Seven Tips for Surviving Long Flights

On our recent trip to Tokyo, we had a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles. While that isn’t the longest flight in the world — New York to Singapore holds that record at 18 hours — anything more than four hours is considered a “long flight” because of its effects on your body.

Click the image below to watch our most recent segment for The Daily Refresh (ABC-TV) to learn our top tips for surviving long flights no matter where you’re flying. Then check out the links below to some of our favorite gear for staying healthy and comfortable when you’re spending long hours at high altitude.

These are our must-pack essentials for long flights:

  • Samsonite Soft-Side Underseat Bag — You can have all the right gear to get you through a long flight, but if you can’t get to it, it won’t help you. This wheeled bag fits under the seat of most planes around the world, and it’s surprisingly spacious, not to mention durable. Mike’s has traveled to over 100 countries and counting!
  • Trtl Neck Pillow — After trying at least a dozen different types of neck pillows, this one is far and away the best. It’s comfortable no matter how you like to sleep in flight, and it’s easily packable and has a washable cover for frequent use.
  • Dream Essentials Sleep Mask — Much like neck pillows, we’ve tried loads of different eye masks for sleeping in flight and in hotel rooms that never seem to get dark. This one has eye cavities that don’t mash your eyelashes or interfere with normal eye movements during REM sleep. We’ve hand washed ours dozens of times, and they still look and feel brand new.
  • Noise-Canceling Wireless Earbuds — Want to block the snores of your seatmate or the endless chatter from the passengers behind you? You need some comfortable, effective, wireless earbuds. Listen to a favorite movie or a soothing white noise app on your phone, and you’ll forget you aren’t the only person on the plane.
  • Split-Toe Tabi Compression Socks — These Japanese-style socks are the best of both worlds: light compression that helps you avoid swelling and the threat of deep vein thrombosis along with a split-toe design that’s incredibly comfortable and makes it easy to slip on a pair of lightweight flip-flops or travel flats when you need to stroll the aisles or head to the lavatory. Bonus: merino wool is an extremely travel-friendly fabric, since it’s moisture-wicking and odor-resistant.
  • Disposable Washcloths — While we try to avoid single-use items, sometimes they really are the best solution when you’re traveling. These compressed washcloths are the size of an individually-wrapped mint, and they expand when wet to help you freshen up during or after a long flight.
  • Single-Use Toothbrushes with Toothpaste and Mouthwash — Don’t have room in your under seat bag for a full-size toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash? These handy single-use brushes pack a full-size, fresh mouth punch after hours in the air.

What’s your favorite way to survive long flights? Let us know in the comments!