Sleeping on Planes – A survival guide

Luckily I’m one of those people who can sleep just about anywhere, on a rickety smelly cramped bus through India, a cold airport floor in Norway or long haul plane journeys… give me some music and a cushion (real or made with hoodies, jackets etc) and I am out like a light quick sticks! However for those of you that may not have the head down, brain off abilities I have, here are my top tips for sleeping on planes;

One of the world’s scariest plane journeys to Lukla (for Everest Base Camp) from Kathmandu… and still I managed to sleep!

1) Make use of the free flight booze.. Couple of glasses of red vino and you’ll sleep or you won’t care that your not sleeping and continue to get sozzled.

2) Eat! Gain a full belly and snoozing comes easy!

3) Those eye pads are great at keeping out the shining lights of people reading next to you.. And if you’re lucky it might have a nose bit too to keep out smelly fellow passengers – I’ve certainly had my fair share!!

3a) For smelly passengers I recommend taking a small (regulation size) bottle of perfume to regularly spray on your pillow/scarf/hands or some tee tree oil to rub under your nose, works a treat.

4) Headphones or ear plugs are a must! I’m not a baby person at the best of times but when there are several in close proximity, screaming their heads off, they somewhat work in keeping the sound out. If you can sleep with music then headphones are infinitely better.

5) Take an extra pillow… this goes FAR beyond sleeping on planes, to sleeping just about anywhere when travelling. I ‘stole’ the pillow from my flight at the beginning of my travels and had it with me for 2 months before the dirt and grime was too much to bare and my travel companion bought me a new mini pillow. I can’t tell you the amount of times, on flights, train journeys, bus journeys and taxi rides, my trusty mini pillow has helped me sleep through.

Doesn’t look like I’m having a good dream…

6) Take a nightol or similar sleeping type tablet (can then ignore all previous tips)

7) Wake up every once in a while for a stretch around the plane to keep that blood circulation going!

Far from luxury travel but still sleeping like a baby… and a rather sweaty unattractive baby at that?!

And failing all of this… book into Business Class … with those long stretch leather seats, flowing Champagne and delicious food… you probably won’t even want to sleep.

A rare moment of being horizontal on a 5 minute tea break in the midst of a 42 hour bus journey!

Thank you to my travel buddy Swatee for taking all these horrible photos of me… hope they make you chuckle 🙂


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  1. Haha, gorgeous photos Jen! 😉

    I’m the same and I can sleep anywhere so I’d never even thought about ‘tips for sleeping’ until I had a long-haul flight to South Africa and was wide awake the entire journey. I definitely made the most of the in-flight booze but even that didn’t work!

    1. me at my best!? I think the real answer is we all need to become millionnaires so we can travel in First Class everywhere we go!!

  2. Brilliant!
    Jen can literally sleep anywhere….very good for saving on a nights accommodation somewhere and covering lots of distance to explore lots of new places!

    1. haha this is so true, we saved lots of money thanks to my sleeping tactics… lots of time for more temple tantrums 😉

  3. You look so good. My friends have some shockers from my trip, and are holding them as blackmail. Totally agree that whining babies are the worst. I’m writing this as I wait to board a 12-hour overnight bus …wish me luck!

    1. I hope your 12 hour bus journey went ok and there were no crying babies or smelly neighbours. I hope to see your shocking sleeping photos in a blog of your own soon. 🙂

  4. What would be your advice if you are sat next to someone on a plane with that most infuriating of problems for fellow passengers, the ‘overactive bladder’…up, down, up, down all day and night? Disturbs sleep no end! x

    1. Well Phillip, I think you should be understanding of such people… just think, their constant need to pee is disturbing their sleep just as much as yours! 😉 x

    1. Taking your shoes off is a good one. Very important to try and stop swelling feet… fingers crossed any neighbours with smelly feet don’t have the same idea 😉

  5. While I don’t quite agree with all of these (i.e. sure you can use alcohol to go to sleep, but it causes puffiness and restricts blood flow while sleeping) I 100% agree with the earbuds/headphones. It also helps tune out chatty passengers when you just feel like vegging out.

  6. Amazing! Its in fact awesome blog, I have got much clear idea regarding from this paragraph.

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