Before Your Flight
- Make sure everything you will need during the flight, immediately before, and immediately after is packed in your carry on and easy to quickly access. Most airlines allow one carry on that can fit in the overhead compartment (which can be measured in many luggage size checking bins throughout all airports) and one personal item that must fit under a seat (backpack, purse, briefcase, small bag). Be warned that flights sometimes run out of room in overheard compartments and will take/check your carry on bag, leaving you with just one personal item. So again try to fit everything vital in there.
- Make sure all your most important and irreplaceable items are secure. Keep your money, bank cards, plane tickets, and passport specifically on your person or hidden away deep in your personal bag that will always be near you.
- Finally it's worth asking your airlines ticket counter or boarding gate about upgrades. Sometimes it's possible to get cheap or free upgrades to better seats or classes. If you are a frequent flyer or airline credit card holder of your flights airlines it's easier to get upgrades or use frequent flyer miles for upgrades.
What to Bring
The main enemy of long flights is boredom, having plenty of options to keep you occupied will pass the time much faster. Unlike short domestic flights, most long haul flights have personal interactive TV screens in every seat with a nice selection of newer movies, TV shows, music, games, and more.
- Headphones provided are awful so be sure to bring your favorite pair. Noise cancelling headphones make a big difference in blocking out loud engine sound and other passengers. I often use my iPod and laptop, so just bring whatever electronics you like most (smartphone, MP3 player, tablet, computer, video game), it's great to have a few options to switch between. USB and regular power outlets are usually available but I always bring a portable power bank. Some flights are starting to offer WiFi so it's worth checking in advance if it is available on your flight.
- Kindles, books, and magazines are great for readers and can pass large amounts of time.
- If you are into games I frequently see people playing Sudoku and crossword puzzles, so whatever you like and is easily portable is great.
Snacks and Drinks
You will get one or two meals, occasional snacks, and frequent drinks provided but sometimes you're sleeping when it happens or just don't like your options so it's great to bring snacks.
- Nuts, trail mix, energy bars, and beef jerky, are my personal favorite since they are filling, high in protein, and very portable taking up small amounts of luggage space.
-I always bring at least one big water bottle on long flights that I buy after going through security and customs, although I have had them taken from me prior to boarding in China before, but never in USA or Europe. If you want to be extra safe just bring your favorite water bottle or canteen and ask them to fill it with bottled water after boarding. Drink a lot of water for two reasons, first you are spending a long time in a very dry airline cabin, and second drinking a lot will make you need to use the bathroom often making you stand, stretch, and walk more.
Being able to freshen up before landing or anytime mid flight if you are feeling gross and grimy or really, really, really makes a world of difference in how you feel, here are some great things to keep with you.
- A travel toothbrush and toothpaste kit or disposable Colgate wisps (one time use disposable tooth brushes that don't need water) dental floss, small travel size mouth wash.
- Eye drops really help with the dry air and tired eyes.
- Chap stick for dry chapped lips and again for relief from the dry air.
- Lotion if dry air and dry skin bothers you.
- Face cleaning wipes or make up remover wipes are easy to pack and can really make you feel better and cleaner.
- Hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes to keep clean on the go easily.
- Deodorant to stay smelling and feeling fresh.
- Prescription medicine you personally will need and other medicine that may help you. I always carry ibuprofen, anti diarrhea pills, and a sinus decongestant. If you really want to sleep or are worried about sleeping consider a sleep aid.
What to Wear
- Blood clots and deep vein thrombosis are rare but dangerous possibilities when staying seated for so long, compression socks are helpful at preventing this but getting up to walk and stretch frequently is still the best.
- Loose fitting, comfortable, and soft clothes will help you stay most comfortable. Jeans, belts, business, and dress clothes, are not recommended. If you need to be dressed for business you will have a much better flight if you have a change of clothes available to change into right before or after landing.
- Soft slippers or comfortable boots like Uggs favorites of some of my friends.
- Blankets are usually provided but it's great to have some kind of hoodie or jacket to keep warm, double as a blanket, or just cover your face to block out distracting lights and sounds while resting.
- A scarf is very versatile and can be used to keep you warm, make a small pillow, cover your eyes or ears, and more.
- A hat or beanie can also be used to keep warm, cover your eyes and ears, or hide crazy airplane hair when getting off the plane.
- If you were going to watch a movie on the couch at home what would you wear? Think and dress along those lines rather than how you would dress for a night out on the town.
What to Do
- Drink lots of water.
- Get up to walk around and stretch often.
- Watch some movies, make the most of the entertainment you brought and the in flight entertainment.
- If you are able to get any work done, depending on the conditions of your flight and the work you do, you'll have plenty of time for it.
- Talking to people around you can be interesting and pass lot's of time quickly but be respectful if they are trying to sleep or do their own thing.
- Occasionally make sure your important items and documents are on your person or where you have them stashed, you don't want to land and realize something important has been lost or stolen right before you need it and it's too late.
Tips and Summary
- Pack light, only bring what you personally know you need and will use.
- Consume plenty of water and some electrolytes.
- Stay moisturized, clean, and comfortable.
- Avoid or limit caffeine if you plan on sleeping.
- Limit and be careful with alcohol, it can affect you harder. faster, and differently on a plane.
- Keep all carry on liquids in 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles that can all fit in a single 1 quart zip-top plastic bag, anything bigger or anything more will be taken and thrown away by security. Also keep in mind depending on the country you are in any liquids can possibly be confiscated from a carry on so keep liquids to a minimum or bring dry alternatives.
- Walk around and stretch often.
- Have fun and remember you are going somewhere awesome!