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Tips for reducing Long Haul Trauma - making your flight more comfortable and your arrival more successful.

by Christine Keeling |

From one long haul warrior to another, here are my tried-and-true habits for surviving long haul flights like a superstar:

Time management:

As soon as you get on the plane set your watch to the time of your destination.  From that moment on try and do whatever you would be doing at destination. For example, flights leaving the west coast of North America for Australia leave around midnight local time  - early afternoon at destination. It’s tough - ‘cause all you want to do is go to sleep when that flight finally takes off. But if you do, chances are good that you’ll be waking up in 6 or 7 hours - around midnight at destination.  I stay up until about 9pm at destination and try to sleep until just before breakfast is served about 2 hours before landing. This makes my transition so much easier. Talk to your local pharmacist about melatonin - it is great for helping you get to sleep and to help you reset your body clock at destination.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate:

The environment on the plane literally sucks the life out of you.  Drink as much water as you can (never anything out of the bathroom tap), and take an electrolyte replacement tablet or two.  I travel with Hydralite, but I am sure that there are a number of different brands available depending on your location. Coffee, tea and alcohol are known diuretics so you don’t want to get into too much of that.  However, I am definitely a wine with dinner girl (and bubbles when offered) and will ask for a scotch if I can’t fall asleep. Just bear in mind that the effects of alcohol are magnified at altitude - it’s not worth the hangover, especially if you have places to go and people to see when you land.


What you wear is important to how you feel...this isn’t a fashion statement - it’s about comfort and physiology. Your tight jeans may show off your fab pins, but 3 hours over the Atlantic you won’t have any feeling left below your hips.  If you’re lucky enough to turn left when you board then there’s a good chance that there are a pair of jammies on your seat waiting for you, and if you don’t mind stripping down in the airplane toilet, you’ll be in good shape.   But if you have turned right, or don’t feel like gettin’ nak’d in the loo then there are ways to dress that will get you in and out of the airport looking schmeck, and super comfortable in the middle. First - skip the sexy push-up and thong and go for a sports bra and a pair of Calvin's - honestly there is nothing like 20 hours in an underwire bra to make you lose the will to live ……  I have actually taken my bra off in the back of a cab after a long flight. Next - dress in layers. A tank top, a loose long sleeve top, a wrap, and a pair of loose fitting, non-wrinkle pants. I do the entire ensemble in black jersey knit with an enormous wrap that works as outerwear for my first walk from the airport to cab or rental car in cold climates, and is easy enough to drape over a suitcase in warm destinations. And it makes a great blanket on board. I wear heels on and off the plane and throw on a pair of flat slip-ons on board for trips to the loo or a stretch/lap around the plane. And don’t forget a pair of compression socks, especially if you have medical conditions that have you inclined to clotting. They can be procured at most pharmacies and a number of sporting retailers like 2XU also make them. DVT is a thing, and it’s serious - so invest in a pair and use them.

If you have a challenge putting this together, watch this space -  a clothing capsule will be made available through Long Haul Spa soon.


A good sleep mask is a great investment - it blocks out the ambient light from the movie playing in the seat next to you, and lets people know you don’t want to be disturbed.  Look for a “3D” mask - one that won’t crush your lovely lashes.

Noise canceling headphones - expensive and worth every penny.  Crying babies and loud talkers will be a  faint memory - they are great for sleeping - play some quiet classical or jazz and drift off.  And they say Do Not Disturb loud and clear.


Once you get to your destination, get into the time zone immediately.  Do not have a nap in the middle of the day.  Get outside as much as you can - sunlight and fresh air help adjust your body clock.  Go for a walk, run, boat ride - explore your new surroundings and don’t go to bed before 9pm.  The second day can be harder than the first - be vigilant. Melatonin will be helpful with resetting your body clock and circadian rhythm.  You can get it just about anywhere, so if you forget to pack some you should be able to find it at a local pharmacy at destination.

If you have any tips or tricks that you think should be added to this list, please comment below.  I expect that there are experienced travellers out there who have travel hacks that we have never considered.  And of course, the best thing to get you to the other side fresh-faced and ready to crush it…..your Long Haul Spa kit.  Buy it. Use it. Love it. Share it.