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Tips for Long Haul Flights

Updated on January 26, 2017

I travel long haul regularly and unfortunately not in business, or first class. Over the years I've found a few little tips and tricks that can help make you feel much better on arrival. A lot of these tips don't involve a lot of outlay so next time you travel long haul add some of these items to your check list.

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Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is common after long haul flights. Make sure you stay hydrated while in the air. Coffee and soda can dehydrate you so make sure if you drink a coffee or soda you also have a glass of water as well. If you are feeling thirsty don't be afraid to ask for a drink.

Top Tip: I like to take an empty drink bottle in my carry on luggage and kindly ask for it to be filled with water on board, or I fill it up once I have passed through security. Remember you can't take liquid over 100 ml on board, so make sure the drink bottle is empty before you pass through the security check.

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Don't Forget to Move

Deep vein thrombosis is a risk when flying long haul. Don't forget to leave your seat and go for a little walk and stretch. Not only will it help prevent DVT, but you muscles will also love you for doing this and will feel much better after the flight.

Top Tip: Flight compression socks or stockings are also a very good idea. Not only will they help prevent DVT, but they will stop your feet from swelling and make it a lot easier to get back into your shoes.

Sleep

I know sleeping isn't always easy on long haul flights especially in economy class, but even a couple of hours of sleep will make you feel a lot better and refreshed. A lot of airlines no longer give out eye masks and some of the pillows leave a lot to be desired so be prepared. Take an eye mask, travel neck pillow and earplugs on board. After boarding and before takeoff keep an eye out for empty seats. Airlines will allow you to move seats if they are free so if you can get a couple of seats to yourself this will make for a more comfortable sleep.

Top Tip: Clip your seat belt over the top of your blanket before you drift off to sleep. This way if the seat belt sign lights up due to turbulence there's no need for the air hostesses to disturb you.

Comfort

Flying long haul especially on a full flight isn't always comfortable. Sometimes the cabin can be freezing cold and on other flights overly warm. Be prepared and dress appropriately. If you have just come from a really hot tropical holiday remember the planes cabin temperature may not be so tropical. Always take an extra top layer of clothing on board. An extra jumper or jersey will do the trick and if you don't wear it you can always use it as a pillow or lumbar support. Also make sure you are able to take layers off if it's too warm.

Top Tip: Keep in mind some of the terminal walks between gates for transfer flights and luggage claim can be long. Those peep toe stilettos may look great with your outfit, but keep in mind all the walking and possibly swollen feet after a long haul flight.

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Don't Forget the Little Things

Pack a toothbrush, tooth paste, moisturizer, change of underwear, clean top, painkillers, and deodorant in your carry on luggage. It's incredible how much better you feel after you wash your face and brush your teeth. Eating on board can also be messy so a clean top just in case of spills is always a good idea. Change of underwear, deodorant, and moisturizer will help you feel clean and refreshed. Flying long haul can take it's toll on your body as well and leave you feeling unwell or with a headache so a pain killer will always come in handy. Don't forget any liquid or gel must be under 100 ml. If you take anything over 100 ml it's likely to be confiscated during the security check. So put a dollop of your moisturizer, and squeeze of toothpaste into a smaller container or bottle.

Top Tip: Don't forget some chewing gum, mints or sweets for takeoff and landing. Chewing or sucking on something will help keep your ears from blocking.

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