7 hacks for surviving a long-haul flight

The best part about a long-haul flight is that when you step off the plane you’re half a world away from where you boarded.

Whether you’re on a seven-hour flight to New York or taking the world’s longest flight from Auckland to Doha (over 18 hours and 9,000 miles), you’ll need a game plan to arrive ready to take on your trip. Take a look at these tips to hack your next long-haul, then head over to KAYAK.co.uk to find your next flight.

1. Reset your body clock pre-flight

Wherever you’re going, it’s going to be a much easier flight if you start adjusting your body clock to meet the time zone of your destination. This may mean going to bed later or waking up earlier for a few days before your flight. Airlines on long-haul flights usually match their lighting and meal times with their destination, so start preparing your body in advance.

A confortable pillow might be key to enjoy a few hours of sleep during your flight.

2. Pack some airport security-friendly hygiene essentials in your carry-on

Keep travel-size (under 100ml) products in your carry-on: Mouthwash, a toothbrush, hand sanitizer, deodorant, and moist wipes. These products will help you feel human on the longest of flights. It’s also very dry on planes so make sure to pack some moisturiser, lip balm and some eye drops.

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3. Bring some snacks and an empty water bottle

You’re going to be trapped in an aluminium cylinder flying through the air for several hours, so plan accordingly. Bring some customs-friendly snacks (if you bring unpasteurised dairy or fresh produce, you’ll have to eat it or toss it before entering your destination). Also, bring a bottle you can fill with water once you can get through security – never pay over £3 for a bottle of water again!


4. Plan your in-flight entertainment

Make sure you have enough to entertain yourself for the flight if you’re planning to stay awake. If you’re bringing a laptop, an iPad, phone, or anything else that’s energy dependent, make sure you’ve got enough charge or back up batteries for each. You can check if your airline has in-flight entertainment but be warned, those consoles can be glitchy or filled with shows and movies you’ve already seen.

Put your headphones on and enjoy the in-flight entertainment until falling asleep

5. Wear comfy clothes

We can’t stress this enough, wear something you will be comfortable in. There’s this long-held myth that if you dress elegantly on a plane, you’ll be upgraded to first-class. But let’s face it, it’s pretty unlikely. Instead, dress like you’re planning a day-long television binge with a bunch of complete strangers. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

6. Find the right neck pillow

Finding the right neck pillow can be the difference between a few hours sleep in-flight and a trip to the chiropractor at your destination. There are plenty of choices out there, from inflatable ones to novelty ones, from sturdy to soft. But the airport is not the place to figure out you’re the Goldie Locks of neck pillows. Buy one before your trip, make sure it’s right for you, and most importantly, make sure it fits into your carry on.

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7. Move your body

This is important before, during, and after your flight. A quick jog or gym session before your flight can help you get to sleep more quickly in-flight. A jaunt down the aisle and a few stretches will keep you comfortable if you need a stretch on the plane. Follow it all up with a short exercise session when you reach your destination, and your sleep pattern will be better adjust for the duration of your trip.

Feel confident enough to book your next big flight? Here are some popular long-haul flight destinations you can search for on KAYAK.co.uk right now.


There’s so much going on in this exciting capital. For food lovers, try a world-class sushi restaurant and enjoy the delicious creations of expert chefs at places like Sukiyabashi Jiro and Sushi-sho. As the birthplace and headquarters of Nintendo, Tokyo has an almost infinite variety of gaming arcades, and every aspect of video game history is represented. You can play 1980s consoles at Super Potato or try the very latest games in the Akihabara district.

Los Angeles

It doesn’t matter whether you are there to shop, catch a glimpse of your favourite actor or top-up your tan, Los Angeles is a great destination year-round. You can tour showbiz sights and hear tales about the lives of celebrities, enjoy the thrills provided by rides at Universal Studios, or treat the kids to a trip to Disneyland California. Fashion lovers flock to LA for its boutiques, so if you’re in the mood to drop some cash, hit the stores in Beverly Center or Robertson Boulevard and discover the latest designs by Chanel, Kitson, or Tommy Hilfiger and more.

Hong Kong

This island city has it all; spectacular scenery, great nightlife and entertainment, fabulous shopping, and some of the best food in the world. No matter where you go in Hong Kong, you’ll find a sophisticated blend of east and west, which stems from the island’s days as a British colony, as well as from its Mandarin and Cantonese past. People from all over China make their homes in Hong Kong, so expect to meet locals from Shanghai, Fujian, or Sichuan, as well as immigrants from all over the world.

Note: These rates are based on the most recent data pulled from KAYAK.co.uk, the cheapest prices are always displayed first, regardless of specific dates mentioned. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy, are per night and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.