02/26/2016 05:38 EST | Updated 02/26/2017 05:12 EST

The Best Ways To Endure (And Enjoy) A Long-Haul Flight

Girl sleeping on airplane holding stuffed animal
PhotoAlto/Thierry Foulon via Getty Images
Girl sleeping on airplane holding stuffed animal

The anticipation of a long-haul flight can quickly turn your travel excitement into dread. After all, no one likes sitting in a cramped chair and eating sub-par microwaved food for roughly 14 hours. However, you don't just have to endure your upcoming long-haul flight -- you can actually enjoy it too.

These five simple yet effective tips will help you make the most of every long-haul flight, so your travel anticipation can be nothing but excitement.

Choose the Perfect Seat


Photo credit: abdallahh

It's often underestimated how important your seat on a flight can be, and you probably have a lot more choices than you expect. If you tend to frequent the bathroom during flight, or leave your seat often to stretch your legs, you'll see an advantage to choosing an aisle seat in the middle section of the plane. This gives you easy access to the aisle and gives the people seated next to you a different option for exit.

Travellers who prefer window seats should ask if there is a two-seat configuration in the rear of the plane, which is common in the economy class of international long-haul carriers. This configuration means you can enjoy the aisle or window seat with just one person beside you. If you're travelling as a pair, it's a huge advantage as well.

The best way to get the seat you prefer is to be friendly when checking-in for your flight. Ask the person at the check-in counter if there are any window seats (if that's your preference) available, and continue further to ask which seats they consider to be the most comfortable. You may find yourself in the less crowded upstairs area of the plane, in a more spacious exit row, or simply in the window or aisle seat you prefer.

Download Plenty of Apps

If your smartphone isn't equipped with your favourite offline games (think Candy Crush Saga), you may find yourself disappointed in flight. Other useful or fun apps, like Card Games, SpellTower, National Geographic World Atlas, and iFiles can help you work or play in-flight without paying for costly internet.

Another important asset to enjoying your smartphone's entertainment in flight is having a spare power bank on hand. Many economy seats do not include power outlets, so you'll probably find yourself wishing you brought a battery pack after an hour or two.

Bring Your Own Snacks


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Depending on where you're travelling and which airline you're travelling with, the quality of the airline food you eat may vary. It's best to come prepared with snacks and drinks you know you love, so you don't go hungry or feel obligated to eat a meal you don't enjoy. Airline meals also tend to be in smaller portions, so you may want to pack some healthy treats for snacking.

Come Equipped with Entertainment

If you're flying on a budget, your airline's in-flight entertainment options may not be as extensive as expected, and your smartphone's apps probably won't be enough to keep you entertained for hours. That's when it's time to resort to more "old-school" forms of entertainment, such as a favourite book or several magazines. Books of crossword puzzles, sudoku, word searches and other mind-bending games can also pass the hours without requiring powered electronics or internet access.

Stay Hydrated


Photo credit: Steven Depolo

Staying hydrated may not be a form of entertainment, but it can be the difference between comfort and discomfort on a plane. Experts from Taipei's St. John's University suggest that travellers drink at least one liter of water every five hours while flying. In-flight dehydration often occurs because travellers drink too many alcoholic beverages. The climate of the cabin also causes travellers to dehydrate more quickly, which is another reason to drink up and stay comfortable.

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