How to Prepare for a Long-Haul Flight

Long flights to international destinations can be daunting, but by following a few simple steps you can avoid any discomfort

Choose your flight and seat wisely, bring snacks, and wear comfortable clothing to get through a lengthy plane ride

If your next trip involves a lengthy plane ride, follow these tips to ensure your flight is as comfortable as possible

If you don’t take long-haul flights very often, everything about the experience can seem a bit daunting.

Here are some tips to consider before your next international holiday.

Tips for a Long Flight

  • Consider all amenities: Don’t judge a flight by price alone, but try to think of your long-haul flight as a “by the hour” experience. A higher cost on a decent flight on a comfortable aircraft with great entertainment and food will make a considerable difference. If you’re going to be on a plane for a total of 30 hours coming and going, and it costs an extra $150 to $200 to get a “better” flight — ask yourself if you’d pay $5 an hour for that much better experience.
  • Avoid inconvenient connections: When you’re booking, watch out for connections that could get you in timing trouble or add more stress. Remember that transferring from another flight when you’re flying internationally can mean you have to clear customs, pick up luggage, move to a different terminal and recheck bags — which can take hours. If your connection requires an overnight stay, take that cost into consideration when doing your booking.
  • Pack extra food: Almost all long-haul flights offer a decent amount of meals. But if you’re a picky eater or like to snack, pack some food that you’d eat during a normal day at home or work. Airline websites often indicate their meal selections if you want to check ahead.
  • Choose a good seat: As for entertainment, look for planes with seatback screens instead of overhead screens. Comfort-wise, check out websites like for a look at seating charts and info about seat locations, sizes and whether they recline or not.
  • Wear comfortable clothing: I cannot emphasize enough how important your travel clothing is for long-haul flights. Remember you’re going to want to sleep, so choose clothing that’s forgiving if you slump in your seat or want to stretch. And go for footwear that can easily be slipped on and off.

Above all, have fun planning for your long-haul flight. Think of your next international flight as a day off from everything! 

Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.