Between jetlag, dehydration, and unpredictable temperatures, flying can really throw your system off and you can end up starting your trip off in rough shape.
I try to pack a few necessities to help manage the “grunge” feeling on arrival! Here are some of my top tips for making your flight more comfortable.
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1. Before you Book
See if you can get an upgrade! I watch my flight prices on SkyScanner and check almost daily if I know I will be booking a trip soon.
By doing this we’ve been able to monitor prices for flights including Economy/Premium and have managed scoring Premium class for less money than Economy!
We flew in plush seats that reclined with a foot rest, were served rounds of sparkling wine and snacks, had a menu to select our meals, were offered comfort kits, etc. This made a huge difference on our excitement and mental state!
We realize this isn’t always possible, but it doesn’t hurt to track fluctuations and prices, especially if you have some time.
I will also my check credit card points to see how much I can apply towards a flight, which helps if we want to splurge on an upgrade.
2. Book a Lounge
Lounges are the best, and can be easily justified. Airport meals can be really expensive especially when you start adding alcoholic drinks in. The Plaza Premium Lounge at Toronto Pearson is only $40+ tax to get in, depending on your length of stay, with food, alcohol and comfortable seating, so what’s not to love?
If we have a long layover like the one we had traveling from London – Johannesburg, our lounge included access to showers. It’s amazing what a shower can do for your mood – and a fresh change of clothes.
You can take your chances walking in to one and being admitted, but we’ve learned the hard way that we should book in advance to guarantee our entrance.
3. Check in Early
Checking in online up to 24 hours before flying can alleviate a lot of stress and wait time at the airport, and often you can snag that seat you want!
Would you prefer a window seat you can curl into? Or an aisle seat so you can get up and move around or use the washroom without disturbing anyone?
Exit rows are ideal but will usually come at an extra cost. I will always jump on at the 24 hr mark to see what I can get!
We love checking in online especially if we are only bringing a carry-on since you can waltz right through to security!
You will likely be called at the gate to show your boarding pass because it will show you not checking a bag, but it has saved us a lot of wait time in those long lines to get to the kiosk. Print your boarding pass at home or download to your phone.
4. Layer your Clothing
There is nothing worse than being freezing cold with an air vent that won’t close or sweating profusely in a heavy sweater – layer your clothes! I will always wear a t-shirt with a zip-up overtop so I can easily remove it or throw it on. I find I get cold during night flights so your sweater can also double as a blanket.
Be mindful to avoid tight clothing since our bodies are known to swell during flight and you will be sitting for long periods of time. Opt for looser, breathable clothing items.
Wear socks so you remove your shoes and let your feet breathe if they start to swell during flight.
5. Stay Hydrated
For the days leading up to a flight I will drink more water than I usually do. It could just be a mental thing but I like to prepare my body for and at the airport I’ll buy a 1L bottle of water prior to getting onboard, and drink it before I get to the other end. Many say you should be drinking a cup of water for every hour you’re in the air (which means a lot of back and forth to the bathroom!). Limiting alcohol has also been proven effective, but I am a proponent of things in moderation, and it helps me sleep.
6. Pack Snacks
I’ll just say it – airline food can be really awful and full of excess salt and sugar. I try to avoid most dishes because I know they’ll make me feel bloated, which is why I like to pack my own snacks like Rx Bars or Larabars. Eat a decent meal before you leave for the airport so you won’t be tempted to eat junk along the way.
7. Essential Items
Here are a few items I don’t travel without:
- Turtl Neck Pillow: I was a skeptic at first but once we flew long-haul to South Africa I refuse to leave it behind. You can wrap it around your neck for support, or do what I do and place it behind your head for extra support. I actually managed to grab 8 hours of sleep using this which is virtually unheard of for me – and woke up without a stiff neck or a headache! It may take some getting used to, so practice at home first. I wrap it around the handle of my carryon bag for easy access.
- Moisturizer: I’m no beauty expert but my go-to moisturizer has been Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluranic acid. My skin is prone to drying out in the air, and I find this gel moisturizer really sinks in to my face and neck. Avoid alcohol-based moisturizers which can dry your skin out.
- Lip Balm: Any kind! I like Nivea’s Hydro Care. I find my lips always dry out during a flight.
- Wet Ones: one of the first things we do as soon as we get to our seats is wipe down the arm rests, entertainment screen, and tray tables. You know those never get cleaned!
- Sanitizer: Pushing buttons, reading the in-flight magazines, leaving the restroom (even after washing your hands!) and fastening your seatbelt can leave you susceptible to picking up germs – bring sanitizer!
- Colgate Wisp Disposable Toothbrushes: No water necessary! These can really help you overcome the icky feeling after flying overnight and make you feel more refreshed.
- A good book: Reading helps relaxs me and makes me sleepy – a big benefit for overnight flights. Immersing yourself in a good read can help pass the time.
- Medication: I refuse to travel without Advil or Gravol – and they also help me sleep. Pack your meds in your carry-on always!
- Eyemask: Some airlines provide comfort kits at no extra cost, so it’s nice to be able to use these added perks to catch some shut-eye! Blocking out movement and light will give you a better chance of getting the rest you need. Even better when your eyemask comes with earplugs!
Traveling is all about the destination, but inevitably we find ourselves spending a good portion of our vacation days in airports or flying. It isn’t exactly the most exciting part of the journey, but these tips will absolutely make your experience a little more enjoyable and help ease any stress associated with flying.
Suggestions are appreciated! Drop any ideas in the comments below to let me know your best tips on how to fly comfortably!
