As a full time travel blogger, I do a lot of flying. It’s part of the gig. Except unlike my old corporate job, I don’t have the luxury of a corporate card, priority anything, or any other amenities. Every time I fly, I’m stuck back in economy with all the rest of the plebes, silently praying to the almighty flight gods that my legs don’t go to sleep before I do. And honestly, there’s no way to sugarcoat it: long haul flights suck. They just do. Fact.
Unfortunately, they’re also a fact of my job … and my life. Whether it’s a 24 trip to Bali or a 17 hour journey to Prague or a 46 hour haul to Italy (truly the worst series of terrible layovers of my life) living on the West Coast means that no matter which direction I go, I’m gonna be in the air for a long time if I want to leave the country.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few survival tips to help make the inevitably miserable journey a little bit less awful. I’ve tested countless gadgets and gizmos in my quest to find the best travel accessories for long flights. And I’m here to pass along all of my wisdom!
Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned in my years of flying to help survive long-haul flights (or short ones, whatever. I hate all flights equally, tbh).
Need some help packing for your next adventure? We’ve created 5 FREE Printable Packing Lists with everything you need to plan your next trip. We’ll also send our favorite travel tips straight to your inbox! Just sign up below.
Psst: Looking for more tips for your next trip? Here are some of our favorite travel tips posts!
- Travel Safety Tips: How to Protect Yourself and Prevent Theft while Traveling
- How to Be a More Responsible Tourist
- How to Plan a Trip: The Ultimate Practical Travel Planning Guide
- How to Save Money for Travel (& How We Saved $30,000 for a Year-Long Trip)
Preparing for Your Trip
The preparations for your flight begin before you even step foot in the airport. I’m not gonna lecture you about splurging for an exit row or Economy Plus or whatever, because that’s taking the easy way out and let’s face it, whenever I’m faced with the option to upgrade for 3 inches of extra legroom for $100 or force my future self to suffer, I always choose the option of future suffering. And like, who has an extra $100 lying around just for 3″ of extra leg room!? What am I, Jeff Bezos?!
So, back in reality land where we’re sucking it up and dealing with our choices (and our bank accounts), here’s how to prep in advance to minimize your long haul flight misery.
Top Tip! If you want to take advantage of a long layover and not sure where to store your bags? Check out LuggageHero, a service that helps you find a safe place to keep your luggage while you’re running around! Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
Bring Carry-On Luggage
Look, here’s the deal with flying economy: you’ve gotta cram your stuff into a carry-on. You just do. Unless you happen to be flying a luxury airline disguised as a budget airline, like Southwest (bless Southwest for all that they do, I love them so) and then you can check a bag fo’ free (and then look down your nose at all of the other peons shlubbing their suitcases around).
But let’s face it: most of the time you’re cramming your knees into a 28″ seat on one of those budget airlines that charges for things like “3 lbs of pasta weight” or “reading material” or “please sir, I’m so dehydrated, may I just have a single sip of water without paying $20 for it” – y’all know the ones I mean, right? So, if you want that European vacation on a student loan debt budget, you gotta pack a carry-on.
Luckily, there are several really good bags that I highly recommend. Here’s the thing, though: a good bag isn’t cheap. It’s an investment.
Put it this way: I carried around my stuff in a crappy, flimsy suitcase that I got from the Target kid’s section for YEARS before I actually upgraded to a real bag, thinking “why do I need something fancier? This was $30, and it has polka dots.”
Every time the damn thing flipped over while I was rolling it, or fell over when it was sitting perfectly still, or took an hour just to zip up (because an expandable zipper is a grown-up feature for people that don’t know how to pack their stuff in a carry-on, I reasoned like an idiot) I knew, deep down, that I needed a real bag.
But I waited for LITERALLY 8 YEARS.
But then I upgraded. And let me tell you: it is worth it. If you travel frequently, invest in your shoulders/back/mental state and upgrade. Bite the bullet and be a grown-up, and do it. Trust me: it’s very nice here on the other side. Let’s carry on, shall we? Ba-dum-ssh.
