12 Tips for Surviving Long Flights

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Guys, taking a long flight is no easy feat. If you’ve ever traveled abroad, then you know exactly what I mean. Squeezing into a cramped row and sharing arm rests with strangers is not exactly anyone’s idea of fun, but it’s a necessary part of traveling. So how in the world do you go about surviving long flights like this?

Well, whether you are an experienced flyer or you are about to embark on your first 10+ hour flight, I’ve got a few tips to help make the journey a little bit easier!

1. Check in early

When Jacob and I travel abroad we always travel with budget airline companies, like Norwegian Airlines. We love flying with Norwegian Airlines, but the one down-side about traveling with a budget airline is that everything will cost extra. So that means if you want to check your bags, receive in-flight meals or reserve a seat it’s going to cost you. To avoid paying for these extras, one of the main things we do is arrive at the airport several hours early to check-in for our flight. Since the airlines always have empty seats available upon early check-in, we are able to get seats together without having to pay extra for it.

2. Wear comfortable clothes

I can’t stress this one enough! While it may be tempting to wear your favorite blouse and skinny jeans on your way to Paris, you are sure to regret it soon after you board your flight. When it comes to long-distance travel stick with what’s comfortable. That means loose-fitting clothes that you are comfortable in. I am all for embracing yoga pants, t-shirts and flats! Oh and while you’re at it, skip the jewelry too. As soon as you arrive at your destination, you can easily swap out your clothing and put in a pair of earrings at the airport. (The jewelry part doesn’t exactly apply to guys, but you get the gist!)

3. Invest in a good pair of headphones

You certainly don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, but I do recommend purchasing something that’s better than a cheap pair of $10 earbuds (even worse is the ones they often give you on the plane). I have a set of Beats headphones that I love to take with me on the plane. Not only are they great at blocking out noise (I’ll often sleep with them on if the plane gets too noisy), but they are also foldable which makes them easy to travel with.

4. Pack some snacks (and water!)

Since Jacob and I always travel with budget airlines, in-flight food is not complimentary. In fact with our favorite Norwegian Airlines, you’ll usually end up paying upwards of $50 for a less than appetizing dinner, breakfast and a snack (I’m not a fan of airplane food if you can’t tell). Not exactly worth it in my opinion! Instead, we always pack our own snacks to avoid paying for the overpriced mediocre airplane food. Our favorite snacks include granola bars, dried fruit, crackers, trail mix, pretzels, and anything else we are able to squeeze into our backpacks. Budget airlines usually won’t provide water either, so I like to bring an empty water bottle along through security, and then I’ll fill it up in the airport before boarding the plane.

5. Take a small personal item

When it comes to leg room, every inch of it is sacred! Don’t sacrifice this cherished space with a huge personal item that you’ll have to stow under the seat in front of you. Instead, pack a small day bag that includes easy access to all of your in-flight essentials (snacks, headphones, laptop, etc.).

6. Reserve an aisle seat

If you are able to reserve your seat, opt for the aisle seat. Many people love to sit by the window, but sneaking past other passengers in the middle of the night can be a bit of a hassle. This is when the aisle seat really comes in handy. You’re able to come and go as you please without disturbing any of your sleeping neighbors.

7. Wear a jacket or a blanket scarf

Airplanes are known to get chilly! This is why a recommend taking along a light jacket and/or a blanket scarf. Blanket scarfs are especially fun as they make a fashion statement and they double as a blanket or a pillow.

8. Stretch your legs

Seriously, get up and stretch your legs every couple of hours. Even if it’s just to get up for the lavatory, your legs will thank you for leaving your cramped quarters just for a couple of minutes. If it’s not possible for you to get up often during your flight, practice some seat exercises instead. My favorite exercises are leg lifts and ankle rolls. Anything you can do to keep your blood flowing will help make the flight more bearable.

9. Bring a pack of gum

Gum is a lifesaver on flights, especially if you are prone to ear pain from the pressure changes (like me!). I always make sure I have a pack of sugar-free gum on hand when I go on flights, I definitely don’t think I could survive without it.

10. Skip the makeup

Seriously. Don’t even bother with your makeup before boarding a long flight. The air at 30,000 feet can be so drying to your skin, and the last thing your face needs is a layer of makeup plastered on. Chances are your makeup will be all smudged and melted once you land 10 hours later. Instead, skip the foundation and mascara and apply some moisturizer and chapstick instead.

11. Wear glasses

If you are normally a contacts-wearer opt for wearing glasses on the plane instead. The first time I travelled abroad, I ended up wearing my contacts for over 24 hours straight. Talk about eyes as dry as the Sahara! I’ve found that it’s much easier on my eyes to swap out my glasses for contacts once I reach my destination. Trust me, your eyes will thank you for the much needed break.

12. Bring a laptop or a book

If you are a busy body like me, the in-flight entertainment probably won’t keep you entertained for the duration of the flight. Bring along a laptop/tablet or a book to read for a change of pace if you start getting bored of movies. I’ll often pull out my laptop on flights to catch up on some blog writing while listening to my favorite tunes.

And there you have it, 12 tips for surviving a long flight! If you follow these tips, you’ll be more than ready to conquer that next big flight you have coming up.

I want to hear what your next travel plans are, let me know in the comments!


Are you heading off on a trip soon? Be sure to check out my tips for living out of a backpack for 10 days!

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  • Reply
    Amanda L. Gonzalez
    October 6, 2018 at 12:32 am

    I always Skip the makeup. Thanks a lot for confirming me.

    • Reply
      October 6, 2018 at 12:35 am

      It really is so much easier not worrying about makeup! 🙂

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