The 9 Essential Tips For A Long Flight
If you search “tips for a long flight” online you will be inundated with information. So many ideas can be quite overwhelming – which advice is really necessary to follow? Our mission at Cabeau is simple – make travel better. So we have culled the internet, spoken to frequent long-distance travelers, and consulted with airline personnel to gather and distill for you the best survival methods and tips for a long flight.
Each tip below includes a list of ideas – we recommend picking two to three that align with your travel style instead of strictly adhering to every one – after all, we want to make this easy. So check out these tips for a long flight and get ready for your adventure – the world awaits!
First Things First
Ensuring your long-haul flight is as uncomplicated as possible starts way before you get on the plane.
- Buy tickets in advance – not only will you usually get better rates, but you will have more flight-path options
- If you are not traveling with kids, choose non-family routes (i.e., avoid Orlando!)
- Pick seats in the back or wing seats (less turbulence) – avoid the bulkhead and front exit rows
- Check-in early
- Avoid regular economy – buy or beg for an upgrade (i.e., Delta Comfort+). You will be glad you availed yourself of the extra leg-room, wider seat and early boarding. To get an upgrade you can’t pay for (or don’t have miles for), get to the airport early, dress well, and smile a lot at check-in.
- Be well rested – don’t stay up late the night before
- The day of, eat a nice breakfast, work out, read and stay away from electronics
Eat & Drink Well
Healthy, simple food really is the best medicine, both for enjoying the flight, and reducing the dreaded ensuing jet lag. If you only follow this one tip for a long flight, you will still be ahead of the game.
- Eat well before and during the flight
- But don’t stuff yourself – digestion slows at high altitudes. Think frequent snacking.
- Before boarding, eat protein-rich foods – healthy fats like coconut, nut butters and avocado
- Avoid airport food and all processed food
- Bring your own snacks/small meals – hummus & grain crackers, vegetable slices, protein bars, homemade trail mix, dark chocolate (a not-too-sweet treat that’s loaded with magnesium which helps regulate blood pressure and sugar)
- Avoid alcohol before flying, and limit it onboard – it hastens dehydration (enemy #1 when flying!) and you don’t want to end up being that passenger
- WATER, WATER, WATER
Two Words: Jet Lag
You can’t avoid it entirely, but with these tips for a long flight, you can do a lot to minimize it!
- Prepare a few days in advance – if flying east, start going to bed early, and if going west, stay up late. Though not always practical, it can be worth it!
- Unwind and stay calm during flight – stress makes jet-lag worse. Bring lavender (try our Scent-Infused Fluffy Socks) which aids relaxation, meditate or listen to soothing music.
- Schedule a daytime arrival.
- Fly in a westerly direction – eastward travel causes more jetlag.
- Change the time on all devices to your destination time zone as soon as you board – mental preparation does wonders.
- If you are hoping to sleep avoid technology until after you catch your zzzz’s.
Unfortunately, airplanes are full of germs – hundreds, if not thousands, of people have sat in the same seat and no matter how well the plane is cleaned, there are too many tough bugs to kill. But you can easily boost your resilience and disinfect your space.
- Again, water – this can’t be overstated. Drink plenty of water as well as some electrolyte solutions. Hydration is key.
- Bring bacteria-killing wipes – clean the armrests, foldable tray, and seat belt buckle. Use them in the bathroom, too.
- Anxiety drains your immune system. Along with meditation, try some breathing exercises, and if necessary, consult your doctor about a prescription solution.
- Increase your Vitamin C intake the days before you fly.
- Bring along oranges, blueberries and grapes – all high in antioxidants.
- Exercise before you travel, and more importantly, on the plane. Every time your seat mate gets up, you get up. If your seat mate is sedentary, aim to walk every hour (except during sleep) and in between, do sitting stretches.
Dress For Comfort And Style
As mentioned, if you want a free upgrade, you must be dressed well. In general, you want to avoid sweatpants and flipflops, both for the sake of comfort and to show a little respect to your fellow passengers and more importantly, the crew. You’ll feel better too knowing you look dignified.
