These tips for a long flight will make your life so much easier, even on long flights!From a girl who used these to survive a 13 hour flight, in a middle seat, next to someone who smelled BAD.

It was rough.

1. Bring Hand Sanitizer and Wipes

One of the very first things you should do it THOROUGHLY wipe down your drop-down table in front of you. These tables collect SO many germs and are honestly so disgusting. Wipe them down for your health, but also, wipe them down so that you can use it as a head rest for yourself later! Your options in economy middle seats are severely limited when it comes to places to lay your head, so make sure that you take advantage of the one that is available to you! Wipe it down, put your pillow on it, lean forward, and try to get some shut eye.

The second part of this is the hand sanitizer. Yes, it is super important for hygiene while traveling, but I have also found a hidden use for it as well! Just in case the person next to you smells badly, like mine did, you can put hand sanitizer on your hands and the strong odor of the sanitizer will likely overwhelm the bad the smell of the person next to you so that you don’t notice as much! This is a win-win because you are being healthy, covering up the smell, AND avoiding being rude.

Bonus tip: This moisturizer will keep your face feeling fresh for the whole flight and more!

2. Headphones. Headphones. Headphones.

This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how much there is to know about headphones! A good pair of headphones can make all of the difference. The most important tip for surviving a long flight with headphones is to find a pair that is noise cancelling. Noise-cancelling headphones have improved by leaps and bounds in the recent years. A baby could be screaming a row over from you, and you would barely be able to hear it with the right type covering your ears.

If you want a luxury pair, you can go with the classic BOSE or Beats options.

However, I get by just fine with my “economy” version.

One more thing that you will need to know that you probably haven’t thought about is the fact that in order to watch in-flight movies and shows, you HAVE to have a pair of headphones that can plug in to a headphone jack! Many people forget that headphones plug-in now that almost everything is bluetooth. Make sure you buy a pair with the ability to plug in (and the cable) so that you will be able to take advantage of the free in-flight entertainment.

3. Board Early

Another one of my truly life-saving tips for long flights is to board as early as possible. I get it, you don’t want to be on the plane any longer than you have to. However, boarding early comes with so many perks. First and foremost, you get to put your luggage in the overhead compartment first. This means that you aren’t stuck putting it farther back in the plane than you are sitting. When that happens, you will be one of the last people off of the plane, I can guarantee that. Avoid this miserable disembarking experience by boarding early and putting your luggage in the most easily accessible space.

The second bonus that boarding earlier means that you can be the first person to sit down on your row. Because of this, you can get comfortable, unpack exactly what you need, and put everything else in the overhead compartment without awkwardly bumping your neighbors or asking them to constantly move so that you can get situated. Being the first one there means you can spread out for a minute and get your life organized.

Likewise, my FAVORITE tip related to boarding early is to take off your shoes and put them in the overhead compartment. I travel in my combat boots to save room in my luggage, but I always bring a pair of slip on shoes for the plane. I change into them as soon as I get on the plane and throw my boots in the overhead bin. This frees up legroom for me.

Read More: Unbelievable Tricks to Finding Cheap Flights That Will Save You Hundreds

4. Get Creative

The next issue that you will face on long plane rides is how to kill time. 10 hours in plane can feel more like 100 hours if you don’t come prepared. I like to use all the free time to work on my “hobbies” aka all of the things that I wish I had time to do but never really seem to be able to work on. I’ll use the time to journal, write, or work on some new blog posts.

Use your time wisely. Take the opportunity to let your creative side flow. It will be a worthwhile use of your time, and the time will pass quicker when you have something to do that your passionate about.

5. Download Your Fav Netflix

My husband and I downloaded “Nailed It” on Netflix before our honeymoon to New Zealand. We are from Florida, so the combination of our flights and layovers on the way to New Zealand made for one LONG trip. On our longest stretch on the plane, we began watching some of our downloaded Netflix. It may have been the combination of hours of travel, weeks of wedding planning exhaustion, and the fact that the show is just ridiculous, but we were laughing so hard that the people around us were looking. We had never seen “Nailed It” before, but this new, strange show helped us pass some of the dull, overnight hours while genuinely enjoying ourselves. It made a huge difference for us.

Plus. They a make a shark cake, and it’s hilarious.

Likewise, I downloaded “You” when I flew by myself from Orlando to Korea. I watched the ENTIRE first season on my plane rides to and from Korea. I was so invested in the show, but I was glad to have the time to binge it.

So download some good Netflix shows, you’ll thank me later.

6. Make the Perfect Playlist

The best way to pass time on an airplane is to put your perfect headphones in and listen to the music that will get you in a travel mood. I put songs on my playlists that make me think about how amazing life can be when you follow your dreams or songs that get you thinking about how life can change. They are all amazing.

I use music to zone out and channel my emotions. Plane rides and good playlists make the world go round. I’m convinced.

