Smart Hacks To Survive Long-Haul Flights

If you’re a frequent flyer you must have had your fair share of long-distance flights. And if you’re new to long journeys and you’re preparing for your first flight, welcome. Flying can be uncomfortable, especially a long-haul flight, but luckily for you, expert travelers have come up with some useful tricks to make your trip a little less turbulent.
Alamy Stock Photo
Alamy Stock Photo
Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure you might even enjoy the 18-hour flight. Keep reading for some amazing tips to help ease your journey and make your flight a little more comfortable.

Lay Off the Ice

There’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold beverage. More so when you’re stuck on a long flight. However, you might want to avoid requesting any on your next plane ride.


Aside from the fact that the beverage to ice ratio in a glass filled with ice can be quite unbalanced, the actual ice cubes are made from the water tank and the tank might not always be properly cleaned.

Stay Awake And Alert on Take Off And Landing

It may be tempting to fall asleep as soon as you get on the plane, but you really shouldn’t do that.


Unfortunately, your ears cannot regulate pressure whilst the plane is going up in the air or coming back down to the landing strip at high speeds. Our suggestion? Stay awake and chew gum.

Dress For The Occasion

How you dress at the airport and on the flight is very important. You might want to avoid anything too tight that could potentially squeeze you. Leave the jeans and formal shirts in your luggage even if you’re traveling for business. Clothing is one of the biggest things that can make your flight comfortable so always be prepared.


Put on some soft and stretchy pants, a baggy t-shirt, a warm sweater because the air conditioning is always on and a scarf for that added warmth.

The Early Bird Catches The Flight

There’s nothing worse than missing your flight so skip the traffic and get to the airport early. Although most people already know to do this, there’s no harm in getting another quick reminder. How much time you need to get to the airport before boarding is still up for debate.


Some people believe that 3 hours is sufficient and others say you need even more time. Nonetheless, you have to arrive early to steer clear of any unforeseen issues such as long check-in lines or a slow parking lot trolley.

Lounge Around

If you travel often you should really consider taking advantage of the lounges at the airport. Some people use their credit cards to do so, others can enjoy the perks through great frequent flyer programs. The most popular card is the American Express Platinum card.


Many airports around North America let you in for free for simply being a cardholder. You might have to pay a small fee at other lounges but the perks are worth it.

Don’t Delay

You can’t always have control over what happens with your flights but the data never lies. The reality is, buying an early morning flight means fewer chances of your flight being delayed.


The unspoken rule is that the later you fly, the more likely your flight will be postponed.

Bring On The Layers

This tip emphasizes the value of dressing comfortably for a flight. From the expert’s mouth – layer up. At any given moment the climate may change and the temperature in an airplane can go from freezing to scorching hot in a matter of seconds.


That’s why layering is great for travel. So stay prepared. If it gets too hot you can always use the extra layers as a pillow.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Your shoes are just as important as the rest of your outfit. You want them to be lightweight and breathable like a cool breeze on a summer’s day. Stay away from heels or tight formal shoes as you’ll most likely need to hurry to your gate or through security at some point in time.


You might need to kick off your shoes once you’re on the plane so you can get more comfortable, so wear a pair that isn’t a hassle to take off and put back on.

Don’t forget to check-in

Make your journey as stress-free as possible by getting rid of any check-in stress in advance. Check-in early to avoid any unnecessarily long queues that may be at the airport when you arrive. Simply drop off your luggage at the desk and head straight to security. This gives you more time to do other things, like charging your phone for the last time.


No one wants to be on an 18-hour flight with a dead phone. Make your life even easier by checking-in on the airline app. This service is available on most operators.

Stay Away From Fizzy Drinks

Nothing refreshes like a cold Coke or any other soda for that matter, but if you’re catching a long-haul flight you might want to steer clear of them. It’s as simple as this; carbonated drinks make you swallow a ton of air.


This is not good for your digestive tract and the air will come out as a burp or flatulence in the end. Furthermore, when the pilot moves to different altitudes, the air could swell up and cause you pain.

A Simple Trick To Avoid Turbulence

Motion sickness can be a real nightmare and unfortunately, it impacts a lot more people than you think. While medication can help, you can never take enough precautionary measures. If you have the option of choosing your flight time, do yourself a favor and pick the morning.


