How To Survive a Long Haul Flight

The Galapagos Islands. Romania. Antarctica. Tanzania. We’re no strangers to long haul flights, but even though one can get used to it, it doesn’t make it any less painful anytime you have to fly long haul. Yet, the prospect of adventure in far flung lands will always outweigh a little discomfort – here are some pro tips from season travelers that will help you survive your next flight.

Invest in a good travel pillow

We cannot stress this enough. Getting in proper rest while you fly long haul enables you to adjust your body clock to that of your arrival destination, so you can disembark fresh and ready to explore. Unfortunately, unless you’re flying Business or First Class, sleep can be harder to come by in smaller Economy seats. Look for firm travel pillows, ideally made of a stiffer foam that will support your neck so you can avoid the dreaded kinks. This frees up the pillow that comes with your seat for lumbar support. Win.

You are what you eat

Plane food is loaded with sodium, which leaves you parched especially if you’re the type to have a bottle (or 2) of wine along with the meal. Coupled with the naturally dry air on board, you’re likely to disembark off your long haul flight dehydrated. Instead of relying on the meals served, bring along your own stash of plane-friendly snacks instead. Think trail mix, oats with fruit (just ask your flight attendant for some hot water), energy bars or if you have time pre-flight, sandwiches and wraps packed with good-for-you vegetables and protein. Don’t forget to drink at least 2 bottles of water for every 6 hours of flight time.

Noise cancelling earphones

Crying children, snoring seat mates – while you can’t avoid who you’re seated next to, the next best thing you can do is to block them out. A good pair of noise cancelling earphones or headphones will not only improve the quality of your rest, but also ensure that you aren’t annoyed for the 12-odd hours you’re flying. Having your own sound piece is also significantly better than the ear pieces provided on board. Netflix and chill anyone?

Do some yoga

Yes, plane yoga is a thing and we’re here for it. No, we’re not saying you should be doing downward dogs in the aisle (although, go for it if you want to), but simple stretches every hour or so will improve blood circulation and prevent you from feeling stiff as a board when you disembark. Check out these 5 poses that you can do even in the tightest Economy seat.

Prepare your own entertainment

Not all airline entertainment is made equal. Being frequent long haul flyers ourselves, we can vouch that some airlines have a much better selection of movies and TV shows than other, and let’s just say the pain of being stuck on a 15-hour journey with only 90s reruns is the worst. Take advantage of technology and pre-download movies, TV shows, podcasts and e-books on your device so you aren’t forced to watch Legally Blonde… for the 5th time.

PS: don’t forget to bring a portable charger. Smaller planes (particular if you’re transiting) don’t always allow for USB charging.

Treat yourself to a spa onboard

Hey, if you’ve got 12 hours to kill, you may as well use the time productively. Think hyaluronic face masks (to combat dry cabin air), hand masks and face mists (but be careful not to spritz your seat mate) that are easy to apply and will keep you looking fresh at your arrival destination.

Ready to hop on your next long haul flight? Check out this curated list of far flung locales for when we can travel again.