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How to Survive Your Next Long-Haul Flight

Unless you’re flying First-Class, you may not be excited about an upcoming long flight. But don’t worry! Read these tips and some expert travel advice on how to make it through any long-haul flight to arrive fresh and alert at your destination.

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Travel anxiety, an annoying seat neighbour, the recycled air, jet lag…there are a million reasons to dread a long-haul flight. Luckily, there are simple solutions you can put in place to make flying a more enjoyable experience. As they say, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” We’re not sure if that’s true; we love the destinations, but if the journey can be great too, then why not? Keep reading for our long-haul flight tips about how to survive your next mega-long plane trip.

Long-Haul Flight Survival Guide

woman wearing headphone sleeping on long-haul flight
Sleep better with noise-cancelling headphones | Skyscanner Canada

1. Take your own headphones

We’ve all seen the free headphones that the airline provides. While it’s kind of them to provide them, they’re pretty useless at blocking out any noise. Before you board your next long-haul flight, invest in a quality pair of headphones with noise-blocking capabilities. This will reduce distractions from and to your neighbours and allow you to get a better sleep, too.

2. Bring more carry-on essentials

As well as a quality set of headphones, there are a few other long-haul flight essentials to take onboard with you. Although there’s a plethora of screen options available on international flights, a good book is always a sensible take-along. Make buying a new book or a few magazines at the airport a ritual every time you fly long-distance.

If you’ve never worn a pair of long flight compression socks, now is the time to bust them out. These sexy Nana socks are proven to increase circulation and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) during long-haul flights. For the sake of your health, pull on a pair.

To help you sleep, take your own supply of natural sleep-aids like Melatonin, chamomile tea, and a neck rest or favourite pillow from home. And it can’t hurt to try some essential oils (a small bottle will be fine as a carry-on liquid) like lavender to calm your mind and help you relax during the flight.

Happy passengers on a flight
Make flying great again | Skyscanner Canada

3. Look good, feel good

Keeping from looking like a hobo on an international flight may be difficult but it’s not impossible, If you’re sitting in Economy, remember to take a small toiletry bag with a toothbrush and toothpaste, hand and facial wipes, and essential make-up.

Our number tip for long flight make-up is to keep it simple. Go with minimal make-up – no foundation, if possible. Try a little mascara and lip gloss. Use disposable make-up wipes to remove mascara and wash your face with a face wipe to feel fresh. Reapply mascara and lip gloss as needed.

passengers around a stand-up bar in business class
Upgrade your ticket and fly in style | Skyscanner Canada

4. Opt for an upgrade

It can be hard to shell out the cash for extra leg room, but when you consider how long you’re going to be flying, it starts to feel a bit more convincing. Flying Economy always means less space, less privacy, and far less comfortable seats. Plus, there’s a slim chance of receiving an upgrade. The best way to ensure a better seat, say in Premium Economy or Business Class, is to pay for it.

Not only will you enjoy roomy seats that actually recline without crushing someone’s knees, but you’ll get better food, and better service too. And if you choose the pointy end of the plane, you’d also get extra perks like champagne, gourmet meals, luxurious soaps and lotions, and maybe even a seat that lays down into a bed *gasp* – perfect for overnight flights when travelling long distances. Oh, the luxury.

Get a free upgrade with these tips

5. Avoid caffeine

Even if you think that caffeine doesn’t impact your ability to sleep, cutting it out before a flight will help you relax and possibly, sleep better. Cut the caffeine, whether it be in coffee, tea, or soda. It’s always a good idea to eat healthy foods before travelling so your immune system is not run-down and struggling to keep up with long-distance travel. Try fruit smoothies, fresh veggies, and lots of Vitamin C.

Passengers on flight looking relaxed and happy
Fly in comfortable clothing | Skyscanner Canada

6. Wear comfortable clothing

There’s an old tradition that some people still follow that says you should dress your best when flying. Flights are stuffy and uncomfortable enough as it is, especially with airlines constantly finding new ways to squeeze people into planes like sardines. If you want to have any chance of sleeping on your next long-haul flight you should dress comfortably.

Please don’t take this to mean you should wear sweat pants with holes or your favourite sleep shirt that you’ve been wearing for 10 years – the one with the yellow pit stains. Leave that at home. Choose something that’s easy to move in and comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. It’s also advisable to dress in layers since plane temperatures can range from warm to freezing over the course of an entire trip. Suits might look suave, but let’s face it, they’re just not practical when flying long-distance. By all means, wear something nice to board, but bring comfy clothes to change into onboard. You’ll be thankful if you do.

Vacances pas chères : où partir en 2019 ? Hong Kong Hongkong
Hong Kong is a much loved layover city | Skyscanner Canada

7. Book a multi-city flight

The best way to survive a long-haul flight is by limiting the super long flight paths. Sure, we understand that you just want to get to that fabulous island holiday in the Maldives but super-long international travel is exhausting. Plus, booking a layover is a fantastic way to see more places and expose yourself to new experiences. Happy travels!

Ready to Book Your Long-Haul Flight to a Dream Holiday Destination?

Try our tips out on your next international trip. Use Skyscanner search engines to help you source cheap flights, hotels, and car rentals in the best holiday destinations around the world.