Travel Tips: How to survive a long haul flight (12+ hours)

Let me start this post off with most people won’t agree with, I love to fly, like love love love but the idea of a flight from LAX to Sydney still gave me intense, unavoidable anxiety. To prepare for the long haul I took my normal flight preparedness and amped up the intensity by 10 folds to ensure a happy transpacific flight.

This past November we flew from Birmingham, AL to Sydney, Australia with layovers in Houston and LAX. The longest haul of the flight was from LAX to Sydney, 15 hours in the air! We were landing in Sydney on my birthday so I wanted to be in the best possible condition. Basically, I wanted to know how I could sleep for 15 hours straight, unfortunately, there is no magic potion for this but I tried HARD! I did a ton of research on how to get adequate rest on a long haul flight and have some tips to share.

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A Very Happy Birthday in Sydney

Tips

  • No alcohol
    • I know, total bummer but if you would like to get deep sleep and wake up rejuvenated than this is the path to take.
  • Drink tons and tons of water.
    • Flying alone dehydrates you and then add in the salty snacks and sodium-heavy food if you aren’t drinking tons of water that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Carbo-load.
    • Prior to loading the flight or once on the plane, take advantage of carb-heavy foods. This increase in carbs will help with a deeper slumber and give you more energy once you arrive at your destination.
  • Exercise the day of, get your body moving! Once on the flight, you will be sedentary for 16+ hours so make sure to get as much exercise in prior to wheels up.

What to pack:

  • A small blanket or  a wrap
    • Most long haul flights will provide a small blanket but I never want that to touch my face so I always bring my own wrap to cover my neck and face because I need the plane to be DARK!
  • Lotion
    • I’m sure most people have normal skin but if your skin is insanely dry like me, this is a must! I love this calming lotion, with hints of lavender it’s just a great one to have.
  • Sanitizing wipes
    • Airplanes are crawling with the grossest germs and recycled air,  so wipe everything down! I mean how horrible would it be to arrive on vacation and have the flu!
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • In a normal 16 hour period I brush my teeth at least twice, why would that be any different on an airplane?
  • A quality neck pillow
    • I have searched everywhere for a neck pillow that would actually help support my neck and help increase the chances of a deep sleep. After many failed pillows I have found the holy grail of neck support. I really love this neck pillow because it not only supports the back of the neck but also the front and alleviates the annoying head bobbing that happens.
    • My favorite neck pillow can be found here.
  • Sleep Headphones
    • This pair was recommended to me by a friend, life-saving!!
    • These headphones are a game changer, comfortable to sleep in while also keeping your ears warm. I am an extremist while flying and want complete silence so I put my over the ear headphones on top of the sleep headphones.
  • Compression socks
    • I always thought this essential was only for travelers 30 years my senior, but I was wrong, a necessity when sitting that long
  • Healthy Snacks!
    • Chances of an American based airline having good healthy snacks are slim. My favorites to bring along are beef jerky, fruit, nuts, Lara bars and if I am feeling crazy tuna packages.
  • Makeup remover
    • Duh, because 16 hours in makeup is gross.
  • Eye Mask
    • Unless I am rewatching an entire season of Real Housewives, I want to be asleep and I need it to be dark, like dark dark!
  • Calming Supplement
    • I was once on a flight where there was “extreme turbulence” and all passengers had to sit in their seats for 6 hours, these came in handy!

On top of this list of items, I also took a melatonin pill and slept great, woke up in Sydney and almost felt normal (almost). I hope these tips help inspire you to book a transatlantic flight tomorrow!

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