How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight

While the thought of embarking on an epic journey to the other side of the world fills me with excitement, the thought of sitting in a plane seat for 14 hours fills me with trepidation and dread. Part of the reason I love travel so much is that I feel the constant need to be on the go and doing something: exploring a foreign country fulfills that need. Being on a plane, however, provides hours and hours of forced sitting. If I don’t plan correctly, I will totally spend a whole plane ride fuming and glaring at everyone around me.

Luckily for my fellow passengers and travelling companions, I’ve come up with a few solid ways to survive a long-haul flight. A few of these points were contributed by some other travel-savvy women – if you’d like to connect with like-minded female adventures make sure to check out the Girls vs. Globe Facebook group, created by the lovely Sabina!


The most important thing for me to bring on a plane ride is a variety of things. My attention span is probably shorter than the attention span of a fruit fly, so if I don’t bring multiple activities I’ll revert to the aforementioned glaring. Especially on a flight that’s 14 hours or longer, I need to bring at least five things to do. I’ll talk about some of my favorites in the next points – just make sure you have enough things to be able to switch it up!

Puzzle Books

This is a relatively new discovery, and it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you like crosswords, wordsearches or any other kind of puzzle, consider packing a puzzle book for your next big plane trip! I’ve picked them up from the bargain book section at Chapters, and you can also find them wherever you can find magazines. Doing a quick logic puzzle in the midst of a long-haul flight can perk me back up. It somehow reminds me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: eventually, I will get off this plane and I will need to use my brain.


I have a frightening addiction to reading (there are worse things I could be obsessed with) to the point where I read over 260 books this year. Oops. Quite a large proportion of this reading was done while sitting on trains, in planes, or on buses! If you’re an avid reader, use a long-haul flight to read that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages, or get through a bit more of Game of Thrones. Even if you don’t read much, surely a long-haul flight can convince you to enter the magical world of a book?

Either way, I would definitely suggest reading some chick lit. I love high fantasy and intricate dystopias most of all, but when I’m exhausted, uncomfortable and bored on a long-haul flight, I want to escape to a pretty world of rainbows and romance. On the flight home from China I read (among other things) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and would definitely recommend downloading this for your next flight – who doesn’t want to read about two adorable teenagers falling in love in Paris?!

Sabina also suggests reading books about your destination – rather than perusing a guidebook, immerse yourself in your next trip and get really excited!



Most long-haul flights have some pretty sophisticated entertainment systems, which can provide hours of amusement. Richelle sayss she loves to watch a ton of movies & Sabina agrees!

“Long flights are the perfect excuse to catch up on new releases & I don’t feel guilty watching them as there’s little more to do.”
-Sabina Trojanova

On my United flight to China, I watched at least 5 movies – all movies that were just recently in the theater. Why not use the time to watch the hottest new rom-com?

Make New Friends

As an introvert, this option scares me a bit, but it can be well worth it, and my fellow travelers agree! On my 14 hour flight to Beijing I sat next to a man who had made the same trip over 14 times for work, so I obnoxiously quizzed him about every detail of China and the flight. Did he hate me? Probably. Did bothering him help me pass the time? Definitely!

“I chat. Yes, I’m that annoying chatter! I never get off a plane without having made a new friend… I just traveled from Paris to Rome, which is a short flight, but the lady beside me turned out to be from Virginia which is super close to me in South Carolina! We chatted the whole flight. I have an 11 hour flight home tomorrow, so I hope I meet some nice folks to pass the time with.”
-Summer Sondov

Get Inspired

There’s something about a long flight that can be pretty inspiring: take a moment to look out the window and think about how cool it is that you’re 30,000 feet above the ground. I love to do some dreaming and planning on my flights; whether I’m writing a business plan, daydreaming about my big goals, or simply journaling.

How do you survive long-haul flights? I would love to hear your tips!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *