How To Survive a Red-Eye Flight


The dreaded red-eye flight. Here are my tips to make it a little less miserable.

When I went to New York last November (read about it here), I flew red-eye. It is a cheaper option, can save you some vacation time at work, and allows you to be transported some place new while you sleep (well, hopefully). I left Portland at 11:30PM and arrived in Newark (typically less expensive to fly into New Jersey and commute into New York) at 7:30AM. As it is a new day by the time you deplane, you need to be able to hit the ground running.


Here are my tips to survive a red-eye flight:

  1. Get Clean – If you are anything like me, there is no better way to start your day than with a shower. But when you have been flying all night and can’t check into your hotel room until 4pm, you are going to have to make some adjustments. I would recommend showering an hour before you leave for the airport and bringing in your carry-on a few essentials: travel size dry shampoo, face wipesface lotion, and a toothbrush.
  2. Catch Some Zs – I wasn’t kidding about the hit the ground running part as soon as you land. And in order to do that, you are going to need to get some sleep. It is one of the most expensive pillows I have ever purchased, but the Cabeau Evolution travel pillow is great. Not only is it really supportive on your neck, it makes a great lower back support. Plus the cover is removable, so it can easily be cleaned between flights. Second tip in here is to choose a window seat. Avoid being woken up by a neighbor that has to pee and soak in an amazing sunrise. Double bonus!
  3. Get Picky – Choosing your outfit for a red-eye can be really tricky. You want to be comfortable on the plane and be able to get some sleep (see tip #2!), but you also want to be picture ready as soon as you deplane (well, at least this blogger does). Well, the sleepable requirement means that tight pants are out – unless they have rips in the knees! I would instead opt for a fabric pant that has a little more give, or go for full on comfort with some black leggins. For tops, be sure to grab a shirt with fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily. And be sure to grab some sunnies. Not only will they make your outfit more chic, they will cover any dark circles.
  4. Bring Snacks – And water! Try as you might for #2, there is a high likelihood you will be tired. Bring along some snacks to give your body a boost of energy. Some quality granola bars should do the trick and they are a lot less expensive if you purchase before going to the airport. Same goes for water. You won’t have any problems bringing an empty bottle to the airport and you can fill up once you get past security. My favorite are the Platypus SoftBottles because they take up zero space.
  5. Plug In – I am usually a massive proponent of not wearing headphones while traveling (I think it really detracts from experiencing the world and meeting new people), but a red-eye flight might be the best time to plug in. Not only will they send the message that you aren’t up for a conversation, you can download some soothing music or meditational tracks to help you get to, and stay, asleep. The standard Apple earbuds work for me, but if you need something that truly cancels noise, try Bose QuiteComfort.


I hope these tips allow you to make the most of your next red-eye flight. Happy travels!


What are your tips for surviving a red-eye flight? Let us know below.



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