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11 Tips For Long International Flights- Surviving The Long Plane Rides As A Novice

Updated on Aug 29, 2023 · By ENKOR

Where are you going? How long is your flight? Is it 8 hours or closer to 18? Is it a direct flight or do you have to catch a connecting flight? Will that layover be closer to an hour or basically a day? What time will you go to the airport? Do you expect any delays? Do you have any ways to keep you sane? No matter what you answer, it seems like your hands will be full. International flights are no joke, especially when they are long enough to reach double digits. Below are some helpful tips to make this tiring affair a little better. First-time and infrequent flyers listen carefully. You need to…

1. Choose The Right Seat

Would you prefer a window seat, an aisle seat, or does the middle seat seem more your style? Do you want or need a lot of legroom? Would you prefer to be close to the restrooms or toward the center of the airplane? Do you know, or are you hoping to find out? Some of us may not have the luxury of being able to choose our seats or the airlines we must take, but for those who do, it is time to research a bit and ask questions. If you have your flight number and aircraft information, you might be able to search for potential seating information online or on your airline’s website. If possible, everyone should give some consideration to what seat fits them best. After all, it will be your seat for a long time.

2. Dress Comfortably


While a cute or stylish airport outfit is nice, it will hold very little value if it is not comfortable. This does not mean you have to throw away your fashion senses; it just means you have to plan accordingly. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable wearing that outfit for a day or longer than 24 hours. If the answer is no, you probably should choose another outfit or bring another change of clothes. You do not want to be stuck on a plane or at the airport all day uncomfortable. You never know if there will be delays.

3. Make Yourself Comfortable


When taking a long flight, you can’t just dress comfortably, you also have to make yourself comfortable. This could mean bringing an extra set of clothes to change into if you are someone who needs to freshen up. This could also mean bringing a blanket, pillow, earbuds, noise-canceling headphones, or complete blackout eye masks. This is going to be a long flight, so make yourself as comfortable as possible.

4. Stay Hydrated

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Apparently, being tens of thousands of feet in the air can really dry you out. Who woulda guessed? It is best to bring plenty of water and/or hydrating beverages. You will need them. Even if you don’t like water, drink a bit before your flight, a lot during your flight, and a little after your flight. Unless, of course, you don’t mind your throat feeling like a desert. However, please wait until after you pass through airport security to buy some water. The airport water is expensive, but it is one of the ways to guarantee you have water for your flight.

5. Have Snacks


After you get through airport security, buy plenty of snacks. You won’t know when your meals will be served or how far in between they may be. It will benefit you greatly to buy a few snacks for yourself. You can also try to bring some snacks or a light meal from home or from a store, but it might be difficult to get through security with it. There is a possibility that some of the passengers traveling with you could have certain allergies (e.g., peanut allergies). It would be very kind and considerate of you to keep this in mind when selecting your snack.

6. Eat Light Before & After Flight


Preparing for an international flight can be very time-consuming, especially when you have to do it in a time crunch. Whether it is very late, very early, or an hour left until your flight takes off, please remember to eat something. It doesn’t have to be a full-course meal, in fact, please do not eat anything too heavy before you leave. The last thing you or the other passengers want is for you to be stuck in the bathroom for the entire plane ride. Eat something that is easy on the stomach and that can sustain you for a little while. Stay away from meals that will leave you feeling gassy, bloated, constipated, stuffy, or like you got the runs both before and after your flight. After your flight, it is best to keep a somewhat light diet for a few hours. After you feel a bit more refreshed, return to your regular diet.

7. Move & Stretch


Don’t stay still your entire flight. It is uncomfortable and can lead to some issues later on (e.g., soreness, stiffness, or bad circulation). Get some light exercise in before you board the plane, and frequent movement to keep your blood circulating properly. There are plenty of helpful tips online for improving circulation during flights. These tips include doing simple stretches on your seat, maybe on the way to the bathroom as well. 

8. Pack Essentials In Your Carry-On


It is important that you keep all your essentials on you or in your carry-on bags. This includes things such as your medicines, glasses, documents, keys, and wallets. This also includes things such as your chargers, portable chargers, converters, and adapters, but remember to always check security regulations in the country you are traveling to before boarding the airplane; in some countries, certain items such as portable chargers will not be allowed on international flights. You will feel much more secure with everything in reach. Plus, in the unfortunate event that your check bags get lost, you will have all your essentials with you. To prepare for this possible case scenario, you also bring a few extra sets of clothes aboard the plane in your check bag.

9. Prepare Entertainment


Long flights are extremely boring. Unless you plan to sleep, stare out the window, or daydream the entire plane ride, you will need something to keep you entertained. It is true that many airlines have some form of entertainment, but you may not find it interesting or it may not work at the time of your flight. Whatever the case may be, you should bring something to entertain yourself with. For example, a traveling puzzle, a drawing pad, a coloring book, a book, or download movies, music, tv shows, or videos. Please bring headsets or headphones so that you do not disturb the other passengers. Also, bring a variety of things, so you keep yourself entertained the whole plane ride, not just a few hours.

10. Get Some Good Sleep

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You will appreciate yourself more if you have a good rest before, during, and after your flight. If possible, get a full 8 hours of sleep the night, evening, afternoon, or morning before your flight. Consider taking some medicine right before boarding the plane to make sleeping and spending hours in the air a bit easier (certain medications are illegal in specific countries, so please ensure that it is legal first). Also, get comfortable. Grab your pillow, blanket, and complete blackout eye mask. Play some calming music through your headsets or, if you prefer, put on your noise-canceling headphones in order to get some good sleep. This will help reduce and maybe even prevent your jet lag. You will also be able to adapt to the different time zone(s) better. Sleep as much as you can and as much as you need.

11. Prepare Properly


Do some research and prepare for your plane ride properly. Check the weather reports/forecasts of both the places you are leaving from and the places you are going to. Dress accordingly. You should prepare for the potentially cold temperature of the airplane. Bring a blanket, hoodie, or jacket to stay warm. If going to a warm place, pack a travel-sized fan and bottle of water to stay cool. It is also good to prepare for some unexpected weather (e.g., rain). Go prepared and arrive feeling better.

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