- Dress in layers – the temperature difference between where you take off and where you land can be drastic, and it’s cold on planes!
- Natural fibers in basic colors are best – it’s easier to look pulled together and cotton, flax and silk are more breathable, lightweight and less clingy.
- Light, loose pants – avoid jeans.
- Easy slip-on/slip-off shoes like our Portable Pocket Flats – the soft, cozy velvet will caress your tired feet. Women, put the heels away till you land!
- Forego the makeup, or just apply the basics – it will dry out your skin and you’ll end up with raccoon eyes after 10 hours on the plane.
- Scarves are your new best friends, for men and women – ultimately practical, use them for warmth, privacy, or darkness.
Travel Accessories Exist For A Reason
Neck pillows and certain other travel products are not optional on long flights if you want to catch some zzzz’s as any little annoyance (being cold, too much light, painful muscles) can ruin your chances. You need to bundle up to be snug as a bug in a rug. When discussing the most important tips for a long flight, flight attendants and seasoned travelers listed the following absolute necessities.
- Compression socks like our Bamboo Compression Socks™ – deep-vein thrombosis is no joke and regular socks or stockings, even if tight, do not offer the medical advantages needed on long-haul flights.
- Skin lotion and lip balm – as mentioned, the air in planes is extraordinarily dry.
- Hydrating face mist.
- Travel blanket – take a look at our luxurious yet lightweight Fold ‘N Go™ blanket & case and avoid the skimpy little coverlet the airline lends you.
- Neck pillow – with our four different styles to choose from, you will definitely find a pillow that suits you and your travel needs.
- Eye mask – our Midnight Magic® sleep mask lets you customize the level of darkness (from twilight to blackout) and is adjustable to your facial features.
- Lumbar support – whoever designed airline seats did not take a good look at the normal human spine! Luckily the case for our Fold ‘N Go™ blanket makes a soft, cushiony pillow for your head or lower back.
You Can Control Your Environment
Though you may feel stuck in a small space that is decidedly impersonal, there are things you can do to make it more homey for the trip’s duration.
- As soon as you board, set up a private sanctuary – after cleaning, put small essentials in the seat-back pocket such as lip balm, eye mask, some snacks, your phone, tablet and book/magazine. Stow your pillow and blanket under the seat in front.
- White noise – the roar of the engines won’t block all the bothersome sounds like kids crying, other people’s movies, loud conversations, etc. White noise blocks all of that to help you fall, and stay, asleep, or work uninterrupted.
- Keep your entertainment easily accessible.
- Consider noise-cancelling headphones.
Entertainment, And Back-Up Entertainment
It almost goes without saying that you need to bring with you devices and ideas to while away the time. However, there are some tips for a long flight related to entertainment that you might not have thought of before.
- Don’t depend on in-transit charging – while many airplanes now have charging capabilities at each seat, not all do, and some will be broken. Always fully charge your devices before you board.
- Bring a backup power supply – most devices, when used for visual entertainment, lose battery a lot faster than when used for phone calls or texting. You might only charge your phone once a day, but when watching movies or TV, the battery will drain in a few hours.
- Download podcasts – more entertaining than music and use less battery than movies
- Even if you don’t often read, bring a book/magazine to kill time during take-off and landing
Have Kids, Will Travel
The two most important tips for a long fight with children are 1) have them sleep, and 2) distract them.
- Don’t keep your kids up the night before! Well-rested kids sleep better.
- Eradicate hunger, but don’t stuff them – like adults, protein helps sleep so bring hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, roasted chicken and dried fruit for dessert.
- Run around before boarding – tire them out and reduce travel anxiety.
- Mimic the regular sleep routine – pajamas, stories, a sippy cup of milk or breastfeeding.
- For non-sleepy time, pack a ‘busy bag’ – keep new toys hidden in your bag until your child is finished with the older toys.
Cabeau Can Help
Though people rarely love long-distance air travel, it does not have to be mentally or physically painful. Follow the primary tips for a long flight, bring along our cozy and practical travel products, like our Evolution® travel pillows and our Travel Bundles, and you will be well on your way to a comfortable experience.