Preparing for a long flight

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Preparing for a long flight
Preparing for a long flight

Long flights require more preparation than short flights, especially if you will be away from home for weeks or even months. Good preparation is of great importance to make your flight as comfortable as possible and to ensure that you do not forget anything, but also to ensure that you leave the home front in good hands. With a good sense of humor and some perseverance, a good preparation can help you get through your flight!


Method 1 of 5: Prepare for comfort

Prepare for a Long Plane Ride Step 1

Step 1. Bring a blanket and pillow

To make yourself as comfortable as possible, you can bring a pillow and a blanket. Although some airlines offer passengers on long flights as standard, it is more pleasant to have your own familiar stuff with you. There are pillows and blankets that are specially made for use in airplanes and are therefore very compact. These are often for sale at airports, so you don't have to bring them from home.

With a blanket and pillow you never have to worry about the temperature on the plane or getting a stiff neck

Prepare for a Long Plane Ride Step 2

Step 2. Bring wet wipes

You can use this to keep your hands clean, but also, for example, to clean spilled apple juice from your table. This way you know for sure that both you and your surroundings stay clean and you don't have to go to the toilet every time you want to freshen up.

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Step 3. Bring an eye mask

Sometimes these are offered by the airline, but that is not always the case. An eye mask will help you relax and make it easier for you to sleep.

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Step 4. Bring earplugs or good headphones

This way you can counteract any noise nuisance from other passengers or put on some music when you sleep and don't want to be disturbed by ambient noise. After all, you never know whether you will find yourself next to a crying child or a bickering couple. With earplugs or headphones you ensure that you are not bothered by anyone and that you can completely shut off any unpleasant noises.

Listening to music on your iPod or smartphone can also help you relax

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Step 5. Wear comfortable clothes

On a long flight, comfort is a lot more important than how you look. So do not wear stiff, itchy or too tight clothing; you will definitely regret it. Wear loose-fitting clothes that you can easily clean. Avoid synthetic materials or expensive brands that will draw attention. Unnecessary accessories such as jewelry and belts can cause you to be searched during check-in and also attract pickpockets. The less valuables you take with you, the less you have to worry about. A few clothing tips to make your flight bearable:

  • Don't dress too cold, but just to be safe, take a warm sweater with you in your hand luggage. If the air conditioning is on, you can put on something extra.
  • Wear a few thin layers of clothing. For example, pull a tank top under a sweater. If it gets too hot for you, you can always take something off.
  • Bring warm socks. Socks can warm up your feet and therefore your entire body. It is therefore wise to bring an extra pair if it suddenly gets a bit too cold.
  • Instead of jeans, opt for leggings, sweatpants or harem pants in which you can sit and move comfortably.
  • If you are going to immediately explore your destination from the plane, take an extra set of clothes with you in your hand luggage.
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Step 6. Bring a small toothbrush and toothpaste

If you like to brush your teeth after eating, take a small toothbrush and some toothpaste with you. Brushing your teeth in the airplane toilet may not be too comfortable, but it's better than a bad taste in your mouth.

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Step 7. Bring gum

You can also take chewing gum with you to make your mouth feel clean and fresh again. If your ears start to hurt during take-off and landing, chewing is also a good way to relieve the pressure.

Method 2 of 5: Prepare for entertainment

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Step 1. Decide what you want to do on the plane to have fun

You can do two things here. You can leave it to the airline (check what they offer first) and take as little as possible with you. However, you can also bring your own stuff to control what you do. Please note that not all forms of entertainment are allowed and that fragile items may break during travel. The more you take with you, the less space you have for souvenirs.

