How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight (With Your Sanity)

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If you’ve never done it before, it can be quite hard to comprehend what a long haul flight is like.  

As you step onto the tarmac at your destination it will be an experience that you will vow never to repeat, but then as the weeks go on you think… it wasn’t that bad… was it?  Much like giving birth I hear.

Well, don’t be put off.  About five hours in you may be considering lunging from the emergency exit in a crazed put-me-out-of-my-misery frenzy but it will all be worth it, I promise.  

Luckily for you, I’ve got some long haul flight tips to keep you tickety-boo until touch down:

Don’t sleep… just yet!

First things first, as much as you may want to knock yourself out for the entire 24 hours of flying, its not going to be the best idea.  

If you are going long-haul then you’re going to another timezone so its time for you to get into their zone the minute you step onto the plane.  Plan to try and sleep during your destination’s night time and take a herbal sleep aid an hour before that time to help you drift off.  

Also, invest in the best travel pillow you can.  Now is not the time to try and ‘make do’ with your jumper scrunched against the condensation laden window or your neighbour’s shoulder. 

You can get some rather interesting shaped travel pillows… just check out this video to see mine; rather comfy though I must say!  You can get it here.

Person browsing phone on a flight

Entertainment overload

You cannot have too much entertainment. 


Load your tablet with as many movies, games and TV programs as you can.  I recommend finding a couple of riveting TV series that you can binge-watch.  

There will be entertainment on your flight but once you’ve watched the two or three movies that made you excitedly bounce in your airplane seat when you first sat down, you’re then left with another 19.5 hours to kill.

Yes, a truly horrifying thought.

I personally take the laptop to do some work; it’s surprising how many hours you can pass ploughing through a few reports, photo edits or plans.

Don’t forget to charge EVERYTHING and bring spare batteries or power packs if you can.

Be an audio star

I don’t mean music, although that might entertain you for an hour.  What you really need is to:

1.  Invest in some noise-cancelling and comfortable headphones.

I tend to be a bit of a bargain hunter (aka cheapskate) and bought a cheap and cheerful pair of headphones for my last long-haul flight.  Lets just say I won’t be making THAT mistake again and I urge you not to either unless you want to feel like your ears are burning off.

2.  Download several audio books and podcasts

Podcast series can entertain you for hours and audio books are a complete lifesaver.  Not only do they typically come in at 6+ hours each but listening to books rather than reading can be much more relaxing and can lull you to sleep in a matter of minutes.  I personally use Audible and cannot rate it highly enough!

Flat lay with headphones, notepad, phone, sunglasses and make up bag

Don’t feel gross

Plane food is typically rather terrible, although now I’m vegan it does seem to be a little better… perhaps that’s just me.  That being said, you also cannot be guaranteed a vegan meal so could be left trying to make-do with a crisp sandwich.

The snack menu also tends to be both pricey and full to the brim with foods that you might as well label ‘bloat me now’ and ‘fancy feeling sick for 6 hours? Eat me!’.  Think greasy crisps, chips and if you’re lucky (unlucky) sugar ladened dark chocolate.

I always take some healthier alternative snacks with me on the plane along with a spare meal from one of the airport vendors – think a takeaway salad, overnight oats or roasted veg pot. 

Feeling healthy, light and smug rather than sick, bloated and gross?  Yes please.

Flat lay of bowls of green salad

Equip yourself for the long haul

Whilst you don’t want to pack the whole house in your hand luggage, there are a few essentials that you shouldn’t forget:

  • Ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • A blanket-scarf – it can get a bit nippy on the plane and sometimes the one blanket supplied just doesn’t cut it
  • Moisturiser – one that you can use both on your face and hands – the plane dehydration is all too real! I personally love Trilogy Rosehip Oil for ultimate hydration.
  • A toiletry pack including deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and eye drops. No one likes a smelly neighbour.

Dress like you just don’t care

Now is not the time to try and win a style award. 

Comfy leggings or joggers and a baggy jumper are a must.  Avoid anything tight or restrictive.  Yes you may look questionable but once you’re four hours in you won’t care less. 

Health first

Compression socks and a regular walk about are essential, not just for your sanity (the walk not the socks) but for your health.

Make sure you hydrate well, both before your flight, during and after (with water, not booze).  It’ll make you feel ten times better once you are at the other side.

Be a tad frivolous

You may be a saver for the other 11 months of the year but now is the time to be slightly more frivolous with your hard-earned wages.  

If you can upgrade a notch to premium economy, you might actually be able to sit within the outline of your seat, without jabbing into the person beside, in front and behind you.  Winner.

It’s also worth trying to bag a free upgrade.  Put on your happiest smiley face and be a lovely human to the person on the check-in desk – what have you got to lose?

Alternatively, if you can afford to fly business or first class, or you’ve got enough air miles stored to do so, STOP READING THIS ARTICLE AND BOOK THE PLANE TICKET NOW!!  

Also, can you take me please?

Have fun on your adventure 🙂

Flat lay with a coconut, camera, straw hat, jean shorts, sunglasses and book

Want to know What I Pack In My Carry On Rucksack? Watch the vlog here:


Hi, I’m Tara! I’m taking you on a trip around the world in vegan cuisine and bringing the world’s most delicious dishes to your kitchen.