Surviving 10- 14 hours in a metal tube can be a challenge. Long haul flights require some planning and preparation if you’re going to walk out of there looking and feeling semi-human.
If you’re frugal fliers like we are, you’re stuck in economy class and lacking any kind of luxury. I’m not going to lie, long haul flight can totally suck the life out of you, but hopefully, the following tips will you help you prepare for your next voyage.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no cost to you! For more information, read our full disclaimer.
Long Haul Flight Tips: How to Survive the Journey
You can start prepping with what you take in your personal bag
We almost always pack a carry on only and of course our personal bag. This means everything is with us at all times. You’ll want to be strategic about how you pack and put your “survival” kit in your one personal item for easy access. Here are some items I can’t live without on a long haul flight.
To stay fresh and clean:
- Wet Wipes/Hand Sanitizer
- Face wipes or face wash
- Deodorant (my Vegan cruelty-free one linked here)
To help with sleep and relaxation:
- Neck Pillow
- Phone/Tablet/ Entertainment of some kind
- Extra portable charger block
- Jacket and scarf
- Hairbrush/hair tie
- Essential oil like lavender to calm you
To care for your skin and body:
- Face moisturizer
- Under eye masks
- Compression Socks
- Water bottle
- Snacks (Vegan)
- Hand cream
- Lip balm/mask
- Vitamin C and D
- Eye drops
All of these items stay in my personal bag right under the seat in front of me. They help me to shut down, sleep, and stay comfortable on the flight.
Try to shut the world out in the airplane and care for yourself
You’re stuck on the plane, so you might as well make it count. This is why I bring so many items for a skin routine and download all the Netflix shows I want. Here are some ways to entertain yourself, and not make the hours drag by on the plane.
1. Keep your area clean
Getting sick from a flight can be the worst! Avoid this by wiping down your entire plane seat, seat belt, and headrest as soon as you get on the plane. Wipe the tray table before you use it as well. Planes are not sanitized regularly and this will help you avoid germs. If you have a weak immune system consider wearing a mask for the duration of the flight. I also pack Vitamin D and C and even some Zinc so I can take these with a snack and give my body an extra boost.
2. Drink tons of water
We all know you can easily get dehydrated on a plane. Bring the reusable water bottle and drink the whole thing. Ask the flight attendants for more water, they are happy to fill it up for you. Yes, this means you will get up to use the bathroom, but this is something you will want to do anyway.
3. Move around regularly
Make sure you are getting up regularly so that your legs don’t cramp. Go to the bathroom and do what you need to do. I also wear compression socks because my feet will swell so bad on flights. Moving around helps with swelling along with avoid alcohol the day and night before and removing salty foods.
4. Toggle between watching and listening for entertainment
Staring at your screen for the entire trip can be bad for your neck and your eyes. I try to toggle between entertainment so I am not stuck in one position the entire time. I also need to shut my eyes often since I get very dry eyes when traveling. The eye drops help with this, but so does listening to a podcast, leaning back, and closing my eyes.
5. Don’t eat too much plane food
If you’re trying to adjust to a new time zone, changing when you eat can be one of the most effective ways to beat jet lag. The planes will typically feed you at the normal time for where you departed. Avoid eating the food right away and see if you can calculate when to eat for your new time zone. I often can’t eat much of the plane food as a vegan, so I will just bring lots of snacks instead and ask for just the roll or a portion of the meal.
6. Have a nighttime routine
You will want to implement an evening routine to help you sleep. At “night” I do a night time routine of washing my face and brushing my teeth just to feel a little more ready for bed. I then follow this with some heavy skincare and moisture to help my face not dry up like a desert.
7. Bring your own sleeping items
Once you are ready for bed, there is nothing worse than using the airplane ear plugs and having them fall out of your ears. This is why i bring my own eye mask, ear plugs, and travel pillow. The one time I didn’t bring my travel pillow I immediately had feelings of regret. Purchase one that can fold up into a bag and compress to save space.
8. Breathe deeply
Breathe into the belly, chest, and head. Do this often. Plane air is thin and you can feel oxygen deprived if you’re shallow breathing and hunched over in your seat for 12 hours. Try to breathe deeply between every Netflix shows and before you head to bed.
Take advantage of your time in the airports to recharge
Sometimes you have back to back flights or just one long-haul flight. However, most of the time you will have a layover somewhere. Take this an opportunity to recharge for the next flight.
Use the bathroom to freshen up.
Apply some deodorant, splash your face, and if you want to give yourself a wipe down with a face wipe. I like to brush my teeth (again) just to feel like my mouth isn’t dry anymore. Refill your water bottle and plan to drink the entire things during the layover.
Walk around and stretch
Walk around the airport and let the blood flow. Do some yoga stretches, especially in the hip and gut area to not feel so stiff. No shame in dropping a downwards dog in the airport. Just be sure to wash your hands afterward.
If you have a long enough layover, try to get outside or at least by a window to soak up some sun and breathe fresh air.
Find someting nourishing
See if you can find some fresh greens or fruit. Something that is packed with vitamins to help your immune system. Avoid salty foods, alcohol, and greasy items. These won’t nourish your depleted body.
Plug In for a Bit
Find a charging station and plug your devices in. Avoid sitting if you can, and just stand next to your stuff. People watching is ideal in these situations. If you need to, connect to the free wi-fi and answer some e-mails.
Last Notes for Surviving a Long Haul Flight
Lastly, don’t forget to bring a pen for custom documents.
Be sure what you wear on the plane is the most comfortable thing you can find without being complete pajamas. No underwire bras and make sure your pants don’t dig into your flesh. Everything should be loose, flowy, and in layers for ultimate comfort. If you’re really worried, you can change when you get to your destination in one of the bathrooms.
What’s in your long haul flight essentials kit? How do you survive?