12 Simple Tips on How to Survive a Long Flight (or Any Form of Transit)

You’ve purchased your flight and you’re going abroad! Yay! But wait, you have to endure a 14 hour flight to get there… Don’t fret! The clock still ticks while you’re in the air and we’ve provided some simple and practical tips to help you survive that long flight.

If you’re still in the pre-flight phase and haven’t bought that long flight ticket just yet, be sure to read our post on the best ways to find a cheap flight for some great tips!

Grab the Aisle Seat

Long flight tips: airplane seating

Getting that aisle seat is now vital to our sanity while on a long flight. We had the window and middle seat on our 13 hour flight to Taipei. The guy in the aisle seat next to us never stood up when we needed out. We had to climb over him. It wasn’t that dramatic but you get the idea.

It was a pain, to say the least. Instead of being cramped up against the window, the aisle seat allows you to get up when you please and make a trip to the lavatory without asking permission from the person next to you, who’s probably asleep.

Seriously, reserving that aisle seat is one of the best tips for a long flight because it makes your life in the air so much easier.

Borrow From Your Local Public Library

Long flight tips: borrow library books and audio books through OverDrive

Your local public library is an incredible resource and you don’t even have to leave your house to utilize it!

First, you’re going to need a library card. Our local library lets you apply for a card online but you may have to go in person to get this done so make sure you do it before you leave on your trip!

Now, you may be saying books are bulky and heavy why would I want to borrow them for my flight or trip? Well, there’s this handy dandy app called OverDrive, which allows you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your library!

If you bring your laptop and it still has a CD drive then you can even borrow movies and TV shows…FOR FREE! Just don’t damage or lose them while in transit. Using the public library is one of the simplest tips for making your long flight entertaining!

Pro tip: Don’t wait until the last minute to borrow! The more popular books and audio books will likely have waiting lists.

Offline Games

Long flight tips: offline games for entertainment

Everyone has that game on their phone or tablet they love to play. Make sure to load up on your favorites games with offline capabilities before the flight. In addition to the games on your device, you’ll have the in-flight games that long flights typically provide. They’re fun but boredom sets in pretty fast so be prepared with some options of your own!

Download Movies beforehand

Long flight tips: download movies and tv shows from Netflix

Airlines also provide movies on really long flights, but are they ones you want to see? Try downloading a few of your favorites ahead of time on Netflix or digital copies you may have bought so you’ll have some entertainment to chip away at that big chunk of time in the air.

Wear Comfy Clothes

Long flight tips: wear comfy clothes while flying

Arguably one of the most important tips we can give for a long flight: wear something comfortable.

You don’t want to be sitting in an already uncomfortable seat while wearing clothes that ride up or that give you no mobility. In our opinion, the softer and stretchier the better. Your seat on the flight, especially those long ones overnight, is practically your bed. Make sure to be comfy in it.

Podcasts

Long flight tips: listen to podcasts offline

Podcasts are another great way to pass the time on a long flight. Listening to someone discuss your favorite subject while staring out at the clouds can get your mind working, which makes the long flight seem less taxing. Podcasts are an awesome tool that help take your mind off the fact you’re flying for hours. Podcast Player on Google Play and Apple Podcasts both allow you to download podcasts for offline listening for free.

Practice the Language

Long flight tips: chapters on Mango Languages

If you’re on a long flight then you’re most likely going to a foreign country. Do you know the language for your destination?

It’s always a good idea to pick up a few words for the country you’ll be visiting, even if it’s just the basics. There are some great apps out there for learning a language. Why not spend those long hours in the air learning some new words? Sounds like a good idea to pass the time!

Duolingo is a very popular language learning app nowadays and with good reason. There are a ton of languages that you can learn and it’s very user-friendly. However, to use it in offline mode, you need the premium version. But all you have to do is subscribe for the free trial before your flight, and then unsubscribe before the first payment takes place. Or if you end up loving the app then live that premium life.

