Surviving long haul flights in economy is not easy. The confined space and uncomfortable seating makes it even more challenging. One of the downsides of travelling on a budget is that you don’t have the luxury to be picky with your flights. This means you may end up on 13 hour flights or even 15 hours like my flight from New York to South Africa.
So instead of hoping and praying that you don’t have people sitting next to you, follow our long haul flight tips to make sure you are comfortable on your flight.
Long Haul Flight Tips
Don’t be that person that gets up every 10 minutes to get something out of the overhead. When you pack your carry – on make sure you carry a small bag as well. You can remove your in-flight essentials and put them in this small bag and place it under your seat so everything is easily accessible. We love these packable backpacks, when we get to the gate we unpack on long haul travel essentials.
Stick To Your Routine
If you are flying on a red-eye, try and stick to your nightly routine as much as possible. This can help you get some sleep by tricking your body into winding down. Tea bags are also great to bring on flights. Herbal teas like chamomile are a great way to mellow you out and get you ready for bed. These herbal teas are a lot more hydrating since they don’t have in caffeine like normal tea.
This is one of the best ways to stay comfortable on long haul flights. If you stay hydrated it will keep your skin and lips from drying out and chapping. There’s nothing worse than dried chapped lips, but if you have that problem then grab some manuka honey lip balm!
If I have nothing to do on a flight it seems like time goes by slowly! Whereas if I’m busy watching movies or reading, time seems to fly. So one of our long haul travel tips is to keep yourself busy, whether it is photo editing, writing, reading or just watching some movies. Also, don’t check your watch or keep your screen on the flight map… just don’t do it.
The best long haul flight tip would be to dress comfortably. You can even pack some pajamas in your bag so you can change! Trust me, leggings or sweatpants are the best things for sitting on a flight for 15 hours. Planes can get a bit chilly as well so pack a sweater or a scarf just in case you get cold!
Try and Sleep
If you’ve run out of movies or things to do then close your eyes and try to rest as much as possible. The more rest you get on board then the better you will feel when you land. You will probably land at some odd hour so having some sleep behind you will help get you through until you can relax at your hostel or hotel.
These are some of our favourite items that we always carry on our long haul flights:
Hands down our favourite headphones are Bose. Jason uses these ones and I love these! They are so amazing and it drowns out crying babies and the drone of the engine. I usually take my old ipod shuffle or I listen to music from my phone depending on if there are charging ports on board.
Probably not a necessity if you have the kindle app on your phone, but I do love reading when I’m on a plane and I love carrying a kindle because the batteries last forever. This means you can easily make it through a long haul flight without your kindle dying, unlike your phone.
If you are productive when you fly then opt for a portable laptop or tablet to keep you occupied. I’ve been taking my Samsung Galaxy book so that I cant write for a couple of hours or even edit photos.
Travel pillows are on our must have list for our next trip. We are really hoping that these can help us sleep a bit better on board. We aren’t going to go too crazy with something like this but we will probably grab a traditional pillow from the airport like this.
This is our favourite sweatshirt for trips. Also it is super adorable. You can also opt for a turkish towel as a blanket or even a microfibre travel towel.
We have been trying to use less plastic when we travel so we opt for our own water bottles which we fill up before we board the flight. This way we don’t have to go through multiple plastic cups when the hostesses come around.
Always walk with snacks, our favourites are Quest protein bars and even some junk food such as gummy bears and chips
Always carry some panadol, eye drops, indigestion tablets such as Tums and maybe even some melatonin to help you get some rest. Allergy tablets are good to carry just in case as well. I love to walk with some extra packets of emergen-C, it’s a great way to keep hydrated and the vitamin C helps to fight off any germs that are trying to knock you out before you even start your trip.
Toothbrush is essential. After a few hours you may want to brush your teeth to freshen up a bit so opt for one of these bamboo toothbrushes. Lip balm is another essential for us, our lips great so dried out on board.
Surviving Lay Overs
If you have an extremely long lay over it may be a good idea to look into rooms for the day, or night. A little sleep goes a long way, but the ability to throw down your bags, have a hot shower and rest for an hour or so is absolute gold. We highly recommend it for layovers over 4 hours. If you have a shorter layover, find a spot with a few empty chairs and take turns getting a little shut eye. You don’t want to miss your flight!
Cut Costs by Avoiding Spending Money at Airports
Everything is more expensive at the airport! This is where our handle water bottles come into play. We use these and fill up at water fountains so we don’t need to buy bottled water. Try and avoid eating at restaurants and drinking anything alcoholic. Alcoholic drinks are crazy expensive, our local beer typically costs $1usd but at the airport we were shocked to find out they are $5usd! Also, you definitely don’t want to be hungover on board.