The anticipation of traveling to an exotic destination should not be clouded by the foresight of spending an awful lot of hours in an uncomfortable seat on an aircraft. You feel usually tired and worn-out afterward. Unsuitable clothes for long-haul flights pinch and look like they’ve been chewed by a cow. Learn all about the basics how to book comfortable seats and to pack light. Long-Haul Flight essentials and best long-haul flight clothes: What to wear on a longhaul flight? There are a few easy tricks that can make certain, you’ve got a smooth enjoyable flight.
Plan ahead as early as possible, check flight comparison sites like Kayak or Skyscanner and install alerts to get the best price possible. The more flexible you are with the date and destination, the cheaper you will fly. If you fly often try to build up air miles with your airline and airline alliance to boost chances of an upgrade.
Contact travel agents. They compare fares at a glance, and often they have access to deals that the airlines do not release directly to the public. Packages with a hotel stay and flight combined are often cheaper than the airfare alone. Turn your trip into a round-the-world itinerary rather than a simple return. It may not cost you much more, and you can break up the journey.
Sometimes return flights can be more expensive than two one way tickets from different airlines. Check out both options, an open jaw flight is cheaper. This method gives you more flexibility, too.
Consider paying for your flight with an airline credit card which rewards you with air miles. They can be redeemed against set flight routes, upgrades or products. These cards are an extension of frequent flyer programmes and cut the cost of expensive long-haul flights. The more you spend the more points you earn.
Don’t forget to upgrade your in-flight meal with your booking if offered. Travel with airlines that offer wi-fi or good in-flight entertainment if possible. It’s a good way of passing time.
Read also these tips from Jen about how to budget for travel!
Locating an excellent flight deal used to be all about booking at the last minute, as airlines were determined to cast off their empty seats. Nowadays there are such a lot of budget airlines and business tourists willing to pay big dollars at the last minute that it’s no longer the case. The most inexpensive time to book flights is approximately seven weeks for short haul flights whereas you want to go searching 18 weeks earlier for long-haul destinations.
Although last-minute flight deals are hard to find, they do exist if you know where to look. Take the leg work out of finding cheap flights by visiting a few of your favorite airlines and signing up for their newsletters. Your inbox will soon be filling up with news of flash sales, new routes with special introductory rates, and most importantly, low fares on last-minute flights.
By Tuesday afternoon, most airlines will know if their weekend flights are fully booked. If they still have a lot of empty seats, this is when they will slash the prices and tell their subscribers.
The ideal time to book flights is in the middle of the week.
If you can’t stomach turbulence, book a morning flight and a seat on the wing. Bumpy air and storms happen usually in the afternoon and in the middle of the plane, you feel less movement.
You might wonder how to survive long-haul flights in economy. The seat choice is a big one but unfortunately, depends entirely on your budget. Flying business or first class is a breeze. Before you choose, think hard about your usual preference; it may be different on a long-haul flight than on a shorter flight.
If you don’t want to be disturbed and you are confident about not needing the toilet on a regular basis, then window seats are for you. If you like getting up and stretching, then an aisle will be the better choice. Consider an aisle or exit row seat for leg room.
Avoid sitting at the very back of a plane – it is bumpier, noisier (you’re behind the engines), it often takes you longer to board and disembark, and you may be disturbed by people queueing for the lavatories if they are at the rear. Never choose an exit row seat if you will have an infant or small child with you.
Avoid middle seats at all costs if at all possible.
If you travel together with somebody, book a window and an aisle seat. If the flight isn’t full, the middle seat is likely to remain empty, because people chose usually a window or an aisle seat. If someone does pick that middle seat, it’s likely, that he/she is going to switch with you.
Be aware that some airlines cram in more seats than others – 10 across instead of nine for example. If you can, choose a carrier with new seating, which will be more ergonomically comfortable. Do your homework on cabin layouts in advance at websites such as seatplans.com.
Buy some travel light clothing. But remember, you don’t need a ton of clothes for long-haul flights! It’s likely you won’t use three-quarters of your stuff, but you have to lift and struggle throughout your trip. It’s not worth it.
