9 tips and tricks for long-haul flights
Today I bring you 9 tips and tricks for long-haul flights that really works! Flying for an extended period can be stressful on the body and mind, so be sure to try some of these tips!
Long-haul flights suck!
There I said it!
There’s no way I’m trying to turn that into something super positive. They just aren’t as fun as they seem.
The flights are long. You spend hours waiting at the airport. And if you have a stopover after which you have to repeat the process again, even worse!
Of course, if you are a regular business class passenger, your opinion may differ slightly.
But for us regular economy class travelers, those 13+ hour journeys really do cause quite a bit of emotional and physical pain.
Tips and tricks for long-haul flights
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Below is a list of some tips to make your long-haul flight a little more bearable and comfortable!
1. ADJUST YOUR MINDSET
Being mentally prepared for what lies ahead can go a long way.
Keep in mind that you will not sleep much. Accept that there might (hopefully not) just be a crying baby near her seat.
Remember that you must try to be patient at all times, since everything with trips always seems to take longer than we expect.
Long-haul flights are something that unfortunately we can never avoid. Also, they are part of the adventure, no matter where we plan to go!
Be patient. Take it easy. And she tries to enjoy the trip.
2. WHAT TO WEAR
Many people carry an extra set of clothes and as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, they run to the bathroom and change.
This is a good strategy.
Being as comfortable as possible is essential on these long trips. Think of it as putting on pajamas before going to bed.
She’d rather be comfortable than try to look trendy!
Usually a comfortable t-shirt, hoodie, and some sweatpants will do the trick. If you really want to, take a super warm pair of socks with you.
When you arrive about an hour before landing, change back into your normal clothes. This way you will also feel a little refreshed.
What clothes to try and avoid:
- Elegant, dressy or heeled shoes
- smart shirts
- For women, dresses are not recommended.
- Open shoes: it can get cold inside airplanes!
- Don’t wear a suit, you’re not going to a wedding.
- Super tight clothes. Most people tend to swell a bit at 40,000 feet.
ADVICE: Take into account the climate of your destination.
Don’t leave Australia in the summer on your way to Europe where it’s minus zero degrees Celsius in flip flops and a tank top!
The same thing happens the other way around.
3. WHERE TO SIT
Everyone has their own opinion on which seat is the best in the house!
Each airline will have its own seating configuration. So take a look at their seat maps before you check-in to make a better choice.
Try to avoid sitting near the toilets. These seats tend to have more traffic and the strange smell may be coming from your direction.
Aisle seats are always winners, especially if you’re traveling alone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for better seats at the airport!
When you’re at the check-in counter, ask the person who works there for better seats. Or maybe for an emergency exit seat. You may be lucky!
Another trick I’ve learned is at the gate, go a few minutes early and ask the boarding staff if there are better seats available. This has really paid off a few times in the past. You might even get an upgrade!
4. FOOD AND DRINK
Airline food varies greatly from airline to airline.
Some really pride themselves on offering very good quality food and drinks, even for economy class passengers.
While others really couldn’t care less about putting in some effort.
The fact is that you will most likely want to eat on a long-haul flight, so you will have to eat what is offered to you.
ADVICE: Request a special meal online before the flight. Airlines often offer options like vegetarian, healthy, halal, etc. By doing this, you get a slightly healthier option, plus your food usually gets there first!
Flying naturally dehydrates you quite a bit.
Having said that, consuming large amounts of alcohol will only add to this dehydration, leaving you feeling pretty sick when you land!
Try to drink as much water as possible. And cut back on your alcohol intake as much as possible (not always easy, I know).
ADVICE: Take a large bottle of water from the terminal. Airlines tend to always serve us these little glasses of water that NEVER seem to be enough.
5. STRETCH YOUR BODY
It’s no secret that flying has some negative side effects on us physically.
One such side effect is pooling of blood around the legs. Have you ever finished a long-haul flight and felt like your shoes have shrunk a size? Those are actually your feet that have swollen up a bit!
Make an effort to get up every hour or so, walk around the plane a bit, and stretch your legs. This will at least support the movement of blood in the legs a bit.
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6. DURING THE FLIGHT
After eating and having a drink or two, you still have a long way to go!
Some things you should try to do your best:
- Sleep!! If possible, try to sleep as much as you can. This is the best and most productive way to get through a long journey.
- Read an interesting book or magazine.
- Watch a movie, a series or a documentary or two
- Try to meditate! This, firstly, will help you sleep, and secondly, it will calm you down. See how to meditate here
- If none of the above sounds interesting to you, just relax with yourself and your thoughts
7. TIPS FOR COUPLES
Couples have the added benefit of being able to lift the couch between them and intertwine to get as comfortable as possible.
Take advantage of the fact that you are not just sitting next to a stranger.
ADVICE: If your airplane seating configuration is 3 seats, then book the aisle seat and the window seat. The middle seat will most likely be booked last. And if someone ends up sitting there, offer them the aisle. Otherwise, you have three seats for the two of you!
8. TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH OR NOT?
I don’t mean in general in life, no. That’s obvious!
But many travelers brush their teeth towards the end of any long flight. By then, you usually have a bad taste in your mouth, so a good tooth rinse is sorely needed.
The problem, however, is that the water found in airplane toilets is not fresh. There’s most likely some dodgy bacteria floating around out there somewhere.
So should you brush your teeth on board or not?
That is completely up to you!
Me too? Honestly, I always brush my teeth the moment I walk into any airport terminal. Even before passport control and baggage claim.
9. SOME BASIC FLIGHT RULES
OK, these aren’t exactly written rules. But try to follow these as much as possible. For your own good and that of those traveling with you.
- Do not immediately recline your seat all the way back to make the person behind you very uncomfortable.
- Did your seat recline slightly? Bring it at mealtime
- Be nice. That goes without saying. You don’t want to end up on YouTube as THAT person who rages over something insignificant.
- Wear shoes to go to the bathroom. These are public restrooms, so try to be careful with this.
- Finally, take it easy and enjoy the ride!
Long-haul flights should be an exciting little adventure. It’s taking you somewhere far away, maybe somewhere completely new.
Enjoy every moment of all this and try to use some of these tips to your advantage.