Long haul flights are truly what passengers make them. For nervous fliers, they can be a literal nightmare, a pain in the back (yes, literally), a once-in-a-lifetime experience (both for negative and positive reasons), or a lackluster means from A to B. However, for travelers who understand that the journey in the sky is part of the adventure, a flight can genuinely be pleasant - and even exciting for those who know how to chill out and enjoy themselves despite being confined within the walls of a cylindrical flying tuna can in the clouds.
So, to help readers get the most out of a lengthy flight - to enjoy the experience and be more comfortable on board - here are a few handy (and genius) tips from some of TheTravel's fans who swear by them each and every time they hop on a dauntingly long journey across the planet.
17 Bring A Mask And Some Essential Oils
Planes sometimes aren't the most pleasant-smelling places - think stale air, passed gas, questionably aromatic food and snacks, stinky feet, and sweaty passengers who may have been traveling for days without having showered (it happens to even the best of travelers sometimes). One smart reader suggested taking a mask and lightly spraying the inside of it with a nice essential oil to dilute and drown out any smells that may offend the nose. A traveler never knows if they'll be assaulted by awful aromas on board a flying metal tube in the sky with no way to escape, so it's better to have this remedy and not need it than need it and not have it.
16 Don't Book A Seat Right Next To The Toilet
For self-explanatory reasons, opting for a seat too close to the restroom may result in some unpleasant experiences (especially if in-flight meals contain any ounce of rich foods, like curry or spices that produce pungent and putrid pumps in the loo). Travelers can save their noses from any unfortunate, smelly encounters with other passengers' post-meal bathroom parties by choosing a seat that's at least a few rows away from the toilets.
15 Bring An Inflatable Beach Ball
It may sound strange, but this is a genius tip for being more comfortable when trying to sleep on a flight - particularly a long-haul one in a middle or aisle seat. Bring any large inflatable beach ball in hand luggage, and inflate it on the plane when it's time to get some sleep. Place it on the lap, and lean forwards whilst resting the head on it like a giant pillow. It allows the body to rest in a far more comfortable position than just sitting back against the seat, or using a neighbor as a headrest.
14 Wear Flight Socks And Move Around Often
Wearing flight socks or compression socks promotes healthy blood flow and circulation and helps to reduce swelling and the risk of blood clots that can pose a health threat to fliers. They're usually affordable and very comfortable, which makes them an indispensable item for travelers - particularly those who fly very often. It's also advisable to get up, stretch the legs and move around during the flight. Every hour or two, passengers can do leg pumps, muscle tensing and releasing, stretching, and simply get up for a walk up and down the plane to keep the blood flowing.
13 Download Movies And Music At Home Beforehand
Flights do have very good entertainment onboard these days - especially long haul journeys - but there's no harm in preparing an entertainment library before the flight. Download all movies and music onto a laptop, tablet, or smartphone at home before heading to the airport. Many folks make the mistake of waiting until they get to the airport to download entertainment, only to be disappointed when the WiFi is mega slow, and the flight doesn't offer anything of notable interest. Travelers can get ready in advance by downloading movies they know they'll enjoy, and preparing music playlists at home to keep them entertained throughout the flight.
12 Be Impartial To The Surroundings
Flying isn't one of life's most comfortable and glamorous events, but by zoning out and accepting the surroundings, it can be a much more pleasant, stress-free experience. Ignore and accept the atmosphere, including any crying babies, snoring passengers, and loud engine noises. Passengers can use mindfulness to accept the ambiance of the flight, and not let everything get on top of them. The surroundings are not controllable, so accepting them and not fighting against them is the best approach to keep anxiety and stress on the lower side. This really is a great way to reduce mental stress and just relax on the flight until arrival at the destination.
11 Chew During Take-Off And Descent
During take-off and descent, the change in atmospheric pressure can cause some discomfort in the airways - such as the ears, nose, sinuses, and throat. This can be alleviated by chewing gum or sucking on mints and candies, which help to pop the ears and relieve any trapped air that results in said mild discomfort.
10 Bring A Pillowcase
Airline pillows are surprisingly small and are often not the most comfortable. So why not bring one instead? Bring a pillowcase and stuff a winter jacket into it, and voila - it's now a big pillow. When it's no longer needed, simply remove the said jacket from the pillowcase, and put it away or wear it.
9 Dress Comfortably
For maximum comfort, passengers should opt for the comfiest clothing they own, with the likes of sweat pants, sweatshirts, and big hoodies being a particularly smart choice. Other attire can be just as comfortable, such as gym clothes and leggings. Natural fibers like cotton are ideal because they're super comfy, warm, and allow the skin to breathe. Quick-drying fabrics that are often used in gym wear are also great, and can even be better when traveling to or from a warmer climate since they help to prevent sweat from building up.
