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Tips for Staying Comfortable on a Long Plane Ride

Updated on June 3, 2013

A Long Plane Ride

The longest plane ride I've taken was almost 24 hours. If you don't count connecting planes and sleeping in airports, then the longest non-stop flight I took was a 13 hour flight on a military aircraft. It was transporting bombs, visible when climbing the long stairwell to the passenger seating area just above it.... I believe the plane refueled mid-flight in the air, but I fell asleep at some point, so what I know for sure is that I was on that plane until the next day and it just kept flying!

Long plane rides can cause health issues at worst or mild discomfort at best, when the right precautions aren't taken. Here are some tips to avoid ailments that can arise from long flights.

Up And Away!
Up And Away! | Source
These little rascals can keep you up all night.  If you are a light sleeper, pack the ear plugs for a night flight!
These little rascals can keep you up all night. If you are a light sleeper, pack the ear plugs for a night flight! | Source

Prepare For A Good Experience

A few things are crucial to enjoy your lengthy plane ride:

  • Carry on luggage. When you're flying to the other side of the world, lost luggage is a drag. Prepare for this by not checking in luggage and just having a carry-on bag - like the flight professionals do. Airlines usually allow 1 or 2 per passenger. Check with your airline for the size restrictions on carry on baggage - before you arrive at the airport.
  • Electronic Gadgets With Ear Buds / Headphones. Self-entertainment is a cousin of maintaining sanity! Bring your electronic reader, gaming device, tablet or laptop. Sure, they will sometimes tell you to turn it off on take off and landing, but you can use it in between to watch a movie or finish a novel.
  • Snacks / Water. Have you ever eaten airplane food? Okay, you will survive but you will either (a) be starving while surviving since the airline will give you a child-sized portion of a "meal" and (b) your body may pay you back with indigestion or heartburn. Airplane food is for the birds! Bring your own snacks and eat airline food with care. Have your own water and stay hydrated to avoid headaches.
  • Antacid / Indigestion / Motion Sickness / Headache Pills. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The airplane is no place for vomiting nor diarrhea! Take motion sickness pills two hours before boarding the plane.
  • Eye Mask / Travel Blanket/ Travel Pillow. I find shopping for these items online a bit of the fun of preparing to travel. A little secret airlines don't tell you... Their blankets and pillows are rarely laundered and they are covered in gross germs. To keep you from getting sick right at the start of your trip, bring your own. The blanket takes up space in your bag but they do have inflatable travel pillows that can be inflated after take off. I prefer a poncho, which is just another layer of clothes and can act as a blanket.
  • Antibacterial Lotion / Cleaning Wipes / Soap Bar. Wash your hands on board. You are touching many surfaces that have germs on them such as public bathroom door handles. Use a cleaning wipe to wipe down hard services, such as the food tray, the chair arm rests. They sell travel packs of cleaning wipes (very small) so you don't have to pack a huge container of them.
  • Comfortable Clothes. Dress in layers. Slip on shoes not only move you through the security line faster, they are also easy to slip off during flight. Many people with health issues need to wear or consider wearing pressure socks to avoid foot / leg swelling or help with leg circulation.
  • Stretch Mid Flight. Get the kink out of your back by stretching. Get the blood flowing through your legs by walking around periodically.
  • Kid Toys. Have a few new kiddie-toys hidden that you only pull out once you are in the air with your kids. This can be a life-saver for you!
  • Plan Ahead: I pack my bag a week before and include the paperwork essentials: passport, immunization information, etc. Have it all ready ahead of time and you will save yourself a lot of last minute stress! You might even want to pack ear plugs for a solid night of sleep.

Amid The Clouds
Amid The Clouds | Source

Long Distance Travelers Must Maintain Health!

Your health and well-being is extremely important to the amount of value you will derive in your travels. Who wants to arrive to their destination feeling lousy and holing up in the hotel? I wrote these articles which specifically address health needs. For more information, click below:

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    • Li Galo profile image

      Li Galo 5 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

      Thanks, Millionaire Tips!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      I've been on many plane rides, and these are great tips. Getting up and stretching is a big one to avoid blood clots. Ugh, I didn't know they didn't wash the blankets. Voted up.

    • Li Galo profile image

      Li Galo 5 years ago from Mainly the USA but Sometimes Abroad

      A move to South Korea is exciting and adventurous! Thanks for your comment, everythingdazzles.

    • everythingdazzles profile image

      Janelle 5 years ago from Houston

      I will be moving to South Korea next year so this is very helpful. I'll be sure to use some of these tips thanks!