Surviving a long haul flight

Tips for those who love to travel but hate flying.

Travel can be a lot of fun but getting there isn’t always the best experience.

Between uncomfortable seats, rude passengers and no leg room, your holiday can turn into a nightmare before you’ve even set foot on the ground at your destination.

So how do you make the best of a long-haul flight?

Choose the right seat

Window, middle or aisle? Before selecting your seat, decide whether you want the window seat’s built in headrest, the freedom of an aisle seat or you don’t mind if you’re in the middle. 

As for where to sit on the plane, opt for a wing seat if you’re worried about turbulence or the front of the plane if you have a connecting flight and need to leave quickly. 

SeatGuru can help you find the right seat based on reviews from fellow travellers just by entering your plane model or flight number.

Wear appropriate clothes

Tight or thin clothes and heels are not going to help you relax, particularly if you need to sleep through the flight. Instead, wear warm, comfortable clothing and don’t worry too much about dressing up (you can always change when you get to your destination).

Compression socks and tights will also help you avoid muscle soreness and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition where poor blood flow causes blood clots form. DVT can cause serious health issues and can even be fatal.

Look after your health

Being in an airconditioned tube for up to 20 hours isn’t going to do your hydration levels any favours. Bring your own water onboard if you’re able to, otherwise ask the flight attendant for water even if you don’t feel like you need it.

Melatonin is also essential for regulating sleep cycles so, to help give your sleep a natural boost, consider taking some melatonin tablets. They are widely available in Australian pharmacies with a prescription and safe when taken as per instructions.

Get up and move around the cabin as often as you can on the flight to help avoid muscle soreness and DVT. For anyone with injuries, ask your doctor or physiotherapist for some exercises to keep from aggravating existing issues.

Invest in the essentials

It’s not always easy to sleep on a flight with 50 other passengers but with ear plugs, an eye mask and a neck pillow you can eliminate sleep distractions.

Your skin and eyes can also become dehydrated making you feel dry and itchy. Packing some eye drops and moisturising balm like Clean & Pure’s Skin Nutrition balm and Lush’s Dream Cream can help you fight that prickly, stretched feeling that comes from dried out skin and eyes.

Amuse yourself

If you’re awake, either because you’re adjusting to a different time zone or haven’t been able to fall asleep, then finding something to do is going to help make the time go quicker.

Make a list of you enjoy doing to pass the time, like reading, watching movies or listening to podcasts, and prepare a few options from each category so you have backup entertainment.

Looking for more tips on making the most of your next holiday? Talk to the RACQ Travel team for specialist advice and great holiday offers on 1300 188 713.