8 Things You Should Do On A Long-Haul Flight If You Want To Arrive Feeling Refreshed

Travellers — listen up! ✈️

Person walking in an airport. Right: Plane window.

Person walking in an airport. Right: Plane window.

As much as we love travel, long-haul flights are never really the highlight of a trip. Actually, long flights are often the lowest of lows and while we all envision stepping off the plane ready to hit the streets of whatever fabulous city we're exploring, it's rarely the reality.

More often than not it's a stumble off the plane, sleep in our eyes and tangled hair, with a foggy brain and jet lag. If you want to get out and enjoy your trip as soon as possible, you'll want to take some extra steps to ensure you touch down feeling as good as possible.

Luckily for all the future travellers out there, we've got some must-know travel tips that you can put to the test if you want to arrive feeling refreshed.

After one too many painfully long flights, I've learned the do's and don'ts of international travel and what helps me feel better despite a serious lack of sleep and showers.

Take it from me, you'll want to take notes on these travel hacks because they can make a world of a difference.

Up your chances of sleeping

Most of us have the dream of taking off and falling asleep instantly, only to wake up when the wheels touch the tarmac. Unfortunately, that's just not how it goes.

What you can do is create the best sleeping environment possible when on a long flight, because even a bit of sleep is better than nothing.

Bring a neck pillow with you to get comfy, noise-cancelling headphones to block out any sounds, and an eye mask to block out light. Also try downloading a good sleep playlist on your phone before flying, which hopefully will help lull you to sleep.

As tempting as it is to catch up on new movies on the plane or binge your favourite show, try to get a bit of shut-eye while flying. A little can go a long way!

Pack a facial mist

After six-plus hours on a plane, it's rare that you'll look or feel your best, and the word "grimy" doesn't even begin to describe it.

I'm always craving a steamy shower by the end of a long-haul flight, but unfortunately, it doesn't ever happen as quickly as I'd like. The next best thing? A refreshing facial mist.

There are a ton of options out there, but I love a hydrating rose water spray to mist on my face once I land. It feels so good and even wakes me up a bit, plus my skin normally gets pretty dry on a plane so it just helps all around.

The Mario Badescu Facial Spray has some mini options that are great for travelling, so you can pack them in your carry-on bag.

Pack an extra set of clothes


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The key to surviving a long-haul flight is comfy clothes. My motto is the baggier the better, and absolutely no bare feet people.

You can probably guess that my flying outfit isn't exactly what I want to step outside in a new city in (my favourite old hoodie, extra baggy sweatpants, fuzzy socks, and slides).

Not only do I feel yucky at that point from wearing it on the plane, but outside of an air-conditioned airport I'm also sweating in it.

Once you land head to the airport bathroom and change into a pre-packed outfit — you'll feel way more ready to take on the day with a fresh look.

Skip the coffee... and the cocktails

Coffee while travelling seems like a must, given how tired you are, but it might be wise to skip your daily cup of joe. Flying tends to dehydrate people, which leaves you feeling tired and all-around not-so-great.

You want to be upping drinks that hydrate you, like water or drinks with electrolytes, and skipping the ones that don't. So yes, that also means saying no to the wine when the drink cart comes around.

Keep the bedtime routine


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Okay, this is especially key on overnight flights. I've taken my fair share of red-eye flights and while they are never fun, I find keeping my nightly routine helps my body adapt.

Right before boarding the plane I'll go to the bathroom and get ready for bed — brushing my teeth, washing my face, and loading up on moisturizer.

Not only does this help my skin big time, but it makes me feel more clean and refreshed despite not taking an actual shower.

Pack snacks

A big downside of travel and what leaves me feeling like I need a 10-hour nap is how icky it makes me feel. On top of being tired and dehydrated, my stomach is usually off from either not eating enough or eating foods that I'm not used to.

One of the culprits of this is the dreaded airplane food. It really depends on what airline you're flying with, but in general, I find the airplane food doesn't exactly leave me feeling energized.

It's never a bad idea to have lots of snacks that you know you like and will make you feel good, and maybe even a sandwich or something to have as a meal.

The prep starts before you get to the airport


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If you really want to feel your best on a long-haul flight, then start taking precautions early.

Try not to go out partying the night before and tire yourself out before the trip has even started, and don't leave all your packing to the last minute. As much packing days in advance might seem like a lot to some, staying up until 2 a.m. stuffing your suitcase when your flight leaves at 6 a.m. is a recipe for disaster.

Try to get to bed early and get a good night of rest, to make up for the lack of sleep you're going to be facing in the upcoming days.

Mini deodorant changes everything

Airport hygiene isn't exactly the gold standard, but we work with what we've got. Slipping a mini deodorant stick into your carry-on will change everything. If you really want to take it to the next level you can also pack a nice perfume in there.

A fresh scent paired with new clothes, (hopefully) a few hours of sleep on the plane, and optimal hydration? You've got yourself feeling refreshed and ready to get out and explore!

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Morgan Leet
Morgan Leet is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media based in Vancouver, B.C.