How to survive a 48 hours flight

If you were me, you would always search for the cheapest prices for the long haul flights you need to take to get to the other corner of the world. Even if this means flying around the world twice. I’m exaggerating, of course, but in this article I want to tell you about my 48 hours adventure, which included 5 different flights and a lot of sleepless hours.

One thing is sure, before boarding the first flight you need to prepare and to be informed on what is going to happen to your body while you’re up in the air.



One of the most common things that happen to your body when you fly is dehydration. On flights, the humidity on the plane is set to 10%-20%, while a normal indoor environment has a humidity of 30%-65%. Because the air is so dry, there are a lot of things that occur to your body on a long flight and you have to be aware of them in order to make sure you can prevent as much as you can.

Remember, a dehydrated body is very weak against fighting viruses and on a plane, because the air recirculates, it’s enough for one person to be sick for half of the people traveling on the same flight to get the virus afterwards. Also, dehydration can be very dangerous for people with breathing problems and it can also cause fatigue.

The first thing to do is to drink a lot of water, not only the glass you are offered with your meal. Try to avoid alcohol (one glass is fine if you are like me, scared of flying, to relax) and say a clear “no” to coffee and tea. Studies suggest that while flying you should drink 225ml of water every half an hour. I know that on a long haul flight, where you sleep most of the time, this is not a viable solution, but still, try to drink as much water as you can when you are awake.

When flying for a long time, remember to keep in your handbag a moisturizer cream and a good quality lip-balm. The air from the cabin will make your skin go dry and itchy, and your lips chapped. I wish I knew this before I boarded my third flight, crossing the Atlantic ocean. When I got to Toronto, my lips were so dry that I couldn’t even smile! Now I never fly without my lipblam, even on short flights. I rely on Burt’s Bees for hydration and on Blistex for dry lips. They both do miracles!ย 

After spending more than 48 hours in airplanes and inside airports, without getting out to breath fresh air, my nose was in a lot of pain and my eyes were very dry. I suggest you pack a saline nasal spray with you and also some eye drops. If you are flying with a cold, make sure to use the nasal spray before the plane takes off. I almost lost my hearing in my right ear for flying with a cold and no nasal decongestant.

I also found it helpful to wash my hands and face a few times during the long haul flight.

ย Low pressure

During a flight, even if the cabin is pressurised, the maximum pressure will be much lower than the one you are used to on the ground. This can be very dangerous for people with heart conditions, because the lower pressure reduces the amount of oxygen absorbed by the blood. But not only people will heart conditions can be affected by this. One of the effects of the low pressure is to make you sleepy, that is why a lot of people have no troubles sleeping on a plane. Also, a major effect of a long flight can be the increased risk of developing a blood cloth. This is a serious condition that can lead toย pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

To prevent the risk of developing a blood cloth, you must not stay in the same position the whole flight and you must also take walks around the aisle, every two or three hours. Compression socks also help the blood to flow against gravity. Don’t be shy to disturb your seat neighbor, if you don’t have an aisle seat, your healthy is more important.

Another effect of low pressure is the swelling of your feet. For this, I would recommend you to wear a comfortable and loose pair of shoes that you will take off during the flight. Make sure you are also wearing clean socks! Nobody wants to fly near a “smelly feet” person.

Avoid tight clothes and always wear loose and comfortable outfits when flying on long distances.


We all know that the in-flight food is not the best and it doesn’t taste great either. One of the reasons why is because while up in the air, your taste buds drop as much as 30% on high altitude. In my experience, after the first 24 of my 48 hours adventure, I could not look at airplane food anymore without finding it disgusting.

What you can do is that while on the ground, stock up with different fruits that you can later enjoy on the plane.


Personal comfort

The temperature on a plane is pretty low, and if you are like me and love the heat, the blanket provided on a long haul flight won’t be enough. Always bring a jumper with you, in your hand luggage. You wouldn’t want to shiver for 8-10 hours! It’s better to prepare before boarding to prevent getting sick on the plane.

Make sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant in your bag, together with a pair of underwear and a T-shirt. While in transit airports, you will feel the need to freshen up and change, and it’s nothing wrong to brush your teeth in an airport’s bathroom (which by the way, are the cleanest I’ve ever seen).

If you have a long layover, try to make friends in the airport. You never know what beautiful stories you will find. I was denied boarding in Canada because they have overbooked the flight, so I was stuck in the airport for about 10 hours until the next available flight, with no option to get out from the secured area. But it wasn’t that bad, as I met two other travelers, and also made friends with the Air Canada customer service agent, so the hours passed by faster.

Also, check if the airports you will pass through have entertainment areas. I was stuck in Toronto Pearson and they have very nice areas with comfy chairs, Ipads to use for no charge and free WiFi. Plus, 2 plugs for each chair.


Jet Lag

Last but not least, we get to the enemy of travel, the one that doesn’t let us enjoy our first days at the destination: the jet lag! There is actually no proven way of getting rid of jet lag fast and each person is affected differently. Some might feel it very hard while others not at all.

My personal advice is to drink a lot of water on the plane and, when arriving to your destination, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime hour. Also, if you are wearing a watch, set it to the destination hour before you board the plane.

My flight was “all over the place”, if i can say this. I flew from Havana to Toronto, from Toronto to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Milano, from Milano to Amsterdam and finally, from Amsterdam to London. For a week, at 3PM, I was ready to go to bed, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Studies say that it’s easier for the body to adapt to the new hour when flying from East to West, rather than the opposite.

I hope these tips will be useful in your next long haul flight. Do you have any of your own tips for making a long haul journey more comfortable?

