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How To Survive A Long-Haul Flight, As Told By Travel Experts

We got the pros to spill their secrets.

Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

They say a trip is more about the journey than the destination. Luckily, when it comes to long-haul flights, seasoned flyers are full of genius hacks to ensure their plane trips are pleasurable interludes between one part of the world and another.

Here, we ask the pros for their insider tips on how to make the most of a long flight. Because when you enjoy the journey, you can bet that you’ll make the most of the destination, too.

Save The Drinking Until You Land

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We’ve all been there: boarding a plane in our loudest holiday shirt, planning to make excellent use of the free-flowing booze. Our advice? Save the drinking until you land.

Joey Russo, Qantas International Customer Service Manager, says drinking too much is one of the worst things you can do to yourself on a long-haul flight.

“You’re just going to feel awful when you arrive. The worst feeling is when you wake up dehydrated with a headache, especially when you’re trying to adapt to a new time zone. It’s like a double-whammy on your body.” Ouch.

Instead Of Alcohol, Try Hydralyte Or Herbal Tea

“I’m not going to say I’ve never had too much to drink on a plane before,” says Jake Terrey, a Sydney-based fashion photographer who regularly jet-sets around the world shooting for Vogue (yeah, we’re jealous too). “I also smash Hydralyte, so I’ve never woken up hungover. It’s basically a miracle in a sachet. ”

Want something a bit more natural? Joey has you covered. He lives for herbal tea on long-haul flights and has spotted quite a few passengers who are already in the know. “Some passengers bring their own herbal tea bags onboard. I love it! Peppermint or lemongrass tea really helps settle my stomach and gets me ready for sleep.”

Choose Your Seat Wisely

The Qantas Dreamliner. Image: Qantas

Guys, if you take nothing else from this article, remember this: seat choice is key.

“If I’m flying at night, I’ll take a window seat so I can’t be disturbed,” says Joey. “When you’re in an aisle seat and someone needs to get up for whatever reason, you’re always going to be getting up, too. On the window seat, I don’t disturb anyone and they don’t disturb me.”

As for daytime flights? Joey suggests grabbing an aisle seat. “If I’m on the 9am flight to Bangkok, I’ll sit in the aisle seat so if I want to get up and walk around or use the bathroom, I easily can.” Simple, but effective.

Avoid Rich Foods

If you’ve previously experienced discomfort after eating on a flight, there’s a simple solution: Joey advises avoiding rich foods that could potentially trigger adverse reactions – things like hot chilli, or carbs if you’re prone to bloating – so you land feeling your best.

Scrap The Heels And Ties – Opt For Comfort Instead

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Getting upgraded on a flight may be the thing that ~dreams~ are made of, but it’s not worth dressing uncomfortably for.

“I never wear jeans or anything too snug on an aircraft,” says Joey. “You just end up feeling restricted.”

Meghan Loneragan, who runs travel blog Citizens of the World with her husband Dominic, agrees that in the case of long-haul flights, comfort should always come above style.

“Sure, denim looks smarter, but unless you’ve had your jeans since the ’90s and worn them down to Tencel-like softness, you’re going to feel the shadow of regret halfway through the flight when the seams start digging into the backs of your knees,” she says.

For women, Meghan recommends wearing a pair of lightly pressurised gym pants on the plane. For the guys, a pair of linen pants or loose fitting jeans will still be comfy and look stylish, too.

Two Words: Lip Balm

If there’s one thing we’d take with us to a deserted island, it’s the holy grail of moisturising products: lip balm. It’s a godsend on a plane, too.

Meghan says, “Dry plane air and dehydration can cause sleep-disturbing chapped lips. Keep a tube of lip balm handy and you’ll be surprised by how much you use it.”

Get Plenty Of Rest Before The Flight

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There’s a reason everyone bangs on about getting some shut eye before take off: it works.

“Always make sure you’re well rested before the flight because you’re never going to sleep the same on an aircraft as you would at home,” says Joey.

“If you’re leaving in the morning, make sure you’ve had a good sleep the night before so your energy levels are up.”

Listen To Your Body

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We’ve all heard the various home remedies for getting rid of jetlag or in-flight exhaustion, but Joey says nothing beats listening to your own body.

If you’re tired on the flight, sleep. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat just because there’s food in front of you. If you’re exhausted when you land, have a short nap before exploring the sights and sounds.

“Taking little naps is important just to keep you going. Once you get tired, you become delirious, and then before you know it you’re going shopping, buying things you don’t even want!” he says.

Always Pack A Toothbrush And Toothpaste In Your Carry-On

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This is the golden rule of flying. “There’s something emotionally cleansing about a minty mouth after 13 hours on a plane,” says Meghan. “It goes a long way to helping you feel fresh, especially if you land early and can’t check into your hotel for a shower until later.” Sounds like a good tip to us!

Check out Qantas flights to begin your next adventure.