8 tips for surviving a long-haul flight

Travelling is great! Seeing foreign sights, tasting new food, meeting people who talk funny – it’s all wonderful. Flying for long periods of time, however, not so much. If you are someone that dreads travelling because of the flying thing, these tips are for you.

1. Don’t give it any more thought than it needs

The more you worry or complain about how bad it will be, the worse your experience will be. I actually use this strategy any time I have to deal with something shitty in my life. Simply accept that it will be long and potentially uncomfortable.

2. Choose your seats wisely

Go online as soon as you purchase your ticket and select your seat. If you’re someone who has to go to the toilet a lot (like yours truly), pick a seat on the aisle and near a loo. If you are someone who likes to knock themselves out for the entire trip, pick a window seat. If you are travelling in a group of two, select side rows with three seats – you’ll have more chance of having a spare beside you if the flight isn’t full.

3. Take earplugs and something to cover your eyes


I usually wear a hoodie that I can pull over my eyes when I want to sleep. I feel like I have developed a real life-hack with this strategy and I always feel a bit smug when I do it. In all honesty though, it’s probably something that has been done since the dawn of the hoodie. Maybe it’s even why hoodies were created…

In case the ear plug thing isn’t self-explanatory, think screaming kids (especially if they’re yours) or people who do that annoying throat snort thing every few minutes.

4. Stay away from the booze

Yeah, I know, sorry. I know it’s tempting. It’s usually free, after all. But I’m telling you, it will make your jetlag three times as bad. This is speaking from numerous bad personal experiences. (I’m a big fan of learning things the hard way.) Instead, focus on staying hydrated. Drink twice as much water as you usually would when you are flying. As they often confiscate water bottles with any liquid in them at the gate (Yes, even after you have been through security and then bought a bottle inside the ‘secure’ zone. It’s a load of shit and it still pisses me off every time. Especially when they don’t provide water for ages after you board.), I suggest taking an empty bottle with you and then asking the plane staff to fill if for you as soon as you get to your seat.

5. Take a couple of different things with you to pass your time

You never know how you will feel on the flight. Maybe you’ll feel like reading a trashy magazine. Maybe you’ll feel like watching a movie. It’s best to keep your options open – anything to keep you in the sane zone. I like to take a notebook in case I’m feeling creative, and something to read. When it actually comes down to it though, I usually just use the in-flight entertainment systems. Mixing it up between TV shows, movies and music seems to work pretty well for me.

6. Sleep when you’re tired

Don’t try and do the whole, ‘Well it’s day time where I am going so I should stay awake now to get into the routine’. Any sleep you get is going to help your stamina at your destination, so it’s best to listen to your body and sleep when you can. Sleep also is the best thing for making the flight go quicker. It’s like a time machine to your destination!

7. Don’t be a jerk

Being stuck inside a confined space with a lot of strangers for a long period of time is already a stressful situation. You don’t need to add to that. Be considerate of the needs of those around you. Don’t take up more than your allocated space, don’t put your seat back just for the hell of it (sleeping is excusable), don’t do annoying things like constant tapping, and don’t talk non-stop to people you don’t know (and probably people you do know – they’ll get the shits with you too). If you are not a jerk, there is less chance that others will be a jerk to you, making your entire experience more enjoyable.

8. Treat yourself to premium economy

It will cut your time waiting in cues to check-in and board. Plus you will have much more space (AKA sleep), and variety of food options to choose from. It’s much better value for money than business class too.

Do you have any tips for surviving long flights?

Written By

Mahdi is an advocate for nature, animals and people. She has poor fashion sense but a good sense of humour. She hopes that one day there will be ample female toilets in all venues. She is the author of ‘The Power of You: How to Positively Influence People, Places and the World’ and founder of Mahdi Earth and The Earth Healers’ Hub.


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