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  • Writer's pictureClarissa

How to survive a long haul flight

Living in Australia, long haul flights are a given if you want to go overseas. To fly from Australia to Europe, which is one of my favourite destinations, you're looking at at LEAST 23 hours - and that's a short flight.

Long-haul flights don't need to feel long, if you know how to manage them. Read on for some of my top tips for surviving a long haul flight.

1. Strategically pack your carry-on

Your carry-on luggage needs to include everything you need for the next 24-36 hours depending on how long your travel time is. Travelling on a plane isn't always the most comfortable experience, so make sure you pack things to help you relax and enjoy the experience. To help, I've put together this downloadable PDF. Download here.

2. Entertainment

Long-haul flights can be boring, so make sure you pack enough entertainment. Most airlines include little screens in the back of the seat in front, which are pre-loaded with movies, TV shows, games, radio and more. However, some of the older planes are not equipped with this, or if they are, the selection isn't always the best. To ensure that you are sufficiently entertained, I recommend also packing:

  • iPad or tablet, pre-loaded with Netflix shows

  • A good book

  • A travel diary to start documenting your trip

3. Sleep

Getting sleep on a long haul flight is one of the best things you can do. If you're flying overnight, it's a given that you'll need to sleep so you're not wrecked when you land. If you're travelling for an entire day (such as Australia - Europe), you'll also need to sleep at some stage as you'll be spending an entire day and night on the plane. Sleeping on a plane can be challenging.

To help, make sure you're wearing comfortable, non-restrictive clothing, bring a sleeping mask to shut out light and encourage your body to produce melatonin (the sleep chemical), earplugs if you need them and a neck pillow. I can't stress it enough - I only recently bought a neck pillow and I am in love! It make such a difference. Just make sure that you test out a few models and find out which one works for you. I personally love my memory foam neck pillow as it's comfortable and also sturdy enough to keep my head up so I feel supported. It also comes with a little bag so I can roll it up when I'm not travelling. You can buy them here. If you have trouble sleeping, you might also like to bring supplements or sleeping tablets - but make sure you talk to your doctor first.

4. Select the right seat

Seating on a long flight is everything. If you get stuck in the middle of a 3 or even 4 person row, you're going to be in for an uncomfortable trip. Now, the jury is still out over which seat in domestic is actually the best, as it often comes down to personal preference, so I've listed my pros and cons below.

Window seat


Obviously, the view!

The ability to sleep leaning against the window


Need to climb across two people if you want to go for a walk (which you definitely need to do) or go to the bathroom

Aisle seat


Easy to get up and stretch your legs without climbing over people


People will be climbing over you

No view

If you like the middle seat, let's chat. I'd love to hear why.

5. Move around

On any flight and particularly a long-haul flight, it's important to get up and move around as much as possible. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is an issue that affects many travellers and can be caused when you're not moving around as the blood isn't circulating like it should. To prevent any avoidable issues, make sure you move around a lot, and if you are susceptible to swelling, try wearing compression socks.

6. Stay hydrated

I know it's really easy and really tempting to go to town on the free alcohol and coffee while on a long haul flight, just remember that alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you. Flying is already dehydrating on the body, so it's really important that you stay properly hydrated. So, by all means have you free wine, just make sure that you're also drinking plenty of water. Also keep in mind that you will get more intoxicated in the air.

7. Make sure you're comfortable

The clothes you travel in are really important as you'll be spending so many hours in them. Wear something comfy and warm, that's going to be practical for long hours. Ladies, avoid dresses or skirts that are going to be too short if you want to curl your legs up. Also avoid jeans as these tend to be far too tight.

Finally, enjoy! Think about the destination you're headed to and just remember that this is a journey to get you there.

What are some of your long haul flight essentials?

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