Long haul flights can be tiring, especially in economy class. We’ve unfortunately had our fair share of economy long haul the last year, with trips to Asia, Africa, Australia, North America and Europe of course (our homebase).
While we really struggled with those flights in the beginning, we slowly learned some tips and tricks which helped us not feel like a zombie afterwards. Hereunder we’ll list some of the essential products and tips that made these long haul flights just a little less awful (don’t get your hopes up, they will never get pleasant).
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Tip 1: Invest in your luggage
You probably won’t like hearing this tip, as it might turn out to be an expensive one, but quality luggage really makes a difference. Get a sturdy but lightweight suitcase on 4 wheels that’s large enough to fit all your outfits. Stop lugging around bags or bad suitcases that break down after a year of usage or fall over if they’re not symmetrically loaded. We love the Away Large aluminium (which has a lifetime warranty, so think of it as a longterm investment) as our checked bags and our Samsonite Neopulse Lifestyle as our carry-on. It makes the pre- and after-flight experience so much more enjoyable. It took us a while to invest in quality suitcases, but we just wish we’d done it way earlier! We dedicated a whole blogpost towards the gear we use while traveling!
Tip 2: Make your own essential flight kit
If you’re traveling in economy class, you probably won’t get a beautiful amenity kit like business or first class passengers mostly get while traveling far away. The stuff we include in our own little amenity kit (let us know if you have other suggestions – we’re always looking to improve):
- Moisturiser: this is a life-changer! The lack of humidity in a plane cabin seriously dries out our skin. That’s why it’s important to keep it hydrated. We highly recommend the Fresh lotus youth preserve face cream as it’s compact, not greasy and extremely hydrating or the Estée Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection.
- Lip balm: same as the above! Don’t let your lips dry out and crack. The best product to avoid chapped lips is Fresh Sugar Lemon Hydrating Lip Balm (yes Laura is a huge Fresh Cosmetics fan!)
- Reusable water bottle: as Laura’s esthetician always says: ‘a well-hydrated body starts from the inside’. Fill-up your own bottle after passing through security and make sure to finish it before landing. Watch out with refilling your bottle in the plane’s bathroom though (read why here)! We take our reusable and motivational Healthish bottles with us everywhere and have been drinking so much more water since having them!
- Ear plugs: you’ll thank us later after spending 14 hours on a flight next to a crying baby.
- 3D sleep mask: you’ll want to sleep on a long haul flight and too much light can make that difficult (think reading lights, your neighbour’s screen, open window shades during a day flight, …). To be honest, a regular sleep mask will help too, but if you have 5 extra dollars to spend, we would highly recommend this 3D one.
- Sanitizing wipes: nothing worse than being stuck on a plane for 10+ hours and getting sick because of all the germs at the same time. Avoid having your holiday ruined by packing some sanitizing wipes and cleaning the bacteria-infested parts of your seat (or the seat in front of you) like the tray-table, the IFE screen and the armrest. While we’re no professionals when it comes to sanitizing wipes, we use these ones from Care Touch and we haven’t been sick yet!
Tip 3: Get lounge access
No, lounge access isn’t only for premium class flyers. You can have lounge access yourself even in flying economy, but you’ll just have to pay for it. Don’t make your long flight(s) even longer by having to sit in an uncomfortable seat for an hour or two before boarding, with spotty or no wifi and nothing to eat or drink. Instead, get a lounge pass (if you have no status with a frequent flyer program) and just pay a few bucks to get a nice place to relax before your flight, have some food (and free alcohol) and maybe even a shower (or an actual bed if you have a long layover)! With Priority Pass, you can have access to over 1300 lounges worldwide for a very reasonable price (and you even get 10% off when clicking here). Especially if you follow our tip number 3 in our how to find the cheapest flights blogpost and deal with a lot of stopovers, lounge access will make your flights so much better.
