How can we make those extremely long hours and tiny seats feel a little more comfortable? That is the question I ask myself every time we are about to board a flight. The dread of being stuck in tiny uncomfortable seats and not being able to rest have is the worst.

In this post I will share my 5 tips to make the journey a bit less weary and filled with a bit more comfort.

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If you’re like me, flying first class or buying business class tickets is on your bucket list, however, flying in luxury and having a seat that turns into a bed, whilst being served champagne is something yet to be experienced. With prices for Business Class tickets tending to cost 4x more and First Class a whopping 7x more than economy tickets this dream is just not in the cards for me and my husband at the moment.

Here are my 5 (tried and tested) tips to make it a more enjoyable journey:

In an Ethiopian Airways flight

1. Try to book shorter flights

When possible, invest a little extra to arrive a little early. I know the cost of tickets with ridiculously long layovers are tempting, however, if you’re not planning to leave the airport to explore during that time, you’ll end up paying that difference in other ways. You’ll end up spending a lot of money to make time pass by (whether with food, or airport shopping –  read $$$), and worse, usually you’ll have to fight the sea of tired travelers to find a seat while you wait for the next flight (and let me tell you, it can be savage…). On a first-hand experience with a 13 hour long layover in Dubai, which did not entitle me to a hotel – shocking, I know, but I did check with the airline and all I was entitled to was a meager meal voucher that really could only be used at McDonald’s- I ended up racing against travelers to get a “lounger” chair and when I finally I did find one, a few of them decided to just stand next to my chair waiting until I caved and went on a bathroom break to jump onto my lounger. You try relaxing whilst feeling the dirty looks and pressure of tired travelers and let me know how that works out for you.

2. Invest in a lounge access

I am an absolute believer of this. As this little luxury will go a long way if a shorter flight is just not an option. A lot of credit card companies already offer this service depending on the tier of your card, so, chat to your bank before you travel and find out if you qualify. Otherwise, companies such as “Priority Pass” and “Lounge Buddy” are great too. A little pro-tip, these make AMAZING Christmas Gifts for travelers. Really. It is the gift that keeps on giving. In most lounges you’ll have food and drinks available for consumption as well as (and more importantly) showers!!! Having a shower in between flights has been an absolute game changer for me. I feel much more relaxed and fresher for the second half of the trip and have noticed that I arrive at the destination with more energy and a better attitude. If you do the math, the money you’d spend buying food and drinks in the airport, as well as to be able to use the Wi-Fi for longer than 30 minutes (as in most airports), will not be much different than the fee to the lounge access… trust me, it is worth every dime!

3. Bring an extra pillow

I know most airlines offer little pillows for long flights, but seriously, they’re so small, you wake up with killer neck and back pain. I always bring with me a small fluffy pillow and it is very helpful. I usually use the airline offered pillow as a back support and my pillow to rest my head on, or as a stress reliever – a pillow hug goes a long way during turbulence. (Raise your hand if flying is also not one of your favourite activities!)

I have found this amazing memory foam travel pillow. It is lightweight at 525g, compact and comes with a very convenient waterproof carry bag.

4. If possible, try to book your seat in advance

If you can, when buying your ticket, choose your seat. If that’s not possible, try, to the best of your ability, to check-in online earlier (most airlines open their online check-in at least 24 hours before the flight). I love window seats mainly because I use the window to lean my pillow and head against to have better sleep. The view is not bad either. However, if you’re more of an aisle type, it’ll give you the peace of mind that you won’t have to bother one or 2 passengers to go on a loo or stretch break. For those taller than me (basically anyone), the bulk head seats or emergency exits are great seats for extra leg room (just make sure you are not the last seat before the emergency exit as those seats rarely can push their back rest down.)

5. Fly during the daytime when possible

I know some of us are tempted to book the overnight flight as you won’t lose a day when you arrive, however, I would like to argue that when you are crossing several time zones, you will be exhausted to do a lot of sightseeing the minute you arrive. Plus, for the several first few hours you’ll be waiting for your luggage, go through immigration (if you are going overseas), sorting transportation and checking into your accommodation.

By the time all this is done, all you’ll be looking to sight-see is a shower, some food and your bed! If you travel during the day, you’ll be tired enough to go to bed early and be able to get a proper good night’s rest and you can start your holiday feeling fresh after very good sleep on a proper bed!

So here it is… my 5 tips to make a long flight be a little more enjoyable. I hope that these tips will help you the next time you travel. What do you think? Do you have any extra tips that you have learned along the way that I haven’t covered? Please share them with us in the comments section, we’d love to hear and test them!