4 Travel Tricks to Hit the Ground Running

Source: LA Times

Source: LA Times

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.

Source: www.vh1.com

Source: www.vh1.com

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.


Source: stealthbody.com

Source: stealthbody.com

  • 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)!


Note: Jules’ Fuel uses affiliate links in some blog posts. If you make a purchase using one of these links, which costs the same either way, it’s a very, very small way to help me cover the cost of running this website. So, thanks!

8 responses on “4 Travel Tricks to Hit the Ground Running

  1. These are all great tips. I almost never fly, and if I do the flight is maybe around an hour. But still.
    One thing I’m reacting on though. Why do you bring nuts aboard an aiplane? What about allergic people?

    • Thank you! Regarding nuts, some people are allergic, but if you’re the only one consuming them, there shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, airplanes often serve bagged peanuts, which is probably more of a threat to the minority that have severe allergies.

  2. Great post and advise in general! I recently moved to the west coast from Wisconsin, and due to my family remaining in the Midwest I’m beginning to fly more often. I have constantly struggled with what to pack (small bag of unsalted almonds, protein shake, jerky etc.) and this post has shaped my view of what I should look for in my snack food. Simply put, is there a way to get chicken in that list?


    • Thanks, Michael!

      Sometimes, my husband and I will cook chicken the night before, and bring it in a bag. Depending on how long we’re traveling, we’ll sandwich it between two separate bags of ice to keep it cool. Otherwise, you could always bring canned chicken, though watch the additives and salt content! Hope this helps :)

  3. Great tips! I’m an Australian in a long distance relationship with a Canadian, with family in Brazil and Australia, work in Papua New Guinea and other random locations. I spend a lot of time in lounges and planes. As appealing as alcohol may appear to aid sleeping, I avoid it the night before and whilst travelling. Dehyration contributes significantly to jet lag. Also pre-ordering your healthy meal doesn’t usually cost extra so worth going for but I always try to have decent meal before leaving for the airport. :)

    • Thank you! Sounds like quite the life of time zone switching… great tip for pre-ordering a healthy meal; you’re referring to the airline food, right?

  4. Yes I was referring to the airline food. Some like Emirates, British, Lufthansa and Singapore go as far as offering options like no-carb, fat-free, raw veg and low sodium. I never thought of doing air squats so thanks for tip!

  5. Pingback: 10 Healthy & Portable Foods for Travel! | Jules' Fuel·

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