10 Tips for Surviving an Overnight Flight

striped tee (less than $30) // chambray shirt // white pants // straw hat
Buongiorno, everyone!! When this blog post goes live I’ll be on a plane over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! I’m so excited to share our destination with you and more about our trip, but until then I thought it would be fun to share some tips for how to survive an overnight flight. I’ve flown on a few overnight flights and they can be really stressful because you have to be EXTRA prepared. Flying is stressful by itself, but especially if you’re expected to sleep on an airplane and wake up in a country where they don’t speak your language. Luckily there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay healthy on the flight, and signal your body that it’s time to get a good night’s sleep. 
1. Choose the right carry-on handbag
Choosing the right handbag or tote for an overnight flight is essential, especially if you want to have all your necessities right at your fingertips when you need them. When I flew to LA a few weeks ago I brought this Sole Society Miller tote with me on the plane and realized it’s the nicest travel bag I’ve ever owned! For starters, it’s incredibly lightweight and has nice, padded shoulder straps that make it easy to carry through the airport (even if you have it loaded down with items). There are two large compartments on either side of the tote that are perfect for larger items like books, a laptop, etc. On my flight to LA I was able to fit four books in one of the side compartments! The best part is the middle compartment, because it can be zipped shut for security purposes. This is where I keep all my travel documents, my passport, money, etc. because it’s safe and secure. There are some additional pockets inside the middle compartment for your phone and wallet, which is really convenient. 
2. Pack noise-canceling headphones 
My parents got me noise-canceling headphones one year for Christmas and I use them on every single flight. These headphones are great for listening to music and watching movies on the plane, but I also use them just by themselves to drown out all the plane noises. Just put them on and flip the little switch on the side of the headphones and – voila! – all the background noise is eliminated and it’s completely silent. These headphones also make it way easier to sleep on the plane, since I have trouble falling asleep with loud noises in the background. 
3. Bring your favorite tea from home
I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking a chamomile or sleepy-time tea at night to help me start winding down for bed, so I brought some of my favorite teabags from home to drink on the plane! When the flight attendants come around to get your drink order, simply order a mug of hot water, and then you can steep your own tea in the mug. This helps to trick your body into thinking that your still at home, and it’s time to wind down for bed.

4. Go through your usual night-time skincare routine
I packed a bag full of mini toiletries so that I could take out my contacts and wash my face on the plane, like I usually do at night. I knew I didn’t want to go to sleep with a face full of makeup, (it’s terrible for your skin!) and I thought using the same products that I use every night would make me feel more “normal.” I packed my typical bareMinerals face wash, a small container of moisturizer and even a travel-sized version of my retinal (you can read more about my usual skincare routine here!). 
5. Pack an eye mask and ear plugs
I found this cute Red Eye Pak from Nordstrom and knew it would be perfect for an overnight flight – and it’s only $20! It comes with ear plugs, an eye mask and a dental kit that contains a travel toothbrush, tooth paste and floss. Both the eye mask and ear plugs are essential – I put on both with the noise-cancelling headphones and I might as well be at home in my quiet apartment. The eye mask is really high quality too – the flip side is solid black and silky! 
6. Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth is an essential, because you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy (and don’t want to wake up with bad breath when you land in the morning!). 
7. Bring a portable phone charger
I’m bringing a lot of tech items in my carry-on tote, like a memory-card reader and powder adapter, but the most important one for the flight itself is definitely a portable charger for your phone. I ordered this one off of Amazon and it’s truly amazing – it’s smaller than a wallet yet contains enough power to restore an iPhone 6s to full charge five times. Plus it has two fast-charging USB ports built into the device so that you can charge two phones at once (this is great if you’re traveling with a friend!). 
8. Reading material
I usually download a couple of books on my phone and then also bring some paperback books with me whenever I travel. Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been while I’m at the airport or on an airplane! Since reading at night helps me wind down for bed, I thought it would be nice to read on the plane until I felt sleepy enough to go to bed.

9. Move around
Although it can feel embarrassing to leave your seat and move around a lot on an airplane, it’s actually really good for your body to do this. Moving around is especially important on longer flights, to prevent your body from aching due to poor circulation. Some airlines provide guidance on in-seat exercises you can do, such as stretching your arms and ankles, otherwise, try getting up at least a couple times during the flight just to walk down the aisle a few times and back. 

