6 long-haul hacks for a smoother flight

Bianca Soldani

Anyone who’s been on a plane for longer than 12 hours knows how excruciating it can be.

However, there are a few tried and tested ways to make your next long-haul journey a little less traumatic – and who knows, you may not come out the other end feeling like such a zombie.

Self-proclaimed “globetrotter” and travel supply manufacturer David Smith, shared his expertise in a popular Quora thread last year, and his top tips are well worth listening to.

Exit seats aren't always your best bet. Photo: Getty


Don’t immediately flock to an emergency seat

Sure, emergency exit seats come with the advantage of extra legroom, but that doesn’t mean they’re always your best bet.

Many exit row seats are slightly narrower and the cushions slightly thinner than regular seats. Also, the arm rests don’t always come up, so if you’re on a less empty flight, the better option would be to go for a seat where there’s an empty place (or two) next to you.


Ditch your check-in baggage whenever possible

Sometimes less is more, and when it comes to getting out of the airport quickly, it’s much more.

Flying with only carry on luggage means you avoid that awful wait at the baggage carousel and can nick out of there quick smart.

While this won’t be a possible for those of us going on a long holiday, it would work a treat when travelling for work.


Try a hoodie

Comfortable clothes are a must on long-haul flights – forget looking good, it isn’t a fashion show!

But something David particularly recommends is a hoodie. He says they’re a great way to keep warm while the aircon’s blasting, with the added bonus of helping to block out light and sound when you pull it over your head.

Packing light could save you loads of time. Photo: Getty


Shower, shower, shower

Nothing refreshes you after a tedious flight like a nice hot shower, and David recommends trying to grab yourself one while on an international stop over.

Many large airports – particularly ones that see a lot of transit traffic – have shower facilities that you can pay to use. Towels, shampoo and hairdryers are provided.

A number of airline lounges will also have showers and you don’t always have to be a member to use one. Some companies offer day passes for purchase, while others can be accessed as part of a credit card rewards system – it’s worth looking into.


Have a set of travel toiletries

Even if you can’t get to a shower, being able to brush your teeth, and wash and moisturise your face, can give you a whole new lease on life.

Regular travellers might find it worthwhile leaving a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser and moisturiser inside your carry on luggage, so it’s always there when you need it.

Instead of hanging around on stop-overs, try to squeeze in a shower. Photo: Getty

Keep a pen on you

This might seem like a random one, but you’ll be lucky to survive an international flight without having to fill in at least one departure or arrival card.

While many airports have pens at the ready, it can be a bit of a mission to get your hands on one mid-flight, so come prepared and bring your own.

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