LONG HAUL FLIGHT TIPS - at your service
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We’ve scrolled and scrolled Skyscanner (best way to book flights FYI) through the endless list of flights, calculating the shortest time we can possibly be on the plane for the cheapest price, before finally settling on one that seems tolerable and booking the damn thing before the novelty wears off. We forget about that dreaded long haul flight for the next couple of months, before TA DA, just around the corner we realise we’ll no shit be flying half way around the world. All of a sudden the only thing standing between you and copious jugs of beer and pretzels at Oktoberfest is that long haul flight and a sneaky stopover in a country which name you can barely pronounce. This right here is where these long haul flight tips will come in handy.
After a horrific long haul experience from New Zealand to England once upon a time, I was left thinking long haul flights would forever be the bane of my existence. Fast forward a few years and this may sound insane, but I now literally live for long haul flights. It’s probably the only time in my life that I don’t mind getting up at an ungodly time of the morning, plus, if it means I can sit in silence with no one to annoy me for 20+ hours straight, then I’m here for it. For me, the moment I step foot in the airport my mood soars and the adventure begins. Does anyone else find airports equally exciting as they are emotional? From heart wrenching tears of goodbye in departure, to beaming smiles and laughter from people in arrivals who haven’t seen each other in years, I’m forever people watching trying to figure out everyone’s life story and wondering where they’re jet setting off to.
I’ve been on a long haul flight a time or two and my change of tune on them are all thanks to this list of handy dandy long haul flight tips, mile high tips not included. Keep reading to save yourself from losing your marbles and who knows, you may actually enjoy your next long ass flight!
Long Haul Flight Tips
I’ll start off with an absolute goodie and most definitely the biggest game changer for me.
ADJUST YOUR PHONE/WATCH TO YOUR LANDING TIME ZONE AS SOON AS YOU BOARD
Yes, I know, this probably sounds like the most simple long haul flight tip ever, but it honestly works a treat. Changing the time on all your devices at the start of your flight to the time of the country you’re heading, will help you mentally acclimate to your new time zone. Eat and sleep when it makes the most sense for your time zone so when you land, your body clock isn’t completely out of whack. It may just help to dodge that horrid jet lag too!
BOARD THE PLANE LAST
A pet peeve of mine and something I will never quite wrap my head around, is people that are super eager beavers when it comes to boarding the plane. Waiting in bloody long lines, pushing and shoving to get your seat and cram your hand luggage overhead, and having to play musical chairs while you wait for all your neighbours to arrive- no thank you! Take a chill pill and relax at the departure gate until the queue has dwindled down, then board the plane with ease. You aren’t going to lose your seat and the plane won’t leave without you, plus it means less time sitting on the plane- win win!
INDULGE IN ALL THE ENTERTAINMENT
While planes usually have some bangers when it comes to their movie selection, no in flight selection will be good enough for you to solely depend on for an obscene amount of hours. To save your sanity and your eyes from going square, read that book or listen to that podcast you’ve been meaning to for yonks! I’m a huge music lover and always make sure I have a new playlist downloaded before I fly. To save being caught off guard always check whether your long haul flight has built in screens or whether you have to use your phone- in which case, download the airline app prior to flying.
GET SHIT DONE
If back to back movies and sitcom episodes aren’t your thing, then be productive and use your time wisely while you have fewer distractions! I always find myself sifting and reminiscing through my hectic array of travel photos, knee slapping memes and the randomest of screenshots while flying, so one of the most useful long haul flight tips is to delete all the crap and dud photos while I’m at it. If you have a camera then always pack it in your hand luggage so it doesn’t get battered around, then you can do the same with those snaps too.
If you’re like me and in a constant day dream whilst flying, why not pack a notebook and write in your travel journal, compile a to-do list, goal set on your laptop, or create a must do list of all the things you want to do in the destination you’re heading, before you forget! Lists are where it’s at.
PACK YOUR HAND LUGGAGE WISELY
The worst thing ever when flying long haul is when you reach into your hand luggage and realise you’ve forgotten a damn pen to write on your arrival card- swear to god this happens to me every time!
A wee list of essentials that always come in handy are coming right up.