Turbulence happens when air rises up and this will happen as the Earth gets hotter. This also takes place with storms and strong winds. This will usually happen during the day or late in the afternoon.

Pick The Best Seat For You

Picking the right seat on a plane requires a well-thought-out strategy, and everyone’s strategy is different. It all depends on what you prefer but there are a few things to always keep in mind. For instance, you might like getting up and stretching from time to time so the aisle seat would be a better option than a window seat.


If you like the view from above or you’d rather sleep most of the flight then the window seat is perfect. If you want ample space, book a seat in the last row – you’ll be guaranteed a three-seater.

Always Bring Cash

It’s so easy to make payments these days because there are tons of apps and credit cards for everything. Even so, it’s key to always carry small change in dollars or euros. There are many other services you may need to pay for, such as valet so physical cash will be useful.


If you want to enjoy some in-flight snacks you’ll need cash for that. Also, don’t forget to withdraw some local currency at the ATM on your arrival.

Get Your Bag First

One of the worst things about catching a flight is landing and waiting for your bag to appear on the carousel. Nobody wants to do it. It’s difficult to avoid but we have a simple way of getting around it.


Be one of the last people to check-in that way your bag is last in, first out. See? Easy.

Don’t Miss Out On Freebies

Everybody knows that being nice will get you better service but seasoned veterans of travel will tell you to always bring the flight attendants a gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big.


Something as small as a chocolate bar will suffice. Not only will you be getting the best service, but you’ll also enjoy some freebies too.

Baby on Board

Babies are everywhere and they’re even on flights. Though you can’t avoid having babies on your flight you can definitely avoid sitting near them. Babies are guaranteed to fuss and cry and it only gets worse on a long flight.


So you might want to sit far away from the partitions. Parents have no choice but to set their bassinets there so steer clear of them.

It Doesn’t Hurt To Ask About Seats Again

Sometimes you don’t get the seat you wanted when you check-in but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. The check-in system might show a full flight but the agents at the gate will know if there’s absolutely nothing available.


Asking doesn’t hurt. It could be the difference between you getting cramped and you getting an exit seat with plenty of legroom. If you’re lucky you might even score yourself an empty row.

Leave The Air Turned On

It can be cold on an airplane but that’s nothing that a few layers can’t help. Though this is the case, it’s important to get the air vents going because it creates a force field around you.


Kind of like Star Trek, but even better. This helps with deflecting diseases from other passengers and helps with dry skin too.

Don’t Travel Without Your Kit

Long-haul flights can be exhausting so stock up on all the things that will make your trip a little more comfortable. A little luxury doesn’t hurt so be sure to add your favorite things to your onboard kit. Don’t forget the essentials, toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush but also pack a sleeping mask and earplugs.


Aromatic pillow mists are great for calming you down. Maybe even spoil yourself with a face cream.

Socks Are Essential

If there’s one thing you need to have in your travel kit, it’s socks. The more the merrier because you will sweat while traveling and there is nothing worse than having heavy, soggy socks weighing you down.


Bring an extra pair for good measure and put them on as soon as you get on the plane. You will feel fresh and cozy the whole trip.

Bring On The Snacks

There’s never enough food on the plane and you want to be prepared. Flights can be long and tedious and sometimes all you want to do is munch on something. Channel your inner Cookie Monster by packing your own snacks. These need to be able to keep you going the whole flight.


If possible, try and keep the snacks as healthy as possible. Though a cookie or two really won’t hurt. Keep the snacks small so they don’t take up too much space.

Get Some Peace And Quiet

Sometimes flights can get noisy and the last thing you want to do is spend a 16-hour flight listening to a crying baby. Luckily for you, you do not have to put up with it. Pack a pair of silicone earplugs and you’re good to go – you’ll sleep all night.


Noise-canceling headphones are a great alternative as well.  They’re good for listening to your favorite music.

Quench Your Thirst

Plane air can be a nightmare, and you will become very dehydrated if you don’t watch your water intake. To battle the dry and air-conditioned air, keep taking in fluids as frequently as possible. Water is freely available on long-haul flights so feel free to ask the flight attendants for water every hour even if there is no food service going by.


