35+ Useful Tips to Make Long Airplane Journeys More Comfortable

How To Make A Flight More Comfortable

Let’s get one thing straight here — flying can be awful. Most people hate flying unless they are in first class. We have no doubt that you’re excited to travel, whether you’re heading back home to visit family or simply going on a vacation. We’re lucky to live in today’s day and age, where we can actually travel by plane, but there are ways to make it more bearable. Lucky for you, we have 25 tips that make your traveling experience a bit more enjoyable…

Call Customer Service

So your flight was canceled after you already got to the airport. Chances are that you won’t be the first one at the counter to rebook the next flight out.

Call the Customer Service Line

So, a quick tip — in order to avoid missing the next flight (and the one after that), use your phone to call the airport’s customer service line. They’ll be able to rebook your flight from their end, and you can avoid the line entirely.

Skip Carbonated Drinks

If you’re going on an especially long flight, it’s best to avoid carbonated refreshments. Why? Sodas and other carbonated drinks can add to the amount of air you swallow. When that air reaches your digestive tract, it needs a way to pass through, causing you to burp or pass gas frequently.

Skip Carbonated Drinks

Furthermore, the air can potentially expand your intestines as the pilot changes altitudes, causing you discomfort and gas. Swap soda for some juice or water, but remember — NO ICE!

Charging Your Phone

Charging stations at airports are usually a given nowadays but if you find yourself in a situation without one, have no fear! We’re obviously not saying to break any laws but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

How to Charge Without a Charging Port

Airports are usually full of televisions, so if you’re unable to find a station to juice up your celly, you may be able to find an accessible TV with a USB port. Plug your phone into that and charge it right up so you’re ready to go for that flight!

Save Space

Packing can be a pain in the butt, but with some proper technique, you’ll be able to save plenty of space in your suitcase! The trick is to lay out anything bulky, like a sweatshirt, at the bottom of the suitcase before you start packing everything else.

Save Space

Fold anything that has the potential to wrinkle inside your bag (i.e. button-down shirts, formal wear). In order to fit more than just that, though, try the ‘rolling’ technique for the rest of your clothes (i.e. t-shirts, pants, pajamas).

Avoid Ordering Ice

I think most people can agree that there’s nothing better than an ice-cold glass of water, well, unless you’re on a plane. We’re here to tell you that if you plan on asking for a glass of water during your flight, do yourself a favor and ditch the ice.

Avoid Ordering Ice

Not only does it take up space in your cup, giving you less to drink, but the ice cubes themselves usually come from the water tank. The water tank is often not clean and might just be the culprit for making you sick.

Choose Your Seat Wisely

This one is kind of a gamble, but it doesn’t hurt to try it out. If you’re traveling as a pair, book a window and an aisle seat. If the flight happens to be under-booked, it’s unlikely that someone is going to pick a seat between two strangers, so there’s a slight chance that you’ll get three seats for the two of you.

Choose Your Seat Wisely

If the flight is full, you can always ask that person to switch with you. After all, most people would prefer not to sit in the middle.

Middle Seat

No one really likes getting stuck in the middle seat on a flight, especially if you’re in the middle of two strangers. If you happen to end up with a middle seat assignment, here’s a simple hack for you! Head to ExpertFlyer.com to set up a seat alert.

Middle Seat

If someone happens to change their seat or cancel their ticket, the website will send you a message so you’ll be able to swoop on in and take the new seating assignment.

Wear Layers

Layers are a great idea while you’re traveling. After all, you never know how warm or cold the plane will be. If you get a little too hot, you can always use those extra layers as a pillow, headrest, or cushion to protect against back and neck stiffness — we all know how that feels after sitting on a plane for a long time.

Wear Layers

Another pro is that the more you layer on yourself, the less you’ll have to pack in that suitcase of yours!

Keep the Air On

Honestly, just keep the air on with the vent open. While it may get a bit chilly, the vent above your seat may actually help you avoid contact with germs that can get you sick.

