Lady sleeping on long haul flight

Are you planning an overnight or long haul flight and wondering what you need to do? Traveling overnight and expecting to sleep can seem like an impossible task! We’ve been there and after multiple overnight trips, we’ve mastered the ways to prepare and know the essential items you need in your carry on. With these long haul flight tips and the right items in your backpack, we’ll show you how to prepare for your overnight flight so you will be comfortable and get some rest so you arrive at your destination ready for your adventure! 

Eat. Sleep. Travel.

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How to Prepare for an Overnight or Long Haul Flight

Choose the right seat

Do you prefer to sit in an aisle or do you like the window? (Nobody wants the middle seat so we aren’t even going to suggest that!) Both aisle and window seats on the plane have their disadvantages, but you need to decide where you will be the most comfortable to get some rest. I like to avoid sitting in areas where the toilets are so you aren’t getting interrupted by doors closing and other passengers lining up.

Most airlines allow you to choose your seat when booking so this will allow you to pick the seat of choice. You can also change your seat at anytime so check the seating map and switch if you find another row with no middle seat taken. This will allow you some extra space to stretch out your legs and have some elbow room which is so limited in this tight space.

Wear comfortable clothing & stay warm

Your most important part of getting some rest on the plane will be comfort and that starts with what you are wearing. I like to wear leggings, a t-shirt and sweater or sweatshirt. I always wear sneakers and socks because my feet get cold on flights. I always pack my fuzzy socks for when it’s time to go to sleep on the flight!

Airlines usually offer a blanket when traveling overnight so I usually use these instead of packing big bulky items in my carryon. If you think you are going to be cold on the flight, you can always pack an extra sweater and tie around your waist when traveling to save on space. Travel pillows are an item essential for comfort and I’ve tried many and the Trtl Pillow has been my favorite!

Pack your backpack with essential items

I prefer to travel with a backpack so I can stay easily organized with all my essential travel items and it stores under the seat so I have it at my reach at all times! (Especially if you are in a window seat, you don’t want to be getting up to the overhead bins)

Most of the other passengers on your flight will be trying to sleep as well, but for extra quiet, we recommend noise canceling headphones. We have really been enjoying our Apple Airpod Pros as they do help with noise cancelling, however keep in mind that without a cord you won’t be able to use the airplane’s entertainment center. We also recommend packing a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. You will feel alot better when you land if you’ve been drinking water.

One of the most important long haul flight tips will be your clear cosmetic bag and the contents. I like using a clear bag so its easy to find what I am looking for, as well as being TSA approved. These are the items you need to pack in your clear bag:

Sanitizing Wipes
Ear Plugs
Lip Balm
Face Wipes
Eye Mask
Hair Tie
Few makeup essentials
Body Wipes
Disposable toothbrush
The Get to Sleep Plan
      • Sanitize your area. After boarding flight, use sanitizing wipes to clean area such as arm rests and tray tables. (You’ll thank us when you don’t get sick on vacation!)


      • Organize. Pull out any items you will want in pockets in front of you such as fuzzy socks and headphones. I also like to eat a light snack at this point so I don’t get hungry and drink plenty of water.


      • Prepare your skin. After flight has reached altitude, take clear cosmetic bag to bathroom. I feel so much better going to sleep with a clean face and fresh mouth so pull your hair up and use disposable toothbrush and face wipes. The air is dry in the airplane so apply moisturizer and lip balm.


      • Get comfortable. I like to take melatonin to help get me to sleep and use noise canceling headphones, but you can also use ear plugs. I also make a sleepy music playlist on my phone to help me relax. Get comfy with your travel pillow and blanket.


      • Time to get some Zzzz. Now put on your sleep mask (which is the universal “Do Not Disturb”) and get some sleep!


The Arrival Plan
      • Wake up. I’m usually woken up by other passengers waking up and opening windows. At this time the flight attendants are usually making rounds with a light breakfast and coffee.


    • Freshen up. Sometimes there will be quite a line to use the bathroom on the plane (and sometimes you don’t want to use it after long flights!), so I usually freshen up after in the airport bathroom. Since you are arriving so early, chances are you won’t be able to check into your hotel yet to take a shower. This is when I use the body wipes and wash face to feel refreshed to start the day. A change of clothes and light makeup application and you are ready to start your day!


    • Stay Active & Eat. The best way to adjust to a new time zone is to stay up until bedtime. We are usually so excited to be at our new destination, we find it easy to stay active and take in the location. Make sure you are fueling your body with proper nutrition so you feel great for the rest of your trip!


    • Drink Water. It is important to start drinking water prior to leaving on the flight and during, but make sure you increase water intake when you arrive to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and that’s the last way you want to start your vacation.

Flying overnight on a long haul flight doesn’t have to leave you feeling unrested and dreading the next day! We’ve learned over time that a little preparation goes a long way to being ready to take your next overnight flight. I hope these long haul flight tips will help you on your next overnight or red eye flight!

Check out our other travel tips to help you plan  your next trip!



  • June 3, 2019

    Coming from Australia and being a frequent traveller, all my flights are long haul flights. In reading your post, it was nice to know I am not missing any strategies.

  • June 18, 2019

    You offer some very useful tips! I abide by most of these and they definitely help prevent jetlag. To stay relaxed and not restless on the flight I also make sure to walk, walk, walk while in the airport terminal. I hardly sit down so when I finally do I can relax and my legs are thankful for the break. On an especially long layover, I might even do some yoga. Great tips!

    • Brittany Morazan

      June 18, 2019

      Martha, that is such a great idea! I do think that is one of the hardest aspects of long flights is sitting for so long. I get so restless!


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