So you have booked that ticket and you are excited to get to the destination! Yay! The thing is – if you are like me you dread long-haul flights if you don’t have a first class ticket. Sitting inside a metal tube for more than six plus hours is taxing on your body.  To make your long-haul flight more comfortable, here are some tips to survive it.

1. Take your shoes off

When you sit in the same position for too long, it is inevitable your feet and ankles are going to swell whether you wear compression socks or not. To allow your feet to swell without discomfort, take your shoes off for the flight and put on a pair of slippers or slide-ons. Trust me, you’ll be better off without it.

To be a good neighbor and to avoid being self-conscious you can:

a). Spray your shoes with a shoe freshener beforehand;

b). Bring a pair fresh socks to change into;

c). Carry dryer sheets like Bounce – This is my favorite trick. These are light and you can easily stuff them into your shoes, and are good to have in your suitcase to use throughout your trip to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Alternatively, newspapers are also good to stuff them in your shoes, as it helps to keep it in shape and masks odor. So next time the flight attendant comes around asking if you want the newspaper, say yes and snag a page or two.

2. Layer & wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing

You want to feel comfortable on a flight, so comfy loose clothing are the way to go. I love wearing jeans, or leggings and a shirt with a light sweater on top. In addition, have a jacket as well. The layering helps as you never know if the flight is going to be freezing or overheated.

Tip: Bring a scarf. A scarf is pretty versatile on a flight since it can be used as a fashion accessory, a blanket, lumbar support -when you fold it/ roll it up. It can also be handy to combat funky smells on the airplane. I like to spray my scarf with my favorite scent (just a spritz, nothing overpowering), just in case I sit next to someone with body odor.

3. Ask for an additional pillow

Airplane seats are not designed ergonomically for our human spine. It’s in a C-shape whereas our human spine has more of an S-shape. When we sit for too long in a C-shape, our back and neck get all achy.  To counteract this, wedge something behind your lower back, like a pillow or two, a rolled up blanket, scarf, or sweater.  It will help to offset the seat’s shape and keep your spine in its natural shape.

4. Move around the plane

This means doing some in-seat exercises for a few minute every hour or so. Some airlines have in-flight seat exercise cards in the back seat pocket. Quantas Airlines has an in-flight video promoting gentle stretches on the plane to avoid the risk of blood clots and developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Alternatively, un-scrunch yourself. Get up and take a walk down the aisle from time to time during the flight. It helps with blood circulation and you’ll guarantee feel better and less stiff.

5. Consider your diet the day before your travel

I find the day before my flight, what I eat and take into my body makes a big difference. Do not overeat. Stick with food that is light and fresh. So think fruits and vegetables. For protein, I’d choose fish over meat. And I would avoid dairy products like cheese and any dishes that are fried. These foods tend to makes me feel bloated, heavy and greasy. Of course, we all have different tolerances over how the food affects us, so I would encourage you to stray away from food that makes you feel sluggish, stuffed and puffy. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable when you are on a long-haul flight.  

6. Bring your own snacks

Let’s face it, airline food is not exactly full of nutrition. So pack a healthy snack for when you get hungry sometime during the 10-hour flight. I suggest a bag of mixed dry fruits and nuts or a protein bar of some kind. I love my protein bars from Arbonne. The only contain 4 grams of fat and taste delicious.

7. Check-in strategically to get a better seat

When I am flying with someone and there are 3 seats in a row, we would sometimes purposely choose the aisle and the window seat leaving the middle seat empty. Why? The middle seat is not desirable especially on a long flight, so it’s often the last to be picked.  So, if the flight is not full, you and your travel companion may luck out in getting an extra seat and a half to yourself. If someone does show for the middle seat, you can always ask if they would mind switching seats if you wanted to sit together.

Tip: Before you book, use SeatGuru to compare and help you decide which airline or aircraft to fly based on your needs. Information such as how big the seats are, whether it has entertainment and charging outlet options on flight would be useful when choosing which airline to fly for a long haul flight.   After you have booked a flight use SeatGuru as a general reference to check out the layout of the plane and what seats (if any) to avoid. If you are like me, I don’t like to sit close to the washrooms. So after referencing seat guru, you can choose your seats accordingly when checking in based on what’s available and your preference to ensure you have selected a comfortable seat.

8. Carry out your general bedtime routine

Do this before you board or after takeoff when the captain switches off the seatbelt sign. My preference is to do it before I get on because I like to settle into my seat once I’m in. This includes brushing my teeth, taking out my contacts, removing my makeup, moisturizing my face and neck.

Before landing, I also use a make-up wipe because it helps to reset your complexion so you can apply a quick make-up look on the plane or when you land. So pack your essentials for your bedtime routine in your carry-on.

Mine would include: toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens case, travel size contact lens solution, your favorite moisturizer in a travel size bottle, make-up removing wipes.

In addition, I pack my facial mist to spritz my face during the flight to keep my face hydrated. My favorite is Caudalie Beauty Elixir. It makes me feel relaxed. And my skin soaks this stuff up making me feel refreshed and hydrated.

9. Stay hydrated

Let’s be frank, staying hydrated is one of the most important things to do — which we all know, but often ignore to drink lots and lots of water. When you are the plane, it is critical if you want to keep your bloating in check and your skin looking hydrated and clear.

Tip: Fill your water bottle with a blend of cucumber and lemon the night before or just hours before your flight and keep it in the fridge. Take it out when you are leaving for the airport. Once you pass the security check, fill your water bottle with water and sip it throughout the flight. Of course, whenever you feel like your skin is drying out, spritz your face with a facial spritz of your choice to keep it hydrated.

10. Set your watch to the local time in your destination

As soon as you board your flight, reset your watch for the new time zone as if you are already there. While on board, try to sync yourself to the sleeping habits of your destination ‘s time zone, as best as you can. This means maybe you don’t sleep on your flight or you let yourself rest but wake yourself up just a few hours.

Depending on the length of your flight, if needed, try taking melatonin. I like to take just half a pill so that I’m not zonked out and it helps to kick-start those zzz’s giving me the rest and sleep I need.

What do you think of my list? Is there anything else you do to help you survive a long haul flight?