Keep the Air On

The air from the vent basically creates an invisible air barrier around you, which stops viruses from lingering around you. The air can also help to keep your skin from getting too dry. If you get too cold, you can always throw on a sweater from the many layers you had on earlier…

Don’t Sleep Until After Takeoff

It’s important to remember not to sleep as the plane is ascending and descending; going up and coming down. Your inner ears aren’t able to regulate air pressure with rapid ups and downs.

Don’t Sleep Until After Takeoff

In order to help regulate this pressure and avoid temporary hearing loss, it’s helpful to do a precautionary routine — you can chew gum, bring some antihistamines with you, or use special plugs. Earplane plugs are pressure filtering earplugs that relieve ear discomfort, clogging, and popping during flights.

Block Out the Noise

Nothing is worse than being on a flight with loud passengers. Whether it’s because of a crying baby, someone coughing, or a group of rowdy friends, there’s no need to suffer through these noises the whole flight.

Block Out the Noise

Instead, try getting yourself a pair of silicone earplugs to keep your cool— even better, opt for reusable ones in order to cut down on waste. You can also try out some noise-canceling headphones so you can listen to some tunes and ease your mind at the same time!

Tips About Turbulence

Turbulence can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for those of you who are nervous flyers. If you want to avoid feeling those irregular motions as much as you can, pick seats over the wings. Turbulence is felt most in the back of the plane, and the least over the wings of it.

Tips About Turbulence

If you don’t mind turbulence so much, then choose a seat towards the front of the plane, as the air is fresher and cooler in that area. On the other hand, the air is warmer towards the back of the plane.

Pack Disinfectant Wipes

Coming down with a bug while traveling isn’t really a surprise. Reduce your chances of getting sick by bringing disinfectant wipes with you. Not only do you run the risk of becoming sick on a flight from directly inhaling particles in the air from someone’s coughing or sneezing, but you can also get sick just by touching something.

Pack Disinfectant Wipes

Flight attendants don’t usually clean tray tables and/or handles so you’ve got to prepare yourself. Use the wipes to wipe down the surfaces near you, like the tray table and the armrest.

Dress Comfy

Dressing comfy for a flight should be a given. Planes can be pretty cramped and uncomfortable, especially when it’s a full flight. With that in mind, it’s important to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible while you’re traveling. Wear breathable, stretchy clothes (i.e. cotton, silk, linen) in order to maintain in-flight comfort and cleanliness.

Dress Comfy

Fabrics that don’t really allow air to circulate will hold in sweat, likely making you feel dirty and smelly — two things you definitely don’t want to feel during a flight. In essence, opt for comfort!

Pack Extra Socks/Underwear

Speaking of comfort, you’ll also want to pack some extra pairs of socks and underwear in your carry-on, especially if you’re traveling for a long time. If you’re on an overnight flight, there’s really nothing better than changing into some fresh clothes after you wake up.

Pack Extra Socks/Underwear

It’s also good to keep in mind that you may want to pack yourself some slippers to let your feet breathe, as they can swell on a flight due to a long period of time without activity.

Pack a Travel Kit

Similar to the ‘pack yourself some extra undies and socks’ tip, make sure to pack yourself a travel kit in your carry-on as well. It may not seem like much but packing a travel-sized toothbrush/toothpaste/deodorant and some face wipes can make a world of difference.

Pack a Travel Kit

After eating and sleeping for hours on a flight, there’s no better feeling than freshening yourself up, even if you are using an airplane bathroom. We guarantee that you’ll feel much more refreshed, even after such a long flight.

Beware of the Blankets

Okay, this one is for all the germaphobes out there. Just avoid the airplane blankets that they give you at the start of the flight.

Beware of the Blankets

Unless it’s coming out of a sealed plastic bag, chances are the blanket has already been used and worse — it probably hasn’t even been washed. As another way to avoid germs and reduce the risk of getting sick, just bring your own blanket along. You can also just wear warmer clothes, or again, layer up!

Let Security Be the Least of Your Worries

We know that just getting to the airport and going through security can be stressful enough, but in all honesty, security should be the least of your worries. TSA actually offers an application (‘MyTSA’) that tells you how long lines are at specific airports — isn’t technology just beautiful?