9. Wear comfy clothes
Last night after arriving at the airport, I changed into sweatpants and a light sweater for the overnight flight. If you’re going to spend the night on a plane, you want to wear soft, comfortable fabrics that feel as close to your pajamas as possible. For me personally, I don’t think jeans are very comfortable for long periods of time, so I opted to wear sweatpants instead! I would also recommend bringing a scarf that can also double as a blanket or neck pillow on the plane. 
10. Wear compression socks
During my last flight to LA, something happened to me that had never happened before – my feet and ankles swelled up on the plane! When we finally landed and got off the plane, my feet were so swollen and the arches of my feet hurt so badly that it was hard to walk. It was probably because I was dehydrated – but I learned my lesson forevermore! I ordered these compression socks soon after that flight and put them on immediately after I boarded the plane last night. Compression socks are great because they help stimulate blood flow and reduce swelling. These socks in particular are made of quick drying, wicking fibers that stop the growth of bacteria, and they have a graduated compression that helps aching legs. I’ll never fly without them again!

One other thing that’s important during an overnight flight is making sure you wake up the right way the next morning. Upon waking, be sure to drink a lot of water and try to have a balanced breakfast at the appropriate hour in your destination’s time zone. A little bit of caffeine can help you get through the day, but don’t rely on it too heavily or you may not be able to sleep the next night! 
If you guys have been on an overnight flight and have any additional tips, please let us all know in the comments! Otherwise, stay tuned to instagram to see where exactly we’re headed 🙂



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  1. How exciting! I hope you have a wonderful time in Italy. I can't wait to see all the pictures but I'm even more excited to learn more about your proposal!!! Eeeek!

    Arum Lilea

  2. These are really great tip and I love the idea of bringing your own tea. I use sleepy time at home too so this is a great to tricking your body that you are at home!


  3. This post was super timely as I'm in the process of planning a trip to Asia in the summer. I haven't taken an overnight international flight in a few years and I'm wondering if it's worth the extra $$ to fly business class. Do you normally fly coach or business/first?

  4. These are really helpful tips.

    Mich x

  5. Such great tips, thank you! And congrats on your engagement 🙂

    Wonky Lauren

  6. These are the best tips!! I would never even think to wear compression socks but that is so smart – will have to buy some for my next trip! Congrats on your engagement, pretty girl – and have the absolute best trip!! Can't wait to see pictures!


  7. I'm about to take an overnight flight to Ireland in just a few weeks and these are great tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Awe what a fun way to celebrate your surprise engagement! Have fun & be safe!


  9. Love the idea of eating breakfast in the morning your new time zone! Great tips!


  10. Great tips:P

    Shall We Sasa

  11. I love that carry-on bag! Great tips for the flight. I luck out that I can easily sleep on planes. Jess at Just Jess

  12. Great tips! I just went to Italy in January and I wish I had thought of some of these, especially the compression socks!

    xo, Carey

  13. LOVE these tips! I was just on an overnight flight last month and I'll be on one again in two weeks so this post could;dn't have come at a more perfect time haha! Love the tip about keeping your night routine, I think it'll help trick my mind into sleeping! My problem is I am always so excited for the trip I don't want to sleep haha! But on the way back I always pass out!!

    Lauren Lindmark | dailydoseofcharm.com

  14. A Xanax helps tons or if you don't have a prescription for it, Tylenol PM. Some people don't like taking stuff like that but for me it's a must.

  15. all are great things to note, Caitlin. Also, drinking a TON of water. I'm an avid traveller and over my years of traveling I've found that my face breaks out after flying. Any flight over 3 hours kills my skin. I drink tons of water and unapologatically climb over the person beside me to get up for multiple bathroom breaks hahaha. My skin thanks for me for it later!
    Love the $20 flight kit from Nordstrom. I might have to purchase one!


  16. I love the idea of bringing your own tea! I can't wait to hear all about Italy – I'm currently in the middle of planning my honeymoon there in July and hungry for all the tips I can get!


  17. that carry on is the bestest i have seen, love ur outfit too!

  18. Great tips Caitlin! Also, how do you keep your Delsey clean? I had used mine for the first time a couple months ago and it had marks all over it! I tried everything to clean it but some marks weren't budging. Any tips? Thanks! Hope you have an amazing time!!

