Travel Hacks

How to survive long haul travel

WHERE — Barcelona
PHOTOGRAPHY — Sam Flaherty

Embarking on long-haul travel can often fill even the most hardy traveler filled with dread. So take note of these travel hacks to make your next journey a little more bearable.

As someone who hails from small town New Zealand yet lives in Europe, I’m well acquainted with long-haul travel. I once flew 36 hours from Spain to New Zealand for a brief 2 day jaunt (to pick up a visa), and then jumped straight back on the plane and flew another 36 hours back.

Basically, I’m no stranger to long haul travel; it’s pretty much an inherent part of coming from the bottom of the earth (aka New Zealand). And over the years I’ve picked up my share fair of tips to make long haul travel bearable – and no – I don’t mean by flying business.


Pre-pack smarter. Compartmentalise everything. There’s nothing worse than trying to find your headphones or socks once you’re on the plane and people are pushing past you to find their seat. Have everything you need/want for the flight ready to pull out from your carry on in separate pouches (that aren’t all an identical shade of black) ready to pull when needed.

And for crying out loud, if you haven’t already embraced hard carry case on wheels, you really gotta get on that. No sore arms or sweaty backs courtesy of a 20 minute across the airport even again. Horizn’s smart cabin luggage is hands down my go-to for any kind of travel; it’s so light it pretty much wheels itself and it also has a removable battery pack (second only to your passport when it comes to travel essentials).


Download the Netflix app on your phone and then download a few episodes from your current got-to series before you leave the house (when the wifi is still unlimited). These episodes are perfect for that first half hour of the flight when the entertainment service is constantly interrupted by updates from the cabin crew .

Download a few your favourite podcasts before leaving home too; it’s the perfect form of entertainment when you’re maxed out on rom-coms.


Never leave home without a fully charged battery pack – thankfully on this front Horizn’s cabin case on has got you covered.


Socks. Earplugs. Eyemask. A slouchy pair of pants, a spare t-shirt and a super cosy jumper. These are the ingredients for an enjoyable flight; thou shall never leave home without them.


Don’t bother putting on makeup just for a trip to the airport; your skin doesn’t need the extra stress. Once you’re on board and settled, load up on super-hydrating moisturizers and eye serum. And if you don’t care what other travelers think, go all out and do a mid-flight face mask.


Passing on regular plane food and opting for the fruit plate special meal has been a game changer for me. I always take my own snacks (of the both super healthy and super-indulgent variety), and yet regardless of whether I’m hungry or not, I always say yes when meal service comes around.

The fruit plate is usually a generous plate of tropical fruit; meaning I still get to eat and drink without everyone else, without being tempted by the dodgy processed food airlines offer.


If I’m due to take a super long flight I’ll always check the seat availability online a few times in the weeks lead up to the flight in hopes the flight will be somewhat empty (a girl can always hope, right). I always check how full the flight is 24-48 hours before travel and purchase a seat with extra leg-room if the flight looks super full.


First of all, always check Seat Guru for reviews on your chosen seat; often the lay-out on airline sites aren’t accurately presented. Meaning your chosen seat could actually be near the loos or not fully recline. Seat Guru is packed with reviews from travel dorks like myself with highly detailed feedback on almost every single seat available.

Another trick of the trade worth trying when traveling with a friend or partner is to select seats A and C (aka intentionally avoiding seat B). Unless the flight is full, people will often avoid the middle seat, and voila, you and your travel buddy have a spare seat between the two of you.

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