  • On the other hand, it might be useful to have music or books (in the form of an iPod or e-reader) with you during your trip as well. These devices also take up very little space in your bag.
  • What you may want to take into account is that with some airlines you pay extra for movies or other entertainment. So check in advance whether this is the case with the airline you are flying with. If you don't want to pay extra, it's better to bring your own laptop or iPad.
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Step 2. Bring your electrical appliances

Things that can come in handy on the plane are, for example, an iPod for music and audio books, a laptop or iPad for reading and writing and a Gameboy or PSP. Although these devices have their pros and cons, they can be a great distraction during your hour-long journey. However, if you are going on vacation, you may want to consider leaving your laptop or other things that remind you of work at home.

  • Take your mobile phone with you; you might need it during your trip and if not, at least you can keep it safe. Many newer aircraft offer entertainment such as movies, music and TV series, so you basically don't need your own gear.
  • If you bring a laptop or iPod, make sure it is fully charged before departure. Depending on the length of your flight, you may also want to consider bringing an extra battery.
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Step 3. Bring something to read

Do you have an unread novel lying around or do you finally want to read a complete newspaper, then this is your chance. You can also buy newspapers, books and magazines at the airport, if you don't have time to visit the store during the preparation. If you have an e-reader, you can set up a few new books there before your flight. For example, reading material that you can bring with you is:

  • Books (bring more than one in case a book turns out to be boring)
  • Gossip magazines like Story and Privé
  • Current affairs magazines such as Nieuwe Revu
  • newspapers
  • School or work related books

    If you like to write, you can also bring writing materials. For example, think of a diary, laptop or notepad. A flight can be the ideal opportunity to write

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Step 4. Bring games

Whether you're traveling with friends or alone, it's always a good idea to bring one or more games with you. Think, for example, of a classic game of cards, UNO or a travel variant of Scrabble or Monopoly. If you are traveling with someone, first ask which games he or she likes.

  • You can also bring a notepad so that you can play tic-tac-toe or hangman, for example.
  • You can also make up games where you don't need any tools, but just talk to each other. For example, think of word games, coloring games or memory games.
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Step 5. Bring puzzles

Another way to keep yourself occupied, especially if you're traveling alone, is a crossword puzzle booklet or Sudoku. The hours fly by as if they were seconds! With a medium-sized crossword puzzle you will soon be busy for two hours.

If you are traveling with children, Donald Duck's special holiday books are recommended. This includes puzzles, coloring pages and comics

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Step 6. Make sure all your electronic devices are charged before the flight

This is especially important if you want to use your laptop to watch a movie, for example. Some aircraft have power outlets, but that's not always the case. You can also bring an extra battery or charger with you to ensure power supply.

If one of your electrical devices needs to be charged urgently, one of the flight attendants can do this for you in the back of the plane. However, this is not always possible, so don't count on anything

Method 3 of 5: Healthy flying

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Step 1. Bring healthy snacks

To satisfy unexpected hunger, it is always wise to take some snacks with you during the flight. In the plane these will soon cost you a small amount of money, so it is wiser to just buy them in the supermarket. This way you always have something to eat with you and you never have to wait for the flight attendant to come by. Snacks that make you full and that are also healthy:

  • apples
  • Almonds, cashews or pistachios
  • A granola bar (as long as it doesn't crumble)
  • raisins
  • pretzels
  • Dried fruit
Prepare for a Long Plane Ride Step 15

Step 2. Drink plenty of water

The air in an airplane is very dry, so it is important to drink enough. Although you can't get liquids through customs, you can still buy them from shops at the airport after you've checked in. In addition, don't skip any drinks that are offered to you, because you never know when the flight attendant will drop by again. Of course you can also ask for extra water, but it is easier to do this if the flight attendant is already on the road with her cart.

While it's important to drink enough water, you don't want to run to the bathroom every half hour. Make sure you drink enough, but not too much. Remember, it's better to drink plenty of fluids and go to the bathroom every now and then than to be dehydrated and not have to go to the bathroom

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Step 3. If you quickly suffer from dry eyes, take eye drops with you

This way you prevent irritated eyes during the flight. This can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you can't do anything about it for hours.

