This article is part of our Travel Resource series. A series of articles aimed at making travel more simplistic, comfortable and enjoyable without breaking the bank.
Top 9 Travel Hacks For Long Flights
If you’re not able to get an upgrade to first or business class on a long haul flight, you should have a plan of action to make any lengthy flight more enjoyable. Even if you are able to get upgraded, there are things you can do to improve your flight experience.
Anytime I have to travel for over 5 hours, I’m thinking ahead of my flight for ways to make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. There are a number of travel hacks that make long haul flights easier, and they range from purchasing inexpensive items to use on the flight, to preparing yourself physically before you have to sit crammed in a coach seat. We list out our favorite 9 travel hacks for flying below.
1. Purchase a Neck Pillow for your Flights
While most international flights will provide you with a pillow, it’s usually encased in what feels like some sort of cheap paper. Not only that, but the material inside isn’t much better.
Buy a cheap, but high quality neck pillow to support your neck and prevent your head from falling to the side when you doze off.
2. Purchase an Eye Mask
Another great sleep hack on flights. Buy a COMFORTABLE eye mask that doesn’t strap tightly around the back of your head. Also make sure it gently rests on your eyes with a comfortable material that you don’t even notice is there.
I wasn’t a fan of earplugs until I started living an apartment with a really loud upstairs neighbor. Now I don’t sleep without them, even if it’s completely silent. I’ve learned over time that the more you use them, the more comfortable they become and eventually you won’t even realize they’re there.
I use the HEAROS (pictured right), which can cover up to 33db of noise. That’s the highest level I’ve seen earplugs sold in. Plus, the HEAROS are inexpensive. They really are a life saver to prevent against crying babies, passengers listening to loud music or simply block out obnoxious engine noise.
For me, this is huge. You might not think you need to be physically in shape for a long haul flight, but it certainly helps. Cardio, whether it be basic aerobics or a 5 mile run, will improve blood flow and circulation. This is only beneficial to your body if you’re anticipating being in a seated position for any lengthy period of time.
The same goes for stretching. Make sure your muscles are as loose as possible before boarding your flight. Remember, it takes time for muscles to lengthen and relax in your body. Sure, stretching right before you board will help, but take this a step further and begin stretching your leg, back, neck and shoulder muscles at least a week before your flight. Another great item that I use on a daily basis is a high density foam roller. This is great to expand your spinal column, flush out toxins and bring fresh nutrients back into your joints.
5. Wear Comfortable Clothes That Also Look Good
Whenever I fly, I like to be casually fresh and comfortable. While wearing comfortable clothes in and of itself will make you feel physically more comfortable, looking good in the process will give you a mental boost in confidence. When you look good, you feel good.
If you’re a guy, take a look at my most recommended kind of travel pants. They’re comfortable, stylish, moisture-whicking and wrinkle-free. Stuff them in your bag, wash them in a lake, put them back on and they’ll dry off unwrinkled. Take a look at our complete Bluffworks pants review for more information, as well as an interview with the founder and CEO. You can also visit the online store, be sure to use coupon code WINEDERLUST for 10% off your purchase.
6. Pack a Small Travel Kit
Always make sure you have some kind of small travel bag with some essentials packed into it. Whether that’s a simple sealable zip-lock baggy, or a canvas bathroom bag. Our top recommended (travel size) items to pack in your travel kit are below. Many of which can be found at major retailers, like CVS, Walgreens or Walmart.
- A Small Comb or Brush
- Lip Balm
- Snacks (Sealed)
- Water (Sealed)
- Vitamin C (or Airborne)
- Hand Sanitizer
- One Pair of Clean Underwear
Obviously if you don’t use some of these items, then don’t include them in your kit! But you probably should probably consider bringing along many of these essentials.
7. Bring Entertainment (iPad, Laptop, Books, Magazine, Journal)
Always make sure you have some way to entertain your brain on long haul flights. Whatever floats your boat… or in this case, flies your plane. For blogging purposes (even if there isn’t WiFi on board), I’m jotting down ideas. iPad’s or Laptop’s can also be used to watch movies. Carriers such as Southwest now offer free TV as long as you have a device that has a video player. JetBlue and other carriers have TVs built right into the back seat headrests.
Reading is probably the best thing you can do if you ultimately want to sleep while flying. Smaller print helps to tire your eyes, while at the same time entertain your brain. You’re also cutting out the blue light from electronic devices. I’m currently reading “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau.
8. Bring a Portable Device Charger
Even though it’s 2016, there’s a good chance that some aircraft that operate long haul routes may have been built during the 1980’s. That said, they may not have device chargers or outlets that are accessible. With this in mind, buy a couple of portable device chargers and make sure you charge them the day before your flight. They also come in handy for travel in general when you’re on the move and don’t have time to wait by an outlet.
For me, this is easier said than done. However, you should at least try to pull it off. Ease future jet lag by catching a few Z’s throughout your flight. If you’re a light sleeper, or don’t sleep well in a seated position, consider non-narcotic sleep aids like Melatonin and always keep them in your carry-on travel kit. Over the counter options like ZQuil and Unisom can also be used as needed. Also consider avoiding caffeine and alcohol if you want to sleep.
Some of us are lucky enough to be able to get drunk and or have a cup of coffee and still be able to doze off. If that’s not you, stick to water!