Tip 4: Make sure your electronic devices are charged
Because we’re useless without our electronic devices, right? Make sure your smartphone/tablet is fully charged before getting on the flight. While that’s easy to do when you only take a single flight, it’s much more difficult when you have (long) layovers. Luckily, all you need is just 1 plug and 1 adapter, no matter where in the world you are. Our amazing Powercube travels with us everywhere and charges all our devices (for both of us) at the same time, without needing an adapter for every single charger. With its 4 power outlets and 2 USB ports, we can charge both our Macbook Pro’s, both our iPhones, an external charger and our camera batteries at the same time. Just make sure you buy the correct version that fits all your chargers :-).
Tip 5: Load your devices with offline content
Because we’re useless without internet, right? Make sure you can actually do something on your fully charged electronic devices. I have spent too many flights just aimlessly scrolling through my phone’s camera roll before realising I could actually download my favourite Netflix series beforehand and watch that instead. While we’re no gamers ourselves, we often see fellow travelers killing time with those addicted games like Candy Crush or Temple Run. Time will fly when you’re having fun!
Tip 6: Use a neck pillow
We agree it looks stupid but a good neck pillow is a game changer. We have bought quite a few of them, but in the end only two were really good! If you tilt your head to the same side over and over again while sleeping and you don’t want to carry a large travel pillow with you, we can highly recommend the Trtl Pillow, which weighs less than half a pound! If your head goes all possible directions when sleeping, there’s only one choice: the MLVOC Travel Pillow with Memory Foam. Both are not only super comfortable, but also machine washable!
Tip 7: Noise-cancelling headphones
Do you know that feeling when you’ve been watching a movie on a plane for close to two hours and those crappy headphones you got from the cabin crew starts to really hurt around your ears? Imagine spending 8 hours watching your favourite blockbusters like that. That’s why it’s time for another investment: (wireless) noise-cancelling headphones. There are two really good ones: these Bose wireless ones and these Sony wireless ones (which happen to be a little cheaper too). Not only do they block out the crying baby in the row in front of you, they’re also very comfortable.
Tip 8: Dress comfortably
The aisle is no catwalk, and unless you have a business meeting to attend right after you land, we would suggest to wear comfy clothing on a long-haul flight. Even though it’s no fashion show, we still try to look presentable and will never fly in full tracksuit. Our go-to clothing for long-haul flights are:
- Oversized clothing – nothing worse than spending 10+ hours in a small seat in skinny jeans and a t-shirt that’s just not quite long enough.
- Breathable natural fabrics – try wearing cotton or wool instead of synthetic fabrics. Synthetic fabrics tend to trap body odors more. Do yourself and your seat neighbour a favour!
- Sneakers – easy to take off and put back on (your feet get bigger after not moving for a long period of time).
- Socks – don’t be one of those people with bare feet on a plane, just don’t! Feel free to have a look at compression socks if you fly a lot. They increase circulation and will help reduce swelling and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- An extra layer – cabins tend to get really cold or really hot, but never quite the right temperature. Especially on red-eye flights, you’ll want to have some additional layer to keep you from getting too cold to sleep!
Tip 9: Choose the right seat
While all seats in economy class tend to look the same, some are better than others: some will have more legroom, others will have limited recline, and some might be a little less wide because your tray table is in your armrest. Of course there’s always the proximity to the lavatories and crying babies. If you’re 2 meters tall, you might want to check for a seat with more legroom and if you really want to sleep during the flight it’s better to stay away from the noisy galley. A helpful tool to check seat maps is SeatGuru where you just fill in your flight number and date of travel and it shows you specifics about every seat and which ones are better than others.
Tip 10: Upgrade
Probably the best tip of them all. If you want to have a more pleasant flight and actually get some good sleep, upgrade to business class (or first). You can use miles, cash or even get lucky and hope the airline oversold in economy and has to upgrade some people to business. It makes long-haul flying so much more pleasant 🙂
Do you have extra tips on how to make long-haul flying less unpleasant? Let us know in the comments hereunder!
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