Stuck on a plane for six hours? Ten? Maybe longer? We can be so excited to get where we’re going that we forget about the downside of plane travel – swollen legs, viruses, disorienting jet-lag.
As I prepare for yet another season of travel, I realized that I can’t be the only one who looks for ways to make long flights and jet-lag a little easier to deal with! With a little preparation and a few tricks, you’ll be able to survive the flight and get started on your trip as soon as you leave the airport.
Before you depart:
Stay as healthy as you can. Hard to avoid, especially during flu season but always good to take precautions. Plenty of rest, good sleeps and try to eat healthy and clean – avoiding processed foods. I also take 1000mg of Vitamin C daily, beginning a week before travel.
Hydrate! Water and/or Coconut water is what you want to be drinking the day of travel, keeping you well hydrated.
If you suffer from motion-sickness, take some ginger pills along. Best to take before boarding the flight.
First off, take care of yourself on the plane:
Eat a high-carb meal before and after a flight. The carbs give you the sugar you need to adjust to changes in your sleeping and eating schedule. Either way, it’s a great excuse to try out some local snacks as soon as you land!
Keep some healthy snacks with you, especially if you get motion-sick. It will help you survive the long hours and airplane food. Drinking water is especially important. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, if you can.
Don’t let the dry cabin air get to you. A small bottle of saline solution is all you need to keep your nose from drying out when you’re flying above the clouds.
This is a tough one on some flights, but taking a walk up and down the aisle can really help with swelling and deep-vein thrombosis. When you get up to use the restroom, wait until there is a line so you can stand up a little longer.
Keep yourself from getting bored. I load up on television shows and movies to watch on my laptop. Bring a good book or magazine, or even a coloring book. Anything to pass the time.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and dress in layers, as temperatures can vary on airplanes.
Wipe down surfaces where you are sitting, with antibacterial wipes.
After you arrive:
Once you’re done with airport business, try to get some fresh air. Sometimes there is only time for a quick walk, but even that helps get oxygen levels back to where they should be. Low oxygen levels are part of the reason we get so tired after a flight.
As soon as you reach your bed, wherever it might be, put your legs up for five to ten minutes. This will allow the fluid in your legs to drain and ease sore muscles and swelling. If you’re really feeling energetic, consider a short work-out or some yoga. This will also help you get your internal clock adjusted to the new time.
Take care of your body first, then deal with the jet-lag. I have learned that the most important thing to counter jet-lag is to stick as close to possible to your normal sleep routine. That means resisting a post-flight nap or an early bedtime. Long naps and too much sleep end up making you more tired.
After a really long flight, I have also found that a massage helps. It relaxes the muscles and nervous system and allows me let go of the stress of traveling. It’s also a perfectly indulgent way to begin or end your journey!
Book a Massage
It doesn’t need to be of the $185 hotel spa variety. It can be of the Chinatown “MASSAGE ONLY” variety too. Taking the time to have someone work the fluids, lactic acid, and sore muscles in your legs gets you ready to turn around and do that long haul again. As if you really needed a “reason” to get a massage anyway.
Happy and Safe Travels! Buon Viaggio!
Carol Ketelson is the owner and operator of Delectable Destinations LLC. Dedicated to planning, co-ordinating and curating customized group tours to hand-picked destinations. As an experienced travel planner, Carol’s customized itineraries, specialized tours and off-the-beaten-path experiences create memorable journeys for her small groups of singles, couples, and solo travelers, seeking exceptional trips into the culture and cuisine of destinations around the world. Spring and Fall bookings invite travelers to taste delectable local cuisine, culturally rich traditions and mesmerizing sights. For over 10 years, Carol’s tours have captured the true essence of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Sicily, Spain, Ireland and India.