When you’re going on vacation, the last thing you want is to feel sick and tired, but traveling can have huge negative impacts on your body that zap the fun right out of any tropical getaway or tourist adventure.
Some things just have to be accepted — jet lag happens because the world rotates and airplanes will always be dry — but there are ways to prepare for them so your recovery time is faster and you can get right to enjoying your trip.
Take every opportunity to hydrate
If you are of the belief that you should avoid drinking liquid at all costs during a trip to cut down pee breaks, toss that out the window right now. It’s only hurting you. There’s a bathroom before security, after security and on the plane so there’s no excuse for not hydrating. Keeping up your fluids is the best way to prep your body for anything that comes its way including jet lag, constipation and that dreaded plane dryness.
Drink a litre of water before you get to security, then drain your water bottle before you go through (you know, cause it’s the rules). Once you’re through security, ask any restaurant or cafe inside to fill your water bottle — they’ll usually do it for free. Continue drinking once you’ve boarded your flight and avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee and caffeinated tea.
Keep up the electrolytes and minerals
Some people choose not to eat while on the plane and that’s fine, but be sure to keep up your electrolytes and minerals with supplements so you’re not exhausted and vulnerable to all the germs that could be trapped in that metal tube with you. You should also take a probiotic supplement before you leave and bring extras with you to promote good gut health and digestion. Everyone knows that constipation can ruin a vacation.
If you are going to snack on the trip, save everyone some trouble and go for something nut-free. A great snack for the plane is pumpkin seeds because they contain tryptophan which creates melatonin in the body and will help you sleep (to get a jump start on that jet lag). Avoid anything that’s too heavily salted though. The air in the plane is dry enough already.
Other people on your flight might hate you, but garlic is actually a good ingredient to consume when you’re going to be heading on a long trip because it’s a natural blood thinner. If you are prone to lymphedema or swelling of the legs and ankles when sitting for long periods of time (who isn’t?) consuming garlicky foods beforehand can help reduce that inflammation.
Wear your compression technology
Speaking of inflammation, to minimize ankle and leg swelling on long flights, consider investing in compression socks or — if you wouldn’t be caught dead in something so unfashionable — compression tights. If you get severe swelling or you travel frequently, you might also consider investing in an ankle and calf massage unit. Everyone on board will be envious when you whip out your own personal masseuse.
Another nifty device you might want is a neck pillow that is actually good for your neck. The standard horseshoe-shaped pillow sold at every Wal-Mart and airport kiosk is terrible for your neck and will leave you feeling achy and fatigued. This stiff memory foam pillow is much better for you and squishes up into a packable size.
Just because you’re decked out in compression-wear doesn’t mean you can sit down for the whole flight. Since you’re constantly drinking water anyway, take as many trips