Long flights are exciting because it usually means you’re going somewhere amazing! But those long, international flights can also take a toll on your body. For anyone feeling intimidated by a 10+ hour flight, there are a few tricks-of-the-trade that will get you through your flight and feeling like a champion.
Long-Haul flights are exhausting. If you haven’t traveled outside of your own continent it is not easy to know how to prepare. After taking a lot of long-haul flights through the years, I have learned the hard way of what to do and what not to do. Here are my best tips on how to survive a long haul flight.
Depending on where you go but, long-haul flights are usually cheaper the earlier you book. Between 6-3 months before departure. Everything is cheaper the earlier you book, especially if you decide to add another luggage. On my last flight, I wanted to add another 20kg luggage a few days before it ended up costing almost $300. So I skipped it and needed to decide on what not to bring.
Select a seat
It sucks sitting in the middle with people that sleep all the way and you need to wake them up because you need to go to the toilet. I personally like to sit in the aisle because I can get up at any time and walk around as much as I want. You might be able to assign the seat while checking in at the airport. But if you want to be sure you get an aisle seat, window, or near the exit, you should assign it beforehand on long-haul flights.
Add extras to your booking
Low-budget airlines often don’t offer free meals of entertainment on your flight and you need to add it to your booking. Once flying from Norway to the US. I didn’t add meals beforehand. And I needed to buy a sandwich while flying, which was a lot more expensive and just one meal. You can, of course, bring your own meal, but make sure it lasts all the hours and it might not be a lot cheaper. Some airlines have premium meals that are better than the basic ones.
Bring your own water bottle, many airports have water fountains to refill your bottle with cold water. Bring an empty bottle to the airport as you can’t bring liquids through the security check. This will save you money on buying water at the airport. Don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendants for water during the flight.
Make sure you pack extra shifts like underwear etc. Bring your normal daily essentials like face wipes, antibacterials, and your favorite snacks. It is no point of being uncomfortable just because you are on a plane. Skip the bra and skip the eye make up is my best tip on being comfortable on such a long flight. Use comfortable clothes that you can also sleep in. If you can, adjust to the new hours in terms of when to eat and sleep.
Even though you should stay comfy you need to respect the staff and the people around you. Don’t hit your screen, have your feet reaching the one in front of you or scream at the flight attendants. You are all under the same roof and are gonna spend some time together. Stay cool.
Bring your own entertainment
Most of us bring a laptop in the hand luggage. It is a good idea is to save some movies on it or something else to do like editing photos, writing blog posts, etc. I love the idea that Netflix had made it possible to download to watch it on your phone/pad with the app, all of this is offline of course. The only downside with this is that it takes lots of space on your phone. I only got to see the half of season of Orange Is the new black because I didn’t have more space on my phone.
Mark your bags
Even though they put stickers on your suitcase it can get lost. Once I took the wrong bag and that person took mine because it was the same type of bag. Luckily I marked it with my phone number so he contacted me right away before I went home with the wrong bag.
After traveling with a huge backpack with lots of camera stuff I have learned that a heavy backpack is not a good idea as hand luggage. Why? because if you have many stopovers you need to carry it on your back, many airports don’t have a trolley for hand luggage, and also not many places to sit. On another hand, all airports are suitcases friendly. Instead of using a backpack, it is better to use a small suitcase as hand luggage.
Bring an extra small purse within the hand luggage
You might not use all the stuff you have in the hand luggage, like camera lenses, etc. I pack my most important stuff in a smaller purse like headphones, travel pillow, lip balm, sleep mask, and earplugs. This makes it easier where you don’t have to open the head lockers all the time.
Pack Smart for Long-Haul Flights
Packing smart is key when you’re traveling. Plan exactly what you will need during your flight, ahead of time. Depending on your type of travel, you may or may not need a piece of carry-on luggage for your clothes, but you’ll almost always need a personal bag.
Aside from carry-on luggage, I always recommend bringing some type of “personal bag” for items that you can access easily and either store by your feet or in the overhead bin during your flight.
For short-trips: I recommend bringing a tote that can also function as a day bag on your trip.
For longer trips or business trips: I personally bring my camera backpack to safely carry my laptop and camera equipment.
While it is important to keep those liquids handy for staying moisturized, it is also important to make sure you pack them correctly. Make sure they are under 3.4 ounces and put everything in a single clear plastic bag no larger than 1-quart.
Throwing away a brand new bottle of expensive face cream is never fun, so don’t forget to use those travel-sized containers.
travel-sized freshen up products
Flying takes a toll on everyone’s freshness, but do yourself, and those around you, a favor by having travel-sized products that will freshen you up before and after your flight.
I suggest Colgate Wisps for your teeth and a facial cleansing wipe for your face. A travel-sized deodorant and breath mints are other easy steps to helping you feel fresh and clean before during and after your flight.
If your long-haul flight includes a long layover, head to an airport lounge. You may qualify for access depending on your airline status or type of airfare ticket. If you don’t qualify for free access, consider paying the fee (usually around $20 USD) to hang out in one— most offer free food and drinks and even have showers so you can refresh between flights. It’s worth the money!
The last few survival items are some of the most important not to forget! Triple check for your passport or a license (if you’re traveling domestically), a pen for any customs forms, chargers for your technology, and any travel documents you need such as a hotel or travel reservation.