How to Survive Long Flights

Christina Galioto


It’s easy to get super excited about an upcoming trip to a far away land across an ocean until it hits you. Wait, how many hours do I have to sit on a plane? Shit just got real. There are ways to get through this like a pro: Drugs, entertainment, and a few tips & tricks 😉

  1. UPGRADE. By hook or crook, try to get an upgrade. Check out how to do so on my article First-Class Upgrade Please
  2. The moment you step on the plane set your watch to the destination time. If it’s time to sleep there, do it, by any means necessary. I’m not one for popping pills, but in times like these sleeping aids may be exactly what you need. You can use something natural, herbal, homeopathic or a 3mg dose of melatonin. In extreme cases, some people need to get a prescription of ambien from their doctor but melatonin has never failed me.
  3. If it is daytime at your destination you must stay awake and that is all about being entertained. Charge up all your devices- phone, computer, tablet. Download every movie and book you’ve wanted to watch and read but haven’t had the time to. As a writer I always bring a notebook and a few pens. Ink fails at the worst times… Even if writing isn’t your passion I am definitely an advocate of journaling, travel is a great time to connect with yourself so take this time to dig deep. And have you ever noticed that when you are trying to fall asleep but can’t is when you have the best ideas? Jot em down.
  4. Take care of your skin! Skin can get extremely dry, bring face wipes and moisturizer, always wash your face and remove your makeup before going to sleep. Long-haul flights are already rough on your skin without the added grime of day old makeup and dirt.
  5. Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. If you are flying first or manage to snag an upgrade they will provide a disposable toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste but it’s good to be prepared regardless.
  6. Have your necessities close by- eye mask, lip balm, ear plugs, neck pillow, notebook, pens, headphones, water, floss picks and anything else you might need that would be a hassle to search for in the overhead compartment. Your body and brain will thank you for every small comfort you can provide, and the inconvenience of packing and carrying these around is dwarfed by the misery of 15 hours in flight with crying children, pilot announcements, engine noise and a major crick in your neck. Gear up.
  7. Stay hydrated: If you think hydration is a concern on a cross-country flight, try tripling or quadrupling your time in the air; you might as well spend 15 hours lying on the desert floor. Which is a good comparison, and you should stock up and behave accordingly. Imagine you are going to walk from Los Angeles to San Diego. How much water would you bring? Expect to drink about that much on a 16-hour flight.
  8. Wear compression socks. Especially on flights over four hours, “It’s so important to keep circulation coursing, not only to avoid blood clots but also to keep your body energized by preventing all that blood from just getting stuck in your ankles,” explains Dr. Jamé Heskett, founder of the Wellpath NYC. Wear compression socks while you’re immobile during the flight. You can buy them at most drugstores or on Amazon.

There you have it, how to survive long flights like a pro.