6 Tips For Surviving A Long Haul Flight

6 tips for surviving a long haul flight

I’ve been on long haul flights* since before I was walking, and since then have ventured on many an international trip. I’ve learnt a lot over the years about how to survive a long haul flight in Economy class. Note that these things might not all feature in your typical ‘how to fly’ sort of post, but for your entertainment, here are 6 tips.

*‘Long haul’ in this post means at least 10 hours.

Accept the fact you won’t get much sleep

Even if you’re like me and can ‘sleep anywhere’, ‘anywhere’ is slightly different on a plane. But I’ve found that if you just accept that fact that you will not be getting a full night’s sleep on your flight, then it’s okay when you don’t. If you’re expecting to sleep the entire way, and then don’t, it’s a lot harder to take. If you do get more than a few hours of sleep, then it’s an amazing accomplishment and you’ll feel great about the whole situation. It’s one of those ‘expect the worst and you won’t be disappointed’ situations.


Watch as many movies as you can

Okay, maybe don’t watch all of them, but definitely watch the ones you want to see. If you watch them first thing when you get on the plane, then you’ll get more and more tired as the flight goes one, increasing your chance of getting a little bit of sleep. However! Prepare to get a little frustrated at movies that are darkly lit. In a darkened plane (apparently other people are getting their sleep, or at least pretending to, and all the lights are out), it’s very hard to see dark-lit scenes, even with the brightness of the screen turned right up to nearly white.


Make friends with the stewards

Smile sweetly, talk to them as they pass by. You’ve got at least 10 hours, you might as well make new friends. I’ve discovered that if you’re nice to the stewards, you might get free stuff.

We were in Economy (as always) and a steward took a liking to us because we were from New Zealand. Near the end of the flight he came to our seats, gave us Quick Passes to get out of the lines faster so we had more time in Sydney (we were just spending the day there before getting an evening flight to NZ), and he gave as Business class packs…just because. All because we talked to him, said ‘thank you very much’ when we gave us food and drink. Being nice gets you free stuff, my friends! (Also, and more importantly, you should be nice anyway…not because you’re getting free stuff, but because you’re a nice person.)


If you’re not a sleeper, find someone else who isn’t either

That guy/girl over there fidgeting? Yeah, they can’t sleep either. Challenge them to a game on the in-flight entertainment. Yup! You can do that! You just pop in their seat number, and boom. Endless competition with a stranger on a plane. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll become friends and not game enemies. Then you actually speak to each and not destroy each other’s battle ships. The possibilities from there on in are almost endless. Some suggestions of things to do: try to sneak into business and/or first class. First person in wins.

See who can make it from one end of Economy class to the other without running). If you’re really ambitious, try drawing a moustache on a sleeping passenger…without getting caught by those other people who aren’t sleeping. Offer to help the stewards by throwing sweets around the cabin for the people. People love sweets. Grab as many sick bags as possible. Draw faces on them and pop them back into the seat pockets. All of these things are great bonding activities for you and your newly found friend.


Free drinks? Drink them

Long haul flights provide food and drink. It’s a part of your ticket. Sure you’ve previously paid for it…but at the time it feels like it’s free. If you can stomach it, eat all the free food, drink all the free drinks. If you are getting tired, but know you won’t sleep, drink coffee. This of course, may make you a little bit crazy, but then it would be prime time to find a stranger to play games with.

Also, on a more serious note, if you’re feeling a bit queasy and blergh, drink fizzy drinks. They settle your stomach. Coke, Sprite, etc. Just note, drinking lots will make you need to pee, so if you’re in a window seat then keep in mind that you’re going to be doing a lot of climbing over people and probably angering them.


Remember that your destination awaits

If all else fails, just keep in mind that you’ll be off the plane shortly (ish) and can put your feet on solid ground once again.

Photo by Omar Prestwich on Unsplash

Travel Bucketlist

Everyone has a bucket list, right? A list of things that want to do on this earth, a list of places to go, events to attend, cities to explore. If you don’t have such a list, I highly recommend it, even if it’s for the satisfaction of ticking something off.

As a lover of travel, my longest bucket list is my ‘to visit’ list. While technically the list only has one thing on it (“all the countries in the world”), even I recognise that’s probably a stretch. So I’ve narrowed it down a little bit to some of the countries I’d really love to head to one.

You can also find this list on the Travel Bucket List page, and see where I’ve already been and any links to blog posts I’ve written about.

The Americas

  • America
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Chile
  • Argentina

Europe

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • England
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Scotaland
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • Wales

Scandavanvia

  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Sweden

Asia

  • China
  • Dubai
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Oman
  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Turkey

Africa

  • Egypt

Oceania

  • Australia
  • Fiji
  • Guam
  • Samoa
  • Tonga
  • Vanuatu

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

5 Things Travel Has Taught Me

5 things travel has taught me

My first overseas trip was when I was 18-months old, and I haven’t stopped moving since. I’ve learnt a lot already, even in my on-the-big-scale-of-things-still-quite-young 26 years on this planet, and every time I travel I learn something new.

1 | Travel taught me to be flexible

You never quite know what you’re going to get when you visit a new place. Yes, you can make plans and set out a course of action for your day (something I do quite often), but inevitably things don’t quite go the way you plan. And that’s okay. You learn, over a few trips like this, to be a little flexible, and go with the flow. It might not be perfect, but it’ll make a great story later.

2 | Travel taught me to be ORGANISED

I’m an organised person, though my organisation tends to be more chaotic than others. But travel taught me to have everything ready to go, visas completed, passports updated, vaccinations jabbed; the whole shebang long before they needed to be. Ticking things off lists is something I live for, and with travel it pays to be all that more organised.

3 | Travel taught me to try new things

Growing up in a family who had done a lot of travelling before I was around, and who were immersed in so many fantastic cultures already, I was used eating food from other countries on a weekly basis. But when you cook ‘foreign’ food at home, I think you tend to Westernise it a bit, even if you don’t mean to. While I haven’t eaten anything too weird, I have tried things that I wouldn’t normally, and I’m up for trying anything once.

4 | Travel taught me about the world

There’s nothing quite like stepping into another culture, another city, another country, and soaking up everything about the place. The big difference between reading books on countries, or Pinning ‘top 10 tips for travelling to X’ is that you don’t get the whole experience. You can’t hear the sounds, smell the scents, taste the food while you’re a step removed. I may have known about Japanese culture, but I didn’t know first-hand until I went to Tokyo.

5 | Travel taught me about myself

People often say that you return home differently than when you set out. And it’s true. Every time you travel you leave a little piece of yourself behind when you return, but you take with you all the experiences you gathered while you were away. You learn who you are through the things that happen and the way you deal with things. Perhaps you learn that you don’t function that well under pressure, or that you’re superb at reading train systems in other languages. Perhaps you’re great a picking up key phrases and words, but not so great at reading signs. Maybe you’re passionate, but not that patient; laid-back but not structured; willing to try new things … within reason.

Every time you travel you pick up new things, you learn new things, come home a little different to when you left. But that’s one of the joys of travelling; it teaches you something, no matter how small, and if that’s all you take from your trip, then it was all worth it.

What have you learnt from your travelling?

Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash