Dreading your next long-haul flight? Stress less with these travel hacks

Pic: Pexels

Travelling can be stressful, especially if you have to take one or more long-haul flights. It can also be an uncomfortable few hours, especially if you are cramped into Economy and have no room to stretch your legs or lie down to sleep.

Here at VIP, we want to make your life easier when going abroad because getting on a plane should be as seamless as possible, especially with the things you can control.

Here are some travel hacks for your next long-haul flight…

Sit at the Back of the Plane

This is a controversial take, as many would recommend the opposite. But if you are travelling alone or in a couple, this is the way to go.

While you may not get served your food first and are one of the last ones to disembark, there are plenty of benefits to selecting a seat at the rear of the plane.

Since most people think sitting at the front is better, those seats will go first, meaning that if your flight isn’t sold out, you have a better chance of having a free seat next to you. You may even get luck and get a whole row to yourself or find one nearby, which will allow you to sleep horizontally across them. This mainly works during weekdays during less busy travel periods.

Being at the back means you can board first. You avoid queuing at the gate and get priority for overhead storage, so you never have to worry about putting your suitcase far away from your seat.

There are also fewer children at the back, so crying and screaming aren’t as loud.

Another bonus is you’re near the toilets so you don’t need to queue. And if there is a queue, people are usually behind a curtain that separates the cabin and crew galley on long-haul flights so no one is bothering you near your seat.

If you don’t have a connecting flight, leaving the plane last doesn’t matter because the likelihood of your bags being available to pick up at the carousel as soon as you arrive is slim.

Also, if you’re worried about your safety, the back of the plane is the safest place to sit, according to experts.


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Download Films, Music and Books

The entertainment selection on planes is usually decent but it’s still not a bad idea to have some backup options just in case.

Many streaming services allow you to download films and TV shows to watch offline. The same can be done with music and podcasts.

If you read on a Kindle or other reading tablets, make sure to have multiple books bought ahead of time, as you can read a lot more than usual when you’re stuck up in the sky.


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Comfort is Key

The airport is not a fashion show, and neither is the plane. There is no need to go all out with hair, make-up and clothes.

If you have somewhere nice to go straight after your flight, get ready towards the end of the flight or at an airport bathroom. There is no point suffering in jeans or a full face of make-up for hours on end.

Pick out your comfiest tracksuit or leggings, go make-up-free and even put on a hat if you’re worried about greasy hair. No one will judge how you look, especially if you are getting on or off a long-haul flight.


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Don’t Rely on Plane Food

Aeroplane food is oftentimes questionable. It never tastes fresh, and if you’re a picky eater, you won’t have enough options.

Therefore, eat before getting on board. Airport food is overpriced but is guaranteed to be better. Or you can bring your own lunch as long as you’re not violating any rules. 

If you fly to the U.S., for example, don’t bring a ham sandwich as they will confiscate it from you at customs due to the ban on pork entering the U.S. from abroad. 

Be sure to bring snacks to avoid feeling peckish throughout. Like that, if the food they serve you isn’t great, you’ll have some alternatives and won’t be starving when you land.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

The air in planes is very dry as it has low humidity levels due to the altitude. Therefore, it is important to hydrate in more ways than one.

Firstly, drink lots of water. Bring your own water bottle on board to avoid constantly asking the cabin crew for a refill. Avoid bringing bottles that use a straw, as the pressure in the cabin can cause the water to explode and spray everywhere once you take a sip.

Secondly, moisturise your face frequently. Before getting on board, lather on your moisturiser and then re-apply every few hours. It may seem excessive, but your face won’t be dry afterwards. 

Make sure to also hydrate your lips with lip balm frequently. 

If it’s winter or you are heading somewhere cold, hand cream is essential and needs to be lathered on to avoid cracks and rough, dry palms. 


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Buy a Bluetooth Plane Adapter

The earphones that they give out on planes are terrible, to say the least. The sound quality is poor, and they don’t do a good job of blocking out surrounding sounds.

Therefore, it is key to bring your own headphones in your cabin baggage as a better alternative. Nowadays, many headphones don’t come with a jack because they solely rely on Bluetooth. Some of them have it, but you can only plug it into one of the two plane sockets, meaning you only get sound into one ear.

Luckily, there is a solution to all this. You can now buy an aeroplane Bluetooth adapter that allows you to connect your Bluetooth devices to your TV. Genius if you ask us.

Amazon has a few options at various prices, or you can get one from Apple.

Pic: Pexels

Bring a Neck Pillow

This is an obvious travel hack, but buying a neck pillow is crucial for long-haul flights, especially if you’re getting a red eye and plan on sleeping. The pillows you get on these flights give absolutely no support and are covered in a horrible material that can make your skin itch.

While they can come in various forms, buying one that is inflatable can save you from having to lug it around while at the airport. 

Some airlines are also cracking down on them as people have found ways to stuff them with personal items to avoid purchasing additional bags, so don’t be surprised if you get stopped. 


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Use Roll-On Deodorant and Perfume

Long travel days will generally have you feeling sweaty after a while. While it is tempting to spray on some deodorant or perfume, it could cause discomfort to fellow passengers.

Some people may be allergic to the scent or find certain scents unpleasant but cannot avoid them in such a contained environment.

Therefore, using roll-on deodorant and perfume is a better alternative as it will not bother others as much and will still allow you to feel a little bit fresher.

While long-haul flights have many downsides, you can make your life easier with these hacks and not dread travelling across the globe.

Words by Amélie Mahony


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