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Long-haul flight survival tips

Long-haul flights. I have a love-hate relationship with them, and as my next long-haul flight gets closer and closer I start to wonder if I know as much as I should know about surviving a 14 hour flight.


I turned to travel specialists STA for some helpful hints and tricks to make this long flight a little bit easier.

Comfort is key! Unless you’re one of those people that can comfortably spend the whole flight in heels and tight jeans, invest in a comfortable, yet (of course) fabulous plane outfit. This should include non-restricting clothing that can also keep you warm, because we all know how flights can get unpleasantly cold. Top it off with some sneakers and you’re ready to roll!


Blanket? Stylish scarf? As noted, planes can get super cold. Add a wide scarf to your fashionable-yet-comfortable plane outfit, and use it as a blanket once you’re sitting down. The other passengers will think you’re super creative, your comfort levels will be maxed out, and you can feel extra smug about it.

For yourself and everyone else – pack a mini toiletries bag, AKA mini-lifesaving-kit, will save you from feeling (and looking) gross after arriving at your destination. There’s nothing worse than having to experience somebody else’s morning breath after they’ve had a 10-hour sleep – pack a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Other handy items include tissues, moisturiser, hand sanitiser and mouthwash. Make sure they’re all under the maximum liquid limit though; otherwise say buh-bye to your hygiene regime at the security gates!

Load your smartphone/tablet/laptop with some good viewing material, good books and great games. There’s nothing like getting lost in your favourite TV series or being engulfed by a fictitious world through a good read. Games are also a LOT of fun and are totally addictive – Candy Crush haze for 6+ hours? You may have square eyes by the end of it, but nothing will make the flight seem shorter and easier than watching your usual reality TV shows or reading your favourite book.


Accessorise with a neck pillow. These days they come so compact that you can pack them into little bags and stuff them into your hand luggage/backpack. They may not be worn by the who’s-who of fashion but everyone will be jealous of you when they see you experiencing 100% neck support and comfort whilst you sleep.



Take your USB phone cable with you in your carry-on. Otherwise your phone will be dead when you land, and then you won’t be able to take photos or videos until you get to your accommodation. Some planes even have Wi-Fi in the air now. Technology really does rule the world. Plus, if your phone is dead you can’t take hilarious photos of your friends while they’re sleeping – and really, that’s probably the best part of flying.


Secure your armrest space early on. Once you’ve made it to your seat, secure your armrest situation and mark your territory – especially if you’re in the middle of a row. Put your headset or a blanket partially over the armrest and make it known that is your space. It’s hard to have personal space on a flight (unless you’re a fancy-pants in Business or First Class) and getting that little bit of space will make your travel that much more comfortable. Not to mention, it will increase your sleeping position versatility three times over.

Take a packet of gum or Mentos in your carry-on. Because nobody likes the taste in their mouths when they haven’t eaten in god knows how many hours. The minty treats can also prevent ear blockage from the high altitude, which is one of the most uncomfortable things ever.

Take the time to get up and walk around every couple of hours. Probably the best tip we can give that just does not happen enough. Stretching your legs and walking around is the best way to avoid Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and it’s also a good break from sitting down and staring at a screen. Even if it is just to the bathroom to splash your face with water, you should definitely take it upon yourself to do this.


Consider paying extra to choose your seat (where possible) at the time of booking. Whilst some people aren’t bothered about where they sit, many people are. Sitting in your preferred area can really make all the difference on the flight. Need something to lean against in order to sleep? Book a window seat. Someone who needs to get up throughout the flight? Aisle seat for sure. If you book early enough, you might even be able to snatch up those bulkhead seats, where you get heaps of legroom…the dream.

Male passenger with knees against female passenger's seat on aeroplane

Of course, flying is the quickest and easiest way to get overseas and explore the world, and we should be incredibly grateful that we have the ability to travel so easily (unlike our ancestors) but it is hard to deny it isn’t seriously boring. Hopefully these hints help you on your next long-haul flight and if not, our best advice is to book an overnighter, tire yourself out and sleep the entire flight.

It’s May, so let the MAYHEM begin – Book your own long-haul flight and visit somewhere new with up to 40% off Contiki trips and up to 20% off European festivals! Even get paid to travel with $100 spending money when you book international return flights – the world is your discounted oyster!

Hurry, MAYHEM sales valid throughout May only. To book your next festival adventure, visit an STA Travel store – or call 134 782.