11 Ways to Make a Long Haul Flight More Tolerable

by Daniel | Last Updated January 14th, 2020

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Are you preparing for your next trip to a new city, country, or continent? If so, you're likely excited about all of the adventures that are soon to come. However, I bet that you're less excited about the long haul flight you have to make. 


While hours on a plane won't be the most thrilling part of your vacation, you can make the most of your travel time. Here are 11 ways to make a long haul flight more comfortable. 

1) Bring Snacks and Water

To ensure you have the energy you'll need to begin your vacation, pack some snacks you can have throughout your flight. For your convenience, bring foods that will last at room temperature and snacks you can eat without utensils. 


If you want to save money on drinks, bring a large empty water bottle with you to the airport. After you've made it through security, you can fill it up before you get on the plane. This way, you don't have to pay outrageous prices to stay hydrated. 


If you forget to pack food and drinks, don't be afraid to splurge on airplane snacks. Even though airplane snacks tend to be on the pricey side, they can be a real lifesaver to satisfy your hunger. 


While you should buy as many airplane snacks and beverages as you want, we recommend avoiding alcohol. According to NDTV Food, the dry environment of an airplane's cabin and alcohol's diuretic effects can leave you feeling dehydrated and give you a headache. Consuming even one glass of alcohol can make a long flight more miserable than it needs to be. Instead, stick with pure water and drinks like Gatorade. 

2) Chat with a Neighbor


If a nearby neighbor is willing to talk to you, strike up a conversation. Chances are you two have something to bond over, as you are headed for the same destination. Even if talking to a stranger is something outside of your comfort zone, it can be a great form of entertainment on a long haul flight. Nearby passengers could have interesting life stories or tales of their recent travels to share. Plus, you'll be in good company, as a fellow plane rider will likely want the companionship on a tedious flight. 


Just make sure you're respectful if your neighbor is sleeping or doesn't seem interested in chatting. You don't want to make an enemy when you're trapped in the sky for the next few hours. 


Another option is to befriend your flight attendants. While you shouldn't interfere with their job, chatting with these individuals for a few minutes can alleviate some boredom - they will appreciate it also!

3) Watch Movies or TV Shows

In our everyday lives, it can be hard to justify binging movies and TV shows.


On a plane, however, you have all the time in the world! You can watch as many movies and TV shows as you can fit in. Some planes have free in-flight movies for their passengers. The selection can be pretty vast, meaning you'll have access to decent titles. 


Don't want to rely on the plane's selection? Bring your own! Use a tablet or phone to download movies or TV shows from your favorite streaming service. 

4) Listen to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts often uses less battery life than watching a movie or TV show, so this is an excellent activity if you're trying to make it through an exceptionally long trip. I would also recommend investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones so you don't get disturbed by any annoying noises such as the drone of the planes engines or people talking. Opt for a comedy show, personal interview, religious discussion, or a retelling of a nonfiction event.


Be sure to download as many as you can before your flight runs out. This way, you'll have enough to listen to on your way to and coming back from your destination. 

5) Listen to Music

With an inexpensive membership, apps like Spotify let you download music and listen even when you're offline. Listen to your favorite playlists without data or WiFi. If you want to expand your musical tastes, you can download playlists you've never listened to before.


You can use listening to music as a passive activity to help you relax or fall asleep. Or, you can listen to music actively and discover some songs you were previously unexposed to. 

6) Use Your Phone

Your phone, of course, is a dependable way to fight off boredom. Use it to play games and browse other apps that are airplane-mode friendly. 


Clean Up Your Phone


In all honesty, you will probably get bored of the same old games after a while. Make productive use of your time by cleaning up your phone. 


Start by going through your photos. Delete ones that are duplicates or blurry. Then, you can organize your apps by category. Delete the ones you never use. 


You can also go through your contacts and delete unnecessary entries. Finally, remove your case and give it a good scrubbing.  


Cleaning up your phone is a great time-killer, and you'll be left with more memory and less clutter. 


Learn the Local Language


Going to a foreign country where you don't know the language? Make good use of your phone with apps like Duolingo. 


Plus, subscribers have access to thousands of offline lessons. So, download them before you go so you can learn on your flight! 

Brushing up on simple phrases is a great distraction. It will also help you feel more prepared once you land. 

7) Get Some Work Done

From crying babies to loud neighbors, flights can bring many distractions. However, you might be able to get some work done. 


You're limited in what you can do because of the lack of WiFi, but there are many offline tasks you can do. For instance, Gmail Offline lets you respond to emails without an Internet connection. Once you reconnect to WiFi, all the emails you wrote will automatically send to their recipients. 

8) Stay Active

Though your mobility on a plane is limited, try to move around as frequently as possible. Take a trip to the bathroom to stretch your legs every couple of hours or so. 


In your seat, you can perform some discreet stretches to fend off achy muscles. A focused stretching session done every hour can be a good distraction and a way to keep you from getting sore. 

9) Read a Book

Depending on how long your flight is, you can likely get through a couple of books or more. If you love reading but never have the time to complete an entire book, a long haul flight is a perfect time to do so. 


If you have a Kindle or another kind of e-reader, you'll have access to thousands of books. You can purchase them from an online store beforehand or download them from your local library. Stick to your favorite author or genre, or maybe explore self-help, horror, historical fiction, or romance books that you usually wouldn't give a try. 


You can bring a few physical copies of your favorite novels, but make sure you have the carry-on space to spare. 

10) Journal Your Trip

If you are on your way back home, you probably have a lot to process about what happened on your trip. Use the long plane ride to write down everything that happened so you can preserve the memories you made. By recording everything that happened on your trip, you can better remember fine details and relay them to friends and family back home. Some examples of what you can write down include:

  • Places you visited

  • People you met

  • Food you tried for the first time

  • Different cultural traditions you participated in

  • What you'd do differently next time if anything


If you're on your way to your trip, write down what you want to do and what you hope to get out of your trip. 


You can also use your journal to write down stuff unrelated to your trip. With some pen and paper, you can:

  • Answer creative writing prompts

  • Plan your next career move

  • Do some general self-reflection

  • Doodle


If you're traveling with someone else, you can play 2-person paper games like battleship, hangman, and dots and boxes. 


A pen and some paper allow you to exercise creative freedom for hours at a time. The possibilities are endless, so it's easy to find a pen-and-paper-based activity that will keep you entertained.

11) Bring a Pillow, Blanket, and Comfortable Clothes

As a final tip, you'll want to bring a pillow, blanket, and comfortable clothes, especially if your flight is late at night or early in the morning.


The right pillow will support your neck and help you fall asleep better. Consider investing in a travel neck pillow. If you don't have one or don't want to splurge on one, a regular pillow will do the trick.


Bring along a decently-sized blanket that will fit in your carry-on. Airplane cabins can get chilly, especially if your neighbor has their AC on full blast.


If you're not traveling for business, there's no reason to dress your best. Opt for sweatpants, a large t-shirt, and a cozy hoodie for optimal comfort on your flight.


Sleeping through a large portion of your plane ride is a great way to make it more tolerable. When all else fails, sleeping gives the illusion of a quicker flight, and you can escape staring out the window, hoping to arrive at your destination.

Make the Most of Your Long Haul Flight!

While the long haul flight can be tedious at times, know that it's worth it in the end! You'll be catching rays in Bali in no time, and this list will help make the plane ride much more tolerable.


Welcome to LuggageGuru!
My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.

My goal with luggageguru.com is to provide helpful information about travel-related products and accessories and also useful travel tips to make your vacation or trip more enjoyable!
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