- PacSafe Carry-On Backpack:This is by far my favorite carry-on backpack for heavy duty travel. We’re talking like, legit (travel) backpacking – except carry-on sized! When you need to schlep your belongings around on cobblestones or up stairs or between multiple countries and don’t want to be hauling a big suitcase, you gotta have a backpack. This PacSafe bag ticks all of my boxes: plenty of space, extremely theft resistant (that’s like, the whole PacSafe thing), incredibly comfortable to carry (it’s got all the comfort and ease of a bigger pack, with loads of adjustable straps) and with enough pockets and sections to keep you well organized on your trip. I’ve brought this bag along with me on trips to Bali, Italy, Colombia, and pretty much everywhere abroad, and it’s one of the most comfortable bags I’ve ever carried around on my back for long distances! I literally think I could go (hiking) backpacking in it, that’s how comfy it is.
- Tortuga Carry-On Backpack: This nifty bag carries like a backpack but opens like a suitcase, making it the perfect in-between for when you’re not quite a backpacker, not quite a suitcase….er? The bag is basically like a big rectangle that opens exactly the way a suitcase does, allowing for A TON of space. When we bring this bag, Jeremy and I can actually combine our stuff together, making this our favorite weekend trip or short getaway carry-on bag!
- Away Carry-On Suitcase: This beautiful carry-on suitcase is not only stunning, but it’s incredibly high-tech. It’s got two compartments: one for soft clothing, and one for hard stuff, like shoes and toiletries and 18 hair tools even though you swore you were going to try not to be extra this trip. It includes a built-in portable charger, which means no more fighting over outlets or digging around for your charger. It’s got a built in laundry bag, with a built in compressor, so that you can ditch the wadded up plastic bag and actually have room in your suitcase after you’ve put off doing laundry for a solid 2 weeks. It’s incredibly damage resistant and won’t crack under the pressure of everyone else’s stuff, keeping whatever’s inside safe too. And of course, it does lock things and wheel things and all the other stuff that grown-up suitcases do.
- Chester Carry-On Suitcase: This lightweight little suitcase is a fantastic dupe for the smallest size Away suitcase, but cheaper and with fewer bells and whistles. It’s well constructed, super lightweight, and small enough to fit the carry-on requirements of even the pickiest and most restrictive budget airlines. Plus, it comes in millennial pink!
Pack a Flight Essentials Kit
I almost called this an “Airplane Survival Kit” but then I googled that and the results triggered all of my post-LOST flight panic, so we’re gonna go with “Flight Essentials Kit” (and just don’t google “Airplane Survival Kit” and don’t think about it and let’s all remember the statistics, which CLEARLY STATE that we are way more in danger of dying in a car wreck than a plane wreck. Does that … like, help?)
Anyway. What I mean is: pack yourself a nice little bag full of things to make your life more pleasant during your flight. Here’s what goes in mine:
- Baby Wipes: To give myself sort of like a sponge bath and clear that grimy plane grease off my face (anyone else get that icky plane film?) I use these.
- Deodorant: Honestly, this is more for whoever’s sitting next to you. This is my fave – no chemicals, all natural, smells like honey and lasts for a very long time.
- Lip Balm & Moisturizer: Because somehow plane air is always like the f**king Sahara desert.
- Cuticle Scissors & a Nail File: Because I pick at my nails when I’m nervous, and I’m always nervous on planes (THINK OF THE STATISTICS)
- Snacks: Just in case. Don’t be a victim to hanger. I usually bring a little pack of almonds and a protein bar (these are objectively the yummiest).
- Collapsible Travel Cup: Because if I use those disposable plastic cups just for like, a swallow of Seltzer water I feel guilty for the rest of the flight and can’t stop thinking about climate change and how the human race is doomed oh god
- Re-Usable Water Bottle: I can drink 18 of those stupid tiny little cups and STILL be parched. So I bring my own bottle and fill it up after security. I love these nifty Nomader water bottles because they roll up for safekeeping and are totally spill-proof.
- Hair Things: Your hair may have looked cute when you boarded the plane, but trust me, 10 hours from now you’re gonna want to tie that sh*t back. My go-to move is a high ponytail piled into a silk scrunchie, which somehow manages to make my curls look even better post-flight!
