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Long Haul Flight Tips & What to Take on a Long Haul Flight

  • March 13, 2019
  • By Stephanie, The Roving Fox
  • 14 Comments
Long Haul Flight Tips & What to Take on a Long Haul Flight

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As a person who loves travel, I do a lot of flying every year. Several of these flights are long haul flights to places like Asia, Europe, and California (from the East Coast). Every time I fly, I gather a few more long haul flight tips to make the trips smoother each time.

My own travel philosophy is that I’d rather fly budget or economy and take more trips per year than upgrade my flights with more comfortable seats or amenities. I prefer to just grin and bear it, even though some of the basic economy restrictions on long haul flights get me down. Like, only being able to pack a 10kg carry on.

I’m sorry, but what woman can do that! Ok, maybe you can, but I find that even the bare essentials often add up to several pounds and I’m scrambling to make everything make weight last minute.

[rant over]

But seriously, if you can’t afford business class or first class, there are many ways to make your long haul flights more luxurious and enjoyable. Yes, I said luxurious!

I’ve developed a list of long haul flight tips and essentials that can help you prepare for your next long haul flight. I always go through this checklist before every long haul flight and find it’s so helpful to staying relaxed and calm on flights.

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Long Haul Flight Tips and What to Take on a Long Haul Flight

What is a long haul flight and what is a short haul flight?

There are a variety of thoughts on the topic, but in my opinion, a long haul flight is anything over 6 hours. So flying from Boston, that could mean the West Coast of the USA, Asia, Europe, parts of South America, and Africa.

I think the longest flight I’ve ever been on was to get home from Bali, Indonesia. I’ve blocked the memory, but I think the whole trip home took around 24 hours of travel with several layovers. That’s definitely what I’d call a long haul flight.

Some people classify flights as long haul at just 4 hours. So in reality, the definition is up to you!


Long Haul Flight Outfit

So let’s say you have a long haul flight coming up. What do you wear on a long haul flight?

In my opinion it’s always best to wear clothes that stretch on a long haul flight. Why? Because your body will swell and contract as you change elevation. You don’t want your pants or shoes becoming too tight and uncomfortable.

What to wear on a long haul flight:

Comfortable and stretchy shoes. I like Sketchers ($33, men’s and women’s) that can slip on and off or Glerups wool slippers for a true “first class in economy” feeling.

Compression socks to help with circulation and swelling. I have a pair of the SB SOX ($16) in blue!

Leggings or joggers that stretch and move will be the best travel pants for long flights. These Amazon Essentials women’s joggers ($20) or Amazon Men’s stretch joggers ($21) are cozy and stretchy for long haul flights and will make sure you can still move your legs in the 2.3 inches of space airlines give you nowadays.

Layers on top. Some flights are freezing cold and others are sweltering hot. You never know what you’re going to get. I like to layer a Uniqlo t-shirt ($10) and a Uniqlo long sleeve shirt ($15) or Uniqlo vest ($50) so I can regulate my temperature in flight.

Jacket. Depending on where you’re going, I always love to pack a Uniqlo down jacket ($60) that stuffs into its own pouch. Can you tell I love Uniqlo??? When you’re not wearing it, you can use it as a travel pillow.

Scarf. I like this one made in Italy for just $20. You can use it as a blanket if you’re cold or to cover your face if you want privacy while sleeping.

what to wear on a long haul flight

My go-to outfit for long haul flights – comfy shoes, joggers, and a Uniqlo jacket!


Flight Pillows for Long Haul Flights

One of my most valuable long haul flight tips is to pack a travel pillow. I started traveling with one a few years ago and don’t go on trips without one anymore! They’re not only great for using on your head, but I use mine all the time to prop up my laptop or tablet, too.

I now own three different varietals of travel flight pillows for long haul flights:

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow ($24) is made with memory foam and comes in three different sizes. Mine is small, which is perfect to take in the cabin. They compress into their own sleeve, taking it from a full pillow to about the size of a large soda bottle. Great when you have limited space but still want the luxury of a flight pillow!

Travelrest – Ultimate InflatableTravel Pillow ($26) is an inflatable option, which I use when I absolutely can’t fit one more thing in a bag. I like that it’s long so you can wrap your arms around it while napping.

-I just bought the Trtle pillow ($29), which goes around your neck like a scarf and uses a firm piece of plastic for you to prop up your head with. I haven’t tried this yet, but as soon as I do I’ll update this post to let you know if it is a good product or not!

travel pillows for long flights

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow ($24)


Long Haul Flight Essentials & Long Haul Flight Tips

Ok, so now you’re dressed and armed with your travel pillow for long haul flights. Now here’s a list of what to take on long haul flight that’s really going to make your time spent in-flight most enjoyable.