Check if your bottle of eye drops is small enough to pass through customs or buy a bottle once you've checked in

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Step 4. Make sure you move every now and then

According to the American Institute of Health, people who fly for more than four hours have a small chance of developing thrombosis. Stretching your legs every now and then can prevent this. Go to the bathroom every few hours, stretch regularly, and wear comfortable clothes that don't pinch your limbs. Some things you can also do are:

  • Extra drinks before and during the flight
  • Wearing compression stockings to keep your legs from swelling (only necessary if you suffer from this quickly)
  • Do not drink alcohol from the day before the flight. This dries out your body. This also applies to coffee, soft drinks and chocolate.
  • Take children's aspirin a day before the flight so that you do not suffer from stomach ulcers.
  • Reserve an aisle seat so you can get up every now and then to walk around.
Prepare for a Long Plane Ride Step 18

Step 5. Take the necessary medicines with you

Think, for example, of pills against nausea, painkillers, sleeping pills or other medicines that you regularly take. Be on the safe side so that you can easily remedy any ailments that arise.

If you are considering taking a sedative so you can sleep during the flight, make sure you have tried it at home first. This way you can be sure that the product works well and that you do not experience any nasty side effects

Method 4 of 5: Practical flying

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Step 1. Decide which airline you want to fly with

Of course it is important to know which flights are available according to your mood and what suits you cost-wise. However, it is also important to know which airlines make your flight as comfortable as possible. For example, some airlines offer you more legroom than others or offer more entertainment options. The longer your flight is, the more important these things are. Look up which company best meets your requirements by reading online forums or social media.

  • See what entertainment options airlines offer. Many newer aircraft, for example, offer their own video screen on which you can watch movies or series. This is of course more comfortable than one screen that twenty people have to watch.
  • Today, many individual entertainment systems allow you to watch movies, news broadcasts, documentaries, and all sorts of other things. You can also listen to music or play games.
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Step 2. Find a comfortable chair in advance

While of course there will always be someone in the middle, with a little preparation you can make sure you are sitting at the window or on the aisle. With many airlines you can indicate this in advance. Before doing this, think carefully about what you want. If you like to look out the window, it is of course best to reserve a seat by the window. If you would like to be able to go to the toilet now and then or if you like to walk back and forth regularly, an aisle seat is more suitable. Some tips for reserving your seat:

  • Many airlines offer the option to select your seat when you book. However, this may cost you some extra money.
  • If you did not reserve a seat when you booked your flight ticket, try to do this at check-in. You can sometimes do this online, but also when you have already arrived at the airport.
  • If you want to board as late as possible or get off the plane as soon as possible after landing, choose a seat in the front of the plane. A disadvantage of this is that you are probably further away from the toilets.
  • Try to get a seat near the emergency exit. Here you often have more legroom.
  • Try to avoid standing in the emergency exit queue. Sometimes the backs of the seats in this row cannot be reclined!
  • Also avoid the back row of seats of the plane. Here too you often cannot recline the backrest and you are also so close to the toilets, which can be accompanied by unpleasant odors.
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Step 3. If you have young children, make sure they have a good seat

It may be cheaper to let your baby travel on your lap, which is not nearly as safe as having your own seat. By the way, on some long flights it is not allowed to take your baby on your lap.

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Step 4. Make sure you have plenty of time to transfer after a long flight

If you're flying from San Francisco to Paris, it may be tempting to change trains in Brussels within an hour, but it's wiser to leave a little more time in between. This prevents you from missing your connection because you have to go through customs again or cannot find your way. If you want to fly stress-free, make sure you have enough time to make any changes.

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Step 5. Check whether it is financially feasible to fly business class

This way you fly more comfortably and you arrive at your destination fresher. The disadvantage of this is of course that this luxury comes with a price. If you fly more often, however, you may be able to pay for an upgrade with frequent flyer miles. It is worth trying!

