Travel tips

Flight Plan: 5 Tips for Staying Comfortable on Long Flights

At any given moment, there are about 500,000 people in the air. And if you’re one of them, you might be wondering how you’re going to get through the next few hours of your long-haul flight.

We’re here for you with some tips for long flights. If you’ve got a vacation coming up, use these the next time you’re preparing to board a plane for six, nine, or fifteen hours, and you’ll be in much better shape when you step off at your destination. 

1. Bring Sleeping Accessories

One of the best ways to get through a long flight is to sleep through it, especially if you’re traveling across a number of time zones. This will help you arrive at your destination with a bit more energy to tackle whatever’s ahead of you.

That being said, those small airplane seats aren’t exactly known for being the most comfortable sleeping locations. If you plan on trying to sleep but you’re wondering how to stay comfortable on a long flight, the answer might be bringing your own accessories.

A small neck pillow will help support your neck and prevent that awful feeling of jerking awake when your head falls to one side. You can purchase one of these in most airports or through a number of online retailers.

You can also pack some other items to make it a bit easier to fall asleep. Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs will block out any excess noise, and an eye mask will shut out cabin lights.

If you dread being woken up because you won’t be able to go back to sleep, buckle your seatbelt over your blanket. If the fasten seatbelt sign goes on, flight attendants are required to check every passenger’s seatbelt, even if they’re sleeping. If yours is under your blanket, they’ll have to wake you up to ask.

2. Dress for Success

No, this doesn’t mean you should wear your best suit — this isn’t a job interview. In most cases, you’re not looking to impress someone on any international flights. But it does mean you should wear clothing that will set you up to be comfortable for the duration of your flight.

The key here is to keep it loose. Go for soft and stretchable fabrics. Remember to pack or dress in layers as well because you might find the plane to be too cold or too hot for your personal preferences.

If you have trouble with swelling in your legs or ankles on long flights, look into a pair of compression socks.

3. Prepare Your Devices

Make sure that any devices you’re bringing on your trip are ready for travel. This means getting them charged before you step on the plane as well as packing necessary charging cables in your carry-on luggage. Some plans built for long flights have outlets, after all.

It might also be a good idea to download some movies, TV shows, or games onto your laptop or tablet. You might be thinking, “Hey, are there movies on long flights?” The answer is usually yes, but if your in-flight entertainment system isn’t working for some reason, it’s good to be prepared.

This way, you can have options if the plane TV screens aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, and you won’t find yourself sitting there twiddling your thumbs and wondering what to do on a long flight.

If you’re worried about the battery life of your devices, turn to podcasts or music instead of movies or videos. 

4. Take Care of Yourself

One of the best tips for international flights and for long flights in general is to take care of yourself throughout the time that you’re on the plane. There are several ways you can do this.

First, the air on planes can be drier, causing dehydration. It’s important to regularly drink water, even more so than you might usually. It’s also a good idea to get up and move around the cabin as frequently as you can in order to stretch and promote proper circulation.

Make sure to also pack travel-sized toiletries in your carry-on. If you’re on a long-haul flight, you’ll be begging to brush your teeth or swipe on some deodorant by the end of it. And your seat neighbors might be just as grateful.  

5. Pack Extra Snacks

While most international flights do offer in-flight meal service, they don’t know your appetite. Plus, you might be hungry in between the regularly scheduled meal times.

Make sure to pack some of your favorite snacks just in case you get hungry when the flight attendants aren’t coming through with those trays of airline food. This might also be a good idea if you have dietary restrictions.

While airlines these days do what they can to accommodate their passengers, they might not be able to check all the boxes. If you think you won’t be able to eat the in-flight meal, stock up on your own snacks. It’s important to stay well-nourished when you’re in the air for so long.

Get Ready to Travel With These Tips for Long Flights

Armed with these tips for long flights, you’re fully prepared to head off on your next adventure. If you can get through the flight, you can make it anywhere, no matter how long it takes you to get there. Start putting together a list of your top destinations today.

If you need a bit of inspiration, check out our list of top travel destinations!