The two longest journeys we have done are going from Edinburgh to Thailand, totalling 16 hours of travel, and Aberdeen to Hawaii which took over 24 hours. These included several of flights of varied lengths, from 1 hour to 11 hours, so we thought we would give our top tips for surviving a Long Haul Flight!
Beating the Jet Lag
This is one of the most important tips we have because if you arrive at your destination completely out of sync with the time zone, you will get jet lag which could take days to recover from and be detrimental to your trip.
So how do we do this?
You may think the best way to pass time on a long haul flight is to get plenty sleep, but there is no point in doing this if you are arriving at your destination in the evening, as you will then likely be unable to sleep when you get there. For example, when we were travelling to Hawaii we left Aberdeen at 6AM and arrived in Hawaii at 8PM local time, although more than 24 hours had passed we tried our best to stay awake during the flights so that we could go to sleep around midnight and get into a good routine. (We managed with just a short nap for an hour or so on the final one!) Or when we were travelling to Thailand we flew from Edinburgh at 8AM and landed in Bangkok around 6AM local time, meaning we were best trying to get a sleep on the plane before we landed. Even after we landed it was very tempting to go to sleep for the day, as it was midnight UK time and because we were exhausted. Instead we went for a short nap for 2 hours after we arrived at our guesthouse then forced ourselves to get up at 11am and explore until bedtime. This meant that from day 1, we were able to sleep at local time and got pretty much straight into the swing of the hectic Bangkok way of life from the get go!
Remember to bring earplugs for inflight entertainment such as watching movies, or listening to some music. Not all airlines will provide you with them free of charge and you can always plug your own ones in. These also help block out noise if you have forgotten to take earplugs. Kevin was guilty a few times of waiting til we were at the airport before deciding to download a movie onto his phone to watch on the flight, and then spending the whole free hour of Wifi in the airport doing this, also draining battery. So his top tip for this would be to download something beforehand in case you don’t fancy anything being shown on the plane. Although most long-haul airlines will now have a USB port to charge your electronics, not all companies do, so a portable charging pack will also come in handy for any kind of travel!
Taking a good book also helps to pass the time if you aren’t wanting to watch anything. Don’t take a bag full of things to amuse yourself, the time passes a lock quicker than you think!
If you do need to sleep on the plane, this is our number 1 essential item. Some airlines provide these complimentary in economy class, like Etihad, but many other airlines do not. I personally hate static noise that you get while flying and basically any other sound when I try to sleep. You will also be thankful for these if you end up near a crying baby*.
*No offence intended to crying babies, we know flying is new and it hurts your ears so it’s not really your fault,
Most airlines will provide you with free drinks while flying long haul, but I always make sure I buy a bottle of water for the plane once I am through security. Staying dehydrated is important while flying and it is also very useful if you arrive at a destination where the tap water is unsafe to drink and you have not had a chance to buy any more.
I am guilty of eating when I am bored to pass the time, so I take full advantage of this when flying. Although most long haul flights will provide you with meals I still like to pack my flying favourites which include Prawn Cocktail crisps and Sports Mixture, which are also good for getting rid of popped ears from the air pressure.
I personally don’t find those cushions you put around your neck to be of any comfort and because I have to slum it in economy class I try to make the best of an uncomfortable situation. I always dress super comfy for long haul flights, I am not interested in what I look like, nor is anyone else. I like wearing loose jogging bottoms and a thick hoody. Which can be used to block out more noise, prop my head up against the window or keep me warm during a red-eye flight. I do not want to be in denim!
As annoying as it can be when you’re in a cramped spot on a plane, don’t moan when someone puts their seat back.. We’ve all paid good money for a seat and everyone’s entitled to do it so, like the saying goes, “if you can’t beat em’, join em’!” If you’re gonna be stuck in a seat for hours you may as well kick off your shoes and recline the seat back to get yourself cosy.
Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments section below!