How to Master Long-Haul Flights & Stopovers!

October 14, 2013 3 min read

Mastering Long Flights for the Everyday Traveler. Ethically made in Canada with sustainable and eco friendly materials.
Long-Haul Flights Suck. Let's face it.

If anyone tells you that they love flying (in a commercial plane) they are cray-cray. To me, there is nothing worse than being trapped on an airplane for 10+ hours, no matter what class you are flying in. Planes are uncomfortable, dry, cramped and hard to relax in especially if you are flying into major turbulence over China!

I just did a 30 hour+ journey to Bali (with two stopovers; Beijing and Singapore), so I thought I'd share my 5 key lessons learned so you can master your next long-haul journey.

Pack a substantial carry-on

One of major PITA (pain in the a$$) of flying long-haul with stopovers is the baggage issue. If you can't swing carry-on only, the odds of your bag getting re-routed (especially on tight connections) is very high. This is why you need to pack a solid carry-on. When traveling for pleasure, I use a backpack (North Face) which has an integrated laptop pocket and is lockable. Here are a few things I cannot travel without in my carry-on (in no particular order): Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, band-aids, vaseline, face wipes, toothbrush/paste, gum, moisturizer, eye shade, granola bars, deodorant, roll-on perfume, extra socks, sandals, change of clothes, roll-up water bottle, ear phones, melatonin and sunscreen.

Get an Upgrade

Getting an upgrade on most airlines these days unfortunately takes more than dressing nicely! Most systems now a day are driven by credits awarded to frequent flyers (read people who fly 35,000+ miles per year). Other ways to score an upgrade: Get a points card for your fav airline and get the matching credit card -- this doubles your earning potential plus often gives you bonus miles for signing up. When booking your rewards ticket, try to save up for the business class ticket. Look for promotions and discounts. Some airlines also offer you the option to buy an economy ticket and pending availability use your points to upgrade a week prior to taking flight! Upgrades on international long-haul flights are sooooo worth it. Anything over 10+ hours I'd say. The flight I was on to Beijing, I sat in my own personal pod that reclined into a fully flat bed. That entire journey was booked on points!

Get your Lounge On

Business class lounges are an essential for any long-haul journey with stopovers. If you're not a member of Star Alliance, Aeroplan etc with status (meaning, you have achieved their premium tier of status points earning), do not fret, you are not completely out of luck. Many lounges will allow you to purchase day passes.

Benefits of lounges are comfy chairs to sit in, air conditioning (usually), sleeping pods (sometimes), showers (usually), unlimited food and beverage (always), free mags and newspapers (always), phones, free wifi etc. The savings will add up if you use even a few of these amenities. Be sure to pack a towel, face wash and shampoo in your carry-on in case they don't offer it there.

Note that many international airpots now have public showers in bathrooms or hourly stopover hotels. These can be a good alternative to a lounge but the cleanliness is questionable sometimes!

Try to get shut-eye

I am one of those people who unfortunately cannot sleep on planes. Dah! I flew over 100k miles last year with ZERO hours of shut eye. Zero. I've tried it all. Melatonin, gravol, prescription sleep meds, cold meds. Nothing. If you are able to sleep, I do recommend it. Nothing is worse than being delirious and trying to find your way through the maze of an airport you've never been in!

Hope you found this helpful to planning for your next long-haul trip. 

Any tips I missed that help you get through the hours of flying? Leave them below in the comments!

With wanderlust,

Mastering Long Flights for the Everyday Traveler. Ethically made in Canada with sustainable and eco friendly materials.

Chief Fashionpreneur, encircled

Mastering Long Flights for the Everyday Traveler. Ethically made in Canada with sustainable and eco friendly materials.Mastering Long Flights for the Everyday Traveler. Ethically made in Canada with sustainable and eco friendly materials.Mastering Long Flights for the Everyday Traveler. Ethically made in Canada with sustainable and eco friendly materials.Mastering Long Flights for the Everyday Traveler. Ethically made in Canada with sustainable and eco friendly materials.

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