Thursday, October 23, 2014

travel tips: how to survive a red-eye

red-eye flights always seem like the greatest idea 
when i'm booking them. you basically get an extra
day somewhere without paying for a hotel because 
you fly overnight! so smart- right? right, until you 
are actually sitting on the plane for 6 hours unable 
to sleep, willing to give ANYTHING for a bed, and
 then landing early in the morning feeling like you 
were hit by a train...has this ever happened to you?

i still believe in red-eyes and love waking up to
a new place and not wasting any time during the
day flying, but you have to do them right.
since we are leaving on one of these tonight,
here are my tips for surviving a red-eye...

make it a direct flight
it will be really rough if you've booked connections during a red-eye. even if you sleep on one flight, the ordeal of getting out, walking through an airport and to a new plane will really throw you off. if it's possible, book nonstop red-eyes.

dress comfortably
this goes for most flights, but don't try to wear anything fancy on a red-eye. don't wear PJ's, but wear stretchy, comfortable clothes that will help you relax. i never wear earrings, makeup or jewelry on red-eye flights either, because i don't want to be uncomfortable or lose anything while trying to sleep.

book the window seat
especially if you're traveling alone, the window seat is a secret weapon. you can bunch your jacket or pillow up against the wall and feel a lot more comfortable than sitting straight up in your seat. this way you also avoid awkwardly dozing off onto your neighbor's shoulder :) i always prefer the aisle on every other flight, but overnight i pick the window.

come prepared
don't expect an airline to tuck you in for the night! some provide more than others, but come prepared with things that will help you rest and sleep. ideas are: a sleep mask, earplugs, music + headphones, sleeping pills (i've never taken one in fears that i won't wake up and they'll have to drag me off the plane, but lots of people swear by them on flights), and definitely a blanket / sweater/ scarf. planes get cold and there is nothing like trying to sleep while shivering!

pick a pillow
there are some amazing (and hilarious) inventions for plane pillows. from basic neck pillows to the ostrich pillow to the relax ally headband to the skyrest (chase's DREAM haha) there are lots of options. our most recent favorite is the hoodiepillow because it is two-in-one comfort and warmth! it inflates so it's easy to pack, and it has helped us both with sleep on flights.

limit food + drink
everyone says to HYDRATE on flights, and this is true -- but for a red-eye, i stop eating and drinking a few hours before. it's hard because i LOVE snacking on flights, but it's not fun to have to wake up for bathroom runs after finally getting yourself to sleep. eating a good meal before and then getting on the flight an hour or more later helps your body realize it's sleep time. eating always keeps me awake! 

do your bedtime routine
even though you're clearly not at home, your body will be more in the sleep mode if you follow some of your regular night time routine. wash your face, brush your teeth (but DON'T use the plane's bathroom water -- use bottled) take contacts out, etc.

have a backup plan
there are always those flights that are just rough. you might have a baby crying, you might not feel well, it might not be a possibility to fall asleep which can really drive you crazy. in case of insomnia or other factors that prevent you from sleeping, bring a loaded movie or book to at least focus on...i bet it will make you fall asleep anyway, but it will help you feel less desperate if the whole sleep thing isn't happening.

take it easy
often we take red-eye flights to places like NYC or busy cities where we want to hit the ground running -- don't overdo it. plan accordingly that upon landing in the morning you won't feel too refreshed, so plan a relaxing breakfast, a stop at a juice store, or something to get your energy up and help you recover before taking on the day.

^^ jetBlue is a good airline that hooks it up
on the red eye so!

i hope these help on your next red-eye!!


  1. Great tips! I am going to order that hoodie pillow for my trip. It looks great & I will be traveling a LOT including red eyes. Thanks!!

  2. Good tips! Have you heard of the pillow below? Where are you guys going tonight? Can't wait to hear all about it!

  3. Great tips! I don't know if you guys camp ever but we always take camping pillows on flights. They are meant to be used during backpacking so they roll up super tight and stretch out to be full size. They are great and serve 2 uses.

  4. great tips I always think a red eye is BRILLIANT when I book it and then then I get there and yep misery! Great tips and I love those little jet blue packs I took a red eye from portland and got one of those!

  5. Good Tips! Glad you didn't forget to mention the neck pillow. Want to see the Hoodiepillow!!


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