Let Security be the Least of Your Worries

After all, there’s really nothing more nerve-wracking than cutting it close to your flight, and then realizing that you’re going to spend the next 45 minutes waiting to get patted down.

Bring an Empty Travel Mug

We all know that liquids aren’t permitted through security, but you can bring an empty mug with you. Rather than spending money at an overpriced café — because it’s the airport, after all — just bring an empty travel mug with some tea bags.

Bring an Empty Travel Mug

Your flight attendant will be able to fill it with hot water during your flight. If you’re more of a coffee lover, don’t fret! You can always put your coffee grounds in a tea infuser.

Hydrate

It’s given in a life that hydration is important, but especially when it comes to this. Not only should you drink plenty of water on the days leading up to your flight, but also throughout the flight, especially during a long international one.

Hydrate

While you may be going back and forth to the bathroom more often than you’d like, your body and skin will thank you for it in the end. According to Dr. Oz, passengers should drink eight ounces of water for every hour they’re on a flight.

Prepare Entertainment

This one is pretty self-explanatory but prepare some entertainment for yourself! Sitting on a long flight can get really boring really quickly. Whether you spend your time listening to music or reading a book, you’ll definitely want to make sure to keep yourself busy on the off-chance that you can’t fall asleep.

Prepare Entertainment

There also might be the possibility that the plane doesn’t have WiFi — first world problems — so before you leave for your trip, consider pre-loading some of your favorite movies or TV shows onto your laptop/device.

Pack Yourself Snacks

Honestly, who doesn’t love to eat? It’s always a good idea to pack yourself some of your favorite snacks or foods from home. That way, you won’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money at the airport, and you’ll have something to munch on just in case the airplane food sucks.

Pack Yourself Snacks

We know how important it is to save space especially since you’re traveling, so try to pack your yummy snacks in space-saving plastic bags rather than space-consuming containers.

Frozen Liquids Are Permitted

This first tip is for those of you that plan on traveling far. If you didn’t know this, you’re actually allowed to bring a bottle of frozen water, tea, or coffee through security.

Frozen Liquids Are Permitted

Keep in mind that they can’t be half-melted, though, the liquids have to be frozen solid while you’re going through security. And make sure that your flight is long enough for your beverage to defrost, otherwise, there’s really no point in bringing it along!

Take Time to Stretch

As we stated before, your feet can swell while you’re on a long flight. While leg and foot swelling is common during air travel, you can try to avoid it a bit more by taking time to stretch throughout the flight.

Take Time to Stretch

Nancy Schretter, the managing editor of the Family Travel Network, says to “get up to stretch and walk around when you can. This helps to eliminate tight muscles and circulation problems. Do in-seat stretches during your flight as well.”

Cheaper Flights

This genius hack will help you avoid unnecessary pricey flights, turn on ‘Private Browsing’ for cheaper flights when searching online. Airline websites and travel booking sites can keep track of your searches by installing cookies on your web browser, which can cause the prices you’re shown to rise simply because you’ve searched for those flights in the past.

Cheaper Flights

This is a scheme used to make you buy your flights sooner because you start to think that prices are going up, which encourages impulse buying. Avoid it by switching to ‘Private Browsing’ whenever you search for flights.

Portable Phone Charger

This hack might seem a little simplistic and obvious, but it’s very useful and can come in handy when you are in a desperate situation, and most need it. Essentially, a portable phone charger acts as an external battery you can use to charge separately utilizing a USB connector or even replenish it with a store-bought battery.

Portable Phone Charger

It’s worth having one of these in your bag in case an emergency arises while your phone is out of battery.

Fragile Baggage

You might be traveling with precious goods that need special handling, or maybe not, but either way, your luggage can get jostled about, causing some damage to your bag and sometimes even the contents.

Fragile Baggage

If you mark your baggage as fragile, not only is your bag more likely to be handled correctly, but it’ll also find itself at the top of the pile in the storage compartment of the plane. The result? Why, you’ll get your bag back first, of course.

