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Surviving Long Haul Flight: 16 tips

Pack wisely, stay hydrated, move and stretch, get the perks and many more tips for you to stay comfortable during your long haul travel!

Manuel M.

December 15, 2023

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Long-haul flights can really take a toll on you and leave you asking yourself if you really wanted to travel in the first place. And it’s not just the long flight; there are many unforeseen circumstances that also arise, as well as aftershocks. We’re going to give you the best travel tips for long flights, and you’ll know how to be prepared for this pre-adventure flight.

To give you a glimpse, the 16 tips you want to keep in mind are:

Before the Long-Haul Flight:

  1. Plan and Pack Strategically
  2. Choose Comfortable Clothing
  3. Stay Hydrated
  4. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule
  5. Move and Stretch
  6. Entertainment and Essentials
  7. Set Your Watch to the Destination Time
  8. Check for Travel Advisories and Vaccinations
  9. Get the Perks

During and After the Long-Haul Flight:

  1. Stay Hydrated and Avoid Alcohol
  2. Move Regularly
  3. Follow the Destination’s Time Zone and Use Sleep Aids Wisely
  4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
  5. Eat Light and Nutritious Meals
  6. Combat Jet Lag with Natural Light
  7. Plan Active Recovery

Long flight tips: How to get ready before you take off

From choosing your flight to getting transportation, you have plenty to organize before leaving, and we’ve got the best tips for the long haul. In this first section, we’re going to go over the crucial steps to take before stepping on the plane and the best way to get you started off on the right foot.

Plan ahead and be ready.
Plan ahead, and don’t leave things to the last minute. Source: Pexels

Plan and Pack Strategically

  • Make a checklist of essential items and documents. This includes passports and permits such as visas, eTAs, and even transit visas. Don’t run into surprises at border control, and check if there are any requirements at your destination. If you need a visa, estimate the wait time and begin the application beforehand.
  • When you’re packing, make sure to include a travel-sized toiletry kit to stay refreshed during the journey. In case you have a long layover, you must have essentials such as shampoo, soap, and toothpaste.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

  • Wear loose, breathable layers to accommodate temperature changes. Airplanes are generally cold and with air conditioning turned on during the entire long-haul flight, this is one of the best tips. Take a sweater with you so that you stay warm, and you can even ask a flight attendant for a blanket.
  • Even being at the airport can be a hassle. Opt for comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on and off during security checks, and take a small change of clothes so you can shower and change during a layover.

Stay Hydrated

  • Begin hydrating a day or two before the flight. This greatly helps you stay energetic and focused when you’re heading out and at the airport. You don’t want to miss your flight or arrive at the incorrect gate. When going through security, you might not be allowed to carry too much water; we suggest you take an empty bottle so you can fill it up afterward.

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

  • As we mentioned previously, staying focused is vital so you don’t end up at the incorrect terminal or not arrive on time. Having a good night’s sleep the night before is a must. However, one of our top tips is to gradually shift your sleep pattern to align with the destination’s time zone. Consider our tips on taking a short nap and wearing comfortable clothing before the long-haul flight to reduce fatigue.
Adjust your sleeping schedule
Adjust your sleeping schedule. Source: Pexels

Move and Stretch

  • Even staying seated in one place for too long can be tiring. Practice exercises and stretches before the flight and walk around the airport during layovers to improve circulation. You definitely don’t want to arrive at your destination with a sore neck that will make you uncomfortable for a few days. You can even do a few self-massages for your legs and arms.

Entertainment and Essentials

  • Load up on entertainment options like books, movies, or music. This will help you kill the boredom of just looking at clouds all throughout the flight. If you’re taking an iPad, you can definitely download your favorite book and games to keep you amused in the air.
  • Depending on the airline, you might get a meal in the middle of the flight. However, it’s smart to take some extra snacks just in case, especially if you’re traveling with children.
  • Additionally, as another one of our crucial tips, a neck pillow and any other comfort items will help you have a restful long-haul flight and not end up uncomfortable and even more lagged.

Set Your Watch to Destination Time

  • Adjust your mindset to the destination’s time zone before boarding. Set your watch to your destination’s timezone, and for your other devices, you’ll have to connect to the internet. If you don’t know how, we’ll include a whole section later on your options for getting data abroad.
  • One way to practice getting ready for the schedule change is to eat and sleep according to the new schedule while on the plane.
Set your watch to your new time.
Set your watch to your new timezone. Source: Pexels

Check for Travel Advisories and Vaccinations

  • Stay informed about any travel advisories or health-related guidelines. Some countries have entry requirements in terms of vaccines, for example. If you have the vaccine, you’re good to go. If you don’t set up an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible, or find out if you can get it at a local drugstore, Contact your insurance and check if they’ll cover certain travel vaccines.
  • Ensure you have the necessary vaccinations for your destination.

