Whether it’s a long haul international flight or a quick domestic trip up to Sydney, there’s no doubt plane travel is tough on the body. And it can be mentally draining and exhausting too!
After racking up some frequent flyer points the last couple of years here are my top tips for plane travel to help you make it to the other end without feeling too tired, sore or sluggish J
Tip #1 Water Water Water
The air inside the cabin has a humidity level of 10-20%, a lot lower than the usual indoor humidity of 30-65%. This lack of humidity can lead to dehydration, which can lead to dry skin, scratchy eyes, problems with breathing for people with asthma and also fatigue. Therefore drinking plenty of water before and during the flight to combat the lack of humidity will help prevent dehydration and reduce the side effects. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and cola, as these aggravate dehydration.
Tip #2 Pack light
Let’s face it, we have all been guilty of overpacking for trips, a simple weekend away can turn into an entire wardrobe being thrown into the suitcase for “just in case” it’s cold/hot/I change my mind. The trouble with packing everything is the weight of your suitcases. Lugging them into the car, lifting them out of the boot, lifting them onto the scales at check-in and doing the same at the other end, all of this puts loads into your lower back, neck and shoulders, potentially leading to injuries such as muscle strains, or worse, a disc bulge. And even heavy carry-on luggage can be a potential hazard when reaching up to place them into overhead lockers. So pack as light as possible to save your body!
Tip #3 Move!
It is well known that airplane travel has the potential risk of Deep Vein Thrombois (DVT), i.e. the development of blood clots from sitting still too long. Not to mention the stress on the musculoskeletal system when you sit in the one cramped position for too long. So as much as possible walk around the plane (Tip #1 should help with this, as you will need a few bathroom stops!), move your feet and ankles in circles and up and down every half hour or so, and stretch your neck and shoulder muscles too.
Tip #4 Eat less
Airline food is always bad for you, period. Even if it looks healthy, it’s still full of preservatives, too many heavy carbohydrates and sugar, and usually covered in oil or dressing. It’s a good idea to have a healthy meal at home before you leave for the airport, to keep you full as long as possible and help you avoid eating too much food on the plane. For long haul flights try to bring some snacks with you too. Mostly people eat on planes due to boredom, so ask yourself if you are really hungry, or are you just eating out of habit or lack of something to do.
Tip #5 Bring a scarf or cardigan on board
It’s always cold on the plane, the blankets are always too thin, and chances are it was warm before you got on the plane so you’re not dressed appropriately! Pack a scarf or long sleeve top in your handbag just in case.
Tip #6 Invest in an eReader
Best. Purchase. EVER. I have no idea how I survived traveling without my eReader before, its light, saves on packing space and I don’t have to lug around a million books like I did when travelling in the past. You can even download Lonely Planet travel guides too, great when visiting several countries at once. Perfect to stave off boredom on those long haul journeys and make your domestic flights feel like ten minutes!
Tip #7 Smile!
Being friendly and happy when checking in and when boarding the plane is so easy to do, yet more often than not people are grumpy or rude to airline staff. A little bit of effort can go along way to making your trip more pleasant. Not only will you feel better yourself by having a positive energy, but airline staff will be more likely to accommodate your requests for an extra water or blanket, and hey you never know when you might get upgraded for engaging in friendly chat with check in staff 🙂