While eight hours in a stuffy aircraft cabin may sound like the worst-case scenario, traveling long-haul can be a pleasure with a little planning and a few home comforts. Follow our ten flight survival tips to arrive refreshed, calm, and ready to begin your vacation when you touch down…

1. Pack comfortable clothing for long journeys.

This should be self-evident—just consider an outfit that you’ll enjoy wearing after ten hours on a plane. Bear in mind that sitting still and being blasted by a powerful air conditioning system might make you feel chilly, so wearing numerous loose layers allows you to regulate your temperature while flying. Leave your jewelry at home and pack it in the hold-it will merely set off the alarms at airport security. In an emergency, close-toed shoes are preferable to flip flops and avoid wearing footwear that is excessively restrictive, as your feet expand at high altitudes. Of course, if you’re conserving suitcase room by wearing your largest, clunkiest boots, you can always remove them and replace them with a pair of cozy slipper socks.

2. Ensure that you have a nice seat.

One of the most critical long-range flight recommendations is to plan ahead and, whenever feasible, get a good seat. As everyone who has read our conclusions about the ideal airplane seat (it’s 6A, in case you were wondering) is aware, there is an entire science to it. You can, however, follow a few easy rules:

If you require additional legroom, select exit rows.

If you don’t want to hear crying kids, stay away from the front of the plane. This is where many international flights have special provisions for infants.

If you want to walk around the plane (or have easy access to the restroom), request an aisle seat.

While some airlines may require you to wait until one or two days before departure, the best advice is to get on as soon as check-in opens to handpick the precise seat you want.

3. Get ready to sleep

You’ll be on the plane for the equivalent of a whole day or night, so it’s worth packing a few basics for long-term flights. Begin with a lightweight blanket and invest in a nice travel pillow to alleviate neck pain while sleeping. Forget that the remaining 349 passengers are wearing decent sleep masks and earplugs. Finally, pack some essential necessities, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste the size of hand baggage, and you’ll arrive feeling a little more refreshed. If you’re looking for other advice on how to improve your journey with small indulgences, check out our article on how to make the economy seem first-class.

4. Try not to overpack your cabin luggage.

While a few small extras are beneficial, keep things small and compact for travel. Nothing is more unpleasant than carrying a large suitcase around the boarding area and unsuccessfully attempting to stuff it into the overhead lockers while the rest of the passenger’s tut. Ideally, bring one cabin bag and a smaller purse or shoulder bag (where hand luggage rules permit) so that you can easily get your smaller items such as a water bottle, earplugs, and MP3 player beneath the seat in front of you. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the best carry-on bags.

5. You must bring your own food.

On a long-haul journey, you will be fed, but it may not be when or even what you expect – traveling through time zones frequently results in breakfast served at dinner time and noodles or curry served first thing in the morning. To stave off hunger pangs as you wait for the food trolley to arrive, pack a few slow-energy foods such as cereal bars, nuts, or dried fruit in your carry-on luggage.

6. Move around within the plane

Stretching your legs is vital not only to maintain your sanity on a long-haul journey but also to avoid acquiring deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Maintain circulation in your legs by performing simple workouts in your seat every two hours. While there isn’t much space to walk other than up and down the aisles, moving around the plane every now and then is far more conducive to getting some healthy slumber than using a sleeping pill. For more information on this and other ways to fight fatigue on long trips, check out our guide to beating jetlag.


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