12 Tips That Make Long Flights More Bearable
- Noise-Canceling Headphones
- Book An Aisle Seat
- Drink 1 Liter Of Water For Every 4 Hours Of Flight Time
- Bring Electrolyte Packets
- Bring A Change Of Socks
- Wear An Eye Mask
- Silicone Earplugs
- Inflatable Lumbar & Neck Pillow
- Bring That Thing You’ve Been Wanting To Do – And Do It
- Download Audiobooks, Podcasts And Music Beforehand
- Get Up Every 2 Hours
- Say No To Cheese
- Bonus Tip: Capital One Venture X For Layover Showers
At the time I booked it, LA > Singapore was the second-longest regularly flown commercial flight in the world (due to the global flight slowdown between 2020 and 2022). I was about to go all altitude-snob on ya, but after Googling it, it’s now the seventh-longest commercial flight in the world.
As it was only the world’s seventh-longest flight, the elusive, “rewatch Top Gun Maverick three times on one flight” will have to wait for the world’s longest flight (JFK > Singapore).
But, it was still 17+ straight hours in the air, and implementing these tips below made my trip a lot more smooth.
1. Noise-Canceling Headphones
This one doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation, ya know? If you’re looking at which headphones to go with, as of early 2023, these are our picks.
2. Book An Aisle Seat
This one is admittedly a hot take that not everyone will agree with. But this is one of my personal favorite long flight tips, because it allows me to get up and move about the cabin whenever I want and to stretch out.
Plus if I want to indulge in the flight’s ‘free drinks’ policy, I’m able to indulge without waking the poor bloke up next to me because the flight attendant was cool and gave me a couple extra.
3. Drink 1 Liter Of Water For Every 4 Hours Of Flight Time
Nothing makes you feel more like a human raisin than a long international flight. You feel shriveled up and dried out after 6+ hours in the air, and it only gets worse the longer you’re up there.
That’s because humidity inside airplanes is typically kept around 10%-20%, which is way more dry than average indoor humidity levels on the ground.
And this lack of humidity leads to faster dehydration, which is why pounding waters is one of my favorite long haul flight tips.
And hey! Since you’ve planned ahead and have that aisle seat, you can get up to pee as much as you need. Look at you, thinking ahead.
4. Bring Electrolyte Packets
Waters are great, but without electrolytes, the water never quite feels like it “sticks”, ya know?
Even though you’re not sweating these electrolytes out, replenishing with vitamins and minerals throughout the flight will give you a little more pep in your step when it comes time to step off the plane.
5. Bring A Change Of Socks
A weird one, right? But I cannot tell you how good I feel when I change my socks in the middle of a long flight. I’m guessing it has something to do with circulation, and though I haven’t yet tried out compression socks on long flights, these may even be more helpful.
But if you don’t wear compression socks, try bringing an extra pair of socks for your flight.
Protip: bring a Ziploc bag to toss those shtinky dirty socks into.
6. Wear An Eye Mask
An eye mask is an absolute must on a long international flight.
Trying to sleep? Too bad, the guy next to you just cracked open Moby Dick and he’s blasting that overhead light right next to you. Or maybe he’s watching a movie and has that screen brightness cranked all the way up.
Either way, a quality eye mask on a long flight is a must.
7. Silicone Earplugs
There’s always “that guy” on the flight. The one that plays video games with no headphones, or the one that connects to wifi and watches every TikTok full blast.
And of course, there’s occasionally a chorus of crying babies, and you just want to shut it all out. While noise-canceling headphones are great for this, over-the-ear headphones can make sleeping uncomfortable, which is why my go-to isMack’s Silicone Earplugs.
They’re insanely comfortable for hours on end (unlike the foam earplugs that start hurting after 20 minutes), and they significantly dampen noise.
8. Inflatable Lumbar & Neck Pillow
Inflatable pillows are key, because deflated, they take very minimal room. But inflated, they’re an absolute lifesaver for your posture.
Even if airlines include a pillow, a lot of times, those pillows can leave a lot to be desired. Using a lumbar pillow does wonders for your lower back on long flights.
And as for neck pillows – they’re one of the best ways not only to get a good night’s sleep, but to prevent post-flight neck kinks. Sleeping with your head bobbing around like a giraffe is – in shocking news – not the ideal thing for your neck.
9. Bring That Thing You’ve Been Wanting To Do – And Do It
There are very few times in life where your activity options are actually limited to things you can do while sitting down. I get some of my best work done on planes, especially when there’s a time-limit on the wifi pass I purchase.
^Photo by cottonbro studio
10. Download Audiobooks, Podcasts and Music Beforehand
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but bears repeating. I have absolutely crushed audiobooks on 1.5x speed on long haul flights.
11. Get Up Every Two Hours
When you’re not sleeping, do your best to get up every 2 hours and do a quick lap around the cabin. This simple act of walking up and down the aisle will not only help make your flight more comfortable, but will dramatically improve how you feel post-flight.
12. Skip The Cheese
The most heart-breaking one on the list, but it’s true. For me at least.
My sinuses are probably a bit more sensitive than the average frequent flyer, and whenever I consume dairy on a plane ride, especially a long one, I feel a “big squeeze” sensation in my head.
There’s some loose evidence that dairy affects sinuses, but the the jury is still out. This is just what I personally do to feel better after long flights. But you have allstar sinuses, by all means, ask that flight attendant for a couple squares of the Tillamook good stuff.
Bonus Tip: Capital One Venture X For Lounge Access
The Capital One Venture X gives you free annual lounge access to Priority Pass and Plaza Premium lounges, and it is so worth it.
The annual fee is $395, but along with lounge access and a TSA/Global Entry credit, you receive a $400 annual statement credits towards flights purchased through Capital One’s travel portal.
Travel well! And if you want to travel better, check out our
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