The Long Haul…. How to Survive That Long Flight


It’s the end of the year, as well as the summer (or winter) holidays…depending on where you call home, so long flights and holidays are on the cards. Taking a few   simple measure before, during and after the flight will make the trip a lot more comfortable.


  1. Keep moving

Keeping circulation flowing during a long trip is crucial so make sure to stretch your thighs however you can so the energy can move out and down through your legs, and do some deep breathing exercises regularly. Walk up and down the cabin during the waking hours to avoid DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), a common travel ailment.


  1. Eat well & Stay hydrated

Go for the healthier options on the menu (if there is one) and when the drink cart rolls by, make sure to stay away from coffee, alcohol or even tea as these can all contribute even more to dehydration.


  1. Relax

Use some aromatherapy and download some meditation or hypnosis apps on your phone for when you need to relax. Listening to music is a great way to relax the brain. Music has the power to shift consciousness and change the brain chemical activity. Bring along some noise cancelling headphones, to enhance your experience and cut out the noise from your neighbor, who could be chatting loudly or snoring even louder.


  1. Pack layers

The air conditioning on board may seem like a lifesaver if you’re just leaving a tropical climate, but the change in temperature is tough on the body. If you’re in your summer clothes – tank top, shorts and flip-flops for example – make sure to pack a light sweater, light scarf and some socks. If your neck, shoulders and feet are warm, you should be OK. Heat is very important to maintaining healthy immunity, especially when traveling.


  1. Keep your body’s clock ticking

When heading across time zones, “jetlag” is caused by a disruption to the body’s clock. While the shift is inevitable, you can avoid mental and physical fatigue by trying to stick as closely as possible to your usual routine. If you’re taking medications or supplements, try to adapt to the new time zone for the time you’re away and take at the equivalent of the same time each day if possible. Try to eat at similar times during the day. And while you may want to lie down on your plush hotel bed or doze off on the beach upon arrival, It would be wiser to stay awake for as long as possible in your new time zone then going to sleep early.


  1. Comfort & hygiene

A small pillow is a staple carry-on item for all long-distance travelers. Every airport on the planet will sell travel pillows, however I would shop around and research which in-flight pillows actually work best before the flight. An eye mask is especially useful if you’re flying during the day. Bring               toiletries in your carry-on and make sure to brush your teeth, throw on some deodorant, or even change your clothes. Mint candies or breath fresheners are a must on long flights, for you and the guy net to you!


  1. Avoid getting a blood clot

Blood clots are a risk for certain people on long haul flights.

Here are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis):

  • Try to keep your thighs clear of the edge of your seat by keeping your feet up on the leg rests at the highest elevation or resting your feet on your hand luggage.
  • Exercise during the flight by moving around the aircraft cabin or by using a leg exerciser.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Avoid too much alcohol.
  • Wear elastic flight socks or support stockings (this is particularly important for passengers with varicose veins). Make sure they are not tight around the knees, this will actually increase the risk of a clot forming.
  • Walk briskly for at least half an hour before takeoff & during transit stops.


  1. Avoid Ear / Head Pain

“Airplane ear” is the stress exerted on your eardrum and other middle ear tissues when the air pressure in your middle ear and the air pressure in the environment are out of balance. You may experience airplane ear at the beginning of a flight when the airplane is climbing or at the end of a flight when the airplane is descending. These fast changes in altitude cause air pressure changes and can trigger airplane ear. Ear or sinus pain can be anything from mildly uncomfortable, to feeling like your head is going to explode!

This can be especially distressing for young children whose ear tubes are very narrow.


Follow these tips to avoid airplane ear :

  • Yawn and swallow during ascent and descent.

Yawning and swallowing activate the muscles that open your eustachian tubes. You can suck on candy or chew gum to help you swallow.

  • Use the Valsalva maneuver during ascent & descent.

Gently blow, as if blowing your nose, while pinching your nostrils and keeping your mouth closed. Repeat several times, especially during descent, to equalize the pressure between your ears and the airplane cabin.

  • Don’t sleep during takeoffs and landings.

If you’re awake during ascents and descents, you can do the necessar self-care techniques when you feel pressure on your ears.

  • Reconsider travel plans.

If possible, don’t fly when you have a cold, sinus infection, nasal congestion or ear infection. If you’ve recently had ear surgery, talk to your doctor about when it’s safe to travel.

  • Use filtered earplugs.

These earplugs slowly equalize the pressure against your eardrum during ascents and    descents, (not regular earplugs) one brand is called “Earplanes”. I have never seen these in Bali.

  • Use an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray.

If you have nasal congestion, use a nasal decongestant about 30 minutes to an hour before takeoff and landing. Avoid overuse, however, because nasal decongestants taken over several days can increase congestion.

  • Use oral decongestant pills cautiously.

Oral decongestants may be helpful if taken 30 minutes to an hour before an airplane flight. However, if you have heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder or high blood pressure, or if you’ve experienced possible medication interactions, avoid taking an oral decongestant unless your doctor approves.

  • Take allergy medication.

If you have allergies, take your medication about an hour before your flight.

And from my desk it’s a Very Happy New Years to you all. Stay Happy, Stay Healthy & Stay Happy ☺


Kim Patra is a qualified Midwife & Nurse Practioner who has been living and working in Bali for over 30 years. She now runs her own Private Practice & Mothers & Babies center at her Community Health Care office in Sanur.

Kim is happy to discuss any health concerns that you have and may be contacted via email at, or office phone 085105-775666 or


Copyright © 2019 Kim Patra

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