How I survive long haul flights

Visiting Australia means long-haul hell. Traveling there often adds up to 30+ hours in transit each way, door to door, and you spend most of that time in a tin can at 30,000 feet. Sounds boring and uncomfortable? That’s because it is. Here’s what I do to survive it.


What I wear

I try to do myself a favour and dress as comfy as I possibly can — even if that means looking like a slob. I normally wear something along the lines of:

ultra cozy leggings from Primark (I swear by these)
 knickers (never thongs, they are seriously painful to wear for 24hrs)
comfy sports bra (one of those light support ones)
any long-ish/dip-hem tee, the softer the better
a hoodie, preferably with thumb-holes, to snuggle up in 

I usually go to the airport wearing jeans and the above, but as soon as the flight takes off I’ll hop into a pair of those ultra-cozy leggings and just chill out. Nobody cares anyway.

After the most recent flight though, I’m really starting to think I should add another mandatory clothing item to the above and get fitted for some proper flight (compression) socks…  after 30 hours of transit my legs often resemble a pair of sausages with melons stuck on the ends. It’s no joke.

Keeping entertained

I try not to blow all my films/reading on the outbound flight – going home always feels so much longer. So I usually watch some of the in-flight stuff and try to get some writing done, either long catch-up emails or something for the blog! (I wrote much of this post in-flight actually.)

This time on my outbound I found myself in a complete brain-dead state and picked movies accordingly… That’s how I ended up watching Casablanca, Pan, Love actually, half a Spanish rom-com and a random beautiful Korean martial arts story.

For watching my own stuff, a tablet is a must-have… I got a cheap one, the hudl2 – only paid £79 for it (used my Clubcard vouchers) and I’m very happy with it for flights and stuff. Of course I also carry my noise cancelling headphones – they’re a total life saver and reduce flight noise so much!

One weird thing I like to do during the day-time is to put on the flight camera on the media screen while I watch/read my own stuff on the tablet. Oddly I don’t find the landscape one (facing straight down) all that satisfying (you’re much better off looking out the window really), but there’s something so nice about watching blue skies and white clouds slowly sweep by on the forward camera…


In terms of actual viewing material, for this trip I brought the last three seasons of Archer (perfect when you’re about 15+ hrs in and not quite with it anymore) and the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race (coz how the hell did I go this long without experiencing it??) so there was plenty of mindless shows to keep me going.

Plus as it turns out, binge-watching RuPaul’s for four hours straight earns you bonus ice cream from your fabulous gay flight attendant pal too.

Eating, drinking and plane food

There’s not much to this one… I eat everything I’m given. I often don’t eat everything at the time they serve them though, for example I often keep the snacks or dessert for later (it’s often quite awkward to store them though – seat pockets? eww).

The 375ml water bottle I recently bought was a god-send, I end up chugging so much more water this way and feel so much better for it! It’s just easier to remember to take a sip if it’s right there in front of you.

In-flight skincare

Such a blogging classic, this one. That Lisa Eldridge long-haul video definitely kicked off a raging trend… I’ll only stop at the topic to say that I keep things very simple, and only carry a light tea tree oil facial moisturiser (works great to prevent post-flight pimples), some paw paw for chapped lips, plus some rehydrating eye drops (because my eyes get really sore past the ten hour mark).

These are additional to any hygiene mandatories such as deodorant, wet wipes and a tooth brush of course. The latter is often provided, one less thing for your carry-on; and so is antibacterial hand gel which I use religiously during the flight.

Sleeping aids

When it comes to sleeping in flights, I try to hold out and do it at the right times for my destination time zone, right from the start of the trip, to speed up getting over the eventual and inevitable jet lag.

Neck pillows actually help heaps. I never owned one before this trip but it has definitely made sleeping so much more comfortable that I’d never go without one again! I also like to carry my own blanket – they often provide one on long haul, but I hate the thought of how many times they have been used before, and just prefer to use them as an extra back pillow for my seat.

And ear plugs… ear plugs are a must. I actually use this same kind every single night anyway, but they’ve been amazing as a flight ear plug too, so soft and yet they block out literally 99% noise. Droning plane buzz… gone. Screaming baby? No problem, sweet dreams.


When it comes knocking yourself out for a few hours… Did you know that most sleeping pills available over the counter are just drowsy anti-histamines?

This was a major life and long haul changing discovery for me, as I would not be comfortable taking any kind of actual sleeping pills, but I already have to take anti-histamines during flights to avoid sneezing attacks… so it’s a double win!

These days I absolutely refuse to board without a good dose of the drowsy stuff. I never used to be able to sleep even on the longest flights, but these just help me slip off into unconsciousness for a good four to six hours, no problem…

During this overseas trip I also picked up some melatonin (a kind of natural “sleep hormone”) so I will let you know how I get on with that later…

I guess this sums up how I try to pull through when I’m stuck in a string of 14 hour flights… it would be interesting to know how you all cope! Any tips on how to not get sausage legs, or make myself even more comfortable? Shout out in the comments.

How I survive long haul flights
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