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Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.


  1. That was nice blog..I do have some health issues and whatever you wrote is absolutely right considering my experiences.. Thanks for posting on this topic which generally no one discusses…

  2. Just had a 21hour flight about a week ago and Im still feeling it haha. The jet lag is crazy. Couldn’t imagine doubling it into 40+ hours! Thanks for the tips x

  3. Incredible. I don’t know how I could manage a 48 hour trip. But I find reading and learning new things intriguing so here I am, picking up random bits and pieces of information for use later. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 48 hours on a plane sounds like a nightmare!!! lol. great post and pretty informative things you covered. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Jesus was there no direct flights or was it to save money as you said earlier? You are a lot braver than me I could not do what you did well done x

  6. Oh , I never knew that your taste buds drop as much as 30% up there . I always thought , the food was just plain horrible . Thank god , you get the choice now to book without meal on board . Charging money for that stuff is a joke !

  7. 48 hours? Yikes… it sounds like a challenge but I am not sure if my body can survive that haha…. Believe it or not, i have never been to any flight in my entire life and I wonder how will i react if I try it for the first time

  8. Oh my. I can’t even survive a 5-10 hours of travel and 48 hours is just insane! A big nope for me. Well anyway, this is interesting to reading and something I have to keep in mind just in case!

  9. I don’t think I can survive this long, but I will definitely read on your story, and tips, if ever I do encounter one! Thank you so much. You’re a surviver!!!!

  10. Such an informative post. I actually love flying but the longest flight I’ve done is 24 hours. As long as I have food and good TV (and company) I’m fine.

    Ami xxx

  11. Really helpful article.. I really don’t envy you for the 48 hours flight, but I would do the same.. As long as it takes to my destination, I don’t mind being uncomfortable for a few days in order to save money,
    My longest flight was 27 hours from Budapest to Perth. I remember I was very exhausted by the end. Good thing was I landed at 7 PM in Perth, so the jetlag wasn’t too bad,

  12. OMG 48h flight! Really long! This year I did my first long haul flights (Spain to Australia) but I was lucky and stopovers were only 1.30-3h long. I feel dehydratation in planes really fast, even in domestic ones… I’m the typical user asking for water all along the plane. Thanks for these tips for making our flights more comfortable and less painful! Cheers

  13. Hahahah I always know I should avoid booze but I just cant help it on the long hauls where it’s free lol….too many singhas on the way to Thailand!

  14. Yikes! I can’t imagine how my family would have handled this as we normally travel with our children. I agree with all the tips. Especially about curbing dehydration. I find that I get so dehydrated on the plane. I normally bring my own water bottle that I fill up at the airport or I ask the to fill up in the plane. I find the teeny cups is not enough.

  15. Great tips! I’d probably never make it for 48 hours of flying like that. When my friend and I flew to Australia, we flew out of Hawaii instead of direct from LA. The thought of 15 hours made me uncomfortable so at least it was only 9.

  16. Thank you for the tips, especially the part about packing toothbrush and deodorant in your carryon. I once traveled for 48 hours from NYC to Melbourne and it was grueling. For my last flight from Sydney to Melbourne, I could barely function because I was so tired (and smelly).

  17. I’ve only taken one longggggg flight in my life — and that was to come to Korea (where I currently teach). These are great tips that I’ll certainly be using next time I take that 14+ hour flight! I just hope I never have to be delayed too long at the airport!!! *crosses fingers*

  18. 48 hours is such a long time to travel but I am impressed with your tips. I never thought about getting dehydrated but it is true. I always travel with Blistex because I hate when my lips are dry. I like the tip of moving every 2-3 hours. I do try to walk around but sometimes in flights there isn’t many places to go!

  19. wow… 48 hours for a flight? Now I get the reason why my inlaws and my dad always have lip balm and vaseline in their hand carry for every flight. And your point with regards to dehydration should not only be used for flights but for our everyday lives ๐Ÿ™‚ I am sharing your post to my friends so that when they travel the long flights, they can also be prepared. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Very loadful of information, thank you for the tips! Based on your experience, long plane travel can be not so fun. I will keep these in mind, specially the dehydration thingy.

  21. I wish I had found this before my first flight 4 years ago from Australia to Europe with 15+ hours stop over in both Singapore and Heathrow! I loved the tip about carrying fruit on the plane. I will try this next time, thanks! ^_^

    To keep myself feeling fresh I always carry baby-wipes and I wear a nourishing face mask while people are sleeping! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. 48 hours to Havana?! Wow! I am guilty of this too and spending the odd night on the floor in airports! You have some really good tips here. I do agree though that Toronto Pearson was one of the best airports to be delayed in. You were lucky with that one, could have been so much worse!

  23. Ahah ๐Ÿ˜€ We could be sisters !
    I always take the cheapest flight even if it means that I will have to stop here and there for several hours. However, I never get ready for it so it’s always a nightmare and I always promise myself not to do it again (well… I always forget about this promise).
    However, I wouldn’t criticize the food, because I think it depends on which company you’re flying with. The food with Emirates is delicious!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Since I have only traveled by airplane once, I really had no idea about all of this information. I don’t know that I could handle a 48 hours trip, even by car! That is just way too extreme for me! lol

  25. Next time I need drink more water! It seems like I’ve been drinking enough water but from my today’s point of view: I need to change something! Yes – low pressure – it means that I can sleep a lot. And for sure “jet lag” – I totally agree: “doesnโ€™t let us enjoy our first days at the destination”. Thanks for sharing! Very helpful for me!

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