5 Tips for Surviving Long Haul Travel

5 Tips for Surviving Long Haul Travel

    In 2016 I averaged 2+ long haul flights each month. That’s over 100,000 miles of air travel. As you can imagine I somewhat perfected the best way to not only survive but to actually enjoy the many hours in a confined space. So I thought I would pass along my top 5 tips for surviving long haul travel. I hope that by the end of this post you will have the tools necessary to better enjoy your next trip.

    #1 Go in with a positive attitude.


    I have friends who think I am crazy to spend so many hours in the air. They say they cannot imagine how tedious it must be for me. Now I admit I am fortunate that I fly business or first class.  I recognize I therefore start with somewhat of an advantage. Flowing champagne, comfy seats that turn into flat beds, and all those movies that I didn’t get around to seeing at the cinema are just a few of my favorites. But even with all those ‘premium goodies’ you would be surprised how many grumpy fellow passengers I witness. Keeping a positive attitude, even when things don’t always go so well, will make the trip so much more bearable. And who knows, a good attitude might also lead to an upgrade.

    5 Tips for Surviving Long Haul Travel

    #2 Be comfortable


    I have a few go-to outfits that I like to wear when I’m traveling long haul:

    1. Clothes that don’t crease too easily
    2. Shoes that come on and off effortlessly for security
    3. Layers of clothes, as airplanes seems to have difficulty regulating the heat/ac
    4. An extra pashmina for warmth and to hide under

    But something I had not done until I flew BA First Class for the first time was to change into a pair of pajamas for an overnight flight. Just the act of changing out of my ‘day clothes’ and into something cozy made me more relaxed. Not to mention it also helped keep my travel outfit fresh and crease free. I think this is so beneficial that I now take a pair of pj’s in my carry-on so that I can change whenever I want to relax. I also take a pair of my own eye shades as I found the perfect style that doesn’t make my eyelashes stick together.


    5 Tips for Surviving Long Haul Travel

    #3 Stay entertained


    As mentioned above I love using long haul flights to catch up on movies. But I find that I can enjoy this so much more if I pack my own noise canceling headphones. The headphones have also saved my sanity a few times from noisy fellow travelers. If the flight is 8+ hours then I also make sure I have a few other distractions like my laptop, my Kindle and sufficient music on my phone or ipod.

    5 Tips for Surviving Long Haul Travel
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    #4 Stay hydrated


    I thought this meant drink plenty of champagne at first, but sadly not. I do still indulge (well it would be rude not to) but I also ensure that I drink as much water as I can tolerate. But just to add some science to the mix, read this Harvard Medical School article. I didn’t realize that staying hydrated can greatly reduce the effects of jet lag. If you think you might forget to drink sufficient quantities, then take your own water bottle onto the flight as a reminder.


    But it’s not just your inside that needs hydrating. The low humidity during the flight will literally suck the moisture from the deepest layers of your skin. And don’t think that if you have oily skin this will work to your advantage. The low humidity of the flight will cause your skin to increase oil production due to the lack of moisture. Not a pretty picture. Many of the onboard amenity kits that are given out will have any number of sample products that you can slather all over yourself. Or do as per model Chrissy Teigen and take your own products and use the time to give yourself a facial.


    #5 Stay healthy


    Of course, it’s important to stay healthy before you travel  (you would be surprised how many people get sick just before a vacation). But you also need to stay healthy while on a long haul flight. The lack of humidity combined with the pressure of the airplane cabin and the enclosed space with 100+ other passengers is not always conducive to staying healthy. But there are things you can do to help alleviate any potential issues.

    1. Be active – DVT or deep vein thrombosis is a potential risk, and not just to those in economy class. Move your muscles regularly, even gently contracting your calf muscles will greatly help. I also like to take a pair of compression socks as I think it’s better to be over cautious.
    2. Don’t eat too much, and nothing too spicy or different from what you would usually eat.
    3. Don’t over indulge by enjoying too much of the free-flowing alcohol
    4. Help your immune system by taking one of the over the counter remedies.


    5 Tips for Surviving Long Haul Travel

    I have found that by being aware of all the above points, I am better able to enjoy the hours I spend in a little tin can hurtling through the skies. Do you have any other ideas that I missed? Please share in the comments below if you do.

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      • Cacinda says:

        I don’t do as much travelling as I used to but these are great tips to keep in mind. I used to get all dolled up before flying but that stopped after a while. It is all about being comfy and having what you need.

        • Sue says:

          I think there is still something worthwhile about dressing up a little to fly (if you want to try for that upgrade) but I do probably go for comfort over style on most trips these days.

      • Jamie H says:

        Wow, that is a lot of flight time! What a blessing, though, to be able to travel the world. I used to work and save up and then travel, when I was younger, but with kids now traveling far just doesn’t seem to be in the current plan. I am trying to be excited about the trips to places closer to home, but I’m really looking forward to when they’re old enough that I can justify the expense of flying us all to Europe. These tips are really great, and ones I wish I had thought of! I couldn’t agree more with the lack of heat regulation, and the need to stay hydrated!

        • Sue says:

          I think I have grass is greener syndrome as one of my 2017 resolutions is to travel less 🙂 Im hoping to be based back in the US more and tick off a few of the states that I have not visited yet.

      • censie says:

        We are hoping to go to Europe in the next few years so this will come in handy. about 4 years ago we went to Spain and that was a long trip with a toddler. I could have used these tips back then for sure! I hope to be able to travel overseas soon!

        • Sue says:

          Traveling with toddlers can be tricky but a little planning ahead of time on what to take along for the journey will greatly help.

      • Rohan Gupta says:

        Stay healthy is must follow tips because if you are not enough healthy you can’t survive and can’t enjoy the trip they way to would like to want.

        • Sue says:

          So true, but you would be surprised at how many people get sick just before their much-needed vacation. I think the body kind of relaxes in anticipation of the holiday and the immune system doesn’t work as well.

      • roch says:

        Clothes that are fashionable, light, and comfortable are a must when traveling. Scarves and accessories that can help provide warmth can bring extra relaxation for us. Packing an eye mask with gel is also recommended.

      • I love these tips! Staying hydrated is one of the main things I focus on when I am traveling. I had no clue that staying hydrated helped overcome jet lag! Guess that is just another reason to drink up! I find that drinking water helps me to overcome the quesy/stuffy feeling.

        • Sue says:

          I was surprised to learn the science behind staying hydrated but its a great incentive for me as I do find jet lag gets worse as I get older.

      • Diana says:

        I seriously love all these tips! Especially about eating heslthy. Too many times I vacation and think it’s okay to splurge and indulge in food then I feel like crap haha. Thanks for these great suggestions girl!

      • Echo says:

        I think these are great tips for long travels. Staying entertained and comfortable is the most important thing that I can think of going into a long flight. Staying hydrated would be super important as well.

      • krystal says:

        The most I have ever flown was three hours which is not much compared to you! I find myself VERY antsy and caffeinated on flights and can’t seem to relax. I don’t know what to do with myself. These are good tips!

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