- Emergency Entertainment: Just in case you can’t sleep and the plane doesn’t have any good movies, pack yourself some back-up entertainment. I usually bring one of the 983 New Yorkers we have stacked up on the coffee table from the past year (my mom gifted us a subscription, which was very nice and also low-key overwhelming, because they just KEEP COMING and the only time I ever really read them all the way through is, apparently, on planes), download a Podcast or 3 on my phone, or if I’m especially on top of the game, bring an actual book or Kindle along. I also always keep my laptop handy – not because I’m fancy enough to shell out for expensive in-flight WiFi (that’s for first-class business fliers and ballers) but because I can use it to do things like watch downloaded shows and movies, write this blog post (hayyyy) or edit some of the thousands of photos I still haven’t gotten around to looking at.
- Gum: Both to help with your ears as you ascend and descend, and to help with your long flight stank breath.
Download the Trip-It App
Trip-It is an app, which means I didn’t hear about it until last month because I’m a luddite who’s still in denial about smartphones (I miss my Nokia brick phone, I miss playing Snake). I head to the airport after the TBEX travel conference, desperately trying to pull up my flight on my phone with absolutely no service at all, when Chris from Amateur Traveler was like, “do you … not use Trip-It?”
That’s when I realized I was probably the only travel blogger in the world not using apps when I travel. It was like a lightbulb went off above my head: OH YEAH! Technology can make my life EASIER! Anyway, if you’re still in the dark, let me clue you in so you, too, can be a 2018-savvy-modern-day sort of traveler and not a 2008-Nokia-Phone sort of traveler.
TripIt connects with your email and automatically pulls in all of your many, many flight itineraries and travel plans, so that you don’t have to frantically comb through your email trying to figure out what time your next flight leaves. It also pulls in things like your terminal, your gate, your confirmation number, the duration of your flight – all of those useful things that you actually want to know.
There are even maps of the airport you’ll be flying into and concourse lounge information, which will come in handy for one of the tips below 😉
You can also upload copies of your travel documents in case something happens to them, protected by a PIN (I’ve got mine uploaded on DropBox for that exact reason). Handy! The future is here, y’all.
You can download the Trip-It app wherever you download your apps usually. And yes, it works for Android phones, which is what I have.
Cover Yourself with Travel Insurance
Listen, I know nobody has ever checked that travel insurance checkbox they sneak in when you’re booking your plane ticket on purpose. But travel insurance, like REAL travel insurance, is a GODSEND and we can’t recommend it enough.
Here’s the thing: you might be able to get some help from your airline if they screw up royally, like if the plane breaks and you’re delayed for 12 hours and they lose your luggage or whatever.
But let’s say there’s a snowstorm and your flight is delayed for 12 hours: you’re screwed, because weather isn’t a coverable issue for an airline. So it’s on you to book yourself a hotel and a taxi to get there, plus you’ll eat the cost of your missed hotel reservation at your actual destination – and that’s assuming you didn’t miss a flight connection. Throw a missed flight in there and this one stupid snowstorm is suddenly a thousand dollar problem.
Unless, of course, you have travel insurance. Travel insurance covers a ton of stuff that airlines don’t: from all the stuff I just mentioned (like, World Nomads would have paid for your hotel, food, and anything else you couldn’t get reimbursed) to seeing a doctor on your trip, to lost or stolen baggage or personal belongings.
We never fly internationally without booking a travel insurance policy to cover our trip with World Nomads. We’ve had to file several different claims with them – everything from lost and stolen stuff, to emergency trips to the hospital, to trips we had to cancel halfway through and return home – and each time, we were reimbursed for absolutely everything.
We travel a LOT, but at this point, I think the amount we’ve spent on travel insurance has about broken even with the amount we’ve gotten back in claims money (and yet somehow they still let us book policies with them, bless).
We also love World Nomads because they cover a BUNCH of travel activities and adventure sports that most other insurance companies don’t. And when I say “adventure sports,” we’re talking like, snorkeling.
Yes: some travel insurance providers consider snorkeling to be an adventure sport.
