airplane, airport, flight, travel, travel advice, travel blogger, travel pray love, traveler, traveller

How to Survive (and prepare for) a Long Distance Flight

Getting on that plane, settling into your seat and staring out the window…waiting for taking off. That exhilarating feeling in the pit of your stomach as you lift into the air.  The beginning part of a flight is probably one of the best parts!

But when you have (what seems like) endless hours after that – things can get kind of boring.



Wear comfortable clothes.

Please, please do not be that passenger with the extremely loud dangly earrings and those 2-inch clicky heels. Just don’t be that passenger. Your flight will suck, you will take forever getting through the airport, and you will most likely piss a lot of people off. Leggings and a t-shirt are the way to go!


Charge all of the devices!

Literally, all of them. I have borrowed chargers from all my siblings prior to my flight to make sure both my tablets, both my cell phones, my laptop and my camera were all fully charged before a long flight. Use your devices wisely and you might even have enough to last you the entire plane ride!


Put stuff in your carry on, not your checked luggage.

As much as this may seem like common sense, I have accidentally left my laptop and my tablets in my luggage and then checked them – having nothing in my carry on but a book I was almost done reading. I finished the book within the first 2 hours, and still had 5 more to go. That was a BORING flight. Learn from my mistakes, people.


Pack a (full set) of spare clothes in your carry on.

Everyone was always like: “What if you lose your luggage?”
I was all: “That won’t happen to me, it never has before…” And then it did.

The second time I moved here to Belgium, it was 2 days after my flight that I finally got my luggage. I wore my boyfriend’s sweatpants and t-shirts for 2 days because I had only packed an extra pair of underwear in my carry on. Just make the room and pack an entire outfit, just to be safe!


Buy Drinks BEFORE the Flight

It’s really important to stay hydrated on a flight. All of that recycled air and all of those germs flying around can give you dry mouth, eyes, and skin. Staying hydrated is just a must, but waiting for that attendant to bring you your 5th tiny glass of water is just a hassle. Once you’re through security and waiting to board, find somewhere to buy some bottled water for your flight.



Like I said, the take off is the best part…but what to do with the 9 hours in between taking off and landing? Here are some things we like to do to pass the time;


If you’re anything like me, at any point in your life you probably have a mile-long list of books that you’re dying to read. Now is the perfect time to do that! I re-read the entire Hunger Games series the first year K and I were long distance because I spent so much time on airplanes or waiting at airports.


Thank GOD for technology! Not only are most airplanes equipped with TVs, but your tablet can also hold a bunch of different movie or TV episodes. Download and go!


A lot of people don’t do this, but really should. If you’re traveling with someone, flights are a great time to catch up with each other or talk about your plans for the trip ahead. Even if you’re traveling alone, if the person next to you is interested in chatting, it can be a great way to pass the time.


Jet lag can be an absolute nightmare if you’re not used to traveling. Figure out the time differences and schedule your sleep on the plane accordingly. Getting some rest is a great way to get your body ready to hit the ground running as soon as you land.


Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, solitaire…those are all games you can play without your cell phone or tablet! There are also a ton of offline games and apps to keep you busy.

Writing or Blogging

If you’re a blogger or even if you just like writing – there is nothing like the view of the sunset in the clouds to get those creative thoughts flowing. I absolutely getting some posts written while I’m in the air.


I could not survive a 9-hour flight without music. Music can boost your mood when you’re feeling down, or it can give you that peace of mind to drift off to sleep. Whatever your mood, there is music to suit it!

Eat Food, Drink Water

Sometimes airplanes have really disgusting food, but even if you only eat one part of the meal they provide you – it’s better than nothing. It might not feel like it, because you’re not actually doing very much – but 9 hours is a long time. Give your body that energy by fueling yourself with food and a lot of water during your flight.

(Properly) Medicate

I get a sinus cold or infection almost every single time I travel by plane. If you’re anything like me and have a weakened immune system, getting in those antibiotics or vitamins if a must! However, I’ve also over-medicated before…and it’s just plain awkward when you wake up on that random strangers’ shoulder and have to explain to her that you took too many Tylenols…I don’t think she believed me…

Plan Your Trip

There are a ton of offline apps (or just a pen and paper) to plan your trip with! You can use that airtime to plan your next couple of days. It’s a great way to pass time and it gets you excited for the trip ahead.


Again, don’t be that annoying passenger everyone hates (in this case, the drunk one…) But having a few celebratory glasses of wine is a really nice way to start your vacation and can relax you if you’re having some in-flight jitters.


Duty-free brochures are a (dangerous) God-send for shopaholics like myself. They can also be a bit of a trap (9 hours browsing through expensive perfumes, clothes and chocolate arrangements? YES PLEASE!) Mixing that smooth glass of wine with a shopping brochure has gotten me in a bit of trouble before, so be wise with your money!

Check Destination Information

As I mentioned before, a lot of airlines come equipped with personal TVs. Well, those TVs sometimes have apps or information on the destination of the flight. I’ve browsed through things like the weather, the time, the date, the holiday(s) and even the best places to eat/sleep while on the way to my destination!


I once sat next to a sweet older lady who made me an origami swan on my flight from Brussels to JFK. It was adorable, and such a fun way to pass the time.

What is the longest flight you have ever taken, and how did you keep yourself occupied?

Tagged , , , ,

About Travel Pray Love

Expat motherhood, travel lifestyle blog.
View all posts by Travel Pray Love →

4 thoughts on “How to Survive (and prepare for) a Long Distance Flight

  1. The longest flight I have ever been on was about 8 hours to Rome and I passed out right away. Got a good 6 hours of sleep and was confused the rest of the way. Thanks for helping me figure out the other hours. I always find myself checking my iPad or book.

Leave a Reply