As a general rule, we avoid long haul flights. Not by avoiding the destination at the end of that flight, but by breaking it up. Adding a middle country can also save money depending on where you are stopping.
Unfortunately, sometimes we are on a time crunch or are just too eager to get to that destination and can’t avoid long haul flights. Matty and I have been on our fair share of 16 hours + flights. So we have created this list of essential tips and tricks to make the most of your long haul flight.
Get Some Sleep
Our first tip is to get a good sleep beforehand if your flight is at 3 pm or 3 am don’t try to avoid sleeping before a flight. You will never get the sleep you are thinking you will on a flight and will always end up getting off the plane in rough shape. Get a good sleep beforehand, take a nap in the waiting room before boarding even, but do yourself a favour and just sleep.
We have made this mistake over and over again, at this point, if we have a ridiculous flight in the middle of the night I take a sleeping pill earlier in the day, go for a good sleep and wake up fresh ready to hop on a flight.
Still, try to get some sleep on your flight. Set your watch to your new local time zone before departing and try to sleep at your ‘normal’ sleeping time in that time zone. Try different positions for comfort, some of the positions we use that don’t require extra legroom or a window are:
1) A normal seated position with neck pillow backward supporting chin.
2) Resting head on the open tray (bent over)
3) Sleep backward in the chair on your knees, head against the back of the seat.
If you have a long layover and it coincides with your new sleep schedule consider a nap room in your layover airport or just nap in a quiet corner on some benches.
This should go without saying, however, oftentimes we see people who are so preoccupied being stressed, or excited or busy that they often ignore or come across as rude to the staff. Be polite in every interaction from the person who checks you in, to the person that makes your coffee once you get off the plane.
The air hosts and hostesses are not your punching bag, if something goes wrong it is not their
fault, they are the heroes that ensure we have a comfortable flight. Be nice and it will pay off.
Airplane food is usually pretty bad, especially if you are on a budget and book economy like we do. There is nothing worse than being hangry on a long flight, finally getting your meal and then picking away at the mysterious substance in front of you.
Protein bars and granola bars can pass through security and are small so they don’t take up much room in your carry on.
Matty and I were on a flight to Houston, TX that got diverted and our short flight turned into
hours on a plane with no food. We had my favourite protein bars, Fit Joy Grandma’s Lemon
Square & cookie dough brownie (as shown above), I had just thrown in the bottom of our day bag. Not only did we have mini-meals, but it reduced our stress simply by eating.
You can also buy snacks at the airport, but expect to pay the premium prices airports are so famous for.
Eat before you fly
Speaking of food. It’s probably a good idea to eat something before you get on the plane. I’m not talking about some experimental spicy curry you have never had before (you are stuck on that plane, be kind to the toilets and other passengers), I’m talking about something substantial that isn’t going to hurt your tummy to hold you off a couple of hours before you start digging into those snacks.
Bring a water bottle
This is not only a money-saving hack, but it’s better for the environment. It’s time we leave disposable plastics in the past. The water bottle you choose is a personal choice, we love our S’WELL water bottles, although they take up more space they keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. Stay as hydrated as possible, your body will thank you later.
Be aware of the plane basics
Does your plane offer wifi, have an entertainment system built in, or have power outlets?
These are all things you should check before boarding and be prepared for.
No wifi or entertainment? Ensure you bring a book or download movies on Netflix in advance
to travel. No power outlets? Charge your device batteries in the airport before boarding and
pack a portable charger or two depending on how long your flight is and how much you intend on using your device(s).
We use SeatGuru to check before we fly so we know we are prepared.
Dress the part
If you are trying to get a free upgrade it is important to dress the part, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be comfy. Dressing for comfort is a top priority.
I have my belly pierced and the thought of sitting 24 hours with jeans digging into it is enough to give me nightmares, but a pair of black leggings and a cute top with some comfortable trainers or boots could be your key to comfort and style. If you are going somewhere hot rock that sundress. I will always go for comfort over style though, but that is just me.
Pro Tip: Take your shoes off as soon as you get seated so you don’t sweat and end up smelly!
If you are feeling rich and decide to splurge for seat selection, always pick the option with the most legroom, the front of the economy section, the emergency exits, etc.
If you are cheap (like us), just arrive the recommended 3 hours in advance and while checking in ask if you can be allocated those seats, oftentimes being the first to check-in has its advantages!
Or if you are usually late, ask for better seats just before boarding! You can also check and see how many seats are spoken for in which areas before check-in. Many airlines oversell seats and if you booked economy and see that most of the economy seats are taken but the premium economy is wide open, consider waiting until later to check-in. If economy fills up you could get bumped up simply for being late to the game and ‘missing’ your economy seating, I will admit that it is much easier to do with just a single person, however, still doable as a couple.
Use some bottled water to brush your teeth in the washroom (that water is not pottable), bring some baby wipes for a quick freshen up, a hairbrush to prevent using a bottle of conditioner when you touch down and bring a stick or roll-on deodorant to keep you smelling good.
Aerosol deodorants on a plane are just plain rude, lol. Seriously though, it can be intoxicating
and you don’t want to be that person who kills everyone and gets told off by the flight
Keeping yourself feeling fresh honestly goes a long way. Matty and I even bring fresh socks to change into if need be just to stay comfortable.
Get up and move. It seems like such an obvious tip, but most people just sit in their seats the whole time. Find some space and stretch, walk the aisle, go meet someone 6 rows back, just move around!
Get amped up! You are on your way to your next adventure. Be happy, be giddy, be positive! This flight may be boring and sooooo long but you are doing it so throw those good vibes around!
Let us know what are your go-to long haul flight tips and tricks in the comments!
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