A small packing cube ($16 for the full set of travel cubes) is perfect to hold everything listed below. You just pop it into your personal item and keep it with you during the flight. You’ll know where all your stuff is at all times and don’t have to rifle around in your main bag. I use mine to hold all my cords and small gear that needs to be easily accessible.

Noise cancelling earphones like these Bose ($159). Even if you have a Bluetooth set, you might want to bring along a plug-in pair so you can plug into the tv headset if you want to watch the movies the airline is offering.

A silk eye mask ($11) is one of my clutch long haul flight tips. Sometimes they turn the lights up and down in the cabin when they’re serving food and drinks. If you just want to keep sleeping, and eye mask will ensure you don’t wake up when the lights come on.

-A portable battery charger like the Jackery portable charger bar ($18) will keep your small devices charged. Inevitably, the airline’s charging portals will be broken, so make sure you carry your own juice.

Hand lotion and lip balm to help your skin combat the super dry air. I love this Burt’s Bees set which includes 5 travel sized essentials for $10!

-I started traveling with a Cambridge Mask Co. face mask ($30) and it’s become one of my long haul flight essentials. Do I look like a freak? Yes. Do I care? Nope. I feel like I get sick a lot less since I’ve been wearing it. It keeps your air humid so your nasal passages don’t dry out and saves you from breathing the same stale air.

Face Mask for long haul flights

Cambridge Mask Co. face mask ($30)

Sleep aids have become one of my new long haul flight essentials. Flights often leave at weird times (like they’ll leave at 5:30pm and land 6 hours later and it’s 6:30am). So you need all the rest you can get. Taking a gentle sleep aid like Melatonin ($8) is a great long haul flight tip so you can relax and recharge in the air.

-Bring wipes like Clorox wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer so you can wipe down your seating area at the start of the flight. Just pick these up at your local CVS or Target. Linking off to them is ridiculous because Amazon will try to make you buy a 10 pack.

-I always pack snacks on every flight. I like to bring dried fruit like Natierra Tropical Fruits ($5) and a few RX Bars ($24 for 12). This way I can ward off my hanger and not be subject to whatever they’re serving (usually nothing in economy, ha!).

-I always pack my own Camelbak water bottle ($13). Go through security with it empty then fill it up before the flight. Please for the LOVE, do not drink anything on the plane that does not come from a fresh can or bottle. Things like the coffee water container are not regularly cleaned, and, just gross, don’t do it.

-Finally, don’t forget one the last long haul flight tips: download some entertainment for your long haul flight! Apps like Netflix and Amazon video allow you to download and save shows and movies for offline viewing. You might also want to download a white noise app and bring a book.


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By Stephanie, The Roving Fox, March 13, 2019
  • 14
14 Comments
  • Hazel Joy
    March 16, 2019

    This is a fantastic list for what to take on long haul flights, Stephanie. Apart from the melatonin (which I’ve never tried) I’m with you on every point made especially the compression socks. In addition to the above list I carry eye drops as I find that the dry air of aircraft cabins dries my eyes out which I find incredible irritating.

    • Stephanie
      March 16, 2019

      Oh yeah, good tip! I did forget that I started carrying eye drops for when I wear contacts since they can get super dry. Thank you for reading the article, Hazel!

  • lizzie
    March 16, 2019

    These are some fantastic tips. I usually do the slippers because its horrible having your feet in shoes the whole flight but I am going to have to test out the others.

    • Stephanie
      March 16, 2019

      Slippers are so luxurious on a flight for sure. Thanks for reading!

  • Aireona
    March 16, 2019

    Great list! Long haul flights are the worst! The silk eye mask is one of my favorite things to bring along. I’ve also fallen in love with bring a big scarf to snuggle up with.

  • Lizzy
    March 16, 2019

    This s such a helpful article! I always have to stay hydrated on long haul flights!

    • Stephanie
      March 16, 2019

      Same, although I like to try to drink only near the end of the flight so I don’t have to use the on board restroom.

  • Brianna
    March 16, 2019

    These are a lot of the same things I bring on a plane! I always seem to think I don’t need hand lotion though and I always regret it!

    • Stephanie
      March 16, 2019

      Same! I was without it on my last flight and was like [fist shake!!!]

  • Lola Mendez
    March 17, 2019

    I’m all about doing face masks on flights!!

  • Danielle Farideh
    March 17, 2019

    These are great suggestions- especially the lotion and lip balm! I always get so dehydrated on long haul flights!

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About Me
Hi, I'm Stephanie!
Welcome to The Roving Fox, a travel and lifestyle blog written and curated by travel blogger Stephanie Janes. The Roving Fox is my ramblings on the good life, including travel, beauty, and dining. Based in Boston, travels everywhere.
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