Life Saving Tips for Red Eye Flights!

tips for red eye flights // red eye flight packing list | grace atwood, the stripe

I have had this post in the works for a while but this weekend’s trip to see my sister in Minnesota made me remember that I hadn’t finished it. Thankfully NOT taking a redeye flight, but whenever I visited her in Portland (they just moved) I would take the redeye home, which made me think about this! Red eye flights are sort of the worst. But they are also great in that they let you have that extra full day wherever you are, so that you can get the most out of your trip. I’ve taken many a redeye (especially when I worked a traditional day job and didn’t get a lot of time off and this summer when I was all over the place)… so have learned a few things over the years. Today I’m sharing my best tips for red eye flights!!!

What is a red eye flight?

Just in case you’re not aware, a red eye flight is an overnight flight. The pro is that you wake up and are where you want to be… the con is an easy one: sleeping on the plane! I will be honest, I’m not the biggest fan, especially as a light sleeper overnight flights can totally suck and I’ll get such bad jet lag BUT sometimes they are a necessary evil!

Life Saving Tips for Red Eye Flights!

Alright, alright, let’s get into it! I would also highly recommend checking out my carry-on post… this was a popular post and there will be quite a bit of overlap, especially with what to pack!

Pre airport, act like you’re getting ready for bed.

I am a big fan of acting like I’m getting ready for bed before I head to the airport. If there’s time, I’ll take a long warm bath.. do my full skincare routine, wash + condition my hair, the whole thing. It helps to get you in the mindset for bedtime. By the time you board the plane, you are sleepy and ready for bed. Just make sure you leave yourself a good long while to get through security, etc. If you are stressed this will just cancel out that blissed out/ready for bed feeling!

Dress accordingly.

You definitely want to wear comfortable clothing! I’ve talked about my go-to travel uniform and traveling in style and comfort. The main point is that you want to be comfortable but not sloppy… those two posts should give you some good inspiration for what to wear on a red eye (or just long) flight.

Don’t forget the essentials.

I’m listing out my favorite red eye essentials below, but if you do one thing just remember a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and deodorant. There is literally nothing worse than waking up and not having these things. I’ve done it before… you just feel awful and gross. I also recently talked about a roundup of my overall travel essentials that are so tried and true, I can’t go anywhere without them.

Sleep aids can help.

I’m such a light sleeper so if I have a longer red eye will take half an Ambien… I’m a super light sleeper so it helps me to sleep and beat jet lag. Talk to your doctor about that though. HUM nutrition also makes a beauty sleep supplement that I really like, and I have friends who swear by Z Quil!

Get a window seat!

This is such a big one for me. It honestly makes such a difference… the middle seat is really hard, and the aisle is rough too as I always get bumped in to. Window seat = the best. If I’m booking a red eye flight, I always always get a flight where I can select my seat.

Red Eye Flight Essentials

Red Eye Flight Essentials

  • Hand sanitzer + wipes because planes are dirty, duh. I really love this organic lavender hand sanitizer and these Ursa Major wipes!
  • An oversized cashmere wrap. It can double as a blanket in a pinch.
  • Toothpaste + toothbrush. Don’t ever forget them. I have accidentally packed mine in my checked luggage and there’s nothing worse than that.
  • Deodorant. Also don’t forget this! My favorite is Kopari and I love that they have a two-pack of space saving minis which is perfect for travel.
  • The best travel pillow of all time. This pillow can be used in a bunch of different ways, it’s lightweight and doesn’t take up too much room; it’s a game changer.
  • A silk eye mask. Slip makes my favorites. It will block out light and protect your delicate eye area from dry airplane air.
  • Headphones. Love my airpods but for long flights you may want to invest in a nice set of noise cancelling headphones.
  • Compression socks. My feet definitely swell quite a bit on the plane. I always pack a pair! Bombas has a great selection, but there are plenty available if you’re looking for something more fashion forward.
  • This “deep sleep” essential oil rollerball. Love, love, love. Not sure if it actually helps me sleep BUT it smells absolutely amazing.
  • A pre-flight skincare routine. I love a face mist + either a super thick face cream or an overnight mask! Top with face oil for extra credit. Note DO NOT WEAR MAKEUP on a red eye flight. Just don’t do it, it’s terrible for your skin!!!
  • Probiotics. One of my yoga teachers got me onto this. I used to get so bloated when I fly – these help A LOT. These are my favorite and don’t need to be refrigerated.
  • A post-flight arrival skincare routine. I love Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment and always apply upon landing (it’s tinted and contains light reflecting particles. Great for dark circles!). I also love this Olio Osso stick (it’s very nourishing and doubles as blush and lipstick) and a slick of lip balm and a swipe of Glossier lash slick. (Honestly, this Glossier set is pretty perfect for travel. It has everything you need for when you land!)

