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Enduring long-haul flights: 9 tips from frequent flyers

Long-haul flights. We all have a love-hate relationship with them. They transport us to a new, exciting part of the world for us to explore, but they’re also boring as 'bats%#t' and, well, long.

Long-haul flights. We all have a love-hate relationship with them. They transport us to a new, exciting part of the world for us to explore, but they’re also boring as ‘bats%#t’ and, well, long.

So to help everyone’s journey be a little more fun and comfortable, STA Travel has asked some of its most seasoned world travellers to spill their tips and tricks to making the long-ass flight that little bit easier.

Here’s 9 faves to share with your travel buddies.


1. Comfort is key

The twin onesie. Too much?

The twin onesie. Too much?

Unless you’re one of those people that can comfortably spend the whole flight in heels and tight jeans (who are you and can you please give us your secrets), invest in a comfortable, yet (of course) fabulous plane outfit.

This should include non-restricting clothing that can also keep you warm, because we all know how flights can get unpleasantly cold. Top it off with some sneakers and you’re ready to roll!


2. Blanket? Stylish scarf? Por que no los dos?


The Travel blanket/Scarf

As noted, planes can get super cold. Add a wide scarf to your fashionable-yet-comfortable plane outfit, and use it as a blanket once you’re sitting down.

The other passengers will think you’re super creative, your comfort levels will be maxed out, and you can feel extra smug about it.


3. For yourself and everyone else – pack a mini toiletries bag


A mini toiletries bag AKA mini-lifesaving-kit will save you from feeling (and looking) gross after arriving at your destination. There’s nothing worse than having to experience somebody else’s morning breath after they’ve had a 10-hour sleep… don’t put your travel buddies through that.

Pack a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Other handy items include tissues, moisturiser, hand sanitiser (don’t Google how many germs are on planes – #regrets) and mouthwash.

Make sure they’re all under the maximum liquid limit though, otherwise say buh-bye to your hygiene regime at the security gates!


4. Load up your gadgets


There’s nothing like getting lost in your favourite TV series or being engulfed by a fictitious world through a good read.

Games are also a LOT of fun and are totally addictive – Candy Crush haze for 6+ hours? Lock us in.

You may have square eyes by the end of it, but nothing will make the flight seem shorter and easier than watching your usual reality TV shows or reading your favourite book.

CRUCIAL NOTE: Netflix and Stan now let you download your shows to watch offline later. Plan this into your pre-packing routine so it’s done BEFORE you board!


5. Accessorise with a neck pillow


The Ostrich pillow is the ultimate. Isn’t it?

They might not be the most fashionable accessory to rock, but the plane isn’t on a runway of that calibre.

These days they come so compact that you can pack them into little bags and stuff them into your hand luggage/backpack – so only your travel companions will ever see them.

They may not be worn by the who’s-who of fashion (can we fact-check that, though? We bet they are), but they will be jealous of you when they see you experiencing 100% neck support and comfort whilst you sleep.

Fashionable? So-so. Comfortable? Heck yes. #Checkmate.


6. Carry-On your USB phone cable


Otherwise your phone will be dead when you land, and then you won’t be able to take photos or videos until you get to your accommodation.

Some planes even have Wi-Fi in the air now. Technology really does rule the world.

Plus, if your phone is dead you can’t take hilarious photos of your friends while they’re sleeping – and really, that’s probably the best part of flying.


7. Secure your armrest space early on


The struggle. Is real.

Once you’ve made it to your seat, secure your armrest situation and mark your territory – especially if you’re in the middle of a row. Put your headset or a blanket partially over the armrest and make it known that is your space.

It’s hard to have personal space on a flight (unless you’re a fancy-pants in Business or First Class) and getting that little bit of space will make your travel that much more comfortable. Not to mention, it will increase your sleeping position versatility three times over.

Take a packet of gum or Mentos in your carry-on. Because nobody likes the taste in their mouths when they haven’t eaten in god knows how many hours. The minty treats can also prevent ear blockage from the high altitude, which is one of the most uncomfortable things ever.


8. Get up and walk around every couple of hours


Or you could just bust out some yoga moves

Probably the best tip we can give that just does not happen enough.

Stretching your legs and walking around is the best way to avoid Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and it’s also a good break from sitting down and taring at a screen.

Even if it is just to the bathroom to splash your face with water, you should definitely take it upon yourself to do this. Really, besides binge watching movies and sleep – what else is there to do? N.B. obviously only do this when the seatbelt sign is off.


Consider paying extra to choose your seat (where possible) at the time of booking. Whilst some people aren’t bothered about where they sit, many people are.

Sitting in your preferred area can really make all the difference on the flight. Need something to lean against in order to sleep? Book a window seat. Someone who needs to get up throughout the flight? Aisle seat for sure.

Getting up and walking around also means meeting people. If you’re single, this could be a good thing. Maybe.


9. Couple travelling together?


Ok that’s probably taking it a bit far

Try to book a window and middle seat so you can snuggle overnight (cuuute/eye roll depending on your views of PDA).

If you book early enough, you might even be able to snatch up those bulkhead seats, where you get heaps of legroom… the dream.

Of course, flying is the quickest and easiest way to get overseas and explore the world, and we should be incredibly grateful that we have the ability to travel so easily (unlike our ancestors) but it is hard to deny it isn’t seriously boring.

Hopefully these hints help you on your next long-haul flight and if not, our best advice is to book an overnighter, tire yourself out and sleep the entire flight.

What are your favourite long haul flight tips? Share your favourites below.