Avoid coffee, alcohol, and anything with a lot of sugar like the plague. These will dehydrate you even more than the air-conditioned air.

Back Seats Are The Best Seats

If you don’t have a seat preference on a long flight we suggest booking one at the back. It can be a little noisy when the flight attendants are working but you’ll get better service.


They might even offer you more things because there’s a rule not to walk around with special things as there isn’t enough for everyone so they’ll want to get rid of it quickly.

Don’t Go On Family Routes

If you have the option of choosing your own layover or connecting flight, we strongly suggest avoiding any of the usual family routes. For example, flights to Orlando may mean a family trip to Disney World.


You might not always be able to avoid them but it doesn’t hurt trying so you can get good sleep and peace of mind on your flight.

Bring Your Own Cup

One of the best things to do when traveling on a plane is to bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee cup. Flight attendants will be more than happy to fill it up with water or coffee and tea if you make a request.


It’s the best thing to bring with you. You won’t need to wait for food service to get drinks, and you can enjoy a warm beverage all flight long.

Catch A Movie

Long-haul flights do have entertainment systems onboard but you can always make your experience better by watching something on your tablet or laptop. The screen quality on flight entertainment can be horrible and this can ruin the whole movie for you.


Stock up on your favorite movies and TV shows to fully enjoy the experience. You also don’t have to listen to passenger announcements that can break your focus while watching.

A Tip To Finding Cheaper Flights

Cookies on your browser track your internet usage patterns so they know each and every website that you visit. This can be a massive disadvantage if you continue searching the same flights.


These cookies let companies know that you’re looking to buy which makes them mark up the price every time you check again. Private browsing or the Incognito window will be your best friend. Utilize them to avoid high costs.

Fragile: Handle With Care

People who travel often know what bags go through, and they know not to pack any valuables. However, if you must carry something valuable, mark your bag as fragile.


At the very least this will ensure that your bag is handled with care. If you’re lucky, it might even be on top of the pile.

Dress To Impress And Get An Upgrade

This might not always work and it’s definitely not a foolproof plan but if you get to the airport early, in a well put together an outfit, and with a happy and cheery attitude, you could get some perks.


If you fail, you can just tell the check-in attendant that you’re on honeymoon if you’re traveling with someone. You might just get lucky.

Plan Ahead For Jet Lag

Even though we already know that jogging early at your destination can get rid of jet lag, you can try and intercept it before the flight. You just need to adjust to a new schedule.


Picking flights that arrive at daylight and having an early night before you fly also helps.

Podcast To Last

Worried your battery life won’t last long? No need to be. Videos can consume a lot of your battery life but there’s a great alternative, podcasts. They hardly use up any battery and you’ll be enjoying them for hours. Download as many as you’d like to keep you busy during your flight.


Keep your options open by downloading a wide variety of topics. You never know what will peak your interest on the plane.

Make The Load Easier – Carry Less On The Plane

If you’re taking a long flight you might feel the need to carry more stuff but the reality is, you don’t need it. One carry-on will more than suffice. If you’re a parent, you might get a pass.


However, it’s better for you and the plane to carry a light load because planes can get overloaded which impacts the plane’s ability to maneuver in the air. Figure out what’s important to you and pack light.

Get Some Work In

Long flights can be boring but not everyone can sleep through them. There are many ways to entertain yourself but sometimes being productive and getting some work done is the best thing to do.


If your laptop is already there, why not? Additionally, it’ll make you look real cool on the flight.

Stay Away From Plane Blankets

Long-haul flights will always have blankets and pillows on hand but if you care about hygiene, don’t accept them. They hardly get washed and they are used by many other passengers.


This is not the best decision for your health, especially if you’re sensitive to skin conditions or any other ailments. It’s simpler and better to just bring your own.

Jog First Thing In The Morning To Avoid Jet Lag

If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll most likely get jet-lagged. Nobody likes it, and everyone thinks there is no escaping it but that’s false. You can combat it by going for an early jog on the first morning of your trip.


