Traveling is amazing, but long flights can be brutal. I’ve had my fair share of long flights over the years thanks to international travel, so today I want to share with you some of my tips for surviving a long flight sitting in economy.

surviving a long flight

Spring For the Exit Row

To me, the extra $100-$200 can be worth it when it gives you 8 hours of increased comfort. If you haven’t planned ahead, ask at the gate and they might be able to upgrade you into one for free (which is something I’ve successfully done in the past).

Prepare Entertainment

The in-flight music and movies probably aren’t going to cut it! Example: On the way to Ireland, the plane only had like 3 TV screens in economy and the sound was broken. Fail. There also aren’t always places to charge devices, so make sure to do that ahead of time! Fill your phones and tablets with movies, books, and music to keep you entertained.

Dress Comfortably

I’m all for looking cute while traveling. But when I’m sitting on an overnight flight, I’m not too worried about my appearance. I don’t wear makeup because I feel grimy having second-day makeup when I get off the plane. If I wear jeans, they’re my oldest and loosest fitting pair so they’ll be comfortable for hours on end. I’d go for yoga pants or leggings with a warm sweater (it can get cold on those planes!)

Move Around

Make sure to get up and stretch your legs on a long flight. Even if that means just walking back and forth near your seat a few times. Get that blood flowing and wake your legs up a bit.

Stay Healthy

Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during a flight, and take some Airborne or Vitamin C. Planes are full of germs with all those people, and the last thing you want is to wake up with a cold on the first full day of your vacation.

Plan For Food

I actually don’t mind airline food at all, but some people really hate it! If you’re one of those people, make sure you bring some snacks for yourself.

Pack Smart

If you’re ONLY traveling with a carry-on, make sure to pack in such a way that anything you’ll need on the flight is easily accessible. If you’re checking bags, I would put only what you’ll need for the travel in the carry-on to make it easier to get to things.


This is especially true for overnight flights. It can be difficult to sleep on flights, and sometimes the flight doesn’t line up with your body’s internal sleep clock. When I left Chicago for Dublin on my trip to Ireland, it was only 6 pm. Not exactly bedtime for most people. But with the time change, it was around 7 am in Dublin when we landed! Try to adjust your sleep schedule right away so you can get off the plane and not have to go to bed right away. This will also help fight jet lag. When you land, force yourself to stay awake and follow local time. If you know you have trouble sleeping on planes, pack a sleep-aid. I take Dramamine on flights because I get motion sick, but it does double duty and also knocks me out pretty quickly.

Long flights can suck, but there are ways to make them more bearable! Hopefully, these tips will help you survive your next long flight so you aren’t completely miserable!


What are your best tips for surviving a long flight?


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