Jog Away Jet Lag

Jet lag is one of the worst things that come with traveling, and it can take a few days or even more than a week to adjust! One way to get the better of it is to jog outside in the sun, first thing in the morning.

Jog Away Jet Lag

Not only will the sunlight signal to your internal clock that it’s the start of the day but you will feel refreshed and energized enough to start the day.

Waterproofing

Have you ever had the misfortune of rolling your high-quality duffel bag on wheels in the rain, and water seeped in through the seams? One way to protect the clothes, toiletries, and other contents in your luggage is to waterproof your bag with a bin liner. This hack is pretty self-explanatory.

Waterproofing

All you have to do is line your suitcase with a bin bag, and it will instantly waterproof your baggage for all conditions. This will ensure that any outside liquid won’t leak into your bag, which sometimes happens when traveling.

Google Maps

While navigating through an airport in a new city, we might feel in a rush to make it to our hotel, so we can’t always stick by a WiFi connection. This means we’re going to find it impossible to access live Google Maps for that easy-peasy navigation guidance when we most need it.

Google Maps

At least the latest versions of Google Maps now allows us to save map areas directly to our phone and bring them up later to explore.

Fragrance Bottle

Traveling with your expensive perfume, cologne, or aftershave can prove to be challenging, sometimes the bottle might break and leak all over your bag. But if you transfer your perfume or aftershave to a smaller bottle, you can save space and avoid the mess of a broken bottle while you travel.

Fragrance Bottle

Think of something the size of a small container. But make sure you clean them out thoroughly first. You don’t want the original contents interfering with your aroma.

TV Phone Charger

One of the things we forget most often when traveling is the little USB adapter that comes with our phone charger. We usually plug our cable into the laptop to charge, BUT if you don’t often pack a computer, know that most TVs have a USB port around the back and you can easily use that to charge all your electronics.

TV Phone Charger

This will come in handy when you’re waiting in a hotel and need to charge your phone.

Security Line

When you’re about to enter the security line, make sure to turn left. Most people prefer to turn towards their dominant hand, and right-handedness is by far the most common type. Studies suggest that approximately 90% of the world population is right-handed.

Security Line

So if you come to a fork in the security line, go to the left — more people will instinctively go in the other direction, and this means your queue will automatically be much shorter and quicker to get through.

Protect Your Fingers

Although razors usually come with a plastic protector that covers the blade, we’re all human and we ultimately lose those pieces. Still, we can’t advocate this next hack enough! There’s nothing worse than fumbling through your toiletry bag only to drag a finger right across the entire length of the razor blade. To prevent this from happening to you, we recommend covering your razor blades.

Protect Your Fingers

Invest in some binder clips — they’ll be able to take the place of those little plastic covers that we all need to stop losing and throwing away.

Scanning Your Passport

No one likes to be the victim of theft or loss, especially if you’re traveling. Here’s a quick tip for anyone and everyone — make sure to scan your passport and email yourself a copy of it. You’ll thank yourself later.

Scanning Your Passport

It also doesn’t hurt to take a screenshot of any and all journey confirmations that come your way. No matter if you’re using your phone or a computer, it’s important to screenshot what you need while you have Wi-Fi or internet access so you’re able to reach them when you’re no longer connected.

Travel Buddies

One of the best things about traveling is meeting all different types of people from around the world. Sometimes, though, it’s a little nervewracking approaching a big group of people whether you’re by yourself or traveling in your own group.

Travel Buddies

Luckily, there are a whole lot of apps that exist to help you make friends while you’re out on the road or traveling to a different country. Travel Buddies and Backpackr can help you find other nearby travelers or people that will be traveling to the same places as you during the same time. There’s also a chat room just in case you need some advice from fellow travelers.

Meet Locals

For those that like to get in with the local crowd, there’s an option for that too. If you’re tired of hanging around with your friends and fellow backpackers, you can always have a local show you around town.

Meet Locals

By using the Party with a Local app, you can get a real feel for that local lifestyle, not to mention the fact that you’d be avoiding all the touristy places — always a plus. Speaking of pluses, you’d also be making new friends!

