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I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase more often from travelers than “but the flight is soooo long.” Guilty of this complaint myself, it seems that the long-haul flight brings out the survivalist in ourselves. Being in a plane with recycled air for any amount of time can be dreadful. Add on the food, dirty bathrooms, and the neighboring passenger your worst nightmare could only dream of — who wouldn’t go into survivor mode. 

Here’s my guide to enjoying the long-haul flight.

1. Change your mindset: move from Surviving to Enjoying.
Positive thoughts and words go a long way. You’re on the plane for 10 or however long hours, and there’s not much to be done about it. Instead of thinking about it as a place of survival, view it as an opportunity. Go from “something you have to do and turn it into something you get to do.” And as one wise person once said, “don’t let it rent too much space in your head.” 

2. Travel with the essentials and leave room.
So often passengers can’t spread out as there seat back pocket and under seat area is crammed. Travel with what you need, and leave room to get comfortable. 

3. Don’t show up tired.
I think this is a big misconception: showing up exhausted will enhance the opportunity to sleep more. This is often not true, as we all know airplanes are not the most conducive for a good night’s sleep and can put you in a world of hurt when landing on ground. A good night of rest prior to flying is incredibly helpful for surviving the long-haul. 

4. Show up with a few things to do.
I made this mistake recently. I packed no book or magazines, thinking I’d just watch a movie. My screen was broken, leaving me a bit hopeless for how I’d pass the time. I now always have a back up thing to do. 

5. Indulge a bit. 
Whether its your favorite face mask or chocolate, or maybe you order a rum and coke, bring something to indulge in and make the experience a bit more luxurious. 

6. Have products to freshen up.
After hours and hours in the same clothes, a quick freshen up can change everything. I always travel with moisturizer, wipes for my face and body, and a toothbrush. A little goes a long way!

7. Hydration and proper nutrition.
Recently I’ve been trying a method where the night before I fly and when I land I max out my hydration. It’s been a game changer with long-hauls and I’ve found it to be a great way to arrive not feeling completely drained. Eating on planes can also be a roll of the dice, so I’ve resorted to packing a few snacks and eating a big meal prior to arrival at the airport. 

 

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

5 Comments

  1. Great tips! I find it impossible to ‘enjoy’ long haul flights, especially from around 5 hours in as I can’t sleep on planes and tend to get the cheapest tickets which don’t include movies or meals. Being prepared is key!

  2. I think your first point is the key. I travel to China a few times a year for work, and I have really changed the way I think about those 14 hour legs. I know that won’t be interrupted by email or calls while I am flying, so I use the time to sketch, catch up on reading, and occasionally watch a movie (as I drink a glass of wine).

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