I don’t know how many planes I have been on in my life, but I can tell you that it is a lot. And many of them have been long haul flights.
As I am writing this, I am on a long haul flight myself – from Sydney to Los Angeles. A good solid 13 and a half hours of flight time… plus the time to get through immigration and customs.
If I am lucky, I’ll get upgraded to business class (not this time around unfortunately), and then I am sorted for a comfortable long haul flight. But most of the time, you will find me hanging out back in economy class. As such, over the years of travelling, I have found ways to help make my long haul flights as comfortable as I can.
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Things to do to Survive a Long Haul Flight
To me, this is probably the most important point I am going to make in this whole post. The power of water is incredible to help maintain balance in your system.
Gone are the days where you can only bring 100ml liquids on-board. Yes, you still can only take 100ml in your carry-on from home, but you are now able to buy normal sized liquids at most airports.
Most airports will sell water in the terminal, which you can bring on the plane. It is still best to double check before you purchase because the odd airline may deny liquids. For instance, from my experience, some flights to Australia usually will not allow liquids over 100ml on-board.
Book Your Seat
If you are the kind of person that dreads the middle seat and has to sit on the aisle seat, then book your seats ahead of time. Especially on a long haul flight, this makes a difference.
If you are flying on a budget airline where you have to pay to book your seat, I believe it is worth the extra to pay to secure yourself a comfortable seat.
A handy tip that has worked a number of times for me – if your plane configuration is 3-4-3 in economy and you are travelling with a companion – try booking one aisle and one window seat, leaving the middle seat between you free. I recommend doing this on the seats more towards the middle to back of the plane.
99% of people will not book a middle seat unless they have to. So if the plane is not full, you may get lucky and get that middle seat between you and your companion free giving you extra space. And if on the odd chance someone gets plonked between you, you can choose to give them either the aisle or window seat if you want to sit next to your travel companion.
Keep on Moving
Get up and walk around the plane – even if it’s to go to the bathroom. Best to try to do this at least every 2-3 hours. And while you’re walking, stretch and move your arms as well.
When you are sitting, stretch out in your seat to help keep the blood circulating. Many airline magazines provide excellent tips on in-seat stretching. And while you have the time, why not try meditating to help you relax.
The last thing you want is to develop a cold when you get to your destination. Airplanes are notorious for being cold, so it’s important to keep warm.
Bring a sarong to act as your extra blanket, wear a sweater, wear long pants, put on some socks… you name it. Anything to help you stay warm. Plus the last thing you want is to get sick when you reach your destination.
Keep Germ Free
Ok it’s hard to be 100% germ free, but you can try your best to minimise germs.
As you may have heard – planes can be a plague for germs. Bacterial wet wipes are life saver on a plan– when you get to your seat, wipe down the arm rests and tray table. Also, NEVER go barefoot into the toilets. I know you want to get comfortable, kick off those shoes and away you go, but just not to the bathroom.
Rest Your Eyes
Yes yes I know – I get excited too about all the new releases I am going to get to watch on the long haul flight. But jet lag is a painful thing and can takes days to recover. So do yourself a favour and give yourself a break from the entertainment and get some sleep. Switch off your screen (the light from the TV screen is not very friendly on the eyes), close your window shades and try to get some rest. Even an hour or two of sleep can make a difference, and you’ll feel more refreshed once you get to your destination.
To help you sleep, sleep aids such as an eye mask and lavender oil can really help.
The key to a comfortable long haul flight is also to dress comfortable. Avoid the high heels and any pieces of clothing which don’t make you feel comfortable.
And make sure you think about the weather at your final destination – if you are flying from hot weather to a cold climate, be sure to be ready for the change in temperature.
Take Care of Your Skin
First things first ladies, try to avoid wearing as much make up as you can during your long haul flight. During long haul flights, I tend to come on-board make up free but with a layer of moisturiser. Then before landing, I’ll hop to the bathroom to freshen up and put on make up should I need to.
With the cabin pressure and cold temperatures on-board, it is best to try to avoid too much product on your skin. Plus your skin does become quite dry through the flight. Keep your skin hydrated with a good moisturiser. For my face, I swear by the Kosmea Organic Rose Hip Oil and for my skin, I love the L’Occataine Rose range.
Try to Eat Healthy
Airplane food is not always the best, even though many airlines have really stepped up their game when it comes to food on board.
So all you can do is try your best to eat healthy where possible to keep you feeling refreshed. Avoid too much sugar (maybe eat only half of that dessert?), and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Bring some healthy snacks with you if you need to munch on something throughout the flight.
Look, I understand…I’ve been there – you’re so excited to go on holiday and you want the celebrations to start now now now. Pop the champagne because we are on holiday! If you really must drink, have one to celebrate, but if you can try to avoid overindulging because remember, you still have many hours to go!
Break Up your Flight if you can
I know many of my friends will try to break up their long haul flights into smaller segments. Plus, they’ll book a night or two stop over to keep them refreshed. If you have the time to spare (and if it is possible), break up your flight to help make the long haul more bearable.
Bonus Tip: Give yourself extra time to recover
Have you ever heard anyone say “I need a holiday from that holiday”?
Holidays are exciting and fun. They are fantastic to help you feel more relaxed and happy. But after a long haul back home, you will need an extra day or two to get back into the swing of everyday life.
I have made the mistake many times to try and maximise my holiday time – I’d fly back the day before work and head straight back to work the next day. BAD IDEA. It took me much longer to recover from the travel and jetlag.
So make sure you give yourself 1-2 days extra to get back into routine, catch up on any missed sleep and get your household back in order before you head back to work.
So dear readers, what do you do to help make those long haul flights more comfortable?
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Some photos from this post came from Pexels.