Ahh Plaza Premium. In Hong Kong I had the Cathay American Express which got me it for free at all plaza premium lounges. Considering how often I travelled for personal and work (I was on a plane like once a month) that credit card was amazing! We always looked forward to starting our trip at the lounge. I also used them a lot when I travelled for work alone since most Asian airports have one so I could at least pig out at the while waiting for my flight haha. I was also so grateful for a shower the times that I decided to stick around after my business meetings, I would usually book a late evening flight and spend my last day walking around, so not having to get on a plane home all sweaty was always nice. That was another life haha
Using the lounge before a trip is one of our favourite things and helps us relax! I’ve seen some incredible Asian airport lounges. I’ve definitely pigged out too. I’m going to get my money’s worth for sure haha! Showers are the best. I can’t imagine traveling for days without one. How awesome you got access for free!
my husband says I’m a walking mini Walgreens. Lol. You never know what you might need
Hah! Better to be overprepared! My mom is like Mary Poppins…if you need something she has it!
Great tips. I haven’t really thought about the lounge idea before but that totally makes sense for long layovers!
Thank you! They definitely help!
Great ideas here! Hope I get to fly somewhere new again someday soon and will definitely take your advice with these helpful tips.
Thank you! I hope we can travel soon too!
This is great information. I want to get back to traveling soon so this is helpful. Thanks!
Thank you! I’m glad you found it useful 🙂 !
I actually didn’t know this about the lounges. I try to avoid long layovers so I won’t be at the airport that long. Although I enjoy being at the airports. And I am terrible at drinking water but this all makes sense and are really good tips. I used to love sitting by the window but now I have to take the aisle seat or else I am bothering my neighbors by getting up every 20 minutes. LOL. Thanks for sharing!
Haha!! I also used to love the window until I started having to get up more – I don’t know how my seatmates do it! Lounges really are the best – it’s a great way to pass the time and get refreshed before the next flight. Thanks for your comments 🙂
What great tips. While I already knew some of them, most I’ve never even thought about before. Thanks for the information.
Thanks Sabrina! Glad this was useful!
The one tip I always follow is to have a paper book to read – you never know if you’ll actually have wi-fi. Otherwise, more tips about virus-safe travel are what I’m looking for now.
That’s a great point!
Great tips! Especially for trips that’ll be more than a couple of hours!
Really great tips! Thanks!
Good tips and we all want to be comfortable.
I’m definitely going to try Skyscanner now!
It’s really fun to play around with – I’ll often times just put some random places and dates in and see what it comes up with haha.
I never stay hydrated enough while traveling. Using the plane bathrooms grosses me out lol
I know, me too. But that last thing I want is a problem or to get a massive headache! I find sipping water throughout usually doesn’t make me have to use the washroom frequently – it’s when I chug water that it does!
Great tips…I can imagine there are some other great tips these days! :/ I appreciate your article!
You’ve listed some really essential ingredients to make a long haul flight much more comfortable! I feel like as I get older and fly with my tiny humans, it becomes more difficult. I’m going to pin this so I can refer back to it when we have another long flight again.
Thanks so much Tara! Comfort is key!
Great tips! I am going to check out that neck pillow for sure! I have never seen one like this!
It’s awesome! I’ve tried a few and they really haven’t done much – this is the only one I’ve found that actually offers some support!
Lovely tips. I thought I was the only one that felt the “grunge” ick when I travel!
The only thing I don’t like about flying, haha! Thanks!
These are all really great ideas but my favorite is the disposable toothbrush. I have not seen those. I will definitely check those out.
Right?! My mom actually introduced me to them – I thought they were ridiculous at first but now I’m SO grateful for them!
Great tips! I can’t wait until travelling is a bit easier in regards to COVID.
You and me both! Thank you!!
This is great tips! Everyone wants to be comfortable even if it’s a short flight…thank you!
I’ve never tried the Turtl Neck Pillow before but I think I will now. Normal neck pillows don’t work well for me so I’m crossing my fingers this will 🙂
I hope it works for you!! It really helped me a ton with my stiff neck!
I totally agree about checking in early online. It saves quite a lot of hassle and time! I can’t wait until it’s safe to fly again.
Thanks Catherine! Me neither!
The zero waste person in me would like to suggest that you bring a reusable water bottle with you and if you are a tea lover, add a thermos, depending on where you are travelling to. It will not only be super useful at the airport but also during your trip, especially if you are going to do lots of walking around. In most western countries you will find water fountains and stations at the airport were you can comfortably refill your water for free.
I find them very useful at airports, actually, because you can dispose of the water when going through security And then refill it on the other side. If you are on long a flight, it’s just easier to have all your 1 litre of hot tea or water, rather than just drinking the little cups of water that are offered when flight attendants pass by.
Those are my 2 cents 😁
Yes that’s amazing! I haven’t found a reusable bottle I like yet, and I also struggle with the space issue, so I’m still on the hunt for the perfect one! Thanks for the reminder – I need to get looking again!!
What great tips!!! I wish I booked a lounge for a few of the longer layovers I’ve had in the past! I will definitely remember that one for later! A neck pillow is ALWAYS a must in my opinion! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks Kelsey! We’ve been so spoiled with lounges I don’t think I can go without now!!😂
These are all great tips! Being prepared means you can be comfortable even if things don’t go as planned 🙂
Thank you Kelly! 🙂
I honestly never look at upgrades or lounges. I always think of them as being an expense I don’t need but looking at them as possibly cheaper is great. I’m definitely going to take this into consideration the next time around.
I know – it is an added expense *but* we try to justify it by the cost for drinks and food at the airport…which can be quite expensive! For a little but more we’re a lot more comfortably (and sometimes get a shower included too!).
I always bring snacks and a hoodie and I love checking in early to snag a window seat 😀 Def going to consider a lounge if I ever get a super long layover, love the idea of a shower!!
It feels soooo good to wash off the “grunge” of a flight and a great way to refresh before the next flight!