World Nomads lays out EXACTLY what activities they cover when you book, and with 2 options to choose from – essentially, mildly adventurous and super adventurous – you’ll be totally covered whether you’re relaxing on the beach or base jumping off a cliff.
In the Airport
Let’s face it: we spend a LOT of time sitting in airports. Whether you’re the type who shows up 3 hours early out of fear and anxiety (us) or the type who doesn’t sweat it, misses their flight and ends up sitting around waiting for the next available flight out (…also us, on occasion) you’re gonna be getting REAL friendly with those uncomfortable plastic chairs, the 3 awful fast food restaurants within eyeball distance, and that one pole that has an outlet on it but is currently being hogged by an obnoxious couple who has like, 85 things they need to charge, apparently (do these people not charge things at home?!?!!? … Oh, I’m describing us again).
Here’s how to make things slightly less miserable while you’re waiting for your flight!
Opt for the Airport Lounge
As I write this, I’m sitting in the airport in Lisbon, 22 hours into a hellacious 46 hour trip. This particular journey involves 5 hours spent twiddling my thumbs at the Rochester Airport, 6 hours trying to drown out techno blasting from the speakers in JFK, 8 hours stuffing my face with egg tarts here in Lisbon, and another 8 hours overnight in Rome before journeying south to my final destination in southern Italy. Plus a solid 11 hours of actual flight time in-air.
As far as trips go, this one is particularly rough – chalk it up to the fact that someone else footed the bill for my flights (perks of my first EVER speaking gig at a travel conference – whee!) so I didn’t get to, ahem, choose.
And yet: I am serene. I am clean. My face and hair are washed, I’m moisturized, my legs don’t hurt, and for the next 8 hours, I have access to unlimited egg tarts and ravioli, so basically I’m in heaven.
What is this ballerdom? How did I land this? Did I not JUST say I was an economy class peon?
Well, friends, this luxury of luxuries is the TAP Portugal Lounge in the Lisbon Airport. Although TAP Portugal is a budget airline, they’re one of the last to actually serve real food on their flights (and it was pretty darn tasty, too!) and they’ve got a cushy lounge set up for their guests to enjoy … for €35! €35?! For a SHOWER (!!!!!!), unlimited food and drinks (including booze… and egg tarts), comfy chairs, and high quality Wi-Fi. Oh my GOD, I can’t even tell you how worth it this lounge is!
I always assumed lounges were for ballers – I figured they cost like, $400 a pop, and the only people able to actually use them were rich business travelers who say things like “I’ll have my secretary expense this for me” while casually pocketing tiny bottles of champagne and Nutella. But that’s not the case at all! This is my first time lounging it up, and honestly, I’ll never go back to the miserable, outlet-less waiting areas again.
Because I fly so often and spend so much time rolling around on dirty airport floors, I’ve been eye-balling getting a Priority Pass. For $99 a year, you get access to over 1,200 lounges with for a significantly reduced entry price of $32. If you travel frequently, I think it’s worth it: frankly, I can easily down $30 worth of free food and booze in the space of a few hours, and the luxury of being in a lounge is well worth what amounts to a measly $8 a month.
How to Find Airport Lounges
If you spring for a Priority Pass, you’re all set: your membership comes with a mobile app so you can find a lounge the minute your plane hits the tarmac.
For the rest of us plebes, there’s Lounge Pass. The site lets you search through each airport for available lounges and lists out their amenities, so you can actually stake out and pick your lounge in advance using the terminal information on your plane ticket. In addition, you can also book lounge access on the site directly, so all you have to do is roll up and flash your ticket, VIP style. I’ve found plenty of lounges in my economy-class price range, both internationally and domestically.
If you downloaded the TripIt app I mentioned above, another option is to pull up the app and browse the list of lounges – the app shows you what Terminal they’re in and the prices (you guys, they’re so much cheaper than you think they are).
You can also access a bunch of lounges for free with certain credit cards – here’s a guide for all you ballers with fancy cards.
As a last ditch effort, try just going old school: next time you’ve got a long layover, head to the nearest desk or airport employee and ask where the lounge is. You’ll be glad you did!
