Any flight longer than seven hours is considered a “long-haul” flight. These tips are for us peasants in Economy, long haul flights are a little different for business/first-class passengers. These tips have helped me on several long-haul flights including a 14-hour direct flight to Beijing.
1. GET COMFORTABLE
A layered cozy outfit is key. I tend to get very cold on flights so I always have a thick scarf with me which can also double as a pillow or blanket. I pack a warm pair of socks to slip on once we are in the air. I also never wear makeup on long flights. Bring what helps YOU: travel pillow, eye mask etc. (but for the love of Beyoncé please get pillows with covers you can wash)
Water, water water, drink more than you think you need or want. I bring a reusable bottle with me and flight attendants have never minded filling it up for me. As a coffee lover/addict this one is tough but I also avoid caffeine on long travel days. It helps with hydration and allows me to get some better sleep on the flight.
BONUS TIP: Working out before a long flight will definitely help you get better rest on a long flight, but as a certified couch potato you won’t find me trying this one.
3. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
I am notorious for getting sick, so wiping down my seat, tray, etc. is has always been a standard routine for me, but given the current context I assume everyone will be doing the same from now on. I usually drink vitamin C, echinacea, turmeric shot and just about anything you tell me can help boost your immune system.
I usually download some shows, movies and podcasts on my iPad as backup entertainment. Keep in mind some budget airlines don’t have screens on the back of the headrest. I also have my kindle, book or magazine to read. Trust me you do not want to be stuck on a long flight without entertainment, a friend reminded me that once his seat monitor was broken on a 9 hour flight and had nothing else, don’t let that catch you!
5. PACK SNACKS
I have an irrational level of stress about being hungry on a plane. I always pack my favorite snacks in my purse in case the plane food doesn’t do it for me. It has also saved me during unexpected delays. It’s also a great cost-saving tip to avoid overpriced airport snacks.
6. AISLE OR WINDOW SEAT
For long flights, I need an aisle seat because I try to get up and walk around as much as I can. Pace up and down the aisles and stretch those legs and get your blood flowing. I’ve never tried compression socks but I think I will on my next flight. Pick what works for you. I have trouble sleeping on planes so window seats don’t usually suite me on a long flight.
CINN TIP: Use SeatGuru to help with your seat selection when booking your flight. This will help you with the plane layout, see how close or far away the bathroom is, note if your seat cannot recline, your aisle might have no window etc.
6. NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
On overnight flights I think it helps to have a night “routine” that prepares the mind for sleep. When I’m ready to rest I go to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. (I always pack a little toiletry pouch with: moisturizer, lip balm, hand sanitizer, toothbrush/toothpaste, mini face wash and eye drops). I use an eye mask and headphones to help me sleep.
CINN TIP: The Summer Friday Jetlag Mask is worth the hype.
7. LANDING ROUTINE
Just as you prepare your mind for sleep, I prepare myself for the arrival. 30 minutes before the flight descends, I like to get up and stretch my legs for a bit, brush my teeth, wash and moisturize my face again and finish a bottle of water. Once you land it’s time to battle those jetlag effects. How you manage your sleep on the flight will certainly help you, but for those like me who struggle with sleep, it’s going to be more of a challenge. Once I’ve checked into my accommodation I usually shower and change off and run out of there before the bed calls my name. Fight the urge to sleep until a reasonable hour. Enjoy a nice walk and get the first taste of your new destination, I like to find a nice coffee shop to try.