If you are heading to Africa – its likely that you will start your trip with a long haul flight into Nairobi or maybe into Johannesburg first before you connect for the shorter hop to East Africa.

So how do you survive flying long-haul? Well my top tip would be to fly first class – or at least business. Unfortunately back in the real world most of don’t have that option!

So as someone with a lot of experience with long haul flights, over more than twenty years – how to survive long flights.

1) Get on the plane tired, preferably after a drink or two. I know, I know, the usual advice is the opposite. But this actually works for me! Preferably I want to be able to sleep most of the flight away – and being tired first certainly helps. So does some alcohol, not too much, because you very quickly get dehydrated and hung-over in a plane’s low oxygen environment – and that’s not fun at all.

2) Try to arrive late in the day

This makes dealing with the jet lag easer as well. Arriving just in time to go to bed is better than having to try and stay up all day, if you are already shattered.

3) Take some good noise-cancelling headphones

Really the ones they hand out are rubbish, and at best you’ll be able to watch the movie in relative peace. At best you may get some sleep.

4) Where comfortable clothing

Loose, not tight, but have an extra layer – it can get quite cold on many long-haul flights (I think they try to save money on the power or something!)

5) Move around frequently

DVT is a real risk, and moving around is the bes way to prevent it. Obviously you can’t do this when the trolleys are out, or when the Captain has the “fasten seat belts” sign on – but the rest of the time, do so regularly. Also if you have health issues, consider wearing compression socks, particularly if your doctor suggests it. They do work, even if they look pretty darn uncool.

Well those are my top 5 tips for surviving long-haul. But I have a dark secret to confess. If truth be told after one to many 24-hour flight from Australasia to Europe – these days I try to break sectors up with a day stop-over between flight legs – particularly if I’m flying west (for some reason its worse flying that way).

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