Do your research.Do you have certain health conditions that would make the flight extra uncomfortable or difficult? Does the airline you plan to take offer free earplugs, pillows, and blankets like most do these days? How many times will they feed you? Do you need a special meal? If so, you'll have to contact the airline directly and let them know. Ask friends what overseas flight items they have that you could borrow instead of purchasing your own. Try them out on your first overseas flight, and then you'll know what to buy for your next adventure!
Purchase necessary flight survival items.Overseas flights almost always involve flying during sleeping hours. Make sure you have a good eye mask and earplugs that will block out sound and light since planes and the people on them are noisy. Consider getting a great neck pillow as well, especially if you're not flying in first class. You'll thank yourself for the support later.
Pack light.I recommend using packing cubes to help you fit as many items into your suitcase as possible. We prefer traveling with carry-ons only so that we can get on and off of flights easier without having to worry about checking baggage or losing it.
Dress comfortably, and in layers.Planes always fluctuate in temperatures, so it's best to be prepared for any scenario. I love traveling in a comfy pair of stretchy leggings and a shirt and cardigan. This way, I can move my legs around in a variety of positions, and can take the cardigan on and off as needed. I also wear slide-on shoes that are easy to get on and off during security, but I wear a pair of socks so that my feet won't get cold when I take my shoes off during the flight.
Eat and hydrate.I didn't expect the food to be anywhere near as good as it was on all of the overseas flights we've been on. They feed you quite often. If you aren't hungry for any of the meals, save things in your small personal bag for later, and be sure to accept a drink every time they offer. Though it might make bathroom trips annoying, it will help keep you from dehydration.
Sleep.I can't emphasize this one enough. Even though your body may not feel like it, try to make yourself turn off the free movies and games and make a concentrated effort to sleep. Put on your eye mask and put your ear plugs in, and at least rest. It's pivotal that you sleep on the plane while you can to help deal with jet leg. The only exception to this is when you come home, as the time change may help you if you stay awake a little longer.
Get up and take walking breaks.This is even more important if you are pregnant or prone to blood clots. No matter your health conditions, getting up and getting your blood flowing every few hours is never a bad thing. I usually take a lap or two around the aisles before and after I use the restroom.
Stay on the schedule of the time zone you're in.It can be incredibly hard to want to stay awake in Europe when your body is telling you it's 4 a.m., but trust me, you've got to try to acclimate to the correct time zone as quickly as you can. Make it through that first day, and then you'll sleep like a rock. Also, eat when the time zone says you should be eating.
Don't overbook your first day.You'll be fighting that jet lag hard, so allow your first day to be a little less busy than some of your other days. Instead of a walking tour, ride a train or trolley. Spend a little time at the cafe' sipping coffee. And then book a nice hotel room for the evening, and let yourself go to bed a bit earlier than normal. Your body will thank you!
That's it. Be sure to plan ahead for your flight, eat and hydrate, get up and go for walks, and you'll be just fine. Jet lag really isn't all that bad if you can make it through that first day! Best of luck. Let me know if you have questions or need advice!