Top Ten Long Haul Travel Tips
It doesn’t matter if you are sitting up near the driver (pilot), or at the back of the plane, here are my top ten long haul travel tips to make your flight more bearable. The reasons are below this list!
- Don’t be a pain for the cabin crew.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take power banks (and make sure they are charged) if your seat does not have a USB charge point.
- Get up and stretch your legs. If you can’t, clench and unclench your calf muscles and raise your knees.
- Don’t sit near the toilets.
- If flying economy, try to get an aisle seat.
- Don’t sit near the bulkheads (dividers) in the plane. That’s where they put the bassinets (child cots).
- Take a clear plastic bag on board to put your phone in. You can hang it off the seat in front and watch movies. (Please use headphones!)
- If you can upgrade using points or cash, do.
- Have a solid plan to while away the time.
Now let me explain my top ten long haul travel tips to make your life easier and arrive at your destination feeling human, more refreshed and mainly sane. This is a list of long haul flight essentials for the body and mind!
1. Don’t be a pain for the cabin crew.
The first of my long haul flights tips and tricks is, of course, pretty self-explanatory but might need expanding. If you are a pain, consequently, the level of service you receive goes down. If you keep complaining about the little things or are forever pressing the call button it may cause you problems. Not that the crew will tell you, of course, but it will be noted!
Firstly, the cabin crew are there for your safety. They also provide drinks and food. A lot of people forget this and assume they are just glorified waiters and waitresses. Nothing will get on their nerves more if they are treated like that!
2. Drink plenty of water.
Generally speaking, it’s a very dry environment in a plane. Correspondingly, the lack of humidity can lead to dehydration. Then on top of any alcohol consumed can lead to headaches and other dehydration related illnesses.
At ground level humidity is normally 35% to 65%. An aeroplane at cruising altitude, it is at 20% to 30%. Check out my health tips about DVTs how to avoid them when flying and Travelling with a medical condition and also NHS thoughts about DVTs here. Deep Vein Thrombosis and Arterial blood clots are like a Great White Shark wearing a novelty hat, very dangerous and not at all amusing. I’ve had Arterial blood clots, so I know of which I speak!
3. Take power banks (and make sure they are charged) if your seat does not have a USB charge point.
Using electronic devices to make the time go quicker helps but make sure they don’t run out of juice. Among the things to take on a plane, a power bank is essential. Or several depending on the duration of the flight to keep your device running. I’ve listed one below number 10 which can charge your phone nearly 3 times over, a very handy gadget to take on a long haul flight!
4. Get up and stretch your legs. If you can’t, clench and unclench your calf muscles and raise your knees.
Next, on my Top ten long haul travel tips is exercise! This is important to help prevent DVTs and furthermore, for your general well being. The body is not used to sitting down for 8 – 16 hours and keeping still. Even sitting down, raise your heels but keep your toes on the floor, you’ll feel your calves tighten as you do it, so you know you are doing it right and repeat.
Additionally, get up and walk up and down the aisles or walk on the spot every couple of hours. It’ll all help.
5. Don’t sit near the toilets.
From people keep banging your head as they walk past and disturbing you by queuing up beside you, sitting near the toilets, of course, is a no-no. Also, the smell as the door opens each time can be very off-putting.
6. If flying economy, try to get an aisle seat.
It gives you comparatively more room to stretch your legs or get up and walk about without having to climb over people to do it. It also gives an illusion of space, not having somebody sitting next to you. Just another thing that might be helpful when considering how to survive long flights in economy!
7. Don’t sit near the bulkheads (dividers) in the plane. That’s where they put the bassinets (child cots).
Number 7 on my Top ten long haul travel tips is position in the cabin. If you want to spend 8 to 16 hours listening to children crying, be my guest and sit near the bassinets. Of course, it’s not the kids’ fault, change in pressure in the ears causes pain and babies cannot articulate themselves to communicate they are in pain.
Older kids will get bored and play up. I once sat for 12 hours on a flight back from Mauritius with a child swinging their feet into the back of my chair. Hmm, that was fun, so do everything you can do to avoid it.
8. Take a clear plastic bag on board to put your phone in. You can hang it off the seat in front and watch movies. (Please use headphones!)
Certainly, a lot of aircraft have a in-flight entertainment. If your chair does not have a screen, however, put your phone into a clear bag. I use one for taking liquids on planes, just remember to pick one up as you go through security. Hang it from the catch that holds tray table up and turn it into a mini screen! Use headphones and don’t play it out loud otherwise, you will become unpopular, very quickly! Happily, the touchscreen still works inside the bag!
9. Have a solid plan to while away the time.
Books, magazines, phone and laptops, in fact, anything to keep yourself occupied. Likewise, take a guide book of where you are going in your carry on. If it helps, make a list of things to do while on the plane.
10. If you can upgrade using points or cash, do.
The last of my long haul flights tips and tricks is to upgrade if you can. For the most part, it’s worth it if you can. I find flying across the North Atlantic the most expensive in business class so financially it may not be worth it. However, if you have a lot of airline points to hand or found a sack full of cash, you’ll be treated like more of a human being.
Also, you’ll have extra space, get time to sleep and arrive feeling better and not so jet lagged. Spending the first day or two of your trip feeling rough is certainly no fun, so if you are on limited time at your destination, do consider it. As can be seen below, you get a lot more space!
It is important what you wear on a plane! In fact, it is so important, I wrote a whole page about ‘What to wear on a Plane‘. In short, I wear natural fabrics and layers of them to help me keep warm or cool as the temperature on planes can vary so much! Also, I find natural fabrics more comfortable to travel in.
So, you might be asking;
What gadgets to make flying more comfortable? Below are a few things from Amazon that might make life more bearable.
A Few things to consider;
How to fly comfortably in Economy Class
An inflatable pillow should be on the list of what to take on long haul flight. If you are flying economy, this is, to be sure, a must-have! Anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable will pay dividends, as you would expect, at the end of a long haul flight!
Also, some fold down headphones, even if you don’t play music through them they will help reduce the drone of the engines. Also, if you are travelling as a couple some headphone splitters to share your screen like in section 8 will help give a sense of closeness you achieve at home when you are watching TV.
- Laptops and phones can be used on planes as long as they are in flight safe mode
- Don’t be a pain for the crew!
- If you go to sleep do your seat belt up over the top of your blanket. The crew WILL wake you up to check!
You may be a seasoned traveller or you may be looking for tips for flying internationally for the first time. Hopefully, my top ten long haul travel tips will help you on your journeys.
What tips do you find help you survive a long haul flight? Leave a comment below to help other travelers
Top ten long haul travel tips.