Approach Tours Approach Tours Logo

How to: Prep for a long flight

You’re about to embark on the trip of a lifetime (or return from one). The only thing standing in your way is a long flight – and that can sometimes feel overwhelming! What to pack? Where to pack it? Are you forgetting something?

Over the years, our team has perfected their packing skills. Here are a few of our favourite organizational hacks that will have you packing like a pro for your next trip. You’ll even find a few tricks of the trade to help long flights feel like a breeze.

#1 Pack like a pro

Having the right item in the right place can turn your personal item into your secret weapon for surviving long flights. Never again will you have to face the mid-flight feeling of, “I wish I packed that!”

Your personal item checklist:

Travel documents 

Between check-in, security and boarding, you’re going to be accessing these documents a lot, so keep them handy. Having your most important documents easily accessible will make airport processes run a lot smoother.




Pack all of your medications in their original bottles, along with your original prescriptions if possible. We recommend packing an extra week’s worth in case you face any flight delays.



Electronics & chargers

Phones, tablets and e-readers that you’ll want to use during the flight should be kept in your personal item. Don’t forget to pack their chargers! Pro tip: download a few movies or shows from your favourite streaming service before your flight.




If your flight starts to feel never-ending, going to the bathroom and doing a little refresh is a great way to reset. Baby wipes are perfect for this. Airplanes are notorious for germs, so we also suggest packing a small bottle of hand sanitizer.



A sweater

Planes can get chilly, no matter where you’re travelling to. Wear your sweater or tie it around your waist to save luggage space.

Healthy snacks

Heavy meals keep you awake. If you want to catch some quick Z’s, we recommend skipping the Texas-sized burger chain that’s tempting you at your gate. Instead, try packing dry, solid foods from home or buying snacks at the airport. Avoid sugar, salt, or caffeine. Choose nuts, protein bars and fruits instead.



Take off and landing causes many people’s ears to pop. By sucking on a throat lozenge or hard candy you can reduce a lot of that discomfort. Chewing on gum also works, but it can make your throat dry.

Eye mask, headphones & neck pillow

Bonus points if your headphones are noise-cancelling. On a long flight, you’re going to want to sleep. Being over-prepared is going to make that possible for you.

#2 Minimize jet lag

A little bit of jet lag is inevitable. It’s the price you pay for being an adventurous globetrotter like yourself! But there are some insider tips you can follow to handle the time jump with ease.

Get plenty of rest before your flight

There’s no need to be scrambling in the days before your departure or return. All your flights, meals, accommodations and activities are taken care of and your Group Guru is there to help you with any last-minute questions. Your tour will be packed full of adventure. This is the time to take it easy.

Slowly adjust your sleep schedule

Slowly adjust your sleep schedule so it feels like less of a transition. If your typical bedtime is 10 pm EST (or 5 am in South Africa GMT), try going to bed 2-3 hours earlier in the days leading up to your trip. A 7 pm EST bedtime is like going to bed at 2 am in South Africa, which is a lot better than 5 am.

During the first day on tour, all activities will start later in the day so you can rest and adjust to the time change.

Adjust your watch

Adjust your watch and phone to your new time zone before you take off. Then turn your phone on airplane mode! This way you can acclimatize to your new time zone quickly, without being faced with the glaring reminder that you’re used to being hours behind local time.

Spend your time wisely

Even if you don’t think you’ll fall asleep during your flight, give your eyes some rest by rotating activities and taking a break from screens. Read, doodle, or just sit and listen to music. Resting your eyes means that overall, you’ll feel more rested.

#3 Fly without fret!

It’s time to take to the skies! Here are some final pieces of advice to help you triumph over this day of travel.

(Don’t) dress to impress

The folks on the right might look fashionable, but there’s no need to match their effort. Loose clothing, comfortable shoes and lots of layers – that’s the way to do it!

Some travellers experience swelling during a long flight. To prevent swelling in your legs and feet, try wearing support pantyhose or compression socks.

Take a stand (or stretch)!

Every few hours, try to stand up and stretch your legs and do some small stretches every hour. Roll your ankles, your shoulders and shake your head from side to side. Try stretching a bit the day before your flight as well, just like these travellers in Vietnam doing Tai Chi.

If you sit with your legs crossed, try breaking that habit for this flight by switching legs often and trying to sit straight. This helps improve circulation in your legs.

Know how to hydrate

Anxious flyers might think a nice stiff drink will take the edge off, but that’s a great way to dehydrate quickly. Try asking for herbal tea instead to soothe your nerves and keep you hydrated. Drink plenty of water also!

If you have dry, sensitive skin moisturize right before your flight to prevent any discomfort caused by the dry air circulating onboard.

Respect your seatmate

Whether they’re a stranger or your travel partner, you’re about to embark on a journey together. That journey is going to go a lot smoother if you create harmony with your fellow passengers. If you approach your long flight with the right mindset and a sense of humour, you’re sure to have a smooth take off to your group tour experience.

Now you’re all set for your next far-away adventure!