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How to Enjoy Long Haul Flights, Not Just “Survive” Them

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As much as we adore it, travel can be hard. In fact, travel can be exhausting, draining and downright miserable! Don’t worry, we are here to ease some of the pain. You can enjoy long haul flights!

Next time you are flying from A to Z (and especially if you are going all the way over B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K with a six hour stopover in Q) remember these things and you won’t just “survive” your next flight, but enjoy it.

1 – Water is Vital if You Want to Enjoy Long Haul Flights

It’s a basic fact that we all know, you need water to live. But, did you know that in an aeroplane’s atmosphere you need an extra half litre an hour to stay hydrated? That’s a whole lot of the clear stuff.

And it’s not just the cabin air. Plane food can have very high levels of salt in. They are trying to make up for the deadening of taste buds at high altitude, and so you are drying out from the food too!

Don’t rely on an airline’s drinks service to keep your whistle wet, take a bottle of your own. You can buy a bottle of fancy mineral water post security, or you can take an empty bottle through and fill it up air-side at a water fountain.

We love these bottles. They are bright, durable, not made of plastic, and can keep your water cold for 24 hours. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price.

 I also make a point of asking the crew if there is a water fountain on board, or a jug in the galley. This sometimes prompts them to bring you more water.

2 – How to Approach Other Drinks to Enjoy Long Haul Flights

Many airlines offer alcohol as part their drinks services. The official advice is that you should avoid it, and if you are that way inclined, well done! I do like to have a drink or two though, and so to counteract the alcohol’s dehydrating effect, I make sure I ask for water at the same time.

Remember that alcohol will hit you harder at altitude so you cannot drink as much as you would at sea level. This could leave you a bit of a mess and arriving at your destination with a big hangover isn’t pleasant.

3 – Pack Liquids to Help You Enjoy Long Haul Flights

As well as drinking lots of fluids, there are other things you can do to keep your body from drying out (and this goes for girls and guys)

  • Once the plane has taken off, remove your make up, if you have any on. Once your face is bare, treat it to a nice big blob of intensive moisturiser. Ensure that it is more intense than the kind you would use at home. This will soak in surprisingly quickly, and keep your skin supple.
  • Lip balm or Vaseline stops your lips from cracking. Put on a nice thick slick before you go to sleep to keep them kissably soft.
We have been using this set for a while now and it works wonders. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price.
  • Eye drops or spray will relieve sore, tired eyes by keeping them moisturised. It’s not something you normally think about, but it can make a difference after fifteen hours in the sky.
  • I am a HUGE fan of saline nasal spray. Planes are dry, and they can be rather cold. This makes my nose all dry and sore on the inside. Occasional squirts of saline spray stops this from happening. My mum does the same thing with airwaves chewing gum, but that makes my champagne…I mean water…taste funny.

    Trust me, this is weird, wonderful and works. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price.

5 – Wear the Right Clothes to Enjoy Long Haul Flights

This is a complicated business. We all like to look nice when we fly, it’s exciting to be off on holiday, but you have to find the comfy/trendy balance.

  • Don’t wear anything with a tight waistband. It will only get worse as your tummy swells with the altitude, and that bloating, salty plane food.
  • Don’t wear tight shoes, boots or anything else that can’t be loosened. Your feet will swell and getting them on again at the end of the flight can be very uncomfortable. If you keep them on they can restrict blood movement and that can encourage DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) which is a very bad thing indeed.
  • Flight socks do look silly (I know) but they work wonders to keep your circulation flowing nicely.
At least they make funky flight socks these days. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price. for these bright beauties. 
  • It can get bumpy on a plane, so ultra low neck lines could result in unwanted costume malfunctions. It’s best to stick to something that covers a little more “decolletage”…or you’ll get a nip slip!
  • I have said it before, and I will say it again, a seamless sports bra is INFINITELY more comfortable than a regular one when going long haul. There’s no straps to rub, no hooks to dig into your back and no danger that you’ll get a full pat down when the wire sets off the security arch.
The joys of the seamless sports bra lead to a seamless journey. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price for this triple-pack to suit every colour top. 

6 – Consider Wearing Slippers to Enjoy Long Haul Flights

I like to change into little stretchy slippers for my flights. They keep my feet warm, allow them to swell without pain, and they are a bit sturdier than socks for my little walks around the plane. I have black ones which are a little more discreet. They go in the washing machine when I find a laundry and then they are fresh and clean for the next flight.

7 – Keep Walking to Enjoy Your Next Long Haul Flight

Get up and have a wander around the plane every so often. It is nice to get a change of scene; to look out of the window when you’ve been trapped in the centre of the plane can be a revelation. More importantly it promotes blood movement and helps prevent DVT.

If you are trapped in a middle seat and can’t clamber over your slumbering neighbours there are still little exercises you can do to simulate the benefits of a walk. You may look a little silly, but they are asleep so it doesn’t matter.

8 – Plan Your Viewing for Your Next Long Haul Flight

If you know that your plane has entertainment, why not visit the airline’s website ahead of time, and take a look at the listings. This allows you to decide what you want to watch and in which order. It would be very annoying to find a great film just as the plane starts its descent.

On overnight flights, I watch a blockbuster whilst I eat dinner. Then I get ready for bed and put on some sort of kids film, or a frivolous comedy. It is inoffensive, I don’t mind falling asleep to it (got to cut out that engine noise somehow) and they all have a nice predictable plot. It’s very comforting. When I wake up a few hours later, it’s back to the exciting films. This passes the time, gives me something to look forward to and sometimes saves me money at the cinema. Win, win, win.

