The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Long-haul Travel

Updated August 28, 2022.

It’s Faraway Friday! That means I’m letting you in on my top tips to travel your best, even on the longest flights. If the length of a flight has ever kept you from traveling to your dream destination, this post is definitely for you! You can handle a flight of any length with the right preparation. Here’s everything you need to survive that dreaded flight from head to toe! 


While packing light is absolutely essential, there are a few things you can take with you to help make your flight more comfortable.

Eye Mask

Even I have a pretty good chance of sleeping if I can block out the light! Click the photo below to get your own!

Light Jacket or Scarf

You will likely receive a thin blanket on long flights, but you may need an extra layer to help you stay warm at 35,000 feet. 

Compression Socks

Regular socks will not do the trick. To prevent uncomfortable swelling and promote circulation, you’ll want actual compression socks. My husband calls them his “support hose!” Click the photo below to get yours!


I recommend taking slippers with you because personally, I think they’re the most comfortable option when walking around the plane or going to the bathroom. Do not go into that bathroom in just your socks!

More here: Get all the best on my dedicated Packing Page!

Food and Beverage

It’s true, you’ll likely be getting complimentary meals on your long flight, and there may be extra snacks in the back, but if you have special dietary needs or just want something you know you’ll like, bring it with you. This is one situation when pre-packaged food is better than fresh or self-prepared foods because many countries have hefty restrictions (and fines) on foreign foods brought into their country. Chile has very strict and enforced rules on any food you bring in, and even the state of Hawaii will not allow fruit into their islands or out! Here are some ideas, so take your pick!

Protein Bars

Because that tiny piece chicken on your airplane entree is just not enough. Click the photo below to get your own in several flavors!


It keeps well, comes in a variety of flavors, and again–you need the protein for filling power! Click the photo below to get your own!

More here: The Best Snacks to Pack for the Flight

Refillable Water Bottle

Shoot for 8 ounces of water per hour. We always fill up a 32-ounce bottle after security in the airport before boarding our flight. And always take the little cups of water the flight attendants offer, even if you’re not thirsty! Click the photo below to get your own!

Refillable Travel Mug

I just learned about this a couple of years ago–there is instant hot water in the kitchen area of the plane. I’ve never had a flight attendant act even a little bit irritated when I ask them to fill up my travel mug. Bring along some tea from home, ask for tea from your flight attendant, or bring an Emergen-C packet with you for the flight! Click the photo below to get your own!

Stay healthy on travel with my dedicated Health and Wellness Page!


If you’re like me, you won’t be sleeping long or well on you long-haul flight, so entertainment will be important in distracting you in your travels.

A Book

Bring your e-reader if you like, but I am a sucker for a paper book! I do some of my best, least interrupted reading on long flights. Want a suggestion? Check out my FREE e-book, Paradise Lost and Found, when you sign up for my monthly newsletter!


You may be offered a set of headphones on your long-haul flight, but I like to bring my own and recommend you do, too! The earbuds or headphones provided are not the most comfortable to me.Just remember that airplane TVs are not yet bluetooth-capable, so bring the kind that can plug into the equipment!

Music and Podcasts

Download some new tunes or interesting podcasts before your flight, or listen to the music often provided by major airlines!

Movies and TV Shows

Catch up on whole TV series or finally watch that movie you didn’t get around to yet. You have the time, so this is your chance! You can download your own, or take in what the airline offers–entertainment typically changes monthly!

Coloring Book and Color Pencils

Some people need to be “doing something” with their hands, and those adult coloring books do the trick! Try to find one that is travel-themed or all about your specific destination. And opt for self-sharpening pencils if possible. Click the photo below to get your own!

More tips here: What to Do on a Flight with No Seatback Entertainment

Feeling Fresh

One of the main complaints I hear from long-haul travelers (and the one I feel most myself!) is that long-haul travels just make us feel “gross.” You know, it’s that icky, border-line smelly, sleepy, disoriented, why-did-I-do-this-to-myself kind of feeling. But never fear! There are some things you can do to combat that.

Facial Moisturizer and Chapstick

I use coconut oil, but use whatever facial moisturizer you like! I’ve seen people bring moisturizing masks as well. Air travel is very dehydrating, which is why you need to make sure you’re drinking lots of water and moisturizing your skin.

Your face needs extra moisture, but so do your arms and legs (or at least mine do!), so I always bring coconut oil to be my facial moisturizer and body lotion when I’m in the air. Sometimes these are provided in the airplane bathrooms, but not always. Plus, you might feel better using the products your skin is used to.


It’s just the right thing to do! Sometime, either mid-flight or shortly before you land, go ahead and reapply. The people around you may not thank you, but they also won’t complain or give you dirty looks because you won’t be stinking! The brand below is my #1 pick for natural deodorant—or any deodorant, really. It actually works! Click the photo below to get yours.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

This is like my “it’s time to wake up” signal. When I brush my teeth in the morning, I just feel more awake and much fresher. You can bring a full-size toothbrush and toothpaste (less than three ounces!), or you can try out the small disposable kind with toothpaste already in them. Click the photo below to get your own!

Move Around

This is one of the best things you can do–walk up and down the aisles! If you are staying hydrated, you’ll be up several times on your long flight, but unless you’re sleeping, you should try to get up and move at least once an hour. Stuck in the middle and can’t get out that often? Just move your legs at feet at your seat. “Write” the alphabet with each foot (upper and lower case), move your knees from side to side, and point and flex your feet as often as you like.

Find out how to preview the movies and TV shows for your flight in
Tips for Flying United!

The Right Personal Item

Okay, this seems like a lot of stuff, but you will be glad you have some–if not all–of these things! Choose a personal item or carry-on that will fit under the seat in front of you so you can have access to all the things you want at any time, not just when the seatbelt sign is turned off! Click the photo below to get your own!

Insider Tip!

We all want to be as far forward in the plane as possible, but the first row of Economy, also knows as the “bulkhead” will not have a seat in front of it under which to stow your bag. Don’t choose this seat! You may not put anything by the wall in front of you, and you cannot put anything under your own seat (that’s not fair to the person behind you). Choose a seat in the second row of Economy or farther back.

Want more tips? Check out my Air Travel and Travel Tips Pages! And for all the best gear, reading lists, and gift ideas, head to my Online Shop!

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8 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Long-haul Travel”

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