10 Incredibly Smart Tips For Surviving Long Flights

Josh Wilson
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
Apr 7, 2017

Traveling on a plane for hours can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences, especially for those who have never flown to far-flung destinations before. No wonder even the most seasoned flyers may loathe long-haul flights. But for some, long haul flights are really not that bad. In fact, with the right attitude and preparation, they can turn out to be quite enjoyable. Here are 10 incredibly smart tips for a long flight, which are particularly helpful to those who have never flown far before.

1. Pack your snacks 

Getting hungry when one is on the ground can be uncomfortable. But the good thing is that you can go out and get a snack. However, getting hungry while traveling on the plane is totally a different thing altogether. It's not like you can pop down to the local store and get a snack when you are soaring above the clouds!  

The good thing about long haul flights, meals are still served and included as a part of your ticket price.  However, you might resort to purchasing the outrageous costly snacks that are sold on board while you are waiting for the meals to be served. 

The best thing you can do is to carry with you some protein-rich snacks during your flight. This will definitely keep your stomach feeling full for several hours. Some of the best snacks for long-haul flights include cheese, crackers, peanut butter, protein bars and yogurt among other protein-rich snacks. 

You may also want to bring some sweets or other little things that you can nibble on.  Lastly, don’t forget to bring a bottle of water on board the flight.  You can always ask the attendants to refill it, and this way, you have a capped bottle so you can keep it with you and not worry about spilling a cup of water during flight.

2. Pick your food carefully 

This is as important as packing enough snacks prior to your flight. Numerous studies have revealed that grain bread, oatmeal, spaghetti and other carb-rich foods can help travelers cope with jet lag (a physical reaction to sudden changes in time zones that normally affects plane travelers, pilots and flight attendants). 

Again, research has it that, higher insulin levels can make it easier for travelers to transition from one eating and sleep schedule to another. Carb-rich foods are known to boost insulin secretion, and hence they can be helpful in preventing and reducing the occurrence of jet lag. 

Therefore, take time while choosing your food to ensure it has the best possible combination of carbs in order to counter jet lag during your flight.

3. Wear comfortable clothes

The temperature inside the plane isn’t comfortable for everyone. While you might be actually freezing, the other person seated a few rows from you might find it too warm! 

Since you may never how the temperature on your plane will be, it is imperative to be prepared in advance by wearing the right clothes. 

Wearing layers is highly recommended so that you can easily adjust to the temperature changes inside the plane. It may be hot one minute...and cool the next!  

Also, consider bringing some cozy socks or anything else that feels soft and comfortable. The most comfortable clothing for long-haul flights is simply loose-fitting clothing. For men, a T-shirt and a pair of jeans can be the best bet, while women can do with a sweater, T-shirt and leggings. 

4. Carry sleep enhancers 

The ultimate secret to surviving long-haul flights, for both first-time flyers and seasoned flyers alike, is being able to get enough sleep during the flight. Therefore, it helps to have sleep enhancers handy prior to embarking on your long flight. 

Though not always recommended, sleeping pills can dramatically help you get some shut-eye. Other devices such as neck pillows or other devices can help provide lumbar and neck support thus making your flight more comfortable. 

Being able to rest and get some good sleep on a long flight will go a long way in helping you feel rested when you arrive at your destination (especially if it is a red-eye flight and you arrive at your destination in the morning)

** Note:  If you arrive at your destination at night, you may consider only sleeping early in the flight or staying awake so that you can get a good night's sleep when you arrive.

5. Carry earplugs or noise cancellation headphones

The mighty roar of an airplane’s engine is calming white-noise to some, but it can be downright irritating to others. Besides, you might end up seating next to a noisy kid or people speaking loudly. 

Such noises can make it quite difficult for you to relax or sleep during your flight. That is why noise-cancellation headphones or earplugs come in handy during long-haul flights. These important devices will help block out any irritating noises and further block out any sounds that are likely to keep you awake during your flight.

And for some, playing soft or relaxing music may help them relax or fall asleep on a plane even easier.

6. Carry your own entertainment 

Having enough entertainment can help make even the longest flight quite fun. Even though most airlines now provide extensive in-flight entertainment options that are free of charge (including movies, games, tv shows), you may prefer to bring your own.  

Staying entertained during your long flight is going to be critical.  As such, bring enough magazines, movies, games and books prior to boarding. If you are traveling with someone, maybe a spouse, you may even want to bring a portable game such as a deck of cards that both of you can play together to pass time. 

Lastly, even laptop computers can feel crowded on a cramped plane.  So tablets or smartphones are highly recommended, for those who want to bring their entertainment on a plane.

So kick back, relax...and enjoy a long veg-out session watching movies during your long flight!

7. Leave your seatbelt visible

When sleeping, always ensure your fastened seat belt is well visible over your blanket or clothing. By doing that, flight attendants won’t disturb you as they carry out their safety checks whenever the seat belt sign is on. 

8. Select your seat wisely

If you will be sleeping for most of your flight, you may want to consider choosing a seat that is next to the window.  This way, you can use a pillow to lean against the window to get some sleep.  Also, you don't have to worry about blocking your seatmates and having them wake you up when they need to go use the restroom. 

But if you want to remain awake for most of your flight (or tend to use the restroom often), you might prefer to choose an aisle seat so that it is easier for you to stand up and stretch out your legs easily.

Lastly, consider the row where you are sitting.  Being in a back row sometimes inhibits your ability to recline your seat (a huge problem for sleeping...) and sitting near the lavatories or galley tends to be quite noisy!

9. Don’t forget to bring anti-bacterial wipes 

There's no denying it...planes are germy and dirty!  Thus, you can significantly reduce your risk of picking up or spreading germs by carrying some anti-bacterial wipes with you.  These are great to carry in general, whenever you are traveling to a foreign place, but they are great for a flight. 

You can wipe down your seat belt, arm rests and seat back using these anti-bacterial wipes. Sitting in a sanitized area is crucial for helping you rest and relax during your long-haul flight. 

10. Don’t forget to charge your devices 

Long flights can really drain the battery of your devices because you may be using your phone and other devices to play games or watch movies. Therefore, ensure all your devices, particularly the ones you will be using during your flight, are fully charged prior to embarking on your flight. 

Enjoy Your Long Haul Flight!

While long-haul flights can definitely feel uncomfortable, particularly for first-time flyers, they can really become enjoyable if you are well prepared.  With these 10 long-haul flight tips covered here, you can be sure that you will be prepared to enjoy your trip to whatever your far-flung destination might be.

Have more questions about moving to China? Check out The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China

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