How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight
Traveling is exciting, but for many travelers, the flying part of the journey can be brutal. With tiny seats and limited legroom, flying is no longer something I look forward to — instead, it’s something I know I have to endure in order to visit my next travel destination.
Audible asked us to share some of our best tips and tricks to make long-haul flights more comfortable, including incorporating the use of audiobooks to help pass the time.
Travel Tips for Surviving a Long-Haul Flight
The trick to long-haul flights is finding a balance between packing light and bringing all the essential survival tools. You want to keep your mind occupied to attempt to forget about the fact that your seat barely reclines and you will have zero personal space for the next several hours.
You can easily pack a Kindle or paperback book, but if you want to keep things light, I recommend downloading some audiobooks from Audible to your phone before you depart. Most of us always travel with our phones, so it’s a great way to save space and still be able to pass the time with a book.
With my busy schedule, it’s tough to find the time to read books, so flying is a great time to catch up on that ever-growing reading list. I’ve never been a fan of Kindles merely because I already feel like I spend too much time staring at a screen and a paperback book doesn’t always fit in my carry-on bag. Before I was introduced to Audible, I was often forced to choose between watching movies or reading the in-flight magazine.
Audiobooks have a way of drawing me in and it keeps me from constantly looking at the clock. Another benefit I find to audiobooks is that it allows me to drown out the noise of crying babies or chatty neighbors while enjoying my book — something I find tough to do with a paperback or Kindle. I suggest investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, which you can also use for movies and music.
For a limited time, you can receive a 30-day free trial of Audible. The best part is that once you download your books, there’s no internet required. You can choose from over 250,000 audiobooks including the best-selling novel, Jane Eyre.
Jane Eyre is an autobiography by Charlotte Brontë that was originally published in 1847 and tells the story of a nineteenth-century penniless orphan who is trying to find her way in the world. It’s an incredibly inspiring story and one that you can easily get lost in and forget about the long flight ahead of you. Thandie Newton’s audio interpretation of this novel is engrossing. The story will leave you wanting more.
Health & Hydration
Hydration is your friend on a long flight. With the exception of the occasional alcoholic beverage to help put you to sleep, it’s best to stick with water while you’re in the air. Plane air is dry like the desert and it’s extremely easy to get dehydrated. I always bring a collapsible water bottle and ask the flight attendants to fill it up. Keeping your nostrils hydrated with saline nasal spray is another trick I’ve learned after catching a few too many colds after long flights.
I always bring a vitamin pack with (Vitamin C, Zinc, and a daily vitamin) and take it before and after my flight to keep my immune system boosted. Don’t forget to pack plenty of moisturizer for the flight (I love Aquaphor’s travel size tubes and this all-natural lotion/lip balm travel pack) and try to moisturize your entire body before you get dressed so you’re not dealing with dry, itchy skin during your long flight.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but boarding the plane relatively rested is key. Don’t plan on using the flight as a way to catch up on your sleep (unless you are one of the lucky few who has no problem sleeping in an upright position).
For red-eye flights, consider a sleep aid like Melatonin. It’s one of the few sleep aids that won’t make you groggy if you don’t catch a full 8-hours of sleep on the plane — and let’s face it, sleeping that much on a flight is rare. Eye masks and neck pillows are a must on overnight flights as well. If a neck pillow feels like too much to carry, you can blow up an inflatable beach ball and place it on top of your tray table.
Try to get up and walk around every couple of hours to stretch your legs. This is where an aisle seat comes in handy. If you are in a window seat and you don’t want to bother your seat mates every couple of hours, do some neck and ankle stretches while sitting down.
If you have some long-haul flight tips to add, please mention them in the comments section and let us know which Audiobooks you would choose from Audible to help pass the time on your next flight. We’re always looking for book recommendations!
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Hi, I really enjoyed reading your article and I find these tips to be really helpful. Just before I leave from my flight, I like to pack ahead and not just for the trip itself but also to be in a plane for a long time. I always make sure to bring things that I think are essential for long-haul flights. One thing that I never forget is the neck pillow, I need it most to survive, no matter whether it’s a short flight or a 10 hours flight. It might be true that pillow neck could sometimes be a hassle to carry around, so I might now consider using the inflatable beach ball, as funny as I might look sleeping on it. Other than preparing lip balms, lotions and vitamin-c like you, I like to bring a sheet face mask since being on a plane for a long time could be very dehydrating. I personally find using sheet masks really calming and it helps me relax on the plane. My other personal favourite hack to is to bring a good pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, well I use my headphone and it amazingly allows me to settle in so quickly with feeling like I have a personal space!
The main thing is keeping yourself entertained in my opinion.
Great tips! You’re absolutely right 🙂
My neck hurts no matter what i use. For anyone interested, i found a real fast place to book flights, rental cars & hotels that’s easy…hangouttravel.com
Sleep is always an issue for me. Even with neck pillows, ear plugs etc. Think I’ve just given up on overnight flights — and rely on recovery at my destination!
I always fly fully equipped with a neck pillow (yes, it’s an absolute must! And there are decent inflatable ones as well now), noise cancelling head phones and my kindle on pretty much every flight. Also bring my phone with music (Spotify with offline playlists) and audiobooks (I do use Audible, actually). And, on long haul or overnight flights, a pair of warm socks and an eye mask. Ah, and moisturizer as you say plus lip balm as I get disastrously dry lips on flights. As for audiobooks – I’ve got Game of Thrones lined up right now as I have yet to read or watch any of it!
I know nothing about Game of Thrones. I’ll add that to my reading list. Thanks for the tips!
Such a good list if tips! I have a long haul flight home from Hong Kong in a week and will be sure to keep this all in mind 🙂
I agree with Chris. A good neck pillow is critical for us economy battlers. Huge thanks for a great post Christy!
Just read this and couldn’t agree more about the neck pillow. I haven’t done the eye mask just yet, though, but probably need to try it. Either way, thanks for the post Christy. Good stuff.