Surviving a Long-Haul Flight

When I booked my flight, I didn’t really consider making the travel as easy as possible. All I cared about was doing it as cheap as possible with the attitude of “my visa lasts a year, I’m in no rush to get there”. Oh Lord how wrong I was. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be (if money is available) get the most direct route to your destination.

Our flight itinerary is as follows:

·         25th June 07:15am – Dublin to Amsterdam (flight duration: 1 hour and 35 minutes)

(Two hour stopover – 1 hour ahead of Irish Time)

·         13:10pm – Amsterdam to Hong Kong (flight duration: 11 hours and 5 minutes)

(Three hour stopover – 8 hours ahead of Irish Time)

·         09:10 am – Hong Kong to Sydney (flight duration: 9 hours and 5 minutes)

Arrival in Sydney: 8pm 26th June Australian Time (9 hours ahead of Irish Time)

So in layman terms, we take off from Dublin at 7:15 am and arrive 28 HOURS LATER in Sydney. Wish me luck.

Whatever way you’re flying, don’t forget your passport!!

 Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to survive a long-haul flight and land in your destination as refreshed and organised as possible:

Consider your Diet

Experts agree that your diet in the days approaching your flight is crucial for a comfortable flight. Eat healthily and light, and avoid stodgy meals and alcohol. I learned this the hard way. A heavy night of drinking and eating followed by a flight to Amsterdam with a stopover was not a good combination. If you choose to have a going away party, my best advice is to say your boozy goodbyes a week before your flight, and spend your last few days with a clear head and hangover free.

Staying away from the booze will make your flight a lot easier.

Toiletries Bag

Again, the idea is to keep things light. Ladies, leave off the make-up for the period you’re travelling. It’ll probably be running down your face after saying your goodbyes anyway. Leave your make-up bag in your main luggage; those things are deceptively heavy and will eventually become a nuisance.

Also, please don’t be the girl stinking out the plane with fake tan. On a flight over to New York my friend thought it would be clever to cover herself in the brown stuff the night before. By the time we landed, her clothes were covered in sweaty orange stains and I couldn’t wait to get upwind from her away from the fake tan stench.

This is the size of the make-up bag I am bringing on my travels.

In my toiletries bag I will be carrying wetwipes, toothbrush and toothpaste (travel size). Roll-on deodorant is a must, your fellow passengers will thank you! I usually take some face moisturiser and lip balm with me as well. A small can of dry shampoo is an option as well if you want an extra bit of freshening up.


I try to keep my carry-on luggage as small as possible so I won’t be packing too much into it. A good tip is to bring spare underwear/under garments/t-shirt for a quick change to freshen up. Make sure and consider the time of your arrival to your final destination. Also check the weather the day before. We arrive in Sydney at 8pm, dry evening with nice temperatures, so I’ve packed a spare pair of leggings and a fresh hoodie to change into upon arrival.

Fluffy socks – I will be wearing sandals on to the plane but as we all know air conditioning can leave the toesies chilly. It’s an easy job to kick off the sandals on the plane and slip into some comfy socks. Huge tip…don’t be that person who takes off their sweaty trainers and stinks out the aircraft, you will get some looks.


Neck pillow, ear plugs and an eye mask are essential for me getting some shut eye on a flight. Most airlines will supply a blanket, but I will also have my trusty scarf to double up as an extra layer.

I’ll be packing my monkey headrest, eye-mask and fluffy socks for a comfortable flight.

Flight snacks

I’m the pickiest eater alive and will choose chocolate over veggies any day. If you’re looking for the healthy option this section might not be for you. I just left my family for the foreseeable future so sue me if I have some comfort food on the flight! My packed lunch would look more at home in a five-year-old’s school bag. It consists of yummy Irish Dairy Milk (dunno when I’ll get my hands on it again!), some Haribo jellies and granola bars. Chewing gum is also handy to keep the “ear-popping” at bay.


From one glasses wearer to another: LEAVE THE CONTACTS OUT! Wearing contact lenses on any flight, long or short, is a dire mistake to make. They dry out extremely quickly, make naps near impossible and in general will make you and your eyes irritable. Pack a pair of sunnies in your carry-on as well, if for nothing more than to hide the serious jet-lag bags!


My boyfriend and I are opposite ends of the pole when it comes to this one. I’ll happily sleep most of the flight on his shoulder, while he sits wide awake cursing my name and counting the seconds until we land.

I’ll only bring a few bits on the flight to keep me occupied: A newspaper (the Irish Sun of course!), Kindle, my phone for music and my iPad to work on some blogging. REMEMBER to bring a portable charger. Nothing sucks worse than running out of battery and having to listen to the boozy idiot or crying baby on the plane.

If you’re travelling as a couple/group, it’s a good idea to bring something you can share together. Try watching the same movie, bring a pack of cards or flick through a travel guide of your intended destination together.

The question game is one I often annoyed the other half with on long drives from Dublin (our current location) to Kerry (his home). Try these questions from the New York Times to get the conversation flowing and you won’t even notice the time whizzing by with the clouds: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html?_r=0

Keelin Riley
Keelin Riley

Keelin is an Irish travel writer with a degree in journalism and a background in the Irish media. Keelin’s travel writing has been published in various media publications, and when she’s not off gallivanting around the globe, she enjoys keeping Sun Scribes up-to-date for all those fellow budget travellers out there!

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