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As exciting as travelling can be, facing a long flight from point A to point B (if not point D) can be daunting and exhausting. Thankfully, there are things you can do before and during a flight to make it more comfortable and enjoyable, starting with these 12 tips.

1. Book Early

Preparation for surviving a long-haul flight begins well before the day of your flight. One of the first things you can do is book your flight as early as possible. Booking early increases the odds of getting your preferred seat (like the ones with that ever-so-valuable extra legroom).

For particularly long flights, you may want to consider upgrading your seat class if you can afford the higher ticket price so that you’re more comfortable for the many hours you’ll be confined to the cabin.

2. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

Admittedly, this one is primarily for reducing jetlag for your trip, but it’s a valuable tip for recovering from your flight, so it’s worth mentioning here. In the week or days leading up to your trip, slowly shift your sleep schedule to better align with the time zone you’re heading to. This gradual shift will help reduce the time shock and fatigue you experience post-flying.

3. Dress Comfortably

Dressing in comfortable clothes for a flight can help you not just feel comfortable and get better rest but can also support your health over long flights. Loose clothing is better for circulation, which can be reduced when sitting for long periods. Reduced circulation can also put you at risk for deep vein thrombosis, so adding compression socks to your outfit can help mitigate this by encouraging circulation in your lower body – though these aren’t recommended for everyone.

Wearing a few layers can also be practical during a flight to maintain a comfortable temperature, especially since aeroplanes can be on the cooler side.

4. Bring a Blanket and Eye Mask

If you plan to get some shut-eye on the flight, bring a lightweight blanket and eye mask to make falling asleep easier. Also, consider bringing along a travel pillow to keep your neck as comfortable as possible.

5. Buckle Up Over Your Blanket

Since we’re on the subject of blankets, you’ll also want to keep in mind that if you’re using one, a flight attendant may wake you if the plane is experiencing turbulence or the seat belt signal comes on, as they need to ensure you’re buckled up. Pro tip: to avoid being woken, buckle up over your blanket.

6. Bring Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Whether you use them to watch a show or movie, listen to a podcast, or minimise the sound of the plane and passengers around you, you’ll be grateful you brought these with you. They can help you unwind and enjoyably pass the time with minimal disturbance.

7. Pre-Download Entertainment

Before your flight, download a few episodes of your favourite TV show or a couple of movies you want to watch. These can help you pass the time with something you’re more interested in than the plane’s inflight entertainment. Downloading podcasts, e-books, or audiobooks before your flight is always a good idea too.

Having them downloaded can help you save money if you don’t want to pay for in-flight wi-fi. However, if the flight has free onboard wi-fi (or you’re willing to spend more for it), then you can always explore top-rated apps for slots or get a few work items off your to-do list to pass the time.

8. Charge Devices

It’s a good idea to have your devices fully charged before boarding because you may not always have easy access to a working outlet. While this may not be too disruptive for your phone (especially if you bring a portable charger for it), it can disrupt your plans to binge-watch movies on your laptop.

9. Avoid Alcohol

While it may be tempting to indulge in an alcoholic drink during your flight, it’s probably better for you to avoid it. Drinking on planes causes alcohol to be absorbed more quickly, and this can lead to you becoming dehydrated or experiencing brain fog. Alcohol also disrupts your sleep, which isn’t ideal if you’re already shifting to a different sleep schedule. Plus, it’ll mean more trips to the tiny aeroplane bathroom.

10. Stick to Bottle Drinks

When it comes to drinking on a plane, it’s not just alcoholic drinks that should be avoided. Tap water on planes and anything made with it, such as coffee or tea, is something to avoid as well. The concern is related to the cleanliness of the plane’s water tanks, which flight attendants have revealed are rarely, if ever, cleaned. An EPA study even revealed that the tanks were contaminated with harmful bacteria (like E. coli), so stick to bottled or canned drinks during your flight.

10. Bring Snacks

Long-haul flights do offer some inflight foods, but you’ll likely find yourself wanting or needing a bit more (or something more to your liking), so having a snack or two on hand can help you feel satiated. If you have any dietary restrictions, this is also a good way to ensure you have something to sustain you for the duration of the flight.

11. Walk the Cabin

Walking the cabin and doing light stretches are important for your circulation during long-haul flights. A short walk, small ankle rotations, and flexing and unflexing muscles can help promote healthy blood flow to reduce the risks associated with poor circulation.

12. Take Time to Freshen Up

Bringing along a few basic toiletries or even a change of clothing can help you feel human again when you’re on an especially long flight. Towards the end of a flight is a great time to use them or change into fresh clothes so that you’re energised and refreshed when you get to your destination.


Apply these tips to your next flight so that you can make the most of your time in the air and arrive at your destination ready for any and all activities you have planned.