Tips for long-haul flights in economy: Be aware of the new restrictions of carry-on luggage (the luggage, which you may take on board), as you do not want to repack in front of the check-in counter or pay excess baggage charges.
Packing like a PRO is one of the international flight essentials and the first thing you have to learn is: Pack light! It can be a challenge to pack for light traveling to a cold climate or on a cruise ship where you need to wear changing outfits! Prepare and plan your wardrobe. Usually, you can wash your dirty long-haul flight clothes just after arrival at the next coin-operated laundry or at the hotel.
You may want to challenge yourself in finding the best lightweight suitcase for international travel! If possible only travel with lightweight cabin luggage. All it takes to travel light is foresight, preparation, and clever packing. Whether you use a wheelie bag or a backpack with wheels, research the lightest possible one you can find.
Find the best lightweight suitcase for international travel!
Advantages of traveling light are:
Buy toiletries at your destination to avoid the possibility of having your cosmetics dumped at customs. -remember, you can carry only 100 ml containers through customs. Take your overnight flight essentials in a practical toilet bag.
Read blogs, websites, books – make notes, chart your course and research places to visit. You might build up a file of notes, some handwritten and a few printouts. Research first, and then leave your (heavy) reference books at home. Photograph anything you need – references, coordinates, hotel details – and capture those on your phone. Use the photos app as well as your calendar for booking details.
It is challenging these days to travel without communication tools and social media. Ensure you have internet access when overseas. Use wi-fi wherever possible, for example in hotels which include wi-fi in their price. Most countries only offer expensive international data roaming. Purchasing a cell phone overseas means switching mobile numbers.
A good option is a portable wi-fi hotspot router, in which you put a local sim card or take a jailbroken cell phone with which fulfills the same purpose. Usually, you can access free wi-fi at public places, but it is most probably quite slow.
Think first if you really need this camera or video device, laptop, and iPad as you will need a lot of cables and heavy chargers, too. To travel light means also to cut down on electronic devices.
Buy a bright, generally unpopular color for your luggage with a tag or put a tight colorful ribbon on the handle and lock it. This way you’ll identify your luggage easily after landing and no mistakes which can happen accidentally. We heard many stories of travelers whose bags were taken accidentally by another traveler or the other way around. It’s always an unpleasant experience!
Preparing and packing your personal items ahead of time with a long-haul flight checklist will streamline the boarding process and make life easier for you. I’m a last-minute packer and I’m likely to run late for my flight because of last-minute errands. Maybe I should follow my own advice here!
The days are long gone, when you dressed to impress on airplanes or hoped to get a free upgrade just by impeccable appearance for your long-haul flight. What clothes to wear is pretty simple nowadays: Dress comfortably in loose-fitting long-haul flight clothes – you’ll be sitting down for hours!
Dressing for long-haul flights comfortably is crucial.
Correct dressing for a long-haul flight is not only about clothes but also about shoes. Some long-haul flight outfit ideas for your poor feet! Easy shoes without laces or sandals. Slip-ons will get you through security faster and are easy to remove on the plane. Your feet will swell during your flight. Shoes with extra space will be the most comfortable. Don’t wear boots. They are a pain to lace and unlace at security, and the same applies on the flight if you want to take them on and off.
Cabin temperatures vary hugely, even during the course of a flight. The airline will most likely provide a blanket, but it’s a good idea to have a jumper, fleece or cardigan too. Bring an extra layer for warmth. If your plane feels like an icebox you are ready to tackle the cold. Make sure you have ways to keep warm or cool without a change of clothing.
Loose, stretchy fabrics and pants with an elastic waist make for a comfortable flight. Don’t wear a belt. It’s uncomfortable and you’ll have to take it off at the security everytime.
A hoody works well and can be used to cover your head as a not-so-subtle “do not disturb” sign to your neighbors.
A wide scarf can come in handy as a useful extra pillow or blanket.