Hopefully, the sun will be out because its rays will help your body adjust to the new schedule.

Always Be Kind To The Staff

This should be obvious but not everyone does this, always be kind to the flight attendants and all the other people working in the service industry. You can always take this a step further by learning their name.


You’ll probably get preferential treatment and both of you will be happy.

Have a Heart-to-Heart

Most people would rather keep to themselves on a flight, but people who travel often might like getting to know new people. You might find yourself on a flight with someone who likes to chit-chat and they could be really interesting but you’d have to indulge them with a conversation to find out. Getting to know someone new is fun so make the most of your long-haul flight.


You’ll be stuck next to someone for hours so make it count. But you don’t want to bother anyone so keep to having conversations with those that are keen.

Be Unbothered

Some people can be really friendly on planes, but others not so much. If you’re one of those that doesn’t want to be bothered, get your mean face ready. Most people will stop disturbing you if you give them the “death glare”.


Nobody will want to come near you, but that’s exactly what you want so good job.

Take It Easy

So many blunders can happen when you travel. Flights get delayed more often than you think, you can be seated next to someone who has no understanding of personal space, and even more disastrous things.


But half the time you cannot change these things so it’s better to just relax. In situations like these, a good attitude is the best attitude.

Go Against The Grain

As most of us know, the majority of people are right-handed. The world is designed for right-handed people and people tend to be inclined to move toward their dominant hand.


If you want to avoid long lines you need to go against the grain and take a left, if there’s a fork. Everything will be a lot faster.

Stretch a Little

Regular stretching on a long-haul flight is extremely beneficial to your overall health. Sitting for a long period of time will do some serious damage to your spine so you want to make sure you’re getting as much movement in your body as possible.


This is also good for your blood flow as the flow of blood to your limbs can be obstructed. A few basic stretches in the aisle every hour can make the world of difference. Be sure to keep it up and soon others will join you.

Turn On Your Phone Notifications

Apps can help you get a lot of information about an airport and other travel essentials. Applications like Trak-A-Line will help notify you of long lines.


There are a ton of other apps as well that can help you with traffic alerts and getting to the airport on time. This just makes the experience a lot easier and puts your mind at ease.

Be Respectful To Everyone Around You

Though we’ve already mentioned how important it is to be kind to the staff, you should also be polite to the people you are traveling with on the plane.


You might be going through a tough time, or maybe you’re simply exhausted, but you don’t know what’s happening in other people’s lives. Just be mindful of how you treat the other passengers.

Don’t Forget Your Scarf

You can never have too many clothing hacks. You might want to keep the frizz and knots at bay by the time you land so keep your hair wrapped up in a scarf. Not only is it practical, it’s really chic. Long-haul flights can be really stressful and to some, exhausting but there are definitely ways to make the journey a lot more comfortable.


Now that you know them, you have no reason to not apply these simple tricks. Less anxiety and more fun – that’s our motto.

Lose The Light

If your plan is to sleep during the flight be sure to bring a sleep mask with you. Simply putting on a sleep mask and blocking out the light will mentally prepare you for the snooze you’re about to enjoy.

Getty Images Photo by SDI Productions

Bring a pair of noise-canceling headphones for an even deeper sleep. That’s what sweet dreams are made of.

Get An Upgrade

If you travel often, stick to the same airline and save miles. Frequent flyers utilize this trick all the time. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to enjoy the finer things in life.


It might start with perks like boarding earlier, or enjoying the lounges, but it’ll lead to you getting the royal treatment.

Use Your Time Wisely

Plan ahead of time what you’ll be doing on the plane. This is one of those things you don’t want to wing because 18-hours in the same place is not the most enjoyable thing. If you get anxious or nauseous during the flight do something relaxing that’ll get your mind off the fact that you’re thousands of miles up in the air.


Another great way to spend time on a flight is to read. Catch up on your favorite book and be in the moment.

Pamper Yourself

Personal hygiene on a long-haul flight usually goes right out the window about a few hours in. Keeping the essentials like a toothbrush, floss, facial cream, and a sheet mask close by is sure to make the trip a little more comfortable. It’ll also build your confidence.


Put on a sheet mask, close your eyes, and let all your worries melt away.