Book Your Flights on the Go

There’s nothing more exciting than deciding on an impromptu trip while you’re already traveling around. You’ve just discovered this side of you — spontaneous and free. Still, some planning needs to be involved if you really want to sunbathe on a beach in Bali.

Book Your Flights on the Go

Rather than stressing yourself out looking for a flight, you can still keep that streak of spontaneity going if you use the SkyScanner app. It’ll help you find all the best deals within a matter of seconds.

Personal Arrivals/Departures Board

Arrival and departure boards can be pretty annoying. Not only do you have to strain your neck looking up at one but you might also have to leave the seat that you already got settled into and wanted to stay in until you board your flight. Thankfully, though, technology is here to save the day yet again.

Personal Arrivals/Departures Board

All you have to do is download FlightBoard onto your phone to view the whole list of arrivals and departures, all from the comfort of your very own…airport seat. You’re welcome!

Give Up Your Seat

Right, so you may think we’re pulling your leg on this one but this is a pretty cool hack. Just humor us for a minute — giving up your seat may seem like a bad idea but it’s true what they say about good karma.

Give Up Your Seat

If you volunteer to be bumped off an overbooked flight, you could actually find yourself reaping all the benefits, from free meals and drinks to accommodations nearby to even the comforts of business class. If you’re really not in a hurry to get to your destination, just opt for a different flight and you could be rolling in the dough, so to speak.

Unpacking What You Need

This next tip is for those that like to backpack their way across the universe. If you’re that kind of person, then it’s pretty likely that you won’t be staying in one place for too long. In order to get a move on it and save on packing time, simply take out what you know you’ll definitely need in each hostel.

Unpacking What You Need

This way, you’ll be free to make a quick and easy escape when you’re ready to go on your next adventure around the world.

‘So Fresh, So Clean’

Your stuff can get pretty smelly while you’re traveling around, especially if you’re backpacking — your clothes start to pick up the faint scent of old socks and dirty feet. You’re probably tired of that, huh? Well, don’t fret! This little trick will keep you smelling so fresh, so clean throughout your entire trip. Dryer sheets. Simply bring a few of those sheets in your bag to keep everything as fresh as can be!

‘So Fresh, So Clean’

If you’re going for the long haul, take a little pack with you and replace whenever the sheet seems to be losing its potency.

Be Your Very Own Tour Guide

Finding a decent tour guide can be quite difficult, especially if you’ve traveled to a place that you’ve never been to before. Some guides are just a little too pricey, others only offer group tours and you frankly just want to avoid people that day. Instead of dealing with a hassle like this, you can simply install Google Goggles onto your phone and take some photos as you explore.

Be Your Very Own Tour Guide

Every time you snap a picture of a famous monument, your phone will send you interesting information to read pertaining to that photo.

Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can really come in handy while you’re traveling around and don’t have much access to certain luxuries. If you want to keep your batteries super fresh and full of juice for longer, you can stick them in the fridge no matter where you are.

Rechargeable Batteries

Whether you’re staying in a hostel or couch-surfing by a friend, it’s important to know that most rechargeable batteries retain ninety percent of their full charge when kept in cold temperatures, meaning you don’t need to charge them as often.

Morning Flights Have Less Turbulence

A quick tip about turbulence to keep in mind is that if you get motion sickness easily, it’s a better idea to travel in the morning if you have the option to do so. Our earth heats throughout the day and the hot air rises, which causes storms and winds to occur.

Morning Flights Have Less Turbulence

Though storms can come and go as they please, they are more likely to happen in the afternoon. In other words, choose a morning flight so you can reduce your chances of flying with turbulence. After all, no one really likes a bumpy flight.

Upgrading Your Flight

Flying first class can make any travel experience so much better. Many people don’t know this but there are many ways you can be bumped into first-class – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. How can you increase your chances of getting upgraded?

Upgrading Your Flight

You can dress the part, forget your flip flops and sweats – wear something professional that shows that you belong. Another hack is to travel solo, if you fly by yourself, your chances of getting moved up are much higher!