schedule.  Listen, I want to eat three times every twelve hours.  On a flight that long they may feed you twice.  BUT WHEN??? Y’all ever stared at the cart slowly making its way down the aisle, and thought “Hurry the f&% up” and then had to check yourself because it’s your hanger talking and usually you’re a sane person.  No?  Just me?  Okay, I’ll own that. I got agitated just thinking about it.  Snacks let you eat on your own schedule instead of the airlines, and I’m all for that.

6. Take Aspirin.  I’ve started to take baby aspirin on long flights.  Is it going to prevent me from getting DVT on a flight?  Who knows.  But, if it can help, and won’t hurt, I’ll give it a try. (Not medical advice - talk to ya doctor.)

7. Wear Compression Socks.  I recently started using compression socks.  My feet always swell on flights, but not that much, and it usually goes down quickly, so I hadn’t tried compression socks.  As I get older though, I want to take better care of myself.  This could be my mind playing games on me, but on the only flight I didn’t wear compression socks on in the past two months, my right ankle felt funky for about 12 hours after the flight.  I won’t make that mistake again.

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8. Bring sleeping pills. Some people sleep comfortably on flights.  I’m not some people.  Even when I take sleeping pills, I still frequently and foolishly fight sleep by staying up to watch a movie.  So you’ve gotta learn your own flight behavior.  For me, the trick is to stop myself from putting on a movie and to put all of my devices in my bag at my feet.  Otherwise, I’m always just looking or checking for five more minutes, and then the 12-hour flight is over, and I’ve only gotten 1 hour of sleep. That’s a surefire way to make sure you have jet lag when you land.  My other sleep necessity is to...

9. Pack an eyemask. Yep, you won’t catch me on a plane, bus, hotel, AirBnB, ferry without an eye mask.  I may not wear it all the time, but it’s there waiting for me.  This is one of the ways I signal my brain to go to sleep.  And since you can’t watch movies or read with an eye mask out, it cuts down on distractions.  But let’s not get it twisted, not all eye masks are built equally.  Get a pair that has humps over the eyes.  TRUST ME.  The completely flat ones are going to put pressure on your eyes when you’re sleeping, and you’re gonna wake up wondering why you can’t see.  Also, don’t be wearing lashes or eye makeup with those flat ones.  Not if you want those lashes on at your destination. 

10. Bring noise-canceling headphones and relaxing music. I love my Bose headphones, and just like my eye mask, you won’t catch me without it.  It’s so comfortable that I can go to sleep with them on if I position my pillow correctly.

Bonus:  Bring earplugs, a pillow, and a blanket. Eh - this is some do what I say, not what I do advice.  I don’t like the feeling of earplugs in my ears, so I rely on noise canceling headphones instead.  I’ll leave my headphones on when I am not listening to anything to block out the ambient airplane noise and that loud ass couple two rows back. And most airlines provide everyone a pillow and a blanket on really long flights, so I use theirs.  But other people swear by these three, so I wanted to give you the options.

Like most lists, you have to consider what’s right for you.  These tips make my long flights so much easier, and if you experience discomfort on flights, try picking a few of them and trying them out for yourself.

Let me know what works for you.

—Shida D

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