If you’ve been following my Instagram account recently, you’ll know that I just got back from a trip to Australia. So, when I was thinking about what I could write about in this month’s newsletter, I thought surely I would talk about all of the healthy food option down under and how the phrase “no worries” was just a part of Aussie life. And while I could easily spend paragraphs writing about my kangaroo and koala encounters (they were awesome by the way), it seemed more beneficial to chat about the downside of my trip: the some 52 hours I spent on a plane.
Yup, as if you didn’t already know, Australia is really far away if you live on U.S. eastern seaboard. It took approximately two 13 hour flights each way to get there and back, a fact I tried to avoid until I had my passport in hand ready to head out the door. But, whether you’d traveling for a couple of hours or a couple of days like me, flying can wreak havoc on our bodies (and minds). Think swollen limbs, a sore throat, headaches, heavy legs, dehydration, dizziness and dry skin.
But, traveling is obviously so worth it. So, how can you make the trip a little less painful?
Here are 10 tips to surviving a long-haul flight:
1. Get some extra sleep the night before you have to travel.
Even though you’re sitting a lot, getting from point A to point B can be exhausting. Some quality shut-eye will help you make it through the travel day.
2. Drink a ton of water
I know it’s not ideal to get up often to use the airplane bathroom, but staying hydrated is key to not feeling like crap when you land. The lack of humidity in the air of the plane means you’ll get dehydrated much faster.
3. Don’t drink alcohol
It might be tempting to throw back a few, especially on a long-haul flight, but you’ll pay for it later. Alcohol (and caffeine for the matter) are diuretics and will make you get dehydrated faster.
4. Avoid junk food and sugary items
In higher altitudes it’s harder for your body to digest foods that are high in fat and sodium and can make you feel sick to your stomach.
5. Opt for the vegetarian in-flight meal
Apparently, the high cabin pressure and dry air make our sense of taste more dull, so the airlines pack their in-flight meals full of salt. While it’s ideal to bring your own healthy snacks, the vegetarian menu option on board tends to have less salt according to AARP.
6. Eat yogurt
If you can only handle carrying one snack, purchase a yogurt. Why? It’s packed with probiotic bacteria, which helps with your digestive and immune systems. Just be sure to stick to the basic like Greek yogurt of kefir. Ones with a lot of sugar don’t have the same effect.
7. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Again, that lack of humidity means your skin will be drier. To combat this, pack a small face moisturizer, lip balm and eye cream to apply every few hours. Try a face mask if you dare!
8. Leave the makeup in the checked-luggage
Unless you’re an A-list celebrity, no one expects you to walk off the plane looking red-carpet-ready. Leave the makeup in your luggage and use the time of the plane to give your skin a break. This will help prevent skin problems like breakouts.
9. Shower before your flight
This is especially important for long-hauls. No matter how hard you try, when you step off the plane after sitting for hours you’re going to feel greasy and gross. By showering right before you leave, you can help grossness stay at bay for longer. Also, it’s a great way to relax before the flight and can help make you a bit sleepy.
10. Think in two-hour increments
Trying to figure out how you’re going to fill 6, 8, 10, 14 hours of flying time can be overwhelming. Instead, break it down into bite-size chunks and figure out what you want to do for the next couple of hours and don’t look at the clock until you finish the task. This was life-saving for me on my recent trip.