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How to Prepare for a Long Plane Ride

Heed these tips for a comfortable, happy, and healthy flight.


  • Step 1: Pack early Pack essentials, such as medications and passports, a few days before your flight, and completely finish packing the night before. You’ll minimize stress because you won't be rushing around the morning of the flight.
  • Step 2: Pack smart Make sure all essentials are in your carry-on luggage. Fully charge your music player, game player, or laptop and pack books and magazines. Bring your favorite snacks and finger food.
  • TIP: Check out the entertainment and food options offered by the airline before you fly.
  • Step 3: Get a good seat Consider upgrading to a better seating class for a particularly long flight. If you check in online up to 24 hours in advance, you often get to choose your seat or change to a better one. Or get to the airport extra early and check for a better seat at the counter and again at the gate.
  • TIP: Seats in exits rows and the bulkhead provide the most legroom.
  • Step 4: Tune out Bring along earplugs or noise-reduction headphones to block unwanted noise. An eye mask will shield your eyes from sunlight if you want to sleep during the day.
  • Step 5: Consider coziness Bring a soft travel blanket and neck pillow. Besides being warm and cozy, you won't have to worry about the airline's blanket-cleaning policy. Dress comfortably and bring thick socks to swap for your shoes after take-off.
  • TIP: Neck pillows with lavender are said to be calming and reduce headaches.
  • Step 6: Prevent illness Take motion sickness pills or ginger capsules 2 hours before your flight if you're prone to air sickness. Wash your hands, especially before and after eating, and bring hand sanitizer wipes.
  • TIP: Wipe down airflow vent and tray tables with sanitized wipes and use a tissue when touching the bathroom door handle.
  • Step 7: Hydrate and move Drink plenty of water before and during your flight to avoid muscle aches and fatigue. Get up, stretch, and move around often to prevent stiffness and deep vein thrombosis.
  • FACT: A survey by 3M and the Global Strategy Group found that most Americans would rather get stuck in traffic, go on a blind date, or go to the dentist than sit in the middle seat on a flight.

You Will Need

  • Carry-on luggage
  • Electronics
  • Reading materials
  • Snacks
  • Good seat
  • Early check-in
  • Earplugs or headphones
  • Eye mask
  • Travel blanket and neck pillow
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Thick socks
  • Motion sickness pills or ginger capsules
  • Hand-sanitizer wipes
  • Water
  • Lavender-scented neck pillow (optional)

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