Another great language learning app is Mango Languages, which allows you to download lessons without paying for premium. This app is great because it jumps straight into teaching you phrases that actually come in handy while traveling instead of io mangio la mela (“I eat the apple” in Italian).

Long flight tips: learn a language on Mango Languages

But wait, there’s more!

You can access the premium version of Mango through a free trial, which gives you a lot of added benefits but YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY (yes, that great resource again!) might have the premium version available for free for its library members.

Guys, we love our library. Make use of it!

Bring Your Own Snacks

Long flight tips: sunflowers and raisins for a healthy fight snack

Airline food is meh, let’s be real.

Go ahead and chow down on the sometimes tasteless meals they provide, but we recommend packing some snacks with some power. Whether it’s dried fruit, raisins, or nuts, get something your taste buds love but also something that is good for you. The more enjoyable you make your long flight the better you feel, and eating plays a huge role in that. Eating healthy snacks while in the air will also give your body some much needed energy after you land. You’re going to need it!

Stretch

This is a lot easier if in the aisle seat. Can’t sleep or trying to stay awake to avoid jet lag when you land?

Try standing up in intervals and doing some twists and arm raises. Walk up and down the aisle a couple times while everyone else is snoozing. The more blood flow you get the better you’ll feel. Better yet, try some airplane yoga. You may get a couple of weird looks but they’re really just jealous.

Know the Local Time of Your Destination

We’ve all heard of the terrible jet lag that comes with long flights. Tips for how to fight jet lag on a long flight vary widely. Depending on your destination, you might need to sleep as much as you can or not sleep at all. That’s why it’s very important to check the local time of your destination so you know what time it will be when you land. If you arrive in the early morning, you don’t want to be a zombie all day. Try and get some zzz’s on the long flight over so you’ll have some energy in the reserve tank to last you the day.

Drink up! Water, that is.

Long flight tips: drink from a water bottle

Another vital part of long flights is staying hydrated. Drink that water! When the airline staff ask what you would like to drink, tell them water. We know, a coke sounds better, or even a cocktail, but stick with water. Bring a reusable bottle (we use Nalgene) with you and fill it up at the airport after you pass through security. Add some hydration to stretching and you’re feeling pretty peachy during that long flight!

Travel with a Friend

This isn’t possible for everyone because some of us are traveling solo for business or to see a friend in a far off destination. However, if you can swing it, whether it’s your best bud or significant other, make that long flight with them. They will be someone to crack jokes with or complain to about how the long flight really sucks (it’s not that bad!). A friend in the seat next to you makes that long haul so much more bearable and truly is one of the best tips for a long flight.

Summary of 12 Simple Tips to Survive a Long Flight

We’ve listed some practical tips to help you ease the pain of that long flight. At the end of the day, there’s no way of getting around it. You’ve got to endure those long hours in the air. However, taking some simple steps will make it much more manageable. After all, how bad can a long flight be? You’re going on an adventure! Unless you’re flying back home…let’s not talk about that part.

For some other practical tips to help make travel more awesome check out our travel tips page!

Happy travels!

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We all get excited for that trip abroad but no one looks forward to the flight. That's why we've listed 12 tips to help you make that long flight enjoyable!

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Where Food Takes Us

Where Food Takes Us

We’re Darah and Garrett. Our life has been an adventure ever since we eloped in a pink Cadillac in Las Vegas. Now we’re running around the world, working online, and eating everything we can.

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I loved reading this! I use overdrive, love it and find a lot of people don’t know about it. My preference is still a window seat for leaning against when trying to catch a snooze on a long flight. Got to have snacks, agreed. Will check out Mango Languages, sounds like a good one! Yay for those long trips cuz you arrive somewhere you may never have dreamed you would ever go!

