Long Haul Flight Tips | How To Survive Those Gruelling 12 + Flights

So, you’re heading to the other side of the world? What an incredible time we live in, that we can jump on a plane and be anywhere we want in 24 hours. 

I travel a tonne, and this still blows my mind every time I fly… 

However, these epic long haul flights do come with their challenges and the sheer amount of air time is enough time to put many people off altogether… 

 And for good reason… The jet lag, dehydration, sleepless hours, change of time zones, terrible plane food and aching body are all regular problems for the seasoned traveler… 

 Thankfully there are a number of tips and tricks you can follow in order to lessen the effect of these problems and make your long haul flying experience a whole lot more enjoyable…

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How Do I Prepare For a Long Haul Flight

Here’s the thing with long-haul flights…Most of how you fare on a 12 + hour flight are already done before you get on the plane… Be sure to do the following before you ever get on a long haul flight…

1. Book Tickets in Advance

Book tickets 6-7 weeks in advance to get the best-priced flight. 


In addition to this, you’ll have a better pick of the seats, so you can choose a window or aisle, or even snag one of those sneaky front spots with the extra legroom.

2. Get Good Equipment

On a long flight, you need to make sure you have awesome equipment. 


Get a great hand luggage bag, a decent e-reader and any other little tech accessories that’ll allow you to use your computer both in the airport and during your flight. 


Whether it be to work or have some great movies downloaded – Having great tech is super important. 

3. Pack Your Hand Luggage Well

Avoid packing anything you need (or even might need) during your flight at the bottom of your bag. 


In-flight essentials should be easily accessible!


This way you don’t have to faff around finding things and annoying the hell out of the person next to you…

4. Arrive Early

Personally, I’m one of those people who arrives painfully early for everything I do. Flights are no exception. 


Before a long flight, you should do the same. 


When you have time to relax beforehand, you’re not starting off stressed by running late. 


Give yourself a few hours to check-in, pass security and grab a decent meal before embarking… Then you’ve already started with a win. 


If you really want to take advantage of this, check in to an airport lounge for a few hours so you can relax, eat good, sit in a more comfortable chair and have access to better wifi.

How Do I Prepare For a Long Haul Flight

1. Get Comfortable Clothing

A long flight is more about comfort than anything else really. 


Be sure to wear baggy, comfortable clothes to travel in. 


Lave your favourite pair of skinny jeans in your bag and go for some loose joggers instead. This is really the only way to be truly comfortable on a long haul flight (without paying for a business class ticket that is).

2. Use Your Own Headphones

The headphones that airlines provide are terrible. This is no wonder because, at the end of the day, they are free. 


For such a long flight, you’ll be a lot more comfortable with some comfy noise-cancelling headphones that don’t kill your ears after 2 hours…

3. Don’t Drink Alcohol

As tempting as it is to drink alcohol on a flight, here’s the thing… 


It seriously dehydrates you. 


In a dehydrating environment at the best of times, alcohol only makes this worse. Opt for water instead and whenever a crew member comes round, always ask for two bottles. 


When getting off the flight, you’ll be feeling fresh and giving yourself a pat on the back for turning down that glass of wine…

4. Walk around

It’s super important to get up, walk around and even have a little stretch during a long flight. 


This will help to keep your blood circulating and your body working. 


You’ll feel fresher and less like you have to led weights for legs when you land…

5. Keep Clean

I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep clean when on a long flight! 


Keep some wet wipes to wipe your face and give your teeth a quick brush when you get up to go to the toilet. 


This is a great little mid-flight reset and will make you feel a little more normal

6. Utilise Layovers (Lounges)

A layover can be viewed in two ways…


On one hand, you could think – oh that’s annoying I have to wait 8 hours in City X. 


On the other hand, you could say wow, I have 8 hours to kill, I’m going to use that to recharge, relax and refresh before the next leg of my flight. 


By far the best way to do this is by checking into a lounge. 


You can join many lounge membership programmes or simply pay to go in. 


However, be sure to dress smartly and be polite to the staff, as no one wants a scruffy rude, tired-looking traveller in their lounge… 


These lounges have comfy seats, food, drinks and awesome wifi! It really does beat just hanging out in the airport. 

7. Drink Water

It goes without saying you need to stay hydrated throughout your flight. 


Drink, drink and drink some more. 

Always make sure you ask for 2 bottles of water each time a crew member comes round with food and drinks.

8. Use Your Own Travel Pillow

For any long flight, make sure you bring your own travel pillow! 

Is it annoying to carry around in the airport? Yes.


Is the comfort worth it when you get mid-way through a 12-hour flight? Most certainly, yes! 


A great travel pillow can mean you can change your head position and still be comfy, so definitely don’t really on the little pillow the airline provides you! Plus you’ll still be able to move your neck afterwards.

9. Be Productive

If you work online, then all that in-flight spare time can be used for super productiveness. 


When you’re flying, there are minimal distractions, especially on a flight with no wifi… 


You can open up the laptop and work on a project or be making notes of things you need to do for later.

10. Set Your clocks

Before you arrive at your destination, set your clocks forward so they read the time of the destination location. 


This will help you get used to the time zone you’re about to be in and allow you to know whether you should be sleeping or awake. 


Try and go off the destination time zones soon as possible to avoid jet lag as much as possible.

11. Belt Over Blanket

One annoying aspect of flying is seat belts. 


As essential as they may be for safety reasons, it’s annoying to be woken up from sleeping because a crew member can’t see the belt underneath your blanket. 


The crew have to check this during periods of turbulence as well as when you take off and land, so be sure to secure your seat belt over the top of your blanket so the crew can easily see it when they come round.

12. Engage In Conversation (Sometimes)

The last thing anyone wants on a long flight is someone who talks endlessly the whole way. 


I mean, you want to relax right? 


However, I think it’s nice to have a friendly conversation every few hours (maybe between movies or when the food comes around) as it keeps you sane and in a happy positive mindset. 


Having a nice little chat will be great for your mind and leave you feeling happier than when you shut yourself off and don’t speak with anyone.

Long Haul flight Tips - Summarised

So there we go. 


A good list of tips to ensure you’re next long haul flight is as smooth, comfortable and as seamless as it can be. 


Long flights don’t have to be hard and it most definitely shouldn’t put you off flying itself. 


Being able to fly to the other side of the world is an incredible thing we can experience in this day and age, so take full advantage of it by using all these tips and never having to worry about a long journey again. 


Happy travelling.

Dan Harmon

Dan Harmon

Hello! My name's Dan Harmon and I am a full time content creator and copywriter working freelance as I travel and surf my way around the globe. This blog is where I show you how to do the same.