Get the perks

When you’re flying somewhere near that only takes an hour or two, you don’t have to stress about too much. But for long flights, you need to get all the comfort you can get. You may sometimes feel like the trip is more in the airplane than at your destination. One of your best suggestions that you can invest in is to purchase that upgraded cabin seat in business class or premium. With a better seat, additional perks and service, you’ll definitely get a whole experience in the air.

But that not all, for those long layovers, instead of having to wait in the uncomfortable generic chairs in the terminal, you can indulge in the VIP access lounge to get a different perspective. Generally, these WIP Lounges offer free food, snacks and drinks. There are even private areas for those who wish to get some shut-eye. It may drive your budget up a bit, but it’ll definitely be worth your while.

During and After the Long-Haul Flight

Once you’re seated and ready for takeoff, you’re already half way there. Staying comfortable during the flight is vital and even once you land, you might be jet-lagged, and you’ll need some time to adjust. We’ve also got more tips for you for the second stage of your journey.

Stay Hydrated and Avoid Alcohol

  • Even during your flight and once you land, continue drinking water to avoid dehydration. Even though you might get free drinks at the VIP lounge or on board, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, as they can contribute to dehydration. You want to remain sharp once you land so you know how to move quickly to get your luggage and avoid further delays.

Move Regularly

  • During a long-haul flight, stretch and move around the cabin, as another one of our tips, to prevent stiffness and improve circulation. Small talk with the crew brings no harm, and in-seat exercises to keep your muscles active.
Stay active while traveling
Stay active while traveling. Source: Pexels

Follow the Destination’s Time Zone and Use Sleep Aids Wisely

  • After you land, continue adjusting your activities, meals, and sleep to the local time. Spend time outdoors to help reset your internal clock. If you’re too tired, try taking a quick power nap.
  • If you use sleep aids, take them according to your adjusted sleep schedule. Avoid excessive reliance on sleep medication to allow your body to adjust naturally.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

  • Create a comfortable sleep environment with earplugs, an eye mask, and a neck pillow while on the plane. There may be other passengers that are awake or children making noises, so take these additional items that’ll help you sleep through the night.

Eat Light and Nutritious Meals

  • Choose healthy, well-balanced meals to support your energy levels. Many airlines offer a selection of onboard meals. Avoid heavy, rich foods that can disrupt digestion and sleep. Once at your destination, continue eating local healthy foods that also help with the jet lag. Don’t over eat, even if it’s healthy food, as this will likely cause indigestion and may send you to the bathroom.
Continue eating healthy during and after your flight
Continue eating healthy during and after your flight. Source: Pexels

Combat Jet Lag with Natural Light

  • Spend time in natural sunlight upon arrival to help regulate your circadian rhythm. Use sunglasses to manage exposure to daylight and ease the adjustment process. On the plane, this might be difficult, specially if you’re traveling during the nighttime. But once on the ground, you can do various activities that will expose you to the sun. Even if it’s just walking, try getting 10–30 minutes of sunlight each day. Go to the beach, head out to museums, have fun and stay healthy.

Plan Active Recovery

  • Engage in light physical activity, such as walking or gentle exercises. Plan a restful day upon arrival to allow your body to recover from the journey. If your hotel has a gym, find a time of day, maybe early in the morning, to begin the day in a good mood and energized. On the other hand, you can simply go for a quick jog in the morning, you’ll get your daily doses of sunlight at the same time!

Other Important Recommendations

Stay connected

As we recommended previously, it’s important that you get a data connection when you’re at your destination. That’s why, before you leave, you must ensure that you have a reliable option to connect. There are plenty of options like SIM cards, roaming, pocket WiFi, and more. However, most of these alternatives are expensive or inconvenient.

The new eSIM is one of the most promising innovations that will keep you connected while abroad. Many international providers, like Holafly, offer this product and people can use it in many places, like with the eSIM for Egypt or Morocco eSIM, or maybe a more complete package with the best Asian eSIM for travelers! You can easily get one online or through the provider’s official app. The best part is that you can get it before you leave and activate it once you land. Or if you forgot, connect at the airport and buy it there! Easy-peasy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare my body for a long flight?

Before your flight, focus on staying hydrated, adjusting your sleep schedule, incorporating light exercises, packing healthy snacks, and wearing comfortable clothing.

How should I prepare for a long flight?

Ensure a smooth journey by strategically packing, investing in comfort items like a neck pillow and headphones, loading up on entertainment options, staying hydrated, and adapting your activities to the destination’s time zone.

How do you make the best of a long flight?

Maximize your in-flight experience by packing a variety of entertainment, opting for healthy snacks, incorporating in-seat exercises to combat stiffness, and selecting a comfortable seat for an overall enjoyable journey.

How can I have an internet connection to different destinations?

Consider using Holafly eSIM for global internet connectivity. Activate it before your trip for seamless coverage, and choose flexible data plans to suit your needs.