Tips & How-to's Travel

Surviving a long flight

So you’ve decided you’re going to fly to the other side of the world. How do you survive such a long flight? Here are a few tips and tricks that have worked for me. Just one disclaimer: you’re going to be knackered either way!

Wear something comfortable
I prefer wearing leggings, a shirt and a fleece in case it gets cold. I take my shoes off on the plane and wear crocs instead. I wear my glasses instead of my contacts. Although I don’t find my glasses that comfortable to wear, it’s still a whole lot better than pieces of plastic in your eyes getting dried out by the airco.

Split up your flights
One thing I’ve learnt over the course of my travels is that I prefer having a longer stop in between flights. I discovered this by accident when I booked a flight to New Zealand and the flight with an 18-hour stopover on Singapore Changi Airport was a good few hundred euros cheaper than with say a 3-hour transfer time. And the difference included the cost of the airport hotel. I loved being able to lie down and catch some shut eye after a long flight and freshen up before another long flight. Even though I was still tired by the time I got to New Zealand, it was nowhere near as bad as if I’d gone with a shorter transfer time. Not to mention my back, because who can sit comfortably in those airplane chairs for 24 hours? This last bit was confirmed when my mom and I flew back to the Netherlands from New Zealand last January. We had about three hours at Hong Kong Airport in between flights. During the second flight, I just didn’t know how to sit anymore, I was exhausted but still couldn’t sleep. I was knackered and couldn’t even think straight.

I understand splitting up flights with a longer transfer time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it means getting to your destination later. But for me, it’s worth it and I’ll look for longer stopovers the next time I’m heading Down Under.

Have something to do
This is super obvious, but it helped me anyway so I thought I’d still mention it here. I tend to put on a movie as soon as I can. After three or four movies I tend to nod off, but by then at least a bit of time has passed. One time I also brought my Wreck This Journal with me and a colouring book, and spent a few hours drawing and decorating pages.

Reduce stress during your flight
I’m not afraid of flying at all. Still, I find it important to make the flight as enjoyable as possible. For example, I always want an aisle seat when I go on a longer flight. I want to be able to get up and walk around whenever I want to. I don’t mind getting up for my neighbour, but having to ask someone to get up for me is a stress factor. By getting an aisle seat I can completely avoid this stress.

Something I’m going to do for my next long flight is order special meals. I’m not a picky eater, but there are some things I don’t eat and there are some things my stomach doesn’t like too much. Most seafood is a hard pass for me. A stress factor and an annoyance for me is when the staff runs out of certain meals and only seafood is left. And since I’m on a low-carb food journey at the moment anyway to lose weight, I’d say it’s warranted to arrange my meals up front.

Just figure out what would help you during a long flight to make it as stress-free and enjoyable as possible!

Drink enough water
One thing I can’t recommend enough is to drink enough water when you’re on a long flight. It’s super important to stay hydrated. And whether you ask the flight attendant for water or you take a bottle of water with you after security, is up to you. I always bring a big bottle of water with me. My stomach reacts best to water anyway at such heights and I don’t like soft drinks all that much anyway (plus, too much sugar!)

What do you do to survive a long flight? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share? 

15 comments

  1. My feet and ankles always get tight and swollen. My cardiologist insisted for our trip from USA to Australia, I should wear thigh high compression stockings. I was mortified as I have Hot flashes aplenty without adding Hot hose. Wrong. My legs felt so rested and never had any swelling. I wasn’t hot either. I’ll wear these very pricey prescription hose for all long trips from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! And it’s a subject close to my heart 🙂 When we fly to Australia we usually fly through Changi. The airport there is just amazing and we try to book a long enough stopover so we can book one of the transit hotel rooms. As you say it’s so much nicer being able to lie down and sleep! We sometimes only have a few hours there though, but we try to at least be able to have a shower and freshen up if that’s the case, it really does make a different. It’s such a long journey with a short transfer time like though – I can totally identify with being so exhausted you can’t sleep or think straight on the flights! Having a good seat is important to me – I don’t like flying and I also like to be able to get up and move around when I want. I try to book the twin seats together, so that my partner can have the window and I can have the aisle – then everyone’s happy 🙂 And I book gluten free meals, the meals are a lighter than the normal ones, but they also come out first, so I have time to eat at a leisurely pace 🙂 Oops, sorry that was a very long response!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And I’m so glad I’m not the only one that likes long stopovers. I could have gone into Singapore to explore, but decided not to. In retrospect, a smart choice since I wasn’t feeling super fit and my cough turned into pneumonia. Had I stretched myself too thinly, it could’ve been worse. Gluten free…should remember that 😉
      And it sounds like you regularly, casually go to Australia or is that just my interpretation? 😛 Maybe I’m not the only one with a heart partly lost on the other side of the world!
      Never any need to apologise for a long response! I love the interaction, so chat away 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my word, pneumonia?? That sounds terrible!! I hope you are fully recovered now? You definitely did the right thing then! Travelling that distance is so tiring, whilst it’s tempting to make the most of a stopover, sometimes you just have to rest instead. I can only comment on the gluten-free meals I’ve had, but they are usually very nice and lighter on the stomach! You don’t get a choice of course, but they usually keep things simple and stick with chicken or white fish. Aah, yes, my partner is Australian, so we try to to go out there every year to see his family. It’s a long old journey but so worth it! You are not alone, I do love it on that side of the world too, there’s just something about it isn’t there 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, but not last trip though…the one before that in 2015. Bit of an unlucky outcome of a flu that was.
          Good to know about the meals. Easy on the stomach is what I need, so I’m going to remember that one.
          Ah, that explains it. Not the worst country to travel to, haha, just sucks it’s so far away! So yes, I agree there’s something about Down Under that is so special! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. What a horrible experience to go through, I’m glad you fully recovered though and the next trip was hopefully? illness free? It is such a long way away isn’t it, but it’s worth all of the travelling once you get there! There’s still so more that I’d like to see in that neck of the woods!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It wasn’t great, ahem. I was in NZ for 6 weeks then. I was coughing my lungs out for four. After recovery, contracted a tendon inflammation during a horse riding accident that is taking very long to heal (and required injections and surgery). So I had a hurting wrist for the other two weeks. Let’s just say, I wasn’t at my best health wise 😛 Last trip was illness free indeed!

              Such a long way, but so worth it though! I want to go back to NZ and would also love to go back to Aussie sometime in the future. I haven’t been farther north than Exmouth-Alice Springs-Cairns so definitely heaps yet to explore! Plus I want to go to The Esperance/Albany area in WA.

              I sometimes jokingly say I need a six-month holiday twice a year to see everything, haha!

              Like

  3. We always break long haul flights from Australia to Europe with a two night stopover in Singapore. If you fly with Singapore Airlines you can get a stopover deal for an extra $1, which includes transit and a hotel. We enjoy a relaxing day visiting somewhere in Singapore and then do our next flight feeling refreshed. Lisa’s tip about wearing pressure stockings is also very good. You don’t have to have expensive ones. You can buy them at any pharmacy. They really make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just learned the magic of the aisle seat on our last trip. I always thought I was a strict window seat flyer – but you’re right. For the longer flights, it sure is nice to get up and walk about without having to bother your neighbors! 🙂 Great tips

    Liked by 1 person

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