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Step 6. Inform yourself about the food options on the plane

Most airlines offer numerous options for meals and snacks. When you book your ticket, you can indicate your preference and whether you have allergies or are vegetarian, for example. Check 24 hours before your flight whether your preference has been passed. There is nothing more annoying than a long flight without a hot meal!

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Step 7. Prepare for medical problems before flying

Call the airline if, for example, you have allergies, are in a wheelchair or if there are other matters that require extra attention. It is best to do this 24 to 12 hours before departure. In addition, check whether you have the necessary tools and medicines with you. This way you are optimally prepared for your trip.

If you get carsick easily, you can also take medication for this. Make sure you read the prescriptions of the medicine before using it and take the tablet about two hours before flying

Prepare for a Long Plane Ride Step 26

Step 8. Before you leave, read what you can and cannot take in your hand luggage

After all, it would be annoying if you unexpectedly had to hand in your favorite pocket knife. You can often find what the baggage rules are on the website of the airline you are flying with.

Comply with the regulations regarding the weight and size of the luggage. You quickly pay tens of euros per kilo too much

Method 5 of 5: Prepare for Your Flight

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Step 1. Make sure you sleep well before you leave

Although you may have intended to sleep on the plane, it is wiser to start your flight well rested. There are all kinds of circumstances that can make sleeping on the plane difficult. Maybe you sit next to someone who has a rather unpleasant body odor or a baby cries for hours on end. To prepare for this kind of thing, you better arrive at the airport well-rested. If you have children, make sure they also have enough sleep before boarding the plane. This can prevent a lot of drama and inconvenience.

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Step 2. If you are ill, make sure you can demonstrate that your illness is not contagious

For example, if you cough a lot, take a doctor's note with you stating that you can fly and that you can no longer infect others. If the airline staff think your illness is contagious, they may refuse you boarding. Also make sure you have the correct papers with you to take any medicines with you. This way you avoid unpleasant situations in countries where people are less understanding about this.

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Step 3. Check the weather at your destination

This way you can pack the right clothes and even take a jacket or shorts with you during the flight. It can be quite annoying if you have to trudge through the snow in your T-shirt or arrive on a tropical island in your turtleneck sweater.

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Step 4. Take all possible travel documents with you

Check that the passports of the whole family are still valid. In many countries the rule is that the passport must be valid for at least 6 months to enter the country. So make sure that this is the case! Other things not to forget when preparing your travel documents:

  • Make sure you have applied for the necessary visas before departure. It is often easier to arrange this in advance.This way you avoid having to stand in a long line at the airport to get the paper.
  • Have some cash, a credit card and travelers checks with you. Also make sure that your debit card is set up correctly so that you can also withdraw money outside of Europe.
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Step 5. Make sure you are vaccinated

In all your enthusiasm you might well forget to get vaccinated against, for example, malaria. Check well before your trip whether this is necessary and ask your doctor for advice if necessary. Moreover, buy any additional medicines in the Netherlands and not in the country of destination. This way you can be sure that you have the right tablets with you and you do not have to consult a foreign doctor during your trip.

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Step 6. Pack essentials a few days before your trip

This includes your clothes, medicines, tickets, passports and toiletry bag. It's a good idea to make a list to make sure you don't forget anything important. On the basis of this list you can also keep an eye on that nothing gets stolen or lost.

Leave your travel information with your neighbors, friends and family. So there are always people who know where you are in the unlikely event of an emergency

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Step 7. Decide how you want to travel to the airport

A long flight is usually a sign that you will be away from home for some time, so it is probably not a good idea to park your car at the airport. You can check to be sure whether this is a possibility. Especially at smaller airports, the parking costs can be better than expected. Also check that your car is safe whether you leave it at home or park it near an airport. Other ways to travel to the airport include a rental car, shuttle service, taxi or train.

