5 Tips on How to Survive Long Flights

Flight over New Zealand's South Island

Despite our yearning to visit new places in all corners of the world, one thing in particular can turn an otherwise open and willing traveller away from their dreams—long flights. Pilots aside, I’ve yet to meet a single person who actually enjoys airports and flying, let alone six plus hours on a single flight. And, if you’re like the #AdventurePartnersForLife, you probably can’t afford the luxury of business class for your travels. Never fear—Global Debauchery is here to save the day!

1. Pay extra for reserved seating

I know, I know. You just saved big on your flight with your new-found Discount Diva tips. Well, consider this a good investment. You’ve still saved x number of dollars and you’ll be kicking yourself at hour #4 if you hadn’t. (You’ll wish you had the leg room to kick yourself.) Are you a window girl? Or an aisle guy? Prefer emergency exit rows? Just book it. I’ve seen reserved seat pricing range anywhere from $7 to $50, depending on the airline. …Or you could just take your chances in the airline lottery and battle it out in that center seat for eleven hours. Good luck with that. You can thank me later.

2. Opt for a stopover

Take part in the latest travel trend and get some rest midway through your flight itinerary. Super popular stopovers right now include Iceland on the way to Europe, Fiji or the Cook Islands on the way to Oceania, and Dubai on the way to Africa. There are several ways to schedule a stopover. Many airlines advertise special offers that include hotel costs at your halfway mark. You can purposely book a flight with an extra long, overnight connection and escape the airport in between. Or, you can just schedule separate flights altogether and stay at your midpoint for a couple days. Whichever way you do it, it allows you to recuperate and adjust to the new time zone a little. And you get to visit a new country. Who hates that?

3. Schedule an overnight flight

There are two types of travelers—those who can’t sleep (my husband) and those who have automatic flight narcolepsy (moi). Flight narcolepsy is just a bonus, but even you non-sleepers are bound to drift off at some point during an overnight stretch. A lot of international flights happen to be overnight anyway, but search around for one if your first few search results aren’t. An easy way to pass the time, especially if you booked that extra leg room we talked about.

4. Bring multiple forms of entertainment

Yours truly hails from the Only Child Club, and we have superpowers that allow us to entertain ourselves for long, long periods of time without ever getting bored. (It’s a skill we master in childhood.) Words of wisdom for all the siblings out there: Don’t bring one book and expect to not be clock-watching. Bring multiple e-books, load a Sudoku app on your phone, download some movies on your iPad, just… do what you have to do. Do a few of them. The great thing about all of these ideas is that you were already bringing your entire suite of Apple technology on your trip anyway, so these won’t take up any extra space in your pack. Enjoy!

5. Bring whatever it takes to make you comfortable

Are you a neck pillow person? Bring it. Specific feeding schedule? Bring food. And bring water (purchased at the airport). Bring clothing layers, too. I, myself, tend to get cold on flights, so I always make sure I have an extra pair of socks in my carry-on. I sport those with my Adidas sandals, which are easy to slide on and off through security and on the flight. Fashionable? Not really. Comfortable? Yes… because why in the world do I care what perfect strangers think of my outfit after disembarking a 12-hour flight? 100% of the time, I have abandoned all hope for salvaging my personal appearance at that point in my travels. Don’t judge. Unless you’re Gigi Hadid, you likely will, too.

I hope these tips on how to survive long flights will aid you in your travel quests and keep you coming back for more. If you have any additional ideas, please post in the Comments section below or message me. I know I need as much help as I can get on those marathon flights.


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  1. Great tips! A stopover is good for breaking up a long flight. Books, music and movies get me through those long flights. And I’ve recently found the most comfortable neck pillow I won’t ever be traveling without!

  2. I HAVE to cross my legs at all times on a flight. But with the seating being so tight, either my knee or foot always resides against the hard seat back of the person in front of me. So … I’ve started bringing a Therm-a-Rest inflatable seat cushion to place between my knee/foot and the seat. That allows me to be comfortable so my chances of catching some sleep are greater.

    1. Great idea! Absolutely bring whatever will make you most comfortable. You could get emergency exit row seating, too.

  3. Great post!

    Along with the water, I find avoiding dehydrating foods makes a world of difference! I used to eat all the airport – french fries, pretzels, etc., then I couldn’t breathe during the flight while my sinuses clogged up and dried out.
    Gummy bears still make a great treat to pick at though!

    1. I’ve never thought about that before, but it makes total sense! I always leave flights feeling cold and dried out (skin, sinuses, etc.). (Re: gummy bears—we all have our weaknesses! Lol.)

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