How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

Flying can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable on the shortest of flights. But, what about those long-haul flights? I’m talking about the ones that are 8 hours or more. So many people feel like they just have to grin and bear it and ultimately suffer, but I have some tips that will help you to survive that long-haul flight in a bit more comfort than you might expect!

Here are some great tips for how to survive a long-haul flight!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. 🥰

Wear comfortable clothes and dress in layers

It is important that for long flights you dress in comfortable clothing. You will be sitting in a fairly small space (especially if you are flying economy) for a very long time, and the last thing you want is to have a tight waistband digging into your stomach, or your legs sticking to the seat, or a shirt cutting off your circulation. I recommend wearing loose fitting pants, a t-shirt, and a cardigan or light jacket that is easy to put on and take off. The jacket can always double as a blanket when the plane gets cold. You can always wear a scarf as well that would double as a blanket as well.

Wear compression socks

Now, this is a tip that I have not personally made use of yet, but I am going to on my next long-haul flight. Every travel blog and vlog that I have looked at recently has recommended wearing compression socks on long flights. I know most people equate these with old people, but many young people use these on long flights as well.

They will keep your legs from swelling up from the pressure in the cabin, help increase circulation and help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting on a long flight. Above is a good option, especially if you would like to still look somewhat fashionable (they have many different patterns to choose from).

Use noise canceling headphones

The noise levels on a plane are no joke. The engines are loud. The people are loud. One of the best things to bring with you on your long flight are a pair of noise canceling headphones. A lot of people will opt to bring AirPods with them, which is fine, but a pair of over ear headphones will do a much better job of helping to reduce the noise level for you. I would also recommend bringing a pair that has the ability to plug into the plane’s seat-back entertainment system so you don’t have to use the less than optimal airplane provided earbuds.

Bring a neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs

A really good thing to try to do on a long-haul flight is get as much sleep as possible. Generally you will be landing in the country you are traveling to when it is still daytime there, so sleeping on the plane can go a long way toward combating jet lag. For this reason, I recommend bringing a neck pillow, eye mask and earplugs.

The airplane will generally provide you with a pillow, but it is not terribly comfortable. There are many different options for neck pillows out there. I have included an option above that has great reviews.

The eye mask is ideal for blocking the cabin lights and the earplugs will help drown out the noise of the other passengers and the engines as well. All of these will help you have a much better chance at getting some quality shut eye on your flight.

Bring an empty water bottle

I highly recommend bringing an empty water bottle with you through security. You can fill it up in the terminal after you make it to your gate, and this will keep you hydrated during your long flight! Planes are incredibly dry and can dehydrate you, so having a full bottle of water on hand is essential. The cups of water they give you during the drink service are tiny, so this will certainly help keep you in tip top shape.

Photo by Erik Mclean on

Pack snacks

Speaking of the drink service, I suggest bringing your own snacks with you on your long flight! The snacks they give you during the drink service are generally quite small and not terribly satisfying. If you stock up on your favorite snacks you will not have to deal with mid-flight hunger pangs, and you will be guaranteed to be able to eat something you like on your flight.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

Bring a pen for customs forms

This is something that many people forget to bring with them on an international flight. If you are flying to another country, which is likely on a long-haul flight, then you will need to fill out customs forms. These are handed out on your flight before you land, and if you can get them filled out in the air, you will have to spend less time when you land trying to get them filled out before you can go through customs.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

Bring your medications with you in your personal item

Something that you might not think about is that you should bring your medications with you in your personal item. If you checked your bag and left your medications in there, you will be up a creek without a paddle if you need to take any medication mid-flight, or worse if your luggage gets lost. Always bring your medications with you, as well as any valuables that you wouldn’t want to risk getting lost and having to replace in a foreign country.

Photo by Jason Toevs on

Preload your devices with entertainment

While most international flights will have an entertainment system in the seat-back, it is a good idea to pre-load your devices with entertainment. The seat-back system might not be working, or it could lack anything that sounds appealing to you. 8+ hours is a long time to sit in one spot with nothing to entertain you. If you bring a tablet, laptop, or even your phone, you can load movies, tv shows and e-books onto them before your flight, and then everything will be at your fingertips during the long, long hours.

Bring a portable charger for your devices

With that being said, it is highly recommended that you bring a portable charger for your various devices. Many airplane seats will have plugs available, and if yours does then have at it! But if it doesn’t, or if it isn’t working, a portable battery charger is a great thing to have in your personal item. Here are two great options that will keep your devices going for your entire flight!

Photo by Kelly on

Get up and walk around

8+ hours is a very long time to sit in one spot, especially if you are cramped back in economy seats. It is a good idea to get up and walk around every couple of hours, even if it is just to get up and go to the bathroom. This will help keep your blood circulating and prevent you from getting any muscle cramps as well.

Clean your seat area

Now, the plane is cleaned after every flight, but there is no telling if they clean every nook and cranny (and it is highly unlikely that they do). I recommend bringing wet wipes with you and wiping down your seat area, especially the tray table, armrests, and potentially even the seat itself. It might be overkill, but I’ve seen what some people have set down on those tray tables, and I’ll just keep cleaning them myself.

Photo by Dylan Bueltel on

Keep anything you think you might actually use during the flight in your personal item under the seat in front of you

I am a huge proponent of packing carry-on only, but I do not recommend putting anything in your carry-on suitcase (that would the the one that you put in the overhead bin) that you might need to access during the flight itself. Anything that you would like to have during the flight should be packed in your personal item. That would be the bag that you store under the seat in front of you. This can include, but is not limited to, anything entertainment related, neck pillows, cardigans, snacks, etc. Luggage can shift during takeoff, and you don’t want to be the person making your seat mates move every time you want to grab another candy bar or your headphones, do you?

What are some of your go to long-haul flight tips? Have any of these tips helped when you have flown in the past? What is your favorite place you have been to on a long-haul flight? Let’s chat in the comments!

Love and happy traveling,


2 thoughts on “How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

  1. These are all such great tips! My next long flight is to Japan for 14 hours and I am not ready for that at all. I have some time but this will be the longest flight I’ve ever taken.

    Liked by 1 person

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