  19. I love this!! I'm flying to Jamaica for my honeymoon this month, and I will definitely be using these great tips! Congratulations on your engagement!! I'm so excited to see your bridal posts. 🙂

  20. Such great tips! Have fun on your trip!


  21. You probably have the cutest wardrobe ever! And thanks for the great tips, I'm traveling in June and this will be very helpful <3


  22. Hi, the link for the portable charger isn't working. Could you please update it? Thanks.

  23. Great tips Caitlin! These are all so true – I always chug a ton of water, too – have to stay hydrated! Loving your looks and can't wait to see what you have in store, have the absolute best vacation and CONGRATS on your engagement!


  24. Facial spray is a must! Spritz it when you land and it makes your skin feel awake and hydrated. My fave is the First Aid Beauty, Hello FAB Vital Greens Facemist. It was a life saaver on my flight to and from India.

  25. Love your blog! This post was awesome <3


  26. That is seriously the most perfect carry on bag!!


  27. Frequent red-eye flyer, these tips are on the mark with one addition snacks for the wee hours when lights and attendant service is low.

  28. That bag looks so practical and yet it looks so chic! Great post
    Mademoiselle Coconath

  29. Totally love your travel outit. This looks so stylish but still comfortable.
    Hope you have a safe trip and congrats on your engagement.
    Greetings from Germany.


  30. Where did you find that travel sized bare minerals face wash? I also use the oil obsessed and I need that smaller size when I travel! Thanks for your help!

  31. Have a blast! I'm dying to go to Italy…..someday! Can't wait to hear about your trip!

    Erica Valentin

  32. Great tips! Thanks for sharing, I'll definitely be referring back to this post!
    xo, Alexis

  33. LOVE this post!! Such great tips! Adding that bag to my wishlist now!!


  34. These are great! I travel a lot and one thing I do is actually pack a set of clothing in case my luggage is lost. I also pack a face mask to battle with the dry air. While I usually board to plane make -up free (why bother right?) I do however pack extra packing. In my experience with red eye, you usually arrive before you can check in, so for me, it's wonderful when I am dressed, my hair and make up done and ready to explore the city after I dropped off my luggage at the hotel. It's amazing how much you can see when you are all ready.

  35. These are all such great tips and I love the lining of your bag!


  36. These are great tips! I love the lucite & velvet bench- can you share a source?

  37. Thanks for the tips! I purchased that extra charger even tho I already have a few because I like that it charges so many times! I'm going to Paris for the first time. So these are helpful tips 🙂 congrats on the engagement!

  38. Hi Caitlin,

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  39. These a great tips! I am going to Italy for 2.5 weeks this summer and this blog couldn't have been more perfect if timing ! 🙂 What sweatpants did you wear on the plane ?

  40. I've never been on an overnight flight but have been on an overnight bus trip (I think it was over 24 hours). I wore jeans that time, but now I would stay a long way away from jeans. Also I would definitely bring a charger pack for my phone, I kept running out of power and with 2 charge spots and 24 people it can be hard to get to the charger.

  41. Thank you for these tips.
    I travel a lot recently and still try to figure out what suits the best for my lifestyle.
    Have a nice Sunday. Love, Esther

  42. Anonymous

    Hi! Great article, I will definitely be using these tips! BTW I couldn't help but reading that you had swollen feet and ankled after flying! Please get this checked out​ as soon as possible because my father had the same thing and it turns out he had a blood clot. Blood clots can be extremely dangerous especially on the plane, which can travel to your heart when you're in high altitude. So please be careful!

  43. Hi Caitlin! I was just wondering if you use your normal hair tools in Europe like your t3 curler?

    • Hey Jayme! Yes I did! All T3 products are dual voltage & work overseas 🙂

  44. I've been eyeing that carry-on suitcase forever! This is making me want to take the plunge. 🙂 Lovely tips!

    xx, Tomi

  45. I've always been more of a fan of overnight flights as I can simply sleep them away, and hopefully wake up feeling refreshed.
    Alicia x | Aesthetic Obsessed

  46. Thank you! So helpful and organised!

  47. Loved this post! Any chance you know the color of that tote that you ordered?? I ordered one for an upcoming trip but I think I got the color wrong because it is much darker than I expected.

  48. My feet swell too! I'm going to try compression socks- thanks for the tip!