Direct Line magazine

10 tips for surviving a long-haul flight

Updated on: 16 August 2021

Waiting at an airpot with luggage.

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, there’s not much you can do to turn a long-haul flight into an enjoyable experience.

However, there are things you can do to make yourself feel comfortable during the long journey. Here are the 10 travel tips you need to survive for your next long trip.

1. Avoid heavy meals

It’s better to stay away from heavy meals before or during your flight. They are tougher for your body to digest and may make it more difficult to fall asleep. Plus, being bloated can lead to discomfort while in the air, meaning you’ll struggle more in your seat.

2. Snack carefully

Go for healthy, carb-rich foods such as wholegrain bread and oatmeal to keep your blood sugar levels low - this makes it easier to cope with jet lag. Another healthy snack idea is protein-rich nibbles. Pack cheese, yoghurt, or even protein bars. They’ll boost your energy and keep you full for longer.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Health experts recommend drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the flight because air travel can be incredibly dehydrating. Plus, staying hydrated can help with ‘flight flu’ once you land.

4. Moderate caffeine intake

Avoid too much coffee or tea – it will keep you awake, dehydrate you and can make you feel agitated, anxious or unable to relax.

Cup of coffee

5. Wear comfortable clothing

Everyone has experienced a long flight where they went from freezing to sweating and back again. Loose fitting clothing and a few breathable layers can help you manage the difference in temperatures you’ll experience during the flight and between the terminal and aircraft. Besides, nobody wants to spend seven hours with a belt cutting into their midriff.

6. Comfy shoes

When flying, your ankles and feet tend to swell. A lot. This happens because you’re sitting with your feet on the floor for a long period of time. So, choose your shoes wisely. To help relieve foot swelling during a long flight, flex and extend your legs frequently when seated. Shift positions and take a short walk every couple of hours if possible.

7. Sleep

Get some sleep, even if it’s a short nap. Sure, it’s not always easy when you’re on a crowded plane, but there are some easy things you can do to help: a neck pillow, an eye mask and a pair of earphones or earplugs will block out the light and noise that may keep you awake and stress you out.

Airline passenger

8. Choose the right seat for you

Paying a little extra to have a premium seat can make a big difference to your overall travelling experience. Just think of the extra leg room! If you can’t afford it, you can try and get an aisle seat instead so you can stand and stretch often. Or, if you prefer to have a nice wall to rest on while sleeping, go for a window seat. This means you’ll also avoid beverage carts or other passengers going to the bathroom disturbing your sleep.

9. Keep yourself entertained

Book, tablets and magazines all help to pass the time during a long flight. This could also be the right time to catch the latest episodes of your best-loved shows or listen to your new Spotify playlist. Just make sure to download any online content to your device, so you don’t have to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi.

10. Stay positive

Going on a trip can be stressful and exhausting, but it’s well worth it once you arrive at your destination. So stay positive and instead of dreading the flight, find ways to use this time productively. 

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