All of the active travelers out there, as well as the casual ones, have or will experience a long-haul flight. What is exactly a long-haul flight or how much it has to last for it to categorized as a long-haul? Well, I don’t think there is a manual for that. In Europe, a long-haul flight is just above 4 hours, in the US, it is usually above 7 hours. Generally, airlines consider a flight that lasts for more than 7 hours a long-haul flight. But why are there so many pieces of advice about how to survive a long-haul flight, you might ask?
You can imagine that if you spend 7 or more hours in a plane seat without preparing yourself first, you will probably not have the best time of your life. Personally, I had only 2 long-haul flights in my life, from Amsterdam to Washington DC, and from Amsterdam to Mexico City. The first one was definitely worse than the second flight because I didn’t prepare at all! Nothing to read, nothing to listen to, no cozy socks or earplugs. Not a disaster, but it could’ve been better. So without further ado, let’s see what are the most important tips to survive a long-haul flight:
Always think of your comfort and health before the cash. Yes, this might become a problem when you don’t have the money to spend on these, but if you do, always upgrade. Upgrade to first-class for the extra leg-room and you’ll be thanking yourself later. Also, be careful of which airline you’ll be flying with. For a long-haul flight, I would never recommend an economy airline. Yes, I fly Ryanair and Wizzair, but only for flights up to 5 hours. An economy airline for more than 7 hours will be a living hell.
2. Bring entertainment
On a long-haul flight more than often you’ll have in-flight entertainment. That means that you’ll have a screen in the seat in front of you with a lot of music, movies, TV shows and games. But that is not always the case. Some of them might not have as many entertainment stuff as you’d wish, so be sure to be prepared. Bring your earphones, create a playlist on your phone and download your favorite series. Bring your favorite book which will keep you focused the entire flight. All of these are necessary in order to survive a long-haul flight.
3. Stay hydrated
Being at that altitude for several hours, sometimes more than 10 will seriously affect your health. So be sure to ask for water several times during your flight or, even better, bring your own water bottle and ask the flight attendants to refill it. You might not feel like drinking water constantly, but you’ll thank yourself later. Your skin, your body, your energy levels and cognitive functions are all affected by dehydration.
4. Bring snacks
If you know you’re a foodie, try to bring some snacks with you. Usually, airlines offer sufficient food for the entire flight, but not all of them. And buying something on the airplane will only make you regret you didn’t bring your own stuff onto the plane. So try to pack some healthy foods like granola bars or fruits. Try to keep it casual and bring something non-smelly.
5. Stay comfortable
This is one of the most important tips to survive a long-haul flight. Seriously. Don’t wear a skirt, dress, jeans or anything like that. Try to wear some sweatpants or leggings, a hoodie or a long sleeve comfortable blouse and some sneakers. Be sure to wear something comfortable and cozy at the same time. I would also recommend some cozy socks or compression socks. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious thing. It is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein in the body. This can happen because the blood isn’t circulating normally and long flights favor this. So put on some warm and cozy socks, kick off your shoes and stay comfortably the entire flight. Please, please, please, trust me on this one.
6. Get plenty of sleep
Put on a TV show, get yourself comfortable and cozy and get yourself a good sleep. Bring an eye mask, because some airlines don’t offer one and you’ll be able to sleep even better. The time will pass faster, you’ll not be tired after the flight and you’ll get an overall happier experience. My advice: try to sleep during the night so your body won’t experience that much of a jet lag. Sure, you’ll have it anyway, so be prepared for that do. However, don’t sleep the entire flight, because your body will go stiff.
Soooo important! Between power naps and TV shows, be sure to get up and move your legs. I’m not saying to get into full workout mode right now, but stretch a bit, go to the bathroom, walk through the aisles and just move your feet more than on a usual flight. This is very important. You might want to get yourself an aisle seat so you can get up whenever you want, but if you’re flying with friends or family, you can even get a window one, they won’t mind, for sure.
8. Stay clean
Planes are dirty, no matter how new or premium they are. So be sure to stay clean throughout your flight. If you’re a germophobe (I am a small one, too), then you might know even better than me that wet napkins and antibacterial gel are your best friends. Be sure to have the most important stuff in your carry-on bag like napkins, wet napkins, antibacterial gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, face cleanser, moisturizer. You shouldn’t wear makeup (for girls). Go and wash your face with a face cleanser, put on a thick coat of moisturizer and use plenty of antibacterial gel during the flight. Keep the wet napkins close to clean the tray in front of you and you’ll be fine.
So while a 5-hour flight might not be as big of a problem, a long-haul flight is something that you really need to prepare yourself for. These few tips to survive a long-haul flight are some basic ones and there are a lot of other pieces of advice out there for those of you who have special problems. So keep yourself warm, comfortable, clean and hydrated and you’ll find that it isn’t that hard to survive a long-haul flight if you just prepare a little.
Enjoy your travels!