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Step 8. Make sure you are at the airport well in time

If you are disabled or need extra help with check-in, it's better to be an hour early. You probably won't get bored at an airport; there are all kinds of shops, cafes and even spas to keep you entertained.


  • Examples of tools to combat boredom are game consoles (Nintendo DS, PSP, Gameboy), iPods, MP3 players, games, crossword puzzles, books, magazines and a smartphone.
  • Bring a charger for all your electrical appliances. However, it is not certain that you can actually charge devices on the plane, so it is best to ensure that all devices are charged or that you have an extra battery with you.
  • Take chewing gum with you to prevent any earache during take-off and landing.
  • Take multiple forms of entertainment with you. You won't be able to entertain yourself for ten hours with just an iPod.
  • Be polite to the flight attendants. You never know what extras you'll get when you smile sweetly.
  • Take a small toiletry bag with you in your hand luggage. This way you always have something on hand in case your luggage gets lost.
  • Always take your medicines with you in your hand luggage.
  • Bring an extra shirt and pants in case your suitcase gets lost. You never know!
  • Make sure you are at the airport about two and a half hours before your flight. This way you have time to eat something, buy a book and go to the toilet. It is not recommended to arrive later; then you have to hurry terribly and you are tense before your flight even starts. Also keep in mind that going through customs and checking in luggage can take some time.
  • If you have a small mailbox, have someone empty it for you every now and then. You can also ask PostNL to withhold your mail from you.
  • If you have ear problems, make sure you have earplugs and chewing gum with you to make take-off and landing smooth. Earplugs are also a handy tool if you want to sleep a few hours during the flight.
  • Say goodbye to the friends and family who don't come to the airport to say goodbye. Leave your contact and travel details so people know where you are and how they can contact you. Also make sure to leave copies of your passport and credit card (of course only give these to trustworthy persons). If you get into trouble, this can be of great importance.
  • If you have goldfish or cats, have someone take care of them while you are travelling.
  • Read in the airline magazine which devices you are not allowed to use during the flight. This way you prevent a flight attendant from taking off with your brand new iPhone.
  • If you don't get a hot meal during the flight, make sure you bring your own salad or sandwich. At most airports you can get it in all kinds of restaurants and shops.
  • Buy an adapter to ensure that you can also charge your electrical devices abroad.
  • Ask one of your neighbors to park your car differently every day. So it seems as if you are just at home.
  • If you are traveling with a baby, ask your doctor for travel advice.
  • Make sure you leave your house safe. Set timers so that lights are on at night and any thieves think you're just home. This is especially important if you live in an unsafe neighborhood.
  • If you have pets and a garden, it can be wise to have someone look after your house and animal. This could be someone you know or a professional you hire to water your plants, pick up the mail, and walk your dog.


  • Don't rely too much on the in-flight entertainment system. After all, this can be broken or it can only contain films that you have already seen. Make sure you always have your own stuff with you to entertain you.
  • If you use a shuttle service to travel to the airport, please provide an earlier departure time. This prevents delays during the journey to the airport from throwing a spanner in the works.
  • At airports it is very important that you behave appropriately. For example, here are some rules you can follow:

    • Do not take illegal substances with you in your luggage. This is very important. If you are not sure what is allowed and what is not, call the airline you are flying with just to be sure.
    • Do not stand up during takeoff and landing.
    • Turn off electrical appliances if the pilot asks. Some electronics can cause malfunctions that make landing or take off more difficult.
    • Don't do stupid things and don't joke about bombs or terrorism.
    • Make sure all electrical devices are on airplane mode while flying.
  • Avoid having to go to the toilet when drinks are being served. The aircraft crew's cart takes up quite a bit of space and so it will be difficult for you to reach the toilet.
  • Please do not mention when you are going on holiday. While it's okay to tell friends and family about your trip, it's not a good idea to mention on Facebook or Twitter when you'll be gone. This is ideal for burglars who have targeted your home.

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