How to survive a looong flight

We’re probably somewhere over the Pacific right now!

Our flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong is over 13 hours. I kind of felt like crying when my husband told me that fun little fact!

I’m ok on long road trips. Just this summer we drove home from Cannon Beach, Oregon in 19 hours. (But we stopped when we wanted breaks!) I’ve been on 17 hour bus trips. And we’ve been on a flight that long before- from LA to Taipei, but I think I’ve put it out of my mind!

I’ve come up with 10 tips to make a long flight more bearable:

  • Wear comfortable layers. I’m always cold on airplanes so it’s essential for me to layer. On a long flight, you’re going to want to wear something comfortable. (Don’t forget to wear comfy bras and undies, too!)
Soft North face t, warm sweater, and scarf to keep the heat in!

Soft North face t, warm sweater, and scarf to keep the heat in!

  • Put basic toiletries in your carry on. On every flight I always take my toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and lotion. On a flight this long, I’m also going to take mini packs of wipes, deodorant, Kleenex, and mouth wash. After a snooze or before landing, you can go freshen up and at least fake feeling clean!


  • Charge your electronics and update playlists. You can watch movies on your iPad, read books on an e-reader, or listen to music on your iPhone or iPod. I purchased books for my iPad and made some fun new playlists for my iPod ahead of time.
  • Don’t count on electronics. Take a real book, magazine, notebook, crossword bool, etc. You never know if your above items will malfunction or if the battery will die sooner than you think.
  • Take sleep aids. I’m not talking about medication but sleep aids for comfort. Take a neck pillow, eye cover, or little blanket to make sleeping a little easier.  
  • Get up and walk around. I usually hate to bug another traveller by asking them to move so I can stand up. On a flight this long, walking around will not only help your sanity, but also your health. But the person beside you. It’ll get them moving, too.
  • Wear compression. I’ve never worn compression gear on a flight before. After reading a Runner’s World article last week, I’m wearing compression socks!
  • Take snacks. I generally take an empty water bottle, a couple Crystal Light packets, and some snacks. Although I always end up buying stuff at airports, I don’t have to count on airplane food and their beverage delivery to get me through.
  • Read up. Foreign places are just that…foreign. Take a small guide book to peruse on the flight so you know what to expect. (i.e. when I was 20 and in Malaysia, I wish I had known not to wear shorts in Kuala Lumpur.)  Maybe you’ll even pick up some phrases in the local language or find a new place you must check out.


  • Think of the destination. Lastly, in order to experience different cultures and lands, you need to get there! Keep your eye on the prize and remember the cool places you’ll see once you land!

What’s the longest flight, bus ride, or drive you’ve been on? Do you have any good stories?

On a bus ride from Brisbane to Sydney (roughly 17 hours), we had these two elderly Australian women beside us. They also brought a large bottle of brandy and drank it all. It was comical until they kept putting their bare feet on me, throwing shrimp tails everywhere (who eats seafood on a bus?!), and arguing loudly with each other.

26 responses to “How to survive a looong flight

  1. Amen, Amen, Amen. The kindle and my iPad loaded with movies are my besties. Hope it flies by:)

    And yes – load up on water!! Cannot wait for the fun pics!!

  2. Comfort is so essential! I always feel sorry for women that I see wearing high heels at the airport! Why??? Longest trip for me was a 24 hour bus ride. Torture. I also drove 19 hours just in time for one of my niece’s births. That was well worth it.

  3. Your destination is well worth the long flight time! My longest trip was a 9 hour flight… not too bad!

  4. I am laughing out loud about your Australian bus trip experience! Wow! Such great tips. We went to Sydney a few years back, with the kids in tow. I was seriously freaked out about going that far w/ the kids. But you know what? They do far better than adults at that length!

    Have a great trip!!!

  5. My very first plane ride (when I was 19, no less) was from Dallas to Tokyo (14 hours, maybe). Middle seat, in the back. I thought it was awesome. Now, not so much! I’ve worked for airlines for the past 7 years though, so I get more than my fair share of flying time. On a recent flight, as I was sleeping (in the window seat), I woke up to a hand halfway up my thigh (I was wearing shorts). Obviously I was very startled, until I realized that the little girl in the seat in front of me was turned around and trying to get my attention. Thank God it wasn’t the dude beside me!

  6. The worst night of my life was during a 15 hour overnight bus ride in Vietnam. They crammed me in the tinest little “sleeper” seat (I’m 5’9″ and the air conditioning was pouring down on me all night and I had no warm clothes. The bus had HORRIBLE suspension and every bump jolted me awake with both the movement as well as the screeching noise of the old bus parts. Not to mention there was no bathroom so I dehydrated myself for fear of having to pee so bad I wouldn’t make it! Hahaha…. traveling is definitely fun but there are also some really crappy parts!

  7. Great items and so true. However you forgot to mention one of the most important tips – do everything you possibly can to upgrade to business class. Its amazing what the difference in seats provides for anything over 6 hours of flying.

  8. Good post ! Long flights are a dredd, but one can defintely make them worth while!
    My longest flight is from Sweden to New York. That was also like 13h total, with a stop in Frankfurt, Germany!

  9. I agree-long road trips are fine, but I would be very nervous on a long flight! I’m a wee bit scared of flying, and I’m always trying to convince John that we need to take a boat when we visit Europe! I hope you have so much fun on your trip!!

  10. My longest flights have been 8 hours to France and about the same distance to London. Wow, 13 does seem long!! I hope everything went fine and you didn’t have crazy ladies putting feet on you. Ewww!!

    Enjoy your trip!

  11. Good advice! I ALWAYS wear compression while flying or even on road trips where I’ll be sitting in the car for more than a couple hours. While it’s unlikely a DVT will develop, it’s not worth the risk.

  12. Great advice! I think my longest flight was 9 hours, from London to Chicago. It wasn’t that bad, but I was only 17 at the time, so I’m sure that helped! 🙂 However, the flight goes, your trip will be worth it! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  13. I hope you had a great flight!!

    I went to New Zealand last year! The flight was 12 hours from SFO. It wasn’t that bad. The fed us dinner, watched a movie, slept, they served us breakfast and we arrived!! My kindle was all charged but I barely had time to read it!! 🙂

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