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. 

 

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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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