What I pack for For A Long Flight


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Ugh, I hate redeye flights! I usually avoid them at all costs – I prefer paying more for a comfortable morning flight!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    1.29.19 Reply
    • They can be brutal!

      1.29.19 Reply
    • Sara:

      There’s no way to avoid them if you’re on the East Coast and flying to Europe!

      1.29.19 Reply
  2. Katie:

    Random question this post made me remember – your praises of Vapour Palo Santo deodorant a long time ago led to my switch to natural deodorant. Lately it seems like every blogger has hopped on Kopari, which honestly has made me resist them. It’s definitely cheaper than Vapour, but how does their deodorant compare functionally? Thanks!

    ps – I love the travel content. I always come back and revisit these before trips!

    1.29.19 Reply
    • Yes, love the Vapour one too!

      I’ve written about Kopari twice now (the first one was totally unsponsored, I bought it with my own money bc my friend told me to try it and then they reached out to me afterwards and bought a sponsored post). I really, really like it. I actually switched to Kopari because the Vapour one stopped working for me! It took a bit of adjusting – there was definitely a detox period where I smelled bad but once I got through that I was perfect!!! During that period I would exfoliate my armpits everytime I showered, and also apply Pixi Glow Tonic. Now, I switch back and forth between the two – use a bottle of Kopari, use a bottle of Vapour. (I’m currently using Vapour again – about halfway through, and plan to switch back to Kopari when I finish that). I find that they both stop working after long periods and switching things up helps! Kind of like shampoo – literally no scientific evidence but it works for me.

      As for every blogger using Kopari, I think it might be a factor of everyone using it! All my (non blogger!) girlfriends were using it before I did, and that’s why I first tried it!

      Here are my two Kopari posts for reference!

      Whew – sorry for the longwinded comment. Evidently I really like talking about deodorant.;)

      1.29.19 Reply
      • Katie:

        Thank you so much for your response! Your transparency is reason #58346 that the stripe is a fave.

        1.29.19 Reply
  3. Cy:

    I’m with Charmaine. They never work for me, I’m glad they work for somebody( if I could just afford business or first class, another story.)I’m also a very light sleeper. My favorite is mid morning, I waste a day flying, but at least I am cohernat when I arrive! :)). These are all great tips for flying in general. Always bring my cashmere pashmina, those blankets are gross.

    1.29.19 Reply
    • Haha right? If only!!!!

      I’ve done the same thing, flying to Europe during the day and just getting extra sleep and going to bed. But when I was working a more traditional job and only had two weeks’ vacation, I took a LOT of red eye flights!!!

      1.29.19 Reply
  4. Cy:

    Your poor sister in freezing in Minn right now! ( says the wimpy Cali girl) It’s something like 50 below!

    1.29.19 Reply
    • Haha I KNOW! I’m nervous – it’s going to be cold!!!!!

      1.29.19 Reply
      • Cy:

        Extra cashmere! I really want to try the eye cream and the lippy. I’m currently using the Schmidts charcoal( still working) and still love it, but next time maybe I’ll try the Kopari

        1.29.19 Reply
    • Architect:

      I’m in Minneapolis. It’s crazy here now. Even the post office has decided to close tomorrow. The weather will be better by this weekend though.

