23 WAYS TO MAKE LONG FLIGHTS LESS MISERABLE


Travel bloggers and other experts share their tips for making plane rides more comfortable.

Carry On One Bag “I usually pack my luggage as compact as possible so that I know I can store it in the overhead bins. Freeing up that footwell for your legs to stretch out does make the flight a lot more comfortable.” ― Mark Ostermann, senior editor of Miles to Memories

Block Out The Noise “One of the big problems on a flight can be noise from other passengers, whether it’s from a crying baby or a rowdy group of friends. And it can be even more annoying if you’re trying to get some sleep. A pair of soft silicone ear plugs can help to block out most of the noise, and you can even get reusable ear plugs to cut down on single-use waste.” ― Sally Akins, travel and food blogger“The cacophony of noise at airports and on airplanes can drive the sanest people to go utterly mad. Noise-canceling headphones dilute the noise and allow you to zen out during the flight.” ― Collette Stohler, TV host and travel blogger at Roamaroo

Take Time To Stretch “Comfort on a plane starts before you board. I always find an empty corner of the gate area to stretch and do some yoga before I get on the plane. Even if I get weird looks from other people, stretching tight muscles before sitting for a long time is totally worth it!” ― Carrie Hoffman, digital nomad and co-founder of the Bigger Life Adventures yoga and adventure retreat “Get up to stretch and walk around when you can. This helps to eliminate tight muscles and circulation problems. Do in-seat stretches during your flight as well.” ― Nancy Schretter, managing editor of the Family Travel Network

Layer Up “Be dressed in layers because you never know how warm or cold the plane ride will be. You can also use these extra layers

Wear Your Glasses “Wear glasses instead of contact lenses. A friend made the mistake of wearing contact lenses on a flight from Europe to North America. The dry air in the plane dried up her contacts, so they stuck to her eyes, causing multiple tears! I gladly rock my grandma glasses throughout a flight to avoid drying out my eyes.” ― travel blogger and TV host La Carmina

Choose A Seat Wisely “My best tip for making flying more comfortable is the strategic seat pick! Knowing where you sit on the plane can really help with eating and sleeping. If you aren’t lucky enough to snag an exit row, make sure you are in a seat that fully reclines (or as much as those economy cabins do) and not one that is next to the kitchen, where flight attendants and fellow passengers will likely congregate.

Hydrate

It is important to stay hydrated, especially on long international flights. Drink plenty of water the days leading up to the flight and while in the air. It may mean more bathroom breaks but your body will thank you once you reach your destination. Many people like to bring a water bottle they can easily fill once they pass through security too. It could take 60-90 minutes before service starts on-board so it is good to be prepared.” ― Ostermann

Bring Snacks “I don’t know about you, but food makes me happy. I eat before I fly, and if I am on a long flight, I pack a sandwich and few pieces of fruit, some nuts, etc. so that I have food that I like to eat on my plane ride.” ― Andrew Zimmern, chef and host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” “Every snack on the plane is starchy, salty or dry. I like to bring sliced cucumbers to munch on. I cut them on the thick side so I get a satisfying crunch and a lot of well-needed hydration at the same time.” ― Samantha Brown, host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love” on PBS

Pack Facial Mist You may find that the dry atmosphere of an airplane cabin can make your skin feel dehydrated. I love a soothing facial mist to help keep my skin feeling comfortable.

Use Your Toothbrush

“Personal hygiene on a long haul flight goes out the window around seven hours in — everyone starts to feel icky and gross, probably something to do with being confined to a seat in a flying aluminum tube! But, little things like cleaning your teeth halfway through can be a huge comfort boost. Roll-on deodorant, dental floss, and alcohol wipes to wash your face do the same.” ― Meg Jerrard, travel blogger at Mapping Megan

Don’t Sleep Until After Takeoff “Never sleep as the plane is going up or coming down. Why? Because your inner ears can’t regulate air pressure with rapid ups and downs. You have to help them by doing a precautionary routine (antihistamines, chewing gum, EarPlane plugs, etc.), and you need to be conscious to do it. I’ve always had trouble with my ears after a plane flight. That trouble grew into a problem that gave me a temporary hearing loss in both ears after a flight last spring. Tips from my ENT doctor and a Google search helped me understand the problem and create a precautionary routine that staves off ear misery.” ― Dwight Brown, travel writer

Wear Two Pairs Of Socks

“If you are flying overnight, bring two pairs of socks. One may be the socks that you are wearing with sneakers or you may be wearing sandals onto the plane and need to put on socks later. Put a larger and more comfortable pair of socks over a thinner pair of socks when it is time to sleep or rest and you are kicking your shoes off at your seat. The air in the plane is often quite cold and one pair of socks with no shoes on will often make your feet freeze. Simply add another more comfortable pair of socks on top, and your feet will stay warm, cozy, and shoe free. Just make sure to always put your shoes back on when going to the bathroom or walking around the plane for sanitary reasons!” ― Victoria Yore, travel blogger at Follow Me Away

Invest In A Travel Pillow

“No matter your age, consider flying with a lumbar support pillow for your lower back. Airplane seats aren’t designed to support your back properly, and if you are going to be sitting for a long time, having something to help support your body in an ergonomically correct way is really important. You can clip this back pillow to your suitcase or backpack, and when you arrive at your destination, it can double as lumbar support if you are on a road trip or otherwise sitting for longer periods of time. We often think because we are younger or healthy or don’t have back pain we don’t need proper body alignment but this simply isn’t true! Try it on your next trip and make sure not to leave it on the plane!” ― Yore

Upgrade When Possible “Whenever I can afford it, I get a premium cabin upgrade. The legroom can make the trip much more comfortable, especially if going on long haul flights. I also politely ask the check-in attendant how the seating situation looks like to see if I can get moved to a less crowded area of the plane.” ― Jessica van Dop, travel media specialist and blogger at The Dining Traveler

Arrive To The Airport Early “This may sound obvious but it hasn’t occurred to me except over the past few years that leaving early for the airport alleviates a ton of stress. You need to just build in 30 minutes more than you need. It gives you the sense of calm this that makes any kind of anxiety go away. Then if there’s a traffic jam you’re cool. If there’s a long line at security, you’re covered.” ― Max Hartshorne, editor of the travel website GoNOMAD.com