How to Survive a Long Flight

Tips for Making a Long Journey Easier

Even if you are flying first class all the way, long-haul trips are exhausting. From choosing your route carefully to making sure you pack a few essentials, there are a few things that can make the trip a little easier. Check out these tips for surviving a long flight before your next business adventure.

  • 01 of 06

    Fly First or Business Class

    JetBlue TrueBlue Frequent Flyer program

    Hopefully, your company has a policy that will allow you to automatically fly Business Class on long, overseas flights. If not, try to wangle a free upgrade using your status. If you are stuck in coach (as I have been for many a flight to China), there are certain seats that are better than others. In general, choose a window seat if you are flying at night, so you are the one waking others for bathroom breaks.

  • 02 of 06

    Plan the Best Route for Maximum Sleep

    American Airlines airplane at the airport
    David A. Kelly

    If direct flights aren't an option, try to split a long journey into one long flight and one short flight, as opposed to two similarly-timed flights. You'll stand a better chance of getting quality sleep (at some point during a 12-hour flight you'll conk out no matter what the time zone) by splitting your trip up this way. There is nothing worse than just dozing off to be interrupted by a landing and airport layover.

  • 03 of 06

    Hydrate and Eat

    Good food can help fight jet lag
    Tenichi Honten

    Those mini bottles of vodka don't count! Start loading up on water several hours before your flight and keep sipping on non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages while you are awake. Even if it's unappealing, you should always eat the meal offered, or eat your own packed meal at the same time as the flight service. Pack easy-to-eat snacks (trail mix, granola bars, fruit) to nibble on, as well.

  • 04 of 06

    Get Up and Move

    Hampton Inn New Hartford exercise room
    David A. Kelly

    To avoid the risk of deep vein thrombosis, get up regularly to stretch your legs. Walk during any layovers, and be sure to do some in-seat exercises to keep blood circulating (flex and rotate your ankles, neck, and shoulders and stretch as much as possible).

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Dress Comfortably and Pack Essentials

    Woman packing a suitcase
      Yuri_Arcurs/Getty Images 

    Dress in layers, and pack an extra set of clean clothes on the plane with you (you never know when you might need them). Make sure you have at least a small toiletry kit on hand so you can brush your teeth, put on deodorant and generally freshen up before de-planing.

  • 06 of 06

    Give Yourself Time

    Business travel hotel in Miami
    David A. Kelly

    Time to get to your hotel and take a shower before your first meeting, that is. Unless it's unavoidable, you don't want to have to rush from an 18-hour journey straight to a meeting, for a variety of obvious reasons (they'll be obvious to everyone else, as well). Hopefully, you'll be arriving in the morning, local time, so you should take a shower and eat - but don't sleep. In general, it's best to try to stay awake until 10 PM local time on the first day to ensure that you sleep well and acclimate to the new time zone easier.