My tips for a long flight wouldn’t be complete without my flight playlist– Read More: The PERFECT Travel Playlist

7. Get Comfortable

There is absolutely nothing more important than comfort on a long flight. If you don’t have the money to splurge for first-class, which neither do I so you’re in good company, then all you have is the tiny space in your economy airplane seat. However, you CAN make the most of it. Here are my quick tips to making yourself as comfortable as possible:

  • One of my favorite tips for a long flight is to wear leggings, not jeans, this will allow you to be comfortable and feel less constricted
  • Change into slip on shoes so that your feet can breathe. I use and highly recommend these.
  • If you are in a middle seat, use the airplane pillows as extra padding between you and the armrest. This will stop your neighbors’ elbows from creeping into your space as well as make leaning to the side more comfortable.
  • Invest in a QUALITY neck pillow. You can buy them online, but I recommend trying them out in person to figure out which kind fits your neck the best.
  • Also, wear a sweater or cardigan that you can use to stay warm on the plane. It’ll make a difference.
  • If the flight takes off and there are empty rows around you, don’t be afraid to move to one of the still empty rows! An empty row can change your entire flight experience.

8. Download a New Addictive Game

This is BY FAR the best tip to pass the time. One day, I went to buy a sudoku book to work on in the plane. However, I accidentally bought EXTREME sudoku. Trust me, there is a big difference. I was suddenly playing sudoku on steroids. I compare it to drugs because for me, this was a drug. Not to brag, but I can beat expert level sudoku in under 7 minutes (actually yes, I’m bragging), so a challenging new puzzle game was a dream come true for me! Then, I spent my ENTIRE flight from Ireland back to the states working on this puzzle. It was wonderful.

I have also found that downloading a new app has the same effect. Find what works for you. Make it new, make it the kind of thing you love, and spend the plane ride enjoying it. I would suggest candy crush, bejeweled, 2048, and things like that. It is an amazing way to pass the time.

9. Get Organized

USE YOUR TIME WISELY. I like to use those long plane rides to get my life organized. Sometimes, I use the time to work on photoshopping some of my pictures from the trip itself. I also like to organize my files on my computer and delete excess pictures on my phone. I consider it my “Marie Kondoing” my tech time. It makes me feel like I am getting my life together, and if I wasn’t stuck in a seat for multiple hours at a time, I would probably never do it.

Another amazing organization tip for flights has to do with BEFORE you get on the plane. Here’s the tip: Organize your carry-on bag in a way that makes everything you need for the plane easily accessible. For example, I put my passport in an easily accessible pocket that also zips so that it won’t fall out. I put my camera equipment farther down in my bag because I won’t need it on the plane. As soon as I get on the plane, I also pull my headphones, water bottle, and tablet. I know that I will need them so I put them immediately into the seat pocket so that they are easy to get to when I need them.

Get yourself organized on the flight, and then use the flight to get your life organized.


Congrats! You’re on a long plane ride. You can do it, and if you think you can’t or you are still stressed, have a drink. Heck, bring your own cocktail kit. For those who don’t think that tips for a long flight will help them, have a drink, you’ll feel better about the trip.

I hope these tips helped you survive a long flight!

10 tips for a long flight

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  1. I completely agree with you. Every time I travel, I always carry Hand Sanitizer and Wipes in my bag. Headphones are also important for me. Because I don’t like too noisy on an airplane.

  2. Love these tips, especially bringing the cable for your Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones (I have been in this situation before and had to use the airline headphones to watch movies). I also have an addictive game for you to add to this list…luminosity brain training, I literally am addicted to the games on here. Also if you are flying somewhere where you don’t know the language you could download Duolingo before you fly and practise some phrasebook words on the plane before you land!

  3. Being hydrated is a must even during long flights. I also make sure I have a book with me or tv series on my phone to keep me occupied.

  4. What a fun and informative list! Downloading a season of something on Netflix is a life saver for sure! I recently flew Seattle to Shanghai which was 12 hours and it would’ve been terrible if I didn’t do many of the things you mention here. Thanks for sharing, Shannon!

  5. All your tips though simple are very useful to kill the time when going through long flights. Picking up favorite hobby is great idea and I would love to do some sketches in my small drawing book.

  6. Great tips! I also use long flights to write in my bullet journal or on my laptop.

  7. Some great tips here. I hate sitting in the middle seat especially next to a smelly passenger lol. I use the long flights to catch up on movies and play endless rounds of Candy Crush.

  8. I must admit I started doing some long haul flights quite late in my life but as I have done some have learnt how to get around then. I have taken my kids now on 10 hr flights and not had much issues just because of the planning. You have some great tips her which I adhere to as well some of them. Boating early and getting your place and settling in is always helpful. A great playlist always helps if you don’t have enough entertainment on board. I avoid alcohol on long flights and have a lot of liquid. Thanks for sharing a helpful post.

  9. These are all great tips Shannon! I especially like the one regarding creativity – I always use flights to jot down new ideas for my blog! I also agree with you regarding leggings over jeans, they are just so much comfortable for all those long hours, right? I really need to look into a good neck pillow, though – I have never used one!

  10. These are great tips. I must really invest in a good pair of headphones, I keep meaning too and never get around to doing it. Hand sanitizer is a great idea, once again I never think of bring a small bottle or the wipes. It does make sense. These days my flight limit is really 8 hours if I can do it, as I can’t sleep so bringing as much to do as possible makes sense especially on low cost carriers where there is no movies to keep me occupied.

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