Are you a low-key traveler and happy with the most important items? Or, are you high maintenance and feel uncomfortable to cut down on your needs? Are you planning your travels meticulously in advance or do you fly by the seat of your pants? My long-haul flight essentials list is most probably more for the frugal traveler, but it’s up to you to add your own travel necessities.
While checked baggage fees are inspiring travelers to carry on more and more stuff, on a long-haul flight this could burn you; anything that is under the seat in front of you just means less legroom and a more cramped living space for 15 or 16 hours. Don’t bring so much on that you compete for your own sleeping space.
Flight attendants don’t continuously offer water during the night flights. Small bottles and cups of water the flight attendants hand out during flights won’t suffice to keep you hydrated enough. Bring your own water bottle and electrolyte solution to stay properly hydrated. The advantage of a thermos is that it stays refreshingly cold (You can only buy after security check).
Long flight essentials make travel more enjoyable.
It’s very practical and environmental friendly to fill a reusable bottle. You can use it again at your travel destination, no matter if you take it at the beach or on hikes in your backpack. If you buy a collapsible one, you won’t have to fit a bulky bottle into your bag.
Airline food is arguably better than in the past but still, it can be a nasty experience. Take along some favorite snacks, energy bars, and fruit – it’s a nice treat in between meals and saves you if the food doesn’t reach your minimal expectations. Alternatively, buy something after security at the airport and bring it on board. Avoid anything smelly that might upset your neighbors.
Snacks that work well on flights:
First to get comfortable in your seat is to take your shoes off. Take an extra pair of comfortable, soft socks with you to keep your feet warm during the flight. You won’t have to grab your shoes if you need the bathroom. Some people swear by compression socks. They are important if you think you risk to suffer from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Another way to increase comfort on planes is by using a neck or travel pillow. Being able to sleep without nodding forwards or sideways is all-important. If you don’t want to be lugging extra items, look into an inflatable option or clothing with a built-in neck support feature.
If you have a bad back, consider packing a bolster.
Passport Covers are usually not allowed and you need to pull it out of its cover at the customs everytime. A travel organizer for your travel documents and long flight essentials comes in handy, though. You keep a peace of mind when you find your passport, prints of flight connections, vouchers for transfers and hotels easily in your travel organizer whenever needed.
Nothing worse if you have to fill an immigration and customs forms and you have to wait to borrow a pen from your neighbor or scribble the form when you line up in front of immigration authorities.
Being polite to the person you are rubbing shoulders with for many hours is sage advice. You don’t have to share your life stories, but the odd smile and remark will help make the enforced proximity a lot more bearable.
When it comes to surviving flights, I love my electronic gear — especially on a long-haul flight. Your carry-on luggage is limited, but you may want to consider some of the following long flight travel essentials. You will be grateful for any small comfort during the flight and distraction during 10+ hours in flight with crying children, engine noise, and uncomfortable seat.
Bring your own headphones – preferably noise-canceling – along with your own choice of music to help pass the time and also block out sound while you are sleeping.Nothing is more relaxing than music which puts a layer on the disturbing humming of the airplane and the noise of the chatting or snoring people around you.
You don’t want to buy poor quality airline headphones every time when you get on board. They provide bad quality sound and are not environmentally friendly either. Treat yourself with noise canceling headphones for your long-haul flight.
The dreaded blank screen on your in-flight entertainment—if it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky. Just in case yours fails you (or if you just want your own entertainment), bring a laptop, tablet, or reader. Consider a compact backup hard drive to store movies or TV shows to watch on a laptop. What about some great entertainment for the kids?
After watching two movies, a small nap and some food I’m usually out of perspectives what to do during my flight. With my eReader with background light, I can now also read during the night when other people want to sleep next to me. I don’t need to switch on the reading light above me. It’s the best way to take books with on my travels without carrying an awful lot of extra-weight for books in my handbag.
Think of buying a portable charger for your phone or your tablet to avoid running out of power in case the plane is old and you can’t charge it. Cheaper airlines don’t keep up with infrastructure such as USB charging ports for your electronic devices either. You can use a portable charger also if you go camping and on hikes later on your travels.
