10 tips to survive a Long-haul Flight

My husband and I recently got back from our 2-week long vacation to the other side of the world. With the excitement to visit a new place came the dreaded long haul flights too. No matter how frequent of a traveller you are, everyone has those “4 hours down, 5 more to go” moments. We can’t escape the process but can sure do a few things to make it easier. Here’s my 10 tips to survive a long haul flight:

#1 – Prepare your body

If you are flying all the way to the other part of the world make sure you adjust your body prior to flying, this will massively help with jet lag and save some of your valuable days of vacation time.

#2 – Bid to upgrade or just ask

Most airlines these days offer a bid to upgrade program. If you’re lucky you can get upgraded in a fraction of the cost- Lifesaver on long-haul flights.

On shorter routes, if you ask politely there’s a good chance you would get a complimentary upgrade. Tried and test, 2 out of the 6 times I asked for a complimentary upgrade on few of the shorter routes I flew.

#3 – Travel in a carry on

This saves us so much time it’s not even funny. Being able to skip those lineups hell yeah. So far we have been able to fit clothes for a 2 week trip in a carry on very easily. When we go away for weekend trips we just try to take a duffle bag that converts to a backpack from Herschel Supply Co.

#4 – Hydrate + Avoid the caffeine

I can’t stress enough on this. Every time the attendant asks you if you need anything to drink skip the colas and coffee and ask for water instead even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body will thank you

#5 – Wear comfortable clothing + Take off your shoes

I have to admit this is something I only recently started doing and had no idea how important it was and makes such a huge difference. When you are at an altitude your body including your feet and ankles start swelling up, your shoes can restrict blood flow in feet therefore as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off kick those shoes off and relax. After all your feet need breathing room too. Oh and don’t forget to wear the most comfortable pair of clothes you have for these flights.

#6 – If you are a Couple, choose the window + aisle seat

This is something my husband and I have been trying for the past few times. We try to check in online 24 hours before our trip (travelling in a carry on helps) and pick a window and an aisle seat in the same row. Unless the flight is full, there’s a good chance no one is going to take the middle seat. Helps with airlines that have cramped seats.

Also helps if you are a sleeper like I am. I don’t take loo breaks as often and just try to take a super long nap leaning against the window. Bonus points when you get to see the amazing views as we did for our trip to the Maldives

#7 –Spare shawl

I am an old soul when it comes to comfort. I carry a scarf or a shawl with me wherever I go whether it be a hike, a beach or aeroplanes. Plus you don’t really know how clean aeroplane blankets are, do you?

Related: How to get over a jet lag fast

#8 – Be productive

This one is easier said than done. On every single trip of ours, Shams and I have carried books to read on the way. Did we read it? No!

Flight time is the best time when you can catch up on tasks you have been procrastinating as there is no distraction. No phones no Whatsapp messages to answer no social media hence no escape. Read a book, write a blog post or Gather your thoughts all count towards being productive.

#9 – Spare shawl

I am an old soul when it comes to comfort. I carry a scarf or a shawl with me wherever I go whether it be a hike, a beach or aeroplanes to keep myself warm. After all you don’t really know how clean aeroplane blankets are, do you?

#10 – Avoid the emergency exit seats (unless you have a toddler)

This is one thing we learnt from the last flight we took on our trip from Paris to Vancouver. NEVER TAKE EMERGENCY EXIT SEATS. Well for one we had to pay extra to secure those seats when we were under the impression that the extra leg room will help (which it did). What we didn’t know was, there was a bathroom right in front, because of which there was a constant flow of traffic during the flight.

Reason number 2: Parents with young kids prefer emergency exit seats so their infants and toddlers have enough room to play or to place a bassinet. We were lucky to have such a great couple sitting next to us who kept apologizing throughout the flight for their baby even though their baby was a sweetheart and didn’t cry at all. The air pressure creates a vacuum resulting in discomfort for young kids so if you plan on sleeping throughout the flight don’t pick an emergency exit seat.

These were my top 10 tips to survive a long-haul flight. Would love to hear how you guys survive your flights in the comments below

long haul flight

10 thoughts on “10 tips to survive a Long-haul Flight

  1. I recently started bringing an extra jacket for padding to lean against or use as padding either for lumbar support or neck support- makes a huge difference in comfort. This is my “shawl.”

  2. To be fair these are some really great tips, we went on a flight last year and I wish we had book to be near the emergency exits because our little one wouldn’t stop crying and we need the space to walk around and play with him. Next time I will take your advice ha.

  3. Helpful tips! I have been trying to pack lighter, preferably just in a carry-on for all my trips no matter the length, and it has been a challenge. I will keep these other ideas in mind for my next long trip.

  4. You are right about staying hydrated. This is my number one tip for surviving a long haul trip. I also carry my kindle where I have several books to choose from. Good point about the emergency exit seat…leave it for the parents. Great tips!

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