How to Survive Long Flights in Style


Traveling back and forth between the US and Bali has me up in the air for 24 hours not including layovers. Over the years I’ve practiced traveling on these long flights as comfortable as I can without compromising in style...of course. Grabbing your passport and phone are obvious but what else do you chuck in your carry on tote? What do you wear? How do you keep your feet from swelling so you can put your shoes back on at the end of your journey? Here I’m sharing my tips on what to wear, take and do.


When you are on a long haul flight, it is unlikely that you will hit the ground running when you arrive so no need for heels and skinny jeans...unless they stretch A LOT. I recommend plain black and comfortable leggings that will become your second skin and hint: the compression helps with swelling feet and ankles. I love the Alo Yoga’s Airlift Stretch Legging (forgive the pun).  Pair them with a soft stylish shirt and an oversized scarf that can double as a shawl (or a sarong when you get to the beach) you can bundle up in while you watch your inflight movies. These flights always have blankets for extra warmth. Wear comfortable shoes...I wear my Nikes so I can be comfortable walking between gates and can loosen the laces depending on how much my feet swell which I’ve learned is proportional to how many red wines I had to help me fall asleep.


Just Breathe Satchel. Of course! OK, so I’m biased but seriously, being able to stash your travel documents in the front pocket keeps you from having to take the tote completely off and rummaging through it until your neck and shoulder are strained. It is roomy enough for all your travel essentials and doubles as a handbag by folding over and using the cross-body strap. This means at your destination the tote grows or shrinks depending on your purpose...for me usually shopping. I pair The Satchel with a carry-on size rolling case so I can wheel both bags around through the airports avoiding neck and shoulder strain.

Water Bottle. The biggest one you can find. Fill it before you board and ask the flight attendant to fill it as well. Last flight I was on the airline only offered small cups of water before disappearing for the “night”.Hand Sanitizer helps keep you from picking up germs. 

Face Wipes help you feel refreshed AND wipe off arm rests and tray tables

Lip Balm keeps your lips from drying up and you feeling nice

Moisturizers, Hand and Face. They will both need this but it’s nice to have nice smelling cream when on a plane with so many folks.

Healthy Snacks, especially if you are a healthy eater and can’t eat half of what they serve.

Compact toothbrush and paste. Tip: buy a child’s size if you don’t have one from a hotel or airline.


Pack the smaller cosmetic items listed earlier that you will be using frequently throughout the flight in a smaller bag. I use The Clutch for that because it doubles as an evening bag when I get to where I’m going. :) Then you can keep it in the seat pocket rather than having to locate your carry-on underneath the seat in front of you...which is quite tricky when your tray table is down.

As a Pilates Instructor I’m always concerned about posture and alignment and suggest you place the small pillow they provide behind the small of your back. This closes the gap between you and the seat that allows your spine to collapse and give you low back pain.

Move your feet and ankles a lot and often. Not just circling them four times each way. I’m talking 20 times. I also walk to the back where I of course ask for more water and then do calf raises at least 20 more times. I’m sure I look like a barre class junkie trying to get my exercise in but it’s really all about circulation and not having my feet swell. You will be so glad you did.

Stretch the areas that get tight during travel. My go to’s are opening up my chest: hands behind head, sit up tall and lean back. Turn head slowly side to side and forward circles. Cross my ankle over the opposite knee to stretch the hips...of course the tray must be up and repeat on both sides.

Hydration is key. As mentioned before drink as much water as possible regardless of how much it makes you have to get out of your seat. Remember that’s good too!





Great advice! Some things i had not thought about. At least i got the bag now so i definitely a will benefit from the front pocket for my passport which will reduce much stress as i never know where i left it in my bags.

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