There are pluses and minuses to both the aisle seat and the window seat … it all depends on preference. A window does give you a place to snuggle up against if you plan on sleeping for an extended period and I have absolutely NO qualms about asking that aisle seat person to stand up to let me out. On the aisle, if you have a resless person in either the window or middle seat who constantly is getting up, that can be a pain too. It’s all about finding your inner Zen no matter where you sit, and for… Read more »

Yukti

Very useful post as long flights are very tiring and preparing well in advance is always a wise decision. Carrying some small snacks and wearing comfy clothes is always I follow.

I used to sit by the window until I found it hard to go to the toilet. From then on, I always chose the aisle seat.

Darah was the same way until we flew to Taiwan and she was forced to climb over the guy in the aisle.

I keep reading about the benefits of staying hydrated and yet, don’t find myself drinking enough water while I’m on a flight. Have to start doing that. Some people sleep their way through…what a good strategy!

It’s especially hard to drink enough water when you don’t have access to it or you don’t want to be in the bathroom every hour of the flight. We recommend getting a water bottle with measurements on the side so you can keep track of how much you have been drinking throughout the day.

Lance

I always look for an aisle seat, no matter how long the flight is. I don’t like having to ask someone to move if I need to get up. The library is an absolutely must have for us. There is so much you can get these days from the library. In addition to books, we have downloaded language programs (like Mango), craft apps, and exercise apps. (all free thanks to the library).

We just discovered all the apps you can access from the library. We’re the most excited about being able to watch Lynda tutorials thanks to our library!

This is a great list and a handy article for all those who struggle with long flights! I typically download movies myself or try to read through french grammar (super fun). Thanks for sharing these tips!

Having a bigger selection of movies than the ones offered on the plane is smart. Although, I do like how the plane typically has recent movies I didn’t get around to seeing.

I do all of these tips on my long flights, except for your tip on, “Borrow from your local public library”. That is such a great idea and even better that I just moved to a new place and live within walking distance from my local library 🙂

Yes! Libraries are awesome! I would dig around their website to see what else your library offers you. We recently discovered we can watch Lynda tutorials for free through our public library!

Heather

Yep, these are great tips I definitely agree with…except the aisle seat. I’m a total window seat girl because I want to be able to lean on the side, don’t want to be disturbed by anyone and I love to do aerial photography. BUT I’m a good window seat person-I usually time getting up with the person who is getting out and book flights that are 2-4-2 seat configurations so it’s only one person. Offline games are a must, I love Duolingo and YES to comfy clothes. I will never understand the tight pants, short skirts and stilettos I see… Read more »

Having to use the restroom a lot is the reason we no longer sit in the window and middle seats. But I agree, being able to lean on the side and take photography is the reason I always chose the window seat on any flight.

Agree with this completely, especially your number one tip about the aisle seat. I flew to China a couple of years ago and a young woman had the aisle seat. Soon after take off, she pulled her woolly hat down over her face and went to sleep. Trying to rouse her so we could go to the toilet was awful. And yes taking your own food is a must. I like puzzles so always take sudoku, both electronic and paper. Same with reading: a paper book has well as electronic, just in case that battery gives out!

Most long international flights I’ve been on have chargers at every seat, which is nice because then I don’t have to worry about not having a phone when landing!

Marvi

I get headaches reading while in transit so I might skip bringing books or ebooks on long flights. But, I’d definitely go for wearing comfortable clothes and maybe bringing some light snacks and water while up in the air 🙂 I also like the idea of sitting on the aisle (though I mostly prefer the window seat), it does make sense especially for me who uses the bathroom a lot. LOL.

We don’t mind long flights. haha… Usually we watch all the movies that the airplane offers. In fact, we make a list of the movies we want to watch as soon as we get on the plane! And even if the flights are over 10 hours, we often end up not having enough time to watch everything we wanted. Drinking (water) is also important of course. But sometimes it’s good to get a coke or an orange juice. We usually wear leggings and thick socks when flying. 🙂