7 Tips for Surviving Long Flights
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
After flying to France and back twice, and Australia and back once in the last 9 months, I've learned a few things that make those long flights a little less painful. If you're looking for ways to make hours in a tiny seat a little more manageable, search no longer... Here's how to get started!! (PS I've linked some of the products that I've tried or used in the past in case you find yourself looking for some of the things I recommend taking and using!)
1) Keep it Comfy
Pick out your comfiest clothes to wear for your long flight; 12 hours on a plane calls for a sacrifice of fashion in order to preserve your sanity. Wear some comfy sweatpants, joggers, or leggings and a few layers on your upper body, since it's hard to tell whether the plane will end up cold or hot.
Let your skin be comfortable too and forgo the makeup! Moisturizer and lotion is a great idea, because even your skin will get dehydrated on a long flight. If you really feel the need to dress up your face, a tinted moisturizer is a compromise, but try to keep it as simple as you can. Your face will thank you later for letting it breathe on such a long flight.
2) Clean Snacks
If you're like me, you like to snack a lot when you're flying. However, especially on long flights, there are so many people for the flight attendants to deal with that it takes much longer to get food handed out. Because of that (and because it's nice to have something you know you like) I always bring some of my own snacks. The key to long flights is to bring clean snacks!
The less sticky, dirty, and messy your snacks make your face and hands, the better! On a two hour flight, it's not a big deal for your hands to be a little sticky, but after 10 hours it might get a little annoying, and although you can clean them in the bathroom, getting up every time you eat something is inconvenient at best. If you looking for ideas for clean snacks, I recommend pretzels, mentos, or cliff bars.
3) Sleep it Out
Not only is it an easy way to pass the time, but if you sleep on the plane, you can start off your first day with a lot more energy, even if you don't get a full night's rest. If you're like me, as long as you have the right tools, you can sleep on a plane without a problem. I always bring my own travel pillow, and when I'm on a long flight, I combine it with the pillow and blanket that the airline provides and I'm good to go!
However, if you don't sleep so well on planes, my recommendation would be to grab a bottle of melatonin (or Dramamine if you get motion sick) and give yourself a little assistance. Melatonin is a natural sleep aide because it's a hormone that's found in your body anyway. Taking some when you first get on the plane can help you fall asleep and get some beauty
4) Bathroom Bag
Do yourself a favor and pack a little bag with some things to take with you to help yourself freshen up when you go on a quick bathroom run. I like to have a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, face wipes or a wash cloth, and a hairbrush. This allows you to make the most of your trips to the bathroom, and can help you stay more comfortable on those long flights. Brushing your teeth before you sleep, and again before you land can make you feel like a new person. If you've never taken the time to pack some extra stuff and take full advantage of having a mirror and sink, I would highly recommend it... it's a total game-changer!!
5) Befriend the Crew
This is my #1 travel tip, for both long and short trips. First of all, because they are trying their best to meet every ridiculous demand from every person on that plane who thinks that their needs are the most important. But as an added bonus, if you're nice to the flight attendants, they will be nice back! This can be anything from an extra snack or two at snack time to an upgraded seat to first class. In fact, Chase and I have both experienced the benefits of being friendly and kind to the crew by receiving free drinks on several of our flights! Even if you don't get extra perks on every flight, it's always nice to be friendly to the staff, and it never hurts to build up your good karma!
6) Bring Your Own
While airlines typically provide you with a pillow, blanket, pair of headphones, and occasionally some basic toiletries, I still make sure to always bring my own. If you don't have a travel blanket, a fluffy coat or cozy sweatshirt will do because you can always add in the free one provided. I am also an avid neck-pillow user; I actually left mine on the plane on our last trip, so I'm on the hunt for a new one at the moment. I tend to like to use a neck pillow as my actual pillow, so that I can use the provided pillow as back support or other cushion, depending on how I decide to sleep. 2
Headphones are another item I always recommend bringing yourself (noise-canceling if you have them). Typically they do give these out, but they are never very good quality so having a pair you know will work keeps you from being that annoying person on the plane who listens to audio without headphones. Finally, on a lot of longer flights they give you a toothbrush and toothpaste, but if you already have them in your bathroom bag, you won't be struggling to carry and keep track of one more thing in the bathroom.
7) Anti-bacterial Wipes
I don't think of myself as a germaphobe, but airplanes trap everyone's germs and they definitely don't get fully cleaned in between each use. While the bathroom of the plane seems like it would be the dirtiest place, they usually get more attention during cleaning so the dirtiest places might surprise you.
I always bring a small pack of cleaning wipes with me when I fly, especially on long flights where there are even more people than usual in such a small place. If you bring something with you to disinfect make sure you hit these key areas:
-the tray table
-the headrest (especially of isle seats)
-the air vents
-the seat buckle
All of these areas are the most often touched, but the least often cleaned, which makes them the dirtiest places on the plane! Do yourself a favor and start your trip off right with a quick wipe-down of your seat and the area around you. Then it isn't even gross when your melatonin kicks in and you pass out with your face on the tray table in front of you!
If you have a long flight coming up, follow these tips and I promise it won't be as bad as you expect. Even if you don't have a long flight, many of these tips can transfer over to your short flights as well, so test a few out the next time you hop on a plane and head off on a new adventure!