9 – Pack a Pillow to Enjoy Long Haul Flights

I am not sure the world has invented the perfect sleep pillow for flights yet. I can’t function without a surface to lean against! But we persist. At the moment I am using a blow up pillow. It takes up very little space and when I only have hand luggage, that is a big plus!

It is kind of like this one. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price.

I have read great things about Cabeau Evolution and I’m tempted to try it for my next flight but it looks very cumbersome and quite heavy for backpacking. Maybe I’ll give a go for my next single city break.

Why not give it a go before I get a chance? Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price. 

10 – Get a Pouch to Stay Organised on Long Haul Flights

If you only have one piece of hand luggage, and it is too big to fit under the seat in front (or you are gifted with long legs and need the space), prepare an essentials pouch. You can slip this in to the seat-back pocket negating the need to get up and down every ten minutes. It also makes it less likely you will forget loose items. Here’s what’s in mine;

  • Eye mask and ear plugs – I’ll be honest, I always fail to use these when I am actually on the flight, but Mr Fluskey uses his religiously. They block out light and sound for when you are ready to sleep. The eye mask I use, mostly when we are in a noisy hotel, is a 3D mask. It fits the bridge of your nose snugly but doesn’t press on your eyes/eyelashes so it is very dark and very comfy.
This looks just like mine and even comes with free ear plugs. Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price. 
  • Pen – For filling out landing cards, making notes or doodling.
  • Phone – It may be on aeroplane mode but it still my blogging tool…plus it has games and back up videos if the entertainment system is awful…or non-existent.
  • Portable charger and USB cable – You may get lucky and have an in-seat power supply, in which case, you’re OK. Just in case there isn’t, have your portable charger fully juiced and ready for back up.
This is exactly the model I have and I couldn’t live without it! Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price. 
  • Headphones and splitter. Don’t bring wireless headphones because you can’t use them with the inflight entertainment system.
We have had a great run with one of these multi-splitters, plus four of us watched one video together…win! Click on the picture to check the latest Amazon price. 
  • Liquids – Those listed above
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – Read on…

11 – Perform Your Bedtime Routine to Get Enough Sleep on Long Haul Flights

This is very important if you seriously want to get some rest. You need to trick your body into thinking it is bedtime.

  1. Go to the bathroom.
  2. Change into some light, loose cotton clothing.
  3. Brush you teeth.
  4. Make sure you can lean on your hair comfortably.
  5. Do whatever else you do before you go to bed (nothing naughty please).

This psychologically puts you in mind of bedtime and so when you return to your seat and strap back in (doing up your seat belt before you sleep is very important or you could be woken by the crew to do so) you are ready to slumber.

12 – Try Flirting to REALLY Enjoy Long Haul Flights

I know, I know, this is a weird piece of advice, but flirting (without being cringy) can achieve some wonderful results:

It can get you a slightly better seat on board or convince a crew member to give you extra water. It also means that if you are looking for ways to make the time fly on your plane, you can go and have a chat with the crew. You could also try and make conversation with your fellow passengers. You may make a friend for life …or alienate the passengers around you… Either way, you’ll have passed some time.

Plus, it is a free way to enjoy long haul travel!

Final Tips

  • Check in online. There are many different reasons for this but just believe me, check in online.
  • Always set you phone or watch to your destination’s time zone. This means you can try and start adjusting straight away. Many airlines will try and keep you asleep for most of the journey, but if it’s 13:00 in your destination, you should be awake. Consider setting an alarm when you get ready for bed to ensure you wake up at the right time.
  • Need to pee a lot? Pick an aisle seat. Need to lean on something to sleep? Pick a window. Got a tight connection? Sit as close to the front as you can get. Want a nice photo? Just behind the wing is good.
  • Relax.

Rosie xx

Long haul travel can be hard. Don't worry, we are here to ease some of the pain. You can enjoy long haul flights, and here's how! #longhaulflight #flighttips
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12 thoughts on “How to Enjoy Long Haul Flights, Not Just “Survive” Them

  1. I like you sense of humour in the first paragraph! You got me hooked up real good! These are really nice tips! I have never removed my make up though! Looks like great tips!

  2. Great tips here! I love the one about following your normal night time routine. I don’t do any of those things yet but always struggle to sleep on planes. Maybe that’s what I need to do to finally get some zzzs!

  3. I fly very often between US and India and long haul flights are synonymous to flying home for me. I can totally agree with every single tip of yours including flirting! haha, well sometimes just talking with your neighbor (given that he/she has interesting stories) can help pass sometime.

  4. I completely agree about water! I drink tons on a flight. I live in NZ so long haul flights are every time you leave the country.

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I have done a few long (13 hour) flights and I want those flight socks! I always drink on flights, why not! try to drink water and get up too. I like the idea of pre selecting movies. yeah i usually put on something I dont really want to watch if im trying to sleep.

  6. As an Aussie, I see long haul flights as a necessary evil. I don’t have them, but I definitely don’t enjoy them either. My way of dealing with them is to wear warm clothes, nap as much as possible and watch movies.

  7. I wear huge fuzzy socks on long-haul flights – they look ridiculous (especially when I wear them IN my sandals when I go to the washroom…) but they keep my feet warm and they placate those people who think it’s gross to see bare feet on planes (yes, that’s a whole subset of traveler!).

  8. All great tips, and I use most of them. Though no matter what I do, I can’t sleep on a plane; I haven’t found the right pillow yet. The blow-up version sounds good though, I never thought of it, but you can put as much or as little air in it as you want; it might help. Thanks for putting this list together, all the great tips in one place.

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