How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

Long-haul flights often evoke a whirlwind of emotions – from the thrill of discovering new horizons to the apprehension of enduring confined spaces for extensive periods. Yet, fret not! Armed with effective strategies, you can not just withstand, but truly relish these expansive voyages through the skies. In this comprehensive guide on how to survive long flights, we shall explore indispensable techniques to aid you in traversing these aerial journeys with serenity and ease.

How to Survive Long Flights

How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

1. Choose Your Seat Wisely

Choosing the perfect seat can significantly influence your flight journey. If you prioritise legroom, selecting an aisle seat is advisable. This allows you the freedom to extend your legs or access facilities without causing inconvenience to fellow travellers. Conversely, if uninterrupted rest is your goal, a window seat offers sanctuary. Nestling against the window provides a shield from disturbances caused by passing passengers.

I recall a particularly arduous journey to Los Angeles, where I found myself squeezed between friends in a cramped middle seat. It was far from an enjoyable experience. Since then, I’ve made it a habit to meticulously plan my seating arrangements in advance, ensuring comfort and ample space to stretch out.

How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

2. Dress for Comfort

Prioritise comfort over style during long flights. Opt for loose, breathable attire that facilitates freedom of movement. Layering is essential to accommodate the varying temperatures onboard.

Once, I made the error of donning tight skinny jeans for a flight. Needless to say, I endured the journey wriggling uncomfortably in my seat, longing for the ease of sweatpants. It was a lesson learned: prioritize comfort without hesitation!

How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

3. Stay Hydrated

The dry atmosphere inside airplane cabins can leave you feeling parched and sluggish. To counter this, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your flight. Steer clear of excessive caffeine and alcohol, as they can exacerbate dehydration. Bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it up before boarding ensures you’ll have hydration on hand whenever you need it.

4. Move Around Regularly

Extended periods of sitting can result in stiffness and discomfort. Make an effort to get up and move around regularly. Take brief strolls along the aisle to stretch your legs and boost circulation. Engage in simple exercises like ankle rotations, shoulder rolls, and neck stretches to relieve tension and maintain flexibility in your body.

5. Bring Comfortable Footwear

Wearing comfortable footwear is essential for long flights, as your feet are likely to swell during extended periods of sitting. Choose supportive shoes with ample room for your toes to move freely. Consider packing a pair of slip-on shoes or compression socks to wear during the flight, as they can help improve circulation and reduce swelling in your feet and ankles.

6. Pack Entertainment

Long flights can feel even longer without something to keep you occupied. Pack a variety of entertainment options to stave off boredom. Load up your tablet or e-reader with books, movies, and games. Don’t forget to bring noise-cancelling headphones to block out ambient noise and immerse yourself in your entertainment.

7. Bring Snacks

Airplane food can be hit or miss, so it’s wise to pack your favourite snacks for those peckish moments when you crave a bite. Opt for nutritious options like nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, or sandwiches to keep your energy levels up throughout the journey.

8. Avoid Overloading on Caffeine

While a cup of coffee or tea can provide a temporary energy boost, consuming excessive caffeine during a long flight can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling jittery and restless. Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages and opt for herbal tea or water instead to stay hydrated and promote relaxation.

How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

9. Stay Mindful of Your Posture

Maintaining good posture throughout the flight can help prevent discomfort and reduce the risk of muscle strain and tension. Sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed, and avoid slouching or hunching over. Use the adjustable headrest and lumbar support provided by your seat to ensure proper spinal alignment and support.

How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

10. Invest in Comfort Accessories

Investing in comfort accessories can make a world of difference during a long flight. Consider bringing a travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs to help you relax and block out distractions. A lightweight blanket or shawl can also provide extra warmth and comfort, especially on overnight flights.

11. Stay Organised

Keep your belongings organised and easily accessible throughout the flight to minimise frustration and make the journey more enjoyable. Use a travel organiser or pouch to store essential items such as travel documents, electronics, snacks, and entertainment devices. Having everything within reach will save you from rummaging through your carry-on bag and help you stay relaxed and focused on the journey ahead.

12. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Flying can be anxiety-inducing for some people. Combat pre-flight jitters and mid-air stress by practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness exercises. Visualising yourself in a calm, peaceful environment can help soothe nerves and promote a sense of tranquillity during the flight.

13. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

If you’re crossing multiple time zones, adjusting your sleep schedule before the flight can help minimise jet lag and make it easier to adapt to your destination’s local time upon arrival. Gradually shift your bedtime and wake-up time in the days leading up to your flight to align with your destination’s time zone.

14. Practice In-Flight Skincare

The dry air inside the aircraft can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it feeling dry and dehydrated. Tackle this by incorporating a simple skincare routine into your in-flight regimen. Pack travel-sized moisturiser, lip balm, and hydrating facial mist to keep your skin nourished and refreshed throughout the journey. Consider wearing a hydrating sheet mask during the flight for an extra boost of moisture and relaxation.

15. Engage with Fellow Passengers

Strike up a conversation with fellow passengers to pass the time and make new connections. You never know who you might meet – from fellow travellers with fascinating stories to friendly locals willing to share insider tips about your destination. Just remember to respect personal boundaries and be mindful of social cues.

16. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Maximise your chances of getting some restful sleep during the flight by creating a comfortable sleep environment. Adjust your seat to a reclined position, use a travel pillow to support your neck, and dim the overhead light or use a sleep mask to block out excess light. Bringing along a lightweight blanket or scarf can also provide an added layer of comfort and warmth.

How to Survive Long Flights: Essential Tips for Comfort and Sanity

17. Practice Self-Care

Use your time on the flight as an opportunity to practice self-care and relaxation. Bring along items that help you feel pampered and comfortable, such as a favourite book, soothing essential oils, or a calming playlist. Take breaks to engage in activities that bring you joy and comfort, whether it’s listening to music, journaling, or simply taking a few moments to close your eyes and breathe deeply.

18. Stay Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude can make all the difference in your long flight experience. Instead of focusing on the discomforts and challenges of travel, try to shift your perspective and embrace the journey as an opportunity for adventure and self-discovery. Keep a sense of humour, stay flexible, and remember that every moment brings you closer to your destination and new experiences awaiting you.


Traversing the skies for hours on end may seem daunting, but armed with these essential tips, you can emerge from your long flight feeling refreshed and ready to embark on your adventures. From choosing the right seat to packing entertainment and staying hydrated, there are myriad strategies to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable journey. So, the next time you find yourself faced with a lengthy flight, remember these words of wisdom and soar through the clouds with ease. How to survive long flights? With a little preparation and a whole lot of comfort, of course!

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