Solve the Outlet Problem
What is the deal with airports never having enough outlets to go around?! It’s like The Amazing Race trying to get your phone and laptop hooked up to a couple of outlets – after testing out 18 others, all of which inexplicably didn’t f**king work – and then you have to camp out on the ground by like, a pole, all while other poor souls give you dirty looks and clutch their dying iPhones.
Obviously, you could like … charge your stuff before you go to the airport, I guess. But for those of us who aren’t that responsible (or, honestly, too cheap to upgrade our sh*tty batteries) here are a couple of solutions.
- Pack an Outlet Splitter: These are such a sneaky little travel hack I’m surprised airports haven’t caught on and made this sh*t illegal, but they haven’t yet, SO. My friends, welcome to 3 for 1 outlet land, where you only need to find 1 functioning outlet – and you can even share it with another traveler, if you don’t mind like, actually having a conversation with them to ask (*shudder*). Depending on how extra you are when you travel, you can turn a single outlet into 3 outlets or even 3 outlets & 2 USB ports. You’re actually ADDING OUTLETS to the airport. You’re a hero!
- Pack a Portable Charger: Just in case you can’t actually find a decent functioning outlet (JUST ONE, is that really too much to ask, oh cruel airport gods?!) it’s always a good idea to bring along a portable battery. At the very least, chances are you’ll end up needing it at some point on the plane or during your trip. I have this one and I’m full-on obsessed with it – it charges my phone about 5x before needing to be recharged, and it’s actually faster than plugging it into the wall. I often stick it in my pocket and charge on the go while I’m traveling. I never leave home without it!
Get the Gate Scoop
You know that feeling when you’re dragging your weary self and all of your heavy AF luggage to your gate, and you’re hungry, but you’re like, “meh, surely there’s something better than Quizno’s closer to my gate” but then you get to your gate and there’s a f**king NEWSPAPER STAND selling like, candy and $20 beef jerky, which is NOT REAL FOOD, but you’re tired and you don’t want to walk all the way back to the Quizno’s because the stupid Concourse didn’t have any f**king moving sidewalks?!
Yep. I know that feeling well.
This is why I downloaded GateGuru (... again, recently, because I am 10 years behind everyone else). The app includes a list of every major airport, complete with concourses, food, services, and reviews. It’s like an app that lets you carry a bunch of persnickety travel nerds (MY PEOPLE) around with you in your pocket to make helpful comments like “this place makes good pastrami” or “adequate breakfast burrito.”
Save yourself the hassle of using your actual feet to explore the airport (you’ll need that energy for like .. idk, sleeping on the plane, or actual exploring once you arrive, I guess) and download the GateGuru app for your phone instead.
On the Airplane
Let’s be honest: the most enjoyable long flight is one that you sleep through. If you can just fall asleep and sleep through the whole flight, you can magically wake up in a whole new destination feeling refreshed and alive, with that awesome “woah, travel is so amazing, can’t wait to go explore” feeling.
If you can’t fall asleep during a flight, you’re doomed to spend hours and hours watching and rewatching movies in the dark, stretching your poor legs under the seat in front of you and refreshing your screen to see if more than 10 minutes has passed since the last time you checked. It never has. It’s agony.
And if you’re on a budget airline which can’t even afford you the decency of some dumb, mindless movies, good luck: it’s just you and the inflight magazine for the next 11 hours. If they even provide that luxury.
Here are a few of my favorite tips and the best travel accessories for long flights to help make the whole thing slightly less miserable.
Bring a Travel Pillow
There are tons of travel pillows out there, and honestly, most of them look really dumb (which is why I included a whole section of ridiculous travel pillows in our ridiculous travel gifts post). For years I refused to pack a neck pillow, because 1) they take up a ton of bag space, and 2) they look f**king dumb. I accepted neck pain as an inevitable fact of flying.
I was an idiot.
It turns out that a comfy travel pillow is hands-down one of the best travel accessories for long flights. Thankfully, I’ve found a travel pillow that I actually really love! The TRTL travel pillow is small enough to stuff into my carry-on without driving me nuts or taking up tons of space, and provides the perfect amount of head-propping that I need to sleep on a long flight without waking up every 5 minutes from my own giant head falling over.
