Long Haul Flight Essentials & Tips
International travel is thrilling except for one big part… the long flight there. Not only can long flights contribute to hard-to-kick jet lag, but they can also give your trip a pretty rough start. One example, on our flight to Osaka, Japan I got sick… I mean REALLY sick.
I’ll try to spare you most of the gory details but… I was throwing up in the bathroom for hours with multiple people knocking because they needed in. Do I suffer from motion sickness? Not usually. But the turbulence on this flight definitely didn’t help out. So we thought of some helpful carry-on items and tips to help you survive your next long flight.
Bring Healthy Snacks
Yes, bring healthy snacks. But not just any snacks. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt content and bring snacks that make you feel good and give long-lasting energy.
These are the snacks we usually bring on a long flight:
- Fruit: Clementines, bananas, apples, and grapes are perfect choices for long flights because they have natural sugars, are refreshing, and are easy to eat. We also love dried fruit because it is easy to keep fresh and won’t bruise in your bag. Plus many of these are high in vitamin C and will help keep you healthy on the flight.
- Dried or raw vegetables: Opt for a sturdy veggie that is great raw. Celery, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are all great picks. Pair it up with your favorite nut butter or salsa but make sure it follows TSA guidelines.
- Nuts/seeds: Unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, pistachios, etc all make for a great snack and are high in protein. Just be considerate of those seated next to you and ask about allergies. As someone with a severe nut allergy, I always inform flight attendants about my allergy so they can make an announcement for others to not eat my allergen on the plane. If you are someone who also has a severe contact allergy you should definitely do the same!
- Jerky: Perky Jerky is our go-to for high protein and lower fat jerky. It has slightly less sodium than regular jerky too.
- If you like chocolate then bring a small bar of your favorite kind on the plane. I love the dark chocolate wedges from Trader Joe’s. These are perfect individual sizes to take on your flight.
Drink A LOT of Water
It seems like a given but once you board your international flight it’s easy to start taking advantage of the free soft drinks, coffee, wine, and beer, but keeping up with your water intake is the most important.
One way to make sure you are drinking enough is to bring your own empty water bottle through security and fill it up once on the other side. You can also purchase a large one at the airport but prepare to pay about $5 for it.
Pack Your Toothbrush in Your Carry-On
After sleeping or eating brush your teeth to give yourself a refresh. Sometimes airlines have disposable ones they provide in the bathroom but don’t bank on them because on every international flight, we’ve taken these go fast!
Check the Airline Menu Before Leaving
If you’re a picky eater or have dietary restrictions it’s best to visit your airline’s website and check the menu for the month of your flight. You can even make requests for specific meals (i.e. vegetarian, Hindu, gluten-free, etc).
Pack an Extra Travel Pillow & Eye Mask
You are provided with one from the airline but to make the flight more comfortable you could buy a blow-up one that will easily fight in any size carry-on or my personal favorite travel pillow, the Trtl pillow which helps support your neck when flying. I also like bringing a silk eye mask because it is gentle on the skin and cooling.
Take Motion Sickness Medicine
The original formula of Dramamine will not only keep you from getting motion sickness, but it will also help you sleep on the plane and that’s a win-win! Even if you’ve never had motion sickness it doesn’t hurt to take one of these for turbulence (it got me last time)!
Avoid an Airplane Cold
Airplane seats definitely aren’t cleaned as often as one would hope. Avoid getting sick from the flight by packing some disinfectant wipes to clean the seat back tray, remote, and armrests. Also, keep your hands clean with antibacterial hand gel.
Bring Ear Plugs & Noise Cancelling Headphones
Ear plugs are helpful for sleeping and relieving ear pressure and having a good pair of noise-canceling headphones are perfect for watching movies and TV shows when traveling.
Wear Compression Socks & Bring A Food Hammock
Compression socks are used to help increase circulation and prevent blood clots in your legs. When sitting for multiple hours on end, these socks are really important! When thinking about what shoes to wear on your flight, we suggest wearing something that is easy to slip on and off so you can get comfy while seated but also be able to get up and move when needed more easily.
Another tip I have is to bring a small foot hammock to place on the tray table so you can prop your feet up from time to time to help with circulation as well.
Get Up & Stretch Often
Similar to our last item, in order to keep yourself from feeling cooped up and to help circulation, get up and move! While awake try to walk around the cabin every hour or two. After sleeping take extra time to stretch your legs, back, and arms to avoid feeling stiff. Check out this helpful article from The Week for some simple stretches you can do on an airplane.
Grab a Good Book
International Flights can be a real snooze-fest if you can’t sleep or run out of movie options. I suggest grabbing a good book for the flight. Another perk? If you have a public library card you can often download eBooks for free before you leave on the Libby app!
Consider Upgrading Your Flight
While economy seats aren’t bad for domestic travel, they can get fairly crowded during an international flight. If you can afford to, upgrade your flight! Typically there are four levels of seating on international flights, economy, premium economy, business, and first-class.
Some of the main differences include seat space, seat style, meals, and different amenities. Check out your preferred airline’s website in order to find specific details regarding their upgrades.
Now you just need to combat your jet lag or enjoy the window seat as we have seen some beautiful photos taken on airplanes. Any other tips and tricks that have made your long flights more comfortable?