Bring at least one form of non-electronic entertainment for takeoff and landing, or anytime you want a break from screens (or when your eBook runs out of battery!). Pack a good book. Often magazines and books are more expensive in the airports, so bring them from home. If you can’t sleep, you’ll get the benefit to finishing what you’ve been meaning to for a long time. If you fall asleep reading it, then it did the trick.
After a few hours flight cramped as a sardine in my seat I need to freshen up with some travel makeup essentials. It’s best to have toothbrush and paste, essential oil, hairbrush, lip balm, and hand sanitizer ready in a lightweight bag. You can just grab it for your visit to the toilet without having to take whole your handbag with you. More beauty tips for long-haul flights.
Take a first aid kit with your personal medication and some in-case stuff for headaches, stomach problems etc. Check with your doctor what pills to take or avoid. Especially sleeping pills can harm people with certain conditions.
If you’re on a red-eye flight, keep in mind you may not be able to check into your hotel right away. It’s always a good idea to pack an extra set of long-haul travel clothes in your carry-on. It’s also helpful if your checked-in baggage gets lost.
The best international flight check-in time is online within 24 hours before departure on the homepage of your airline. You avoid the long queue and get a better seating arrangement.
At the baggage drop-off, take a picture of your luggage just in case it gets lost. You’ll have it handy if you’ve got to describe it at the lost-and-found counter.
When you arrive at the airport check-in counter, ask if there are any spare seats and, if so, whether you can move so that one of them is next to you – giving you more room to spread out.
If it didn’t work out to choose great seats at the check-in counter, try again at the gate. If the flight is not full, the gate agent may be able to see an empty row.
Try to get on board early so you can find a place for your bags in an overhead locker that is reasonably close to your seat – ideally, directly overhead. It will be easier when you need to get things out during the flight, and also helps when it comes to disembarking.
As attractive as it seems to hope to sleep on a long flight, you might not for one reason or another. Board your long-haul flight well rested. You will catch a few winks anyway. Even if you don’t care about any beauty tips for long-haul flights, you’ll be definitely in a better mood to continue your journey.
The ideal posture on your flight seat is at a 135-degree angle. Unless it’s mealtime, take off and the touchdown, adjust your seat back.
A long-haul flight gives unscrupulous travelers plenty of time to size up the location of your wallet, wait until you fall asleep and make a move on your luggage. Secure your valuables deep inside your carry-on bag under the seat in front of you or keep items like your passport, credit cards and cash on you.
What minimal travel essentials for long-haul flights you need, depends also on your personal health. Prepare well and seek your doctor’s advice if necessary.
Maintaining electrolyte balance is important. Consider drinking electrolyte solutions like Gatorade being the best known, instead of solely water. You don’t want to become completely diluted with water.
Don’t forget your personal medication and add some in-case medicine, too. Dehydration can cause headaches. Sinus problems are common with changing cabin pressure and allergies or stomach issues occur regularly. Keep your medicine ready in a handy pill case.
The combination of being immobile along with the effects of dehydration increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on long flights. The formation of blood clots in deep veins is a known risk on longer flights. The risk of developing DVT increases when flights go longer than four hours. Walking up and down the aisles of the plane; moving, flexing and stretching your legs to encourage blood flow, especially in your calves; wearing loose and comfortable clothing; drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding alcohol are the key recommendations. If you’re at increased risk for DVT, your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings while traveling or taking a blood-thinning medicine before you fly.
Colds, Flu, Bacteria, etc.:
Water coming out of aircraft sink faucets is often rife with bacteria from sitting in murky holding bins. Seats, pillows, and blankets on planes are more germ-ridden than your laundry basket. Your tray table is probably dirtier than your own bathroom floor and that the seatback pockets—well, you don’t even want to know, do you?
Despite these facts, it isn’t the air quality which makes people ill or recycled air — it is our body’s compromised ability to deal with normal bacteria and viruses that put us in danger of getting sick after a flight.