8 Wear Layers
Being too hot or too cold ruins everything, and wearing multiple layers can reduce this problem. Have thinner layers underneath an outfit so that if it gets too hot, the warmer and thicker top layers can be easily removed. This is also smart for travelers going from one climate to another with contrasting temperatures - simply add or remove layers before, during, and after the flight to accommodate any climate and temperature change, as well as to keep warm or cool on the flight. Also, be sure to pack a few spare layers in the hand luggage just in case - not just for temperature reasons, but also because it's refreshing to change into something clean, especially when there are multiple long flights on the journey.
7 Assess Needs And Book A Seat Accordingly
Some passengers are happy to sit, relax, and nap for the whole flight without needing to get up so much. But others need frequent restroom trips, or simply want to get up and stretch their legs more often. Whatever need be, travelers will benefit by thinking beforehand about what they plan to do on the flight. Those who need to get up often should book an aisle seat, whereas passengers who don't intend to get out of their seat frequently (and who want somewhere to rest their head) will enjoy a window seat.
6 Hydrate And Moisturize
Hydration goes for both stomach and skin. With all that cool, dry, recycled air, the plane atmosphere is often akin to that of a desert. It's not uncommon for passengers to feel uncharacteristically more thirsty than usual, and their skin, dry as a bone (and peeling!) To compensate for the lack of moisture in the air, travelers should make extra effort to drink more water than they would normally, and pack a small bottle of moisturizer (or buy one in the airport after security) to apply every couple of hours or so during the flight.
Another tip to keep water flowing is to pack a large, empty water bottle or flask in the hand luggage - security won't confiscate it if there's no liquid in it. Then, it's easy to fill it up and keep refilling it once through security. Plus, this will help to reduce plastic waste and save money on buying water bottles throughout the journey, which in airports and on planes, are infamously small and expensive.
5 Take A Jacket Or Hoodie With Lots Of Pockets
A long-haul flight typically entails a longer stay somewhere, which often means more luggage. Airline baggage allowances are strict, and nobody wants to be hit with extra fees for overweight luggage. To cheat, passengers can wear their affairs with a tactical hoodie or jacket featuring ample pockets. Most pocket-riddled jackets or hoodies will do, but there are specially-designed travel ones available that have handy pockets and stealthy storage just for plane journeys.
This is a clever way to store important and heavier items, such as laptops, tablets, portable games consoles, books, and even drinks and snacks. Plus, such a jacket can double up as a blanket should temperatures drop on board - simply put the items into hand baggage or the plane's overhead compartments, and snuggle up with the jacket as a cozy cover.
4 Book the Bulkhead Or Emergency Seat
These seats at the front row of any section of the plane always have much more legroom in comparison to other seats, making them a cheaper option to get more space without paying for the likes of business or first class. Plus, these seats are far more comfortable for passengers who may have additional space needs, such as families with kids, disabled travelers, or those who need easier and quicker access to the restroom.
3 Have Items To Drown Out The Sounds
Take earplugs, noise-canceling headphones, an eye mask, and a neck pillow so that getting some much-needed shut-eye or downtime can be done more comfortably and with ease. It's probably better and cheaper to buy these items in advance, but they're also usually available to purchase in the airport for those who're low on time or have forgotten to get them beforehand.
Airplanes aren't the quietest places to be - the constant loud engine noise, and any upset infants on board can make relaxing and sleeping seem almost impossible at many thousand feet in the air with several hours of travel time to go. But the atmosphere becomes instantly bearable and incredibly peaceful when earplugs or headphones, an eye mask, and a comfy neck pillow come to the rescue.
2 Pack A Phone And Tablet Charger And Power Bank
It's a long-haul flight, so it's probable that phones and tablets are bound to be drained of power when using them for movies, TV shows, games, and music throughout the journey - and that's when a spare charger and power bank comes in handy. These days, it's also common for plane seats to have USB charging sockets too, so why not make good use of them? Plus, it's great to have a fully charged phone and tablet upon arrival at the destination.
1 Pack Stuff For The Little Ones (And Other Passengers)
Flying with babies and young children is by no means an easy task. Little ones get grumpy, irritable, bored, and uncomfortable when they have to remain in one place for too long - such as on an airplane, and there's a good reason why the dreaded "crying baby on a plane" trope is a common complaint amongst travelers.
But to make the journey easier, it can be helpful to pack plenty of age-appropriate pastimes for the kiddies to be kept busy. Coloring books, crayons, books, small toys, portable games consoles, and tablets with kids' shows and movies downloaded onto them are great for entertaining small passengers. Also, don't forget to pack plenty of snacks, water, juice (buy these after security to avoid them being confiscated), and some cozy pillows and blankets for the kids so that they're much more comfortable when it's time for a nap onboard. Finally, there's no harm in packing a few spare earplugs for neighboring passengers in case the small humans need to cry or scream for extended periods of time...