250,000 SkyMiles® and counting…
I still can’t believe the amount of airline miles that I’ve amassed due to both business and love (has anyone else done a LONG distance relationship over an ocean for 2.5 years?).
Both a blessing and a curse, I love going the distance, but not the stress and discomfort that goes along with it.
From middle row seats in the back to first-class reclining seats;
From a quick hop to Minneapolis to three legs of flying to Germany;
And from sprinting to catch my plane to overnight cancellations,
The many miles have given me tons of experience in figuring out how to maximize time, comfort and health through it all.
Though I’ve got many more travel tips up my sleeve, below are my top four to get you through this holiday season!
1) Pack Food: Win on Time, Cost, and Nutrition
One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is airline food.
Especially the boxed pizza and ice cream that Delta strategically serves towards the end of flying from Europe back to US soil. It’s as if they’re reinforcing the American reputation as overweight folks that love pizza and ice cream.
I mean, really!?
Not only that, but in July of 2012, needles were discovered in four turkey sandwiches on a Delta flight.
In November of 2012, “20/20” discovered more than 1,500 FDA health violations, one including mice on Delta planes (how appetizing).
Need I say more?
Beyond the nutritional quality alone of the processed, packaged, preservative-filled airline foods, as “news flashed” above, there are definitely sanitation concerns as well.
Depending on where or how long I’m traveling, I always pack some go-to snacks for those uncertain times. Though it may be some prep time up front, it saves time, stress, and COST when trying to eat in the terminals.
A few easy favorites:
- Jerky (Oberto has a “natural” brand without the nitrates and MSG)
- Hard-boiled eggs (eat these in between flights to avoid everyone in your aisle hating you for the smell!)
- Chopped veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers)
- Aged cheese and/or turkey lunch meat (Legacy is a good brand at Meijer – minimally processed, without additives, MSG, fillers, and nitrates)
- Homemade trail mix: Nuts of choice, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, and/or unsweetened coconut flakes – YUM!
- Fruit (apples, oranges, bananas)
- Rice cake sandwiches with almond or peanut butter
2) Stay Active: Keep the Blood Flowing & Prevent Constipation
Traveling involves a whole lot of inactivity, with a few bursts of exercise mixed in.
We’re all aware that lack of movement during long flight times can lead to blood clots, and traveling is often linked to constipation as well.
Keep both at bay by MOVING before, during, and after your travels. Here are a few ways to add it in:
- Get at least 15 – 30 minutes of activity in prior to your travels. If you’re flying out super early, make sure you’re active the afternoon or night before.
- When heading to your gate, take the stairs rather than the escalator. If you have a carry-on, carry it with you!
- While waiting for your flight, do laps around the terminal closest to your gate. Even just 10 extra minutes can help!
- Stand while waiting to board; you’ll have plenty of time to sit during your flight.
- Take breaks at least every hour to stand up, use the bathroom, and stretch during your flight.
- Head to the bathroom and do some air squats! I’m known for doing these; it’s a perfect way to get the blood flowing and a quick burn before returning to your sedentary seat.
- Move your ankles, thighs, and arms while sitting to keep the blood flowing. Do a few butt squeezes to tone and tighten while you’re at it!
- To keep you regular after a long flight, it’s highly beneficial to do at least 30 minutes of activity post-flight.
- Unless you’re in a hurry, walk the airport rather than using the people movers.
3) Disinfect & Pop Your Vitamins
The stuffy air full of other passengers’ germs circulating on the plane is no joke: the risk of catching colds on planes is as high as 20%!
To stay disease-free:
- Bring hand wipes to wipe down your seat and arm rests.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom.
- Open and position your air vent right in front of you to direct the bad bugs away.
- Avoid airplane blankets and pillows.
- Pop your immune boosting vitamins that I wrote about in this post here.
4) Sleep Well the Night Before
Other people have often remarked that they don’t sleep on purpose the night before a long flight (especially overseas), so that they can sleep on the plane.
To me, this makes no sense. Why would you endure a long day of travel on a bad night of sleep, which can inhibit immune function, release the stress hormone cortisol, and make you more vulnerable to disease?
Sure, you can sleep on the flight. But, it doesn’t give you near the same benefits as a solid night of sleep with your proper circadian rhythm.
So, keep your same sleep routine heading into your travels, and aim for a solid 7 – 8 hours of zzz’s. Plus, the more well-rested you are going into your flight, the better you can adapt to the new time zone (if there is one)!