Electrolytes, compression socks, movie after movie, and aspirin don’t change the fact that you are stuck inside a metal can for a whole day.You will want to have a rock-solid plan for frittering away several hours of your flight. Keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass won’t work. Follow some of my tips to feel human when you get off the plane.
Get yourself some ideas for fly exercise and workout plans. It’s important for your health to move around as much as is allowed during long flights. Get up, stretch and do some exercises to get your blood circulation going. During the night you may walk the aisle as well.
Listen to your favorite music on your iPod or read a new book. Watch some of your uploaded movies and games on your mobile devices, in case you’ve no onboard entertainment or you don’t like the programs.
Avoid thinking of complicated matters, which will keep your mind awake. Caffeine, certain alcoholic drinks, and screens keep you awake. To picture clouds passing by or to count sheep jumping the fence may not work for you either.
For me, it works best to read a few pages of a book and not to worry if sleep will shorten my journey. Most of the time I can have a quick power nap which is more refreshing than a deep sleep. Airlines advise not to take any medications to sleep.
Makeup won’t last long. But some long-haul flight essentials definitely belong in your beauty case. Focus on caring articles.
Thousands of people move in and out the airplane during the year and time for cleaning properly is scarce. Airplanes are generally filthy and you want to keep the germs as far from you as possible. Use a hand sanitizer regularly on the plane as you won’t be able to wash your hands every time before you eat.
Tray tables can be sticky and some people like to lean forward and sleep on them. Planes are covered with bacterias and viruses. It’s an easy environment to catch a cold. Wipes have the advantage not to leak or spill in your bag.
Small but important Long-Haul Flight Accessories
Lip Balm is one of my travel makeup essentials. I can’t be without lip balm in an airplane. My lips get dry and crack eventually after a short while in the airconditioned space. This I can easily avoid with a good lip balm which also cares for my lips after the flight. Choose a stick rather than a lip balm which you have to apply with your finger. It’s much more hygienic. With sun protection your lips are also protected on the beach or in the mountains.
My hair gets static in the dry air and I look normally like an upsidedown broom after my first nap. Good to have a hairband and a small travel hairbrush with me! All folds away in these round travel compacts. They are light and include a mirror.
In earlier times airlines offered free toothbrushes and toothpaste. With the fall in flight prices, they do no more. It’s just a small thing but most important – you’ll feel so much more refreshed if you can brush your teeth after a meal. Buy a small travel toothbrush and toothpaste to keep your handbag (and your toothbrush) clean.
Buy a mild deodorant which doesn’t irritate your skin.
One of the small but important long-haul flight tips: beauty needs liquid from inside and moisture from outside. Skin care travel essentials belong in your beauty case. Take a good moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out.
Body odors and bad breaths in airplanes let even the most insensitive noses flinch. Hundreds of bodies confined in one space for hours, with heavily used, small toilets which smell creeps through splits around the door. The plane food’s whiff can also ley heavily in the air for hours.
A small bottle not larger than 15ml helps a lot. A few drops on the palm of your hand and in your neck will surround you with a wonderful fragrance. A plus, you can use it also instead of a moisturizer when your skin gets dry.
If you can, don’t go to the first washroom at the airport after leaving the airplane. Most passengers have to get there as quick as possible. It’s usually filthy and you have to wait in a row of impatient and tired women. (With the men it’s less of a problem). The washroom close to the baggage claim is usually less occupied and cleaner.
Research shows that most people are right-handed and tend to turn right first. Chose the checkpoint at the Airport Security farthest to the left as that row is likely to be the shortest. The same counts for the customs, if you can get to choose the row for yourself.
Bring a power strip with you to the airport. With a power strip, you are the lucky one, who can charge all your devices at once, while others have to wait for more outlets to become available. You may be the one who is generous enough to share.
Bypass the expensive WiFi at the airport by adding “?.jpg” at the end of any URL and you are likely to be able to surf the internet for free.
Check out these long-haul flight destinations which are definitely worth the effort:
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