Whether an amateur or an experienced traveller, taking long-haul flights requires strategic preparation to ensure a relaxing and pleasant journey.
Flying, while one of the safest means of travel, can sometimes be slightly uncomfortable. Imagine spending 12 hours or more 40,000 feet in the sky with hundreds of other people. It doesn’t sound enjoyable.
Even with friendly flight attendants and movies playing on the screen in front of you, if you haven’t fully prepared for a long-haul flight, you may find yourself uncomfortable, anxious, and impatient.
So, whether you’re flying from the United States to Southeast Asia to take advantage of Thailand’s digital nomad visa or another destination on the other side, this is your survival guide to long-haul flights.
Comfort is Key
The most important thing you can do to ensure a pleasant long-haul flight is to make yourself comfortable. From the pants you’re wearing right down to your socks and underwear, wear soft, loose, and stretchy clothing.
It’s widespread to feel bloated while flying on long flights due to air pressure and dehydration. Therefore, wearing tight-fitting clothing can make you feel highly uncomfortable.
To be comfortable, you don’t have to wear your baggy house sweatpants with a tomato sauce stain to the airport. There are plenty of athleisure clothing that looks put together and acceptable for air travel and arriving at a new destination.
Start Hydrating Three Days Before
As mentioned above, passengers flying on a plane tend to get more dehydrated than usual due to the air pressure. Dehydration can cause bloating, tiredness, and general discomfort.
So, to better prepare for your long-haul flight, start hydrating three days before. Make sure to drink more than the recommended eight glasses of water daily and use body lotion to moisturize your arms, legs, and hands.
Not only will you feel more alert and healthy, but you can even overcome jet lag faster when you’re hydrated.
Reserve a Good Seat
You’ll want to ensure you’re sitting in a great seat on your next long-haul flights. If you can choose your seat, consider which is best for you.
If you plan to sleep the entire time, then the window seat is most likely your best option. However, if you can’t sit still very long and use the bathroom frequently, an aisle seat is your best choice.
But how do you know which seats are good to reserve on your flight? You can use SeatGuru to see which seats are preferred and which to avoid.
Download Movies and Music
If you’re in the middle of binge-watching a new series on Netflix, you’ll want to use your time in the air to continue your marathon without feeling guilty that you should be doing something more productive.
While your flight will most likely have free entertainment, it isn’t guaranteed to be interesting. When you download your favourite show or movie to your tablet or phone, you can watch what you want, when, and where.
The same goes for your music! If you use a streaming platform like Apple Music or Spotify, download your favourite playlists so you can listen to them even when you don’t have an internet connection.
Wear Compression Socks
Sitting on long-haul flights for hours in a pressure-controlled aeroplane can cause your feet, ankles, and calves to swell due to the irregulated blood flow. You should consider wearing compression socks during your flight to combat this uncomfortable feeling.
These socks will help prevent and reduce any swelling you may experience, so you’re ready to walk around and explore your new destination the minute you step off the plane.
Move Around the Cabin
Another way to combat swollen legs and ankles is to move around the cabin from time to time. Whether you’re getting up to use the bathroom or simply stretching your legs and hips for a couple of minutes, this is a crucial tip for surviving long-haul flights.
Get Noise Canceling Headphones
If you don’t have them already, it’s time to invest in a good set of noise-cancelling headphones before your long-haul flight. The last thing you want to experience is a crying baby or rowdy children who seem to be filled to the brim with unending energy.
When you want to shut out the rest of the passengers around you and escape into your movie or music, slip on your noise-cancelling headphones, close your eyes, and relax.
Bring a Pillow
A soft neck pillow is a game changer when taking a long-haul flight. While it may be a bit bulky and a hassle to travel with, you’ll thank yourself for bringing it.
When you inevitably fall asleep during your long-haul flight, you’ll want to have some support for your head as you doze off. A neck pillow will save you from a stiff neck that ultimately puts a damper on your vacation’s first couple of days.
Upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class
If you’ve been saving credit card points or frequent flyer miles, a long-haul flight is your opportunity to cash them in for a more comfortable and luxurious flying experience.
When your budget allows, upgrading to a premium economy or business class seat on a long-haul flight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Sitting in a tight economy seat next to a stranger and sipping on bottom-shelf wine is not glamorous.
Instead, you could have a reclining or lie flat seat to curl up in a while sipping on a welcome glass of champagne and ordering from an actual menu.
You’re probably waving away this idea if you’ve never flown in an upgraded seat. But trust me, it’s worth the money!
Mentally Prepare Yourself for a Long-Haul Flight
You can physically prepare yourself with comfy clothes, advanced headphones, and snacks all you want, but if you aren’t mentally ready for a long-haul flight, then you can expect to have a long and arduous flight.
Firstly, you must accept that you will be in one place sitting for a very long time. You may or may not have access to the internet and the outside world, making some people feel a bit anxious.
Set goals for what you want to do during this flight to combat this feeling. Maybe you want to read a particular chapter in a book. Or you have a list of movies you want to finish. Setting small goals like this can help pass the time and make you feel productive while on a long-haul flight.