Chile,  We12inspire

How to survive an 18.5 hour flight

When you read this, we have hopefully reached Santiago de Chile safe and sound. Once we step into the hotel, at approximately 1pm local time, we’ve been on the way for 24 hours (door to door) and survived an 18.5 hour flight. We know there will be many people who already take a deep sigh when just thinking of an 18.5 hour flight. But for us, it’s not that bad and we are actually looking forward to it. Finally catching up on sleep. And reading! And watching movies. And … anything you can imagine you normally don’t have time for.  A while ago Anto wrote a post about how to never be bored when flying again, click here to read it.

Unless your plane crashes, you get seriously ill or you miss your flight, you should be able to survive a flight this long without too much trouble. Here’s how we plan on making the best out of it.

What Anto brings on board
For Anto, it’s really important to have warm clothes. She’s always cold (and called “the walking fridge”) so makes sure to bring enough clothes. For this flight, she picked a boyfriend style jeans (very comfy), t-shirt, hoodie and a pair of sneakers. In addition she’ll carry woolen socks for during the night and a scarf to wear in case she still gets cold.

As it will be a night flight she’ll definitely bring sleeping pills. Normally she never takes them so they usually work well when flying. Although the package says you should be careful with alcohol, wine always is a good way to help you catch some sleep, too.  Anto is actually quite a afraid of flying (and Martijn tells her not to watch anymore Air Crash Shows, however, she’s incredibly fascinated by them) so they will also help her to relax, especially on long distances.

In addition, she brings a variety of small toiletries. Things that are always in her bag, are her contact lens items, day cream, deodorant and a toothbrush. Plus her makeup bag. Other than that, plenty of lip balms (yes, multiple ones) and hand cream. Lots of tissues too. That’s not too much, given the fact she’s a woman, right?

As for entertainment, her Kindle is her biggest friend. She got it from a very kind person who didn’t need it anymore. Even though she still loves real books more (especially the smell of them), when traveling a Kindle (or any e-reader) is a must. This time she’ll also bring her Spanish study book. As a preparation for this trip she took a 4 month Spanish course with Hablamos Spaans and while on board for 18.5 hours there’s plenty of time to do some last minute studying.


What Martijn brings on board
Martijn is a true adventurer who packs light and wears his outdoor gear on board a plane as well. No need to look good or fancy. Hiking boots go into the cabin as well since it reduces the weight to carry (we’ve been told it’s typical for the Dutch to wear their hiking boots on a flight, apparently no other nation does this).

Toiletries are very little, pretty much the same as Anto less the makeup and the creams. He also brings earplugs and a cap to put over his eyes when sleeping. The cap always comes along to any trip, he’s got various ones from all over the world by now, from Alaska, New Zealand, Iceland … quite the collection.

He always brings his tablet (a Nexus) for entertainment and reading. And of course his own iPod and headphones because those on board never seem to work properly. In addition he’ll take our Lonely Planet Guidebooks for additional reading, in case he can’t sleep. But, with Anto’s sleeping pills this shouldn’t be a problem …

Other than that, not much else than the usual. Bottle of water, cameras, GPS, iPhone chargers, netbook … and of course passports and that sort of things. KLM usually takes care of their passengers really well so no need to carry additional food, which we usually do only on flights within Europe or where no meals are served. Maybe just a pack of crackers in case Anto gets hungry (she gets really cranky when hungry).

So how does wise packing make sure you will actually survive the flight? These things will just help you but it’s the attitude that does the main trick. We’ve already switched over to the South American way of life before we left home. Our motto will be mañana – mañana and we’re not going to worry. If we’re delayed, we’re delayed – nothing you can about it. We’ll try to get some sleep and if we don’t, we’ll catch up some other time. We’re not going to force ourselves to sleep, if it’s not gonna happen, then it’s not gonna happen. Easy as that.


Also – we make sure to do some stretches every hour or so, when awake. Stand up, walk to the toilets, bow, twist, do whatever necessary to keep those muscles from getting sore and stiff. There for we always try to get a two-seater (without paying, we never pay for seats) and if that doesn’t work, we usually try farting really bad so the 3rd person in our row will leave by himself.

Sure thing is, flying will always be inconvenient and take a lot of time. However, unless they will find a way to teleport ourselves we are still depending on it and it will have to do. So better make the best of it.

Hasta luego!

More inspiring readings can be found here:
How come you travel so much? 
Around the world in 100 flights: how to never be bored when flying again!
The we12travel Patagonia alphabet

Pssst: sharing is caring!


  • Serena

    I do completely agree that a long flight is always a good chance for catching up with things you normally don’t have much time for.
    I have signed so many slams while flying 😀
    And also reading and watching movies is great.
    I’m just not very good at sleeping – I’m never able to sleep properly on night flights. I’ll try some wine as well next time: sounds like a good idea, wonder why I haven’t thought about it before 😀
    (just to sleep better I mean, eh :-D)

    • anto

      I watched one Dutch movie and then the wine knocked me out, waking up 2 hrs later and believing we had already been in the air at least 10 hours but finding out it was just 4. Argh. Then just did another Dutch movie and some reading in Silence of the Lambs. And picture taking from the sky as well 🙂

  • Jodie

    I agree nothing beats the smell vas feel of a real book. But technology is great because it allows you to bring so many more “books” without taking up too much space.

    Hope you were able to get lots of sleep on your long flight!

    • anto

      Thanks for visiting our site Jodie! On the way over, I barely slept, but on the way home, it was over before I knew it. 7 hours of sleep was definetely a luxury for us 🙂

  • Sandra

    I agree with all these tips. I do the same. I have a tradition of always having cheese and crackers with wine on any flight, even a morning one! It’s my little flying luxury.
    Enjoy Chile!

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