      1.29.19 Reply
  5. Laura:

    Thanks! Any jet lag tips for travel to Asia? Going for the first time in March and have heard it’s so much worse than Europe since it’s such a drastic change.

    1.29.19 Reply
    • Ugh Asia was really hard. Going there isn’t that bad but coming home was awful! I was jet lagged for two weeks!!!

      1.29.19 Reply
  6. red:

    Be careful if traveling alone as a woman taking sleeping pills and sitting in the window seat. I’ve heard lots of people advising against that because you become an easier target for getting messed with by men that sit next to you.

    1.29.19 Reply
  7. Kay:

    I’d add hand lotion to the list! I can’t fly without lip balm & hand lotion because my skin is already dry without the terrible plane air. I flew to Asia last year and realized right before boarding that I had no lotion in my carryon. Thankfully the Aveda in the int’l terminal had a mini foot lotion that did the trick!

    I also like the Olly melatonin gummies, although I agree with the commenter below that you need to be careful if you’re traveling alone on a long haul flight. Probably low chances of anything happening, but I’ve read some scary news articles about women being assaulted on planes.

    1.29.19 Reply
    • OMG yes – I am the absolute worst with remembering hand cream and feel like my hands always look so old and dry!

      1.29.19 Reply
  8. Jessica:

    Wearing compression socks has been a life-changer on flights for me — they really REALLY prevent your feet from getting swollen (and of course help prevent you from getting a blood clot from sitting there so long). Amazon has some legit cute ones that just look like normal socks — I have a pair that’s breton-striped. They make a HUGE difference.

    1.29.19 Reply
  9. Jaclyn:

    I love that you’re travelling to Minnesota this weekend – I’m from Minnesota and currently live in St. Paul 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for over a year and look forward to it every day!

    1.29.19 Reply
    • Aw THANK YOU! I am nervous! It sounds COLD. Bringing all my warmest things. 🙂

      1.29.19 Reply
    • Anna:

      Another St Paul reader here! It warmed up significantly today, and much of our lovely snow is probably going to melt. From one extreme to the other, I guess!

      2.2.19 Reply
      • Jaclyn M. Anderson:

        Cool! Nice to hear from another St. Paul reader! This weather is crazy. I’m happy to be leaving for Mexico on Friday 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend.

        2.2.19 Reply
  10. Taking a red eye flight in a couple of weeks. Going to check out the pillow!

    Thanks for the tips!

    1.30.19 Reply
  11. Lisa Autumn:

    Oh this was so helpful! YAY!

    x Lisa |

    1.31.19 Reply
  12. How about a trip to London in the Spring. A long over night flight in economy! Great ideas!

    1.31.19 Reply
  13. Spooney:

    Great tips but from one who is severely allergic to lavender and very sensitive to many scents, I wish you would discourage people from using scented items in such a small space. It may work for you, but you may also be making the flight really uncomfortable for others around you.

    2.2.19 Reply
  14. Love this post!
    I have two questions, first I am really considering buying the neck pillow but I’ve just never had luck with them in the past? Do you find this one to be way more comfortable?
    Second, do you have packing cube recommendations? And I just thought of a third question have you ever tried the Patchology On The Fly Kit that is for long flights?
    Thanks so much for taking the time!

    3.13.19 Reply
    • Hey Bailey!
      1 – Neck Pillow: I love it so much!
      2 – I don’t have packing cube recs. I bought some and frankly found them unnecessary! I’m just really good at rolling and compressing my luggage as I go. I’m sure other bloggers have them, def check out Hitha on the Go – she does a lot of great travle posts!
      3 – I haven’t tried that kit but I love Patchology. Their eye masks are fab and I LOVE their lip mask!


      3.13.19 Reply
  15. Danielle Maccone:

    Hi Grace! I took your advice and purchased the Travel Infinity Pillow prior to my recent trip to Rome, and I do not know how to thank you enough. It is the best travel pillow ever! I have never slept so well on a plane before. And even when not sleeping, it just made my seat comfy and cozy. Thank you again for the amazing recommendation!

    4.1.19 Reply