Tackling Long-Haul Flights

November 02, 2014

Long-haul flights can be intimidating for infrequent flyers and the fear of jet lag is all too real, I should know, I'm an infrequent (slightly nervous) flyer and a terrible grouch when I don't get enough sleep.

Pick a good seat | which means one of the aisle seats in the middle row*
Change the time | immediately switch your timepieces to match the country of your destination
Eating | eat light before the flight and skip the meal service to beat jet lag
Bathroom break | use it in the middle of meal service, don't wait until after when everyone will get up to go
Move about | get up, stretch, walk around (try to avoid annoying everyone)
Don't drink alcohol | it's dehydrating and the effects are amplified in a pressurized cabin
Do drink water | stay hydrated
Sleep | limit light and sound by wearing an eye mask and using earplugs

* I know, I know; everyone knows the window seat is the best seat but it's not a good seat.
An aisle position allows you to leave your seat whenever you need/want to without having to awkwardly ask everyone to move.

Beat Jet Lag
- make sure you're fully rested before you fly
- change your sleep routine the days before you travel
- try to book a flight with a late arrival time (it's easier to go to bed late than wake up early)
- immediately change your time settings to your destination while en route
- stay hydrated while travelling
- try to get as much sleep as you normally would in 24 hours (nap if you need to)
- "anchor sleep"; get at least four hours’ sleep during the local night
- keep moving during the day, once you rest it's game over

Found this post useful?

If you enjoy my blog and find my posts useful, you can buy me a coffee to help support future content.

Join the conversation!

  1. All excellent tips, and I'm so with you on the aisle seat being the best seat. I always skip the meal during flights too, but that's more to do with it being unpalatable haha.

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn

  2. charlotte rollin11/02/2014

    this was so helpful especially for a nervous flyer like myself! hope you're having a fab time in NYC! x

  3. This would be helpful in the future. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Anna Blush11/02/2014

    There's are some really helpful tips. I'm heading away on holiday soon and although it's not a long haul flight (only 5 hours) I'll still be keeping these tips in mind x


  5. I wish I had known some of this before I went to Paris... jet lag got me good! xx


  6. this makes me want to travel... I usually get the window seat, the views make me stay there hahaha.

    xx Cecil // www.wednesday19th.blogspot.com

  7. Love the way you take your photos, they're so clean cut and minimalistic. Thank you for this post, I'm always taking 14 hour flights! :(
    Marissa Jamie : Faithfully, Marissa ♡

  8. A South Wales Blog11/03/2014

    Fantastic post! will definitely be using these tips when I go to America!


  9. It's true that a window is the "best" seat not a "good" seat. I chose it for a trip to Europe because I thought it would allow me to lean my head on the wall for a bit of a better sleep, but the awkardness of asking people to get up whenever I wanted to go anywhere was the worst.

  10. Oooh, yes. Great tips. Mmmmm. I have thoughts about this so bare with me a little.
    - The only flights I've taken are long haul flights. I'm from Chile so I'm far away from EVERYTHING. The shortest flight for me is 4-5 hours (and that's to get to Brazil, which is JUST THERE). So yeah, 13-14 hours on a plane.
    - I do like to take the aisle seat when I travel with people I know. That way I won't be bothered if they have to get up more than once. If not, the window seat is mine. I can stretch, rest my head by the window, more room to move and pretend there's nobody beside me.
    - Thank God I don't need to go to the bathroom a lot, so I can take the window seat without any problem. I usually go once or not at all.
    - I don't drink alcohol but when I've traveled with friends who do, they do drink a glass of wine because it helps them fall asleep. Instead, I have to take a pill. Being aware of 13 hours inside a thing it's killer for me, so sleeping helps pretending the flight is shorter.
    - Sleep! Take advantage of the radio stations on the plane. I always listen to the relaxation ones or the classical music. They're great for turning off any noises around you and actually help you relax.
    - If you get to a place at 6am, go to your staing place and only sleep until noon. Then go out and explore, don't miss the day! You can still see a lot on that day, experience some night fun and go to sleep at a reasonable hour, so you can get up early on the next day.

  11. I didn't skip the meals.. and they were actually OK for plane food!

  12. I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be.. some of the turbulence made me nervous but apart from that, I coped! I had a fantastic time, thank you! :))

  13. I really hope it does!

  14. Five hours is still quite long - I hope your flight goes well and you're calm and relaxed the whole time :))

  15. I didn't really suffer - thankfully! Getting there was fine, I got right into the NYC schedule (altho my flight was time perfectly so that helped) and coming back I struggled a bit with tiredness at 5pm (I was falling asleep in the bath!) but right now I feel GOOD.

  16. I had the window seat for both flights! I didn't get to pick (otherwise I would have sat in the aisle seat) but it was fine on both flights.

  17. Thank you so much, Marissa. 14 hour flights scare me but I would like to do one in the future!

  18. Awesome - let me know how it works for you!

  19. I hate asking people to move!

  20. Wicked tips - thanks for suggesting them! :))

  21. All great tips, thanks for sharing! I live in Germany but my family is in the US so I make long haul flights several times a year. I do all of these except for getting a goodnights sleep and booking later flight when I am flying AGAINST time. I generally take a very early morning flight and stay up (packing last minute! haha) because I am then able to sleep on the entire flight and once I get to my destination, where it is around 12pm (in the US) I am awake and ready to start the day. It really depends on if you are flighting with or against time. When I fly BACK to germany, I employ the technique you listed above :)

    rae of love from berlin


Thank you for taking the time to read this post and leave a comment - I read and respond to as many as possible. Please feel free to leave a link to your blog but please do not advertise or post links to giveaways, these comments will be deleted. Thank you.

© A Considered Life. Design by FCD.