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.

View from the Airplane Window Surviving a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog
I prefer sitting at the window seat, because it gives me that little bit more room to sleep.

Things to do to Survive a Long Haul Flight

Stay Hydrated

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

Surviving a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog

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.

Stay Warm

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.

Zurich | Switzerland on a budget | Surviving a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog

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.

Dress Comfortably

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

Beauty Products | Surviving a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog

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.

Holiday Mode | Surviving a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog
Cheers, you’re on holiday!

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.

Floating on the Dead Sea | Places to Visit in Jordan | Surviving a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog

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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11 Things You can do to Survive a Long Haul Flight | Hello Raya Blog

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20 Comments on 11 Things You can do to Survive a Long Haul Flight

  1. As a flight attendant, I can tell you that your post is spot on. Planes ARE COLD. It’s a matter of how they function and passengers never come prepared. Turn on the heat? Really? You’re on an airplane at 40k feet. Come prepared, please. ; )

    • I agree! I really don’t know how some travelers are able to travel with minimal clothing on when on a long haul flight. I wish I could take my duvet with me sometimes, because of how cold it gets onboard!

  2. Every SINGLE one of these are spot on! I also spend a lot of time in economy unfortunately and it a lot tougher than it is as the pointy end of the plane that’s for sure. I tend to be an aisle seat kinda girl in long haul. I’ll have to try the middle seat free trick next time.

    • I love the window seat, because of the view and I feel it has that little bit of extra space to sleep. But more and more I have been leaning towards the aisle seat, just for the ease of being able to get up and move around, without having to disturb anyone.

  3. Thanks for hosting that awesome giveaway! Whenever I flew back to Japan or Korea, I would always stay up because the time difference from Japan to Korea is opposite. If I was flying at night, I would make sure to stay awake the entire time and vice versa. I also always use a surgical mask to keep myself germ free and healthy! I’m so Japanese now. 😉

  4. The water thing, I think it’s not applicable for all airports. I once flew from Dubai to IAD and every single water bottles were confiscated at the gate. One family had to drink everything before they entered the boarding gate. Sucks! But the airline gave us a whole bottle of 1.5L while onboard though, after asking of course. :p

  5. Great tips! We just did a 14 hour flight with our 4 year old and it was our best flight yet. And yes, planes are always freezing! I always bring a blanket for my daughter and sweatshirts for me and my husband to stay warm.

  6. Ugh I’ve done that flight Sydney – LA before too. >_< I think moving is the most important thing. I always book an aisle seat so I don't have to climb over other passengers. I also have some anti-rheuamtic yoga moves that I can do in my seat. 😉

  7. My brother and I always booked the aisle and window seats hoping to get lucky! So far its worked a treat! Great tips here, and although I know its more sensible not to drink, I find having a couple helps me to fall asleep on the flight. Otherwise I’m up the whole way! haha

  8. I wouldn’t have thought of booking the two outer seats, that’s a great tip, thank you! I seem to be one of those lucky souls who can get a solid 6-8 hours of sleep on a long haul. I always try and stay awake until I match an appropriate sleeping time for my destination. And I swear whatever is in airplane tea has a sedative in it (I wouldn’t complain if it actually did). Tea, a mini bottle of red wine to have with a really long drama to watch and I’m out like a light.

  9. Hello again Raya. For an anxious flier like myself, sometimes it helps to keep things in order and also keep myself busy. I do rely on wine during turbulence, but the entire traveling aspect via plane can be a little stressing at times. These are great tips to keep things under control and well organized. One thing I always try to do and what you have also mentioned is that I break up the flight, so instead of a really long one, i’ll take a stopover.

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