Ahhh, the dreaded long-haul flight and time-zone shift! Unfortunately, you can’t avoid these if you want to travel to new and exciting destinations. After several long flights, some more pleasant than others, I thought I would share what keeps me sane and looking somewhat decent. So keep reading to find out how you can survive long haul flights with these 15 tips to help make your next journey a little more enjoyable.
If your flight is over six hours, flying business makes all the difference. Besides the obvious perk; Champagne (skip #9 if you’re anything like me). Business allows you to sleep on a flat bed seat which means your seat is completely horizontal/fully flat. Make sure you check the aircraft’s seat map before you book as some aircraft have recliner seats or angle lie-flat seats which are not as comfortable. I honestly don’t mind adding an extra hour or two to my journey if it means having a flat bed seat versus angle lie-flat. Seat Guru has a business class comparison chart that details the seat pitch, seat width, video type, laptop power, Wi-Fi and seat type. You can get this information here or you can download the app and search your flight using the flight number, route or airline.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Leave your tight leather pants, short shorts, complicated shoes and low cut tops in your suitcase. You don’t want to wake up and discover that you’re boobs are hanging out, it’s happened to me, luckily I was wearing a bra! Layers are key, a scarf, comfy cotton t-shirt with a cardigan or blouse, paired with loose fitting trousers or jeans and comfortable no fuss shoes. The last thing you want is to be that annoying person at security that slows everyone down. This also includes jewellery that may set off the metal detectors; keep those in your purse or carry-on!
Pack Your beauty Routine In Your Carry On
I have never missed my beauty routine, ever, even when stumbling home on a night out where I’ve had a few too many drinks. I may not remember how I got home but my face is clean and hydrated when I wake up. So carry-on your cleanser, toner, day cream/night cream and make use of the toothbrush and lip balm provided in business class. I usually keep my mascara on so that I don’t look like complete shit when arriving to my destination. It’s my beauty must have - always!
Contoured Sleep Mask Or Scarf
Raccoon eyes due to smudged mascara and messy eyelashes are a big no, no! I usually opt for a contoured sleep mask or cover my head with a scarf to block out light when sleeping.
Hearo or Howard Leight Earplugs
Yes, I have a specific brand. I sleep with earplugs even when at home so I’ve done extensive research on noise reduction ratings and comfort. After trying several different brands, Hearos Ultimate Softness and Howard Leight Laser Lite soft foam earplugs are by far the best. I base this on noise reduction and comfort, there is nothing worse than waking up with sore ears in the middle of the night because of bad earplugs.
If I’m on a long-haul flight longer than 9-10 hours I usually take a sleeping pill in order to get better quality sleep. ZzzQuil does the trick for me. It isn’t for everyone, so please don't try them for the first time when you’re at 35,000 feet!
Bring your tablet and load it with extra movies and TV shows! While the selection on most airlines is great, it can also be terrible. Spending several hours with nothing to do makes your trip feel much longer. Perfect time to binge watch your favorite new show!
Noise Cancelling Headphones
These are an absolute must! My husband bought a pair and I thought he was ridiculous for spending that much money on Bose QuietComfort headphones and then I tried them. We now have two pairs…
Limit Alcohol Intake
Or not...Ok, so my advice is very biased when it comes to limiting alcohol intake on a long-haul flight. I don’t practice what I preach and I’m not going to lie about it. When you are served expensive Champagne throughout the flight and have a good wine list at your disposal you sacrifice a great night’s sleep for a mediocre one. But if you are looking to arrive 100% refreshed, ditch the alcohol.
Drink Loads Of Water
If you are NOT going to ditch the alcohol this is an absolute MUST! Drink loads of water, for every alcoholic drink have two glasses of water. This brings me to my next tip…
Choose An Isle Seat
Some business class cabins only have isle seats and in that case, you are free to make your way to the toilet as often as you please without having to climb over anyone. If you do not have the option of booking an isle seat you may want to reduce your water intake!
Prepare For Jetlag
There is a long list of things you should do to prepare for jetlag but I stick to a few that seem to work for me. Keep in mind West is Best, East is Beast. It is usually much easier to travel west since we are better at dealing with a longer day than a shorter one and our bodies are not forced to wake up when they should be sleeping like when you travel East. When you arrive eat your meals in line with the new time zone even if you are not hungry, get loads of daylight, exercise (walk around) and sleep as much as you normally would in a day at the same time you would back home. If you Google ‘prepare for jetlag’ you will find lots of information as well as customized plans on how to beat jet lag.
Adjust Your Watch
Another tip to help adjust to a new time zone and beat jetlag is to adjust your watch to the arrival city’s time zone at departure.
Shower Between Flights
Do you have a long layover? If so, I highly recommend finding your lounge if you are flying business or a paying lounge if you are flying economy and use their facilities. Most lounges are equipped with showers, you simply have to ask for towels and a vanity kit at the reception desk. I promise you will feel like a million bucks before you board your next flight and when you arrive at your final destination!
Bring A Pillow
If you want to be extra comfortable bring a pillow. Business class usually supplies decent pillows but nothing beats a larger one. Just make sure you can stuff it in your carry on without taking too much space.
After several long-haul flights, some easy and some complete disasters, some planning is necessary to make your journey more pleasant. I hope my tips come in handy and if there is anything you do that helps during long-haul flights or to beat jetlag I’d love to hear about it. Share your comments below!
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