Long Haul Flights: 5 Tips to Ease the Pain


This post was originally posted on the 4th of July 2015 and updated on the 7th of November 2019

You’re going to be jammed into an aluminium tube with 500 strangers, confined to a 76cm x 91cm space for 18 hours. So let’s face it, a long flight is unlikely to be one of the most comfortable parts of your holiday to Australia or any other part of the world.

Here are 5 tips to ease the pain on your next long haul flight:

1| Book a decent seat

Most airlines allow you to select your seat well in advance of the flight through their website.

Bulkhead seats and seats in the emergency exit row are usually quite popular, but besides giving you extra leg room they are right by the toilets and the legroom in the seat nearest the side of the plane is compromised because part of the door juts out. Bulkhead seats are also good as there is no one in front of you to recline a seat into your space. But it is also the row most often used by parents with babies. Every time I flew with a baby this was the allocated seat in order to get a bassinet for the baby to sleep in.

If you have time, check out Seat Guru which provides annotated guides to seat locations, pitches, plans and entertainment systems for the world’s airlines. It’s a great resource to check out!

2| Fly east to west

This will work only if you are travelling around the world, but it is a strategy worth considering for those flying from Europe to Australia, when a round-the-world ticket may be the same price as a normal return, or only slightly more expensive.

If you do circumnavigate in this way, you will avoid the worst effects of jet lag. Flying east to west means that your body adjusts more easily to the new time zone and you can sleep in for longer.

For us, it’s always easier going to Portugal from Australia than the other way around – the jetlag is way worst when we land in Australia.

3| Break the journey

For any flight more than12 hours, you are likely to have to change planes during the journey or disembark while the plane refuels. You can usually break the journey at no extra cost. If you have time, this is a chance to get some sleep and make the journey more bearable. It can also be an opportunity for sightseeing.

You might also like to read my article on How To Get 2 Trips In One – The Stopover Secret.

4| Stay Healthy

Forget alcohol, and avoid caffeine. The main contributor to jet-lag is dehydration. Whenever you see the flight attendant, ask for water! You may also consider having Hydralyte to help you stay hydrated. Tent to have 2 tablets every 5 hours flight.

To help with eye hydration you can get Eye mist, such as Murine Eye Mist, which provides immediate relief, hydrating and restoring the natural tear film, especially if you wear contact lenses. To use, just spray onto your closed eyelids, you can do this several times during a flight.

I always fly with a saline nasal spray, and I use it regularly throughout the flight, from soon after take-off to help me to avoid nasal congestion and sinus!

Make sure you move plenty – Walk up and down those aisles! We also do a few stretches both in our chairs and standing up – I find this helps a lot!

5| Manage Your Jet Lag

Jetlag is inevitable, especially for travellers departing or arriving in Australia, as it is around a 30-hour flight journey over to Europe!

Make sure you adjust your sleep patterns to the ones of your destination. When I board the first plane, I adjust the time to my final destination.

Once at the destination we try to get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulant for regulating our biological clock.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that when you click the links and purchase, we get a little kickback without any cost to you.  It’s something which helps us continue to create awesome free content like this for you. We value honesty in other blogger’s recommendations and often rely on their tips when planning our travel. For this reason, we only ever recommend products that we genuinely use and love, and if it helps you, then great!

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