Always pack the biggest, comfiest, ugliest clothes you own to ensure you can rug up and stay warm. Plus, if you wear your bulky jacket on the plane it can double as a blanket or a pillow and save space in your bag! Oh and socks, don’t forget the socks.
SNACKS, SNACKS AND MORE SNACKS
You can never have enough snacks. Airline food can be hit or miss and the on board snack prices are an absolute joke. Snacks will probably be the one thing you wish you packed more of, so stock up before boarding! Nuts, popcorn, crackers, mints, you name it. You can even bring fruit! Just make sure you consume it before entering into a new country- I always get confused on this one.
Slight tangent, but if your meals are provided and you have any food allergies, go online and choose your meal requirement before you fly to make sure you at least get something edible and enjoyable!
Do actually hydrate with some good ol’ plain water throughout the flight. Annoying bathroom wise yes, but you’ll be surprised how much better it’ll make you feel! I heard some stats recently about the ridiculous lack of humidity while in the air, so bring an empty re usable drink bottle, fill it up at the departure lounge and chug away. It’ll save you from getting dehydrated and feeling like a train wreck on the other side.
Not only will your insides be lacking hydration, but your skin too. Pack some lip balm and lather on moisturiser like it’s going out of fashion. A long haul flight tip that would be silly to forget.
SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN
No one likes getting sat next to a grub, so your toothbrush, wet wipes and hand sanitiser are all handy things to have on board with you- in 100ml bottles or less of course.
OTHER BITS AND BOBS
A neck pillow- if that’s your thing, tissues, ear phones- the ones provided don’t always work, and a pen for that bloody card will all be life savers! Have a squizz on seatguru.com– pop your airline and seat number in and it’ll tell you exactly where your seat is located on the plane and whether you’ll have a usb plug nearby. If not, a portable charger wouldn’t go a miss. Who ever thought up this website is a genius in my books!
It’s always a good idea to have a little spare change with you in the currency of your destination too, just in case the airline doesn’t accept your normal currency.
IF IT TICKLES YOUR FANCY, RESERVE YOUR SEAT IN ADVANCE
Speaking of seats, if you’re someone who loves to gaze out of the window and snuggle to rest on the wall in a window seat, or have easy access to the bathroom in an aisle seat (why anyone would ever want a middle seat is beyond me), then pick and pay for your seat online before hand. It could make a world of difference when it comes to fly time! If you’re tall then opt for the seat with the most leg room, usually in the exit row.
STRETCH THOSE LITTLE LEGS
Get your blood circulating and go for a wee wander up and down the aisles every now and again to avoid cramping and swollen legs creeping on in. Not a fun time I tell ya.
CHECK IN ONLINE TO SAVE TIME
One of the most simple long haul flight tips to save time on your entire journey is checking in online. That way you’ll be able to rise and shine just that teeny bit later and avoid waiting around in a long line at check in!
CHOOSE YOUR AIRLINE WISELY
This tip is totally personal preference and to be honest, I don’t follow my own advice here and usually just choose the cheapest flight that isn’t going to take me 100 years. But, which airline you choose really can make a HUGE impact to the enjoyment of your flight and spending that extra 100 bucks could make a world of difference. I’ve personally been on flights that literally gave me one minuscule cup of water the entire flight, have no tvs, uncomfy seats, crap food, the list goes on. So do your research, this could be the make or break of your flight.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T GET ABSOLUTELY OFF YOUR TROLLEY THE NIGHT BEFORE
I’ve done this one to many times and well and truly learnt my lesson. I mean, I’m not your mum and ain’t going to advise you to steer clear of a bevy or six, but trust me, if you get absolutely out the gate the night before (or morning of) you will indeed suffer. If you think hangovers at home are a nightmare, I guarantee your hangover 38,000 ft in the air will be a million times worse, it’s inevitable. And heavens forbid, no ones got the time or energy to run Forrest run through the airport to make it to your gate in time after you sleep in.
Let me know if you have any other handy long haul flight tips for surviving a long ass flight, I’m all ears.
Flying alone and keen on more travel tips? Check out my post here for all the solo travel tips you’ll ever need.
Thanks for reading,
ENJOY THESE LONG HAUL FLYING TIPS? PIN IT FOR LATER!