Far and Familiar

How To Survive an Overnight Flight

The time has come. We are leaving beautiful Chile today and jet setting to the States on an overnight flight.

We arrived on December 30, 2015, and kicked off 2016 exploring Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. Best of all, we skipped out on winter in the Northeast! Or so we hope…

Valparaiso Harbor

Chile is quite far from Boston (our hometown) so we’ll be taking an overnight flight tonight back to the States.

Overnight flights can be somewhat daunting since you never know how well you will sleep and it’s a luck of the draw if you are sitting far from a crying baby or loud snorer.

Luckily, we’ve taken plenty of overnight flights to help you survive yours. Here is survival guide complete with a checklist and tips to help you make the most of your next flight.

Carry On Items for Overnight Flight

Carry On Checklist

  • Headphones
  • Kindle and/or a book
  • Cell Phone
  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Chargers for electronics
  • Portable charging battery
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Tissues
  • Lotion
  • Chapstick
  • Medicine
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Neck pillow
  • Extra change of clothes
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Scarf
  • Sweatshirt
  • Makeup (for women)

Tip 1: Bring warm, comfortable clothes

Building your comfortable oasis on a plane begins with your clothing. We always travel in sweatpants / leggings and bring a sweatshirt, a cardigan, a scarf, and warm socks. Airplanes are usually freezing on long flights. So it will be hard to sleep while shivering.

We always bring an extra change of clothes and underwear in our carry-on when we check our luggage. This will guarantee you will have something to change it to when you arrive at your destination if your bags are delayed.

Tip 2: Guarantee some shut-eye on the flight

Neck pillows are a game-changer when traveling overnight. Your neck and head will thank you in the morning when it’s not strained from constant nodding.

We also travel with an eye mask and headphones. Sometimes the attendants will randomly flick on the lights, so avoid this abrupt wake-up call by using an eye mask. Headphones will double as entertainment and noise cancellation.

Neck pillow for Overnight Flight

Tip 3: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

We travel with reusable water bottles and I use this Contigo water bottle. I love that it keeps my water cold for more than 8 hours too!

We usually have to chug all of our water before security, so we fill it up again before boarding the flight. It’s easy to become hydrated on a flight and the small glasses of water they serve don’t usually cut it. So prepare in advance and carry it on. It’s a good idea to bring healthy snacks on board as well such as granola bars, trail mix, and dried fruit.

Tip 4: Stretch!

Once the fasten seat belt signs go off, take the opportunity to walk and stretch a little before you fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep on the flight, walk and stretch every 2 hours. It can be very dangerous to sit for a long period of time at such high altitudes.

Tip 5: Banish Boredom

Most long, overnight flights have seatback TVs. This is a jackpot as you can entertain yourself with movies, TV shows, and music. Check SeatGuru to see if your flight offers a seatback TV.

If you’re out of luck and don’t have a TV on your flight, pack your kindle, book, and/or magazines. Load up your cell phone with some good music or download some from Spotify.  Focusing on something else if you can not sleep will help the flight go by quicker.

iPhone and Headphones for for Overnight Flight

Tip 6: Ward of Sickness

You are more susceptible to airborne illness, such as the common cold, on an airplane. More than 100 people in a small spaced with limited air flow – yeah, things can get stuffy. 

We boost our immune systems before every flight by taking Vitamin C tablets in addition to our daily vitamins.

We carry disinfectant wipes in order to wipe down our tray tables. You’ll start doing it too after reading this article.  We also bring packs of tissues, chapstick, and lotion with us. Don’t forget to properly wash your hands with soap & warm water while traveling too!

Tip 7: Bring Your Valuables with You

We highly recommend carrying on your laptop, camera, lenses, and chargers. I use a Lowepro backpack and it has great compartments to carry David’s camera and my laptop.

Valuables also include medicine, contacts & solution, and any other item that you can’t live a day without if your bag is delayed or lost. A toothbrush and toothpaste are valuable to us so we bring it on the flight so we can start the day with a clean mouth once we arrive in the morning.

Overnight flight view on airplane

With our checklist and tips, you’ll pack your carry-on like a pro and survive your next overnight flight. Put your tray table up (after disinfecting it, of course) and enjoy the ride!

How do you prepare for an overnight flight? Have any tips to share?

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