I’m a side sleeper, and I love having something to lean my head on. The TRTL pillow sort of props up your cheek and rests on your shoulder comfortably, wrapping around your neck with velcro to hold itself in place. It’s also nice and warm, like a fleece scarf.
That said, you look totally f**king stupid wearing it. But at this point in my life, I absolutely do not care.
Calm down, Desperate Housewives, put that Valium cocktail away! I’m not talking about anything heavy here.
I’ve got a few over the counter meds that help with some of my frequent flight discomforts, like having trouble falling asleep, getting an upset stomach because I was too cheap to buy airport food and begged the flight attendant to slip me 10 extra packets of Biscoff, and getting nauseous because I dared to look away from the window for 3 seconds to actually read something.
Those are my 3 biggest flight complaints, and I’ve got a little cocktail of meds to help.
- Dramamine: Before you take off, pop a Dramamine to keep you nausea-free for the duration of your flight. This stuff is magical and lasts for HOURS, and it’s the only thing that keeps me from turning green every time the plane passes through like, every tiny cloud. I buy this stuff in bulk and pop it like it’s candy – I love it so much.
- Sleeping Aids: These are crucial for overnight flights and red-eyes, because without them you’ll wake up feeling like you just got repeatedly punched in the head for 7 hours but it’s morning somehow and you’re expected to just like, function. Pop a pill as you hop on the plane so you’ll be all yawny and ready to turn in after the in-flight meal (or in-flight snack, if you’re flying one of the super budget airlines – you’ll REALLY need the sleep help then). I like to take Benadryl (actually, I take the off-brand knock-off version of Benadryl, which is cheaper), which puts me right to sleep. Jeremy prefers Melatonin, which is a more natural solution. Also, I live in California, so I can just like … pop over to the weed store and pick up some gummy bears that will knock me right out before I leave Californian soil (the future is wild), but if you don’t have that privilege, Melatonin and Benadryl should do the trick.
- Stomach Enzymes: I ALWAYS end up feeling bloated and gross on flights. The food is always worse for me than what I usually eat, and my stomach is so easily irritated as it is. I make sure to have a bottle of Stomach Enzymes handy to help me digest my airplane food.
Wear the Right Clothes
Everyone has their preferred flight outfit. Some people actually look cute on a plane, which I just like … cannot wrap my head around. Like, what? How?? Meanwhile, I’m always the girl in sweatpants and a hoodie with a messy bun (but like, not in a cute way, like in an “oh god, is your hair … just one giant dreadlock?” kinda way).
Put it this way: if you’ve ever seen me on a plane, you also know what I look like when I have the flu. Or my period.
Now that you’ve got THAT fun mental image, let’s talk specifics.
First and foremost, I only wear clothes that don’t restrict me or dig into my skin. Leggings or yoga pants are bae, jeans and anything with snaps or buttons are out. I prefer loose pants to tight leggings because I don’t shave my legs (f**k you, patriarchy!) and leggings and leg hair have a shelf life of about 10 hours before they start to get real pissy with one another.
I also prefer clothing that naturally reduces odor. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t get affected by plane stank, bless you and I hope your children are able to reproduce with your freak genetic code.
For the rest of us, stick to bacteria-resistant fibers like wool, hemp, silk, and linen. I love merino wool because it’s soft and cozy, keeps me warm (why are planes always SO COLD), it’s resilient, and it’s the most odor-resistant fiber I’ve ever worn. Wool is hands down my favorite travel textile – and no, it’s not scratchy or itchy. At least not performance wool or wool blends.
My 2nd favorite is hemp: it does everything wool does, plus it grows sustainably, using very little water and cleaning up toxins in the soil. Rad!
To keep your airplane stank to a minimum, wear wool blended socks, a wool shirt, and wool/silk underwear, plus this wool zip-up hoodie (made by the same company who makes my favorite travel jeans). Congratulations, now your entire body is being hugged by sheep!
From the waist down, these sustainably made hemp-blend sweatpants from prAna are the perfect plane pants (and like, legit cute), as are these luxuriously soft slim-fit wool-blend sweatpants, which double as my PJ pants on winter trips. Both of them will keep you warm and cozy (and naturally odor-free).
- 2019 Update: I recently discovered these amazing travel joggers that are like leggings on the bottom and cozy stretchy sweatpants up top and look awesome and feel amazing and have 3 roomy pockets and I’ve worn them on like 7 flights already! Annnnnd they’re ethically made. I’m obsessed. And they’re not even made from wool! Here’s more information about why I love them (and my other favorite pairs of travel pants).
Now let’s get to the LAYERS. If you’re a Great British Bake-Off fan, I want you to read that word in Mary Berry’s accent (sigh, that joke really doesn’t translate to blogging).
I always bring a warm layer for planes, because they crank that A/C up like we’re all going into cryogenic sleep and we’ll be unthawed when we get to our destination (ugh, I wish).My favorite warm travel layering piece is the 5-Way Cardigan. It’s pretty cute, has nice roomy pockets, is fully adjustable via a system of strategically placed buttons, and the hood is big enough to cover your face during a flight, Assassin’s Creed style.
Shut Out the World
The last thing you want on a flight is to hear a crying baby or get woken up by the hideous florescent lighting. In addition to pulling my hood way down over my face and wrapping myself up in a travel pillow cocoon, I also put on this luxurious silk eye mask.
Yes, that’s the exact one I have, and yes, it’s pink, like you’re a freakin’ princess. But it is so nice. I’ve never been an eye mask person – the straps dig into my head, the polyester irritates my delicate eye skin or whatever – but this big, cozy silk one has made me a changed person. Keep it on hand for when you’re having trouble getting to sleep on the plane – it weighs nothing at all.
Your next task is to block out the plane noise. Chattering, babies, flight announcements, all of it needs to go away. Some people just pop in headphones and turn on music, but I have sensitive ears (everything about me is extra AF, you guys) so I picked up a pair of Bluetooth SleepPhones and quickly fell in love with them.
They’re like a soft headband with earphones embedded in the headband, so that you don’t actually have anything in your ears. If you can’t use headphones because you get woken up by things poking your ears (me) or finding yourself tangled in headphone wires (also me), this is the perfect solution. You can pick up a pair directly from their website – use the code PW10 for $10 off your first purchase – or from Amazon.
Just be sure to pre-download some music or podcasts to listen to on your flight! Like, oh, hey for example … THE PRACTICAL WANDERLUST PODCAST!!!!! Was my self-promo subtle, or should I put that in big, flashing neon lights for you?
Another solution for noise-blocking is plain old foam earplugs. I often use EarPlanes, which have the added bonus of regulating your internal ear pressure during a flight – I’m extremely ear infection prone, so I leave these in during a flight anytime I feel even SLIGHTLY stuffy or like I might have a cold coming on.
The whole screwing-into-your-ear thing is kinda weird, so I’m also planning to test out these alternative pressure-relieving ear plugs which have a much softer … uh … ear thingie.
Whew! I hope you picked up some new tips for minimizing the misery of long-haul flights. I also hope you saw that blatant self-promotion for the best way to entertain yourself on a flight, but just in case, here it is again: download a few episodes of the Practical Wanderlust Podcast! Go on, you know you’re a LITTLE curious to hear how annoying our California accented voices are in gloriously high definition sound, right???
I want to hear your tips too! What’s in your airplane survival kit? Wait no, that sounds too life or death, let me rephrase. What’s in your flight essentials kit? Do you have any tips for long haul flights that we can try? And what are your favorite travel accessories for long flights? Drop us a comment below!
Psst: Looking for more tips for your next vacation? Here are some of our favorite travel tips posts!
- The Ultimate Packing List: 43 Must-Have Travel Items
- 25 Things No One Tells You About Being a Full-Time Travel Blogger
- The Best Women’s Travel Shoes: Lightweight, Field-Tested, & Cute
- What to Pack for a Beach Vacation: the Curvy Girl’s Beach Vacation Packing List
Hey, did you find this post informative? Save it for later on Pinterest!
Get the FREE Travel Planning Guide
Need some help planning your next adventure? Our FREE 25-page Travel Planning Guide includes everything you need to plan a trip, plus 5 printable packing lists. We'll also send our favorite travel tips straight to your inbox!