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 will still tick away 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 money-saving tips!
Of course, figuring out where to travel is the first step in the trip planning process. Read our guide on how to decide where you should travel next for some inspiration!
Grab the Aisle Seat
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. Of course, 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 more relaxed.
Borrow From Your Local Public Library
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 local library!
If you bring your laptop and it still has a CD drive (or you have an adapter) then you can even borrow movies and TV shows…FOR FREE! Just don’t damage or lose them while in transit. If you have wifi you can stream them, but wifi in the air can be costly for some; so we recommend sticking with a physical copy.
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.
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
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 from 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
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 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 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
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. We love this app 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).
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
Airline food is meh, let’s be real.
Go ahead and chow down on the sometimes tasteless meals they provide (at least there’s some protein), 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!
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.
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!
That said, most airlines offer free alcohol on long haul flights. So, if you are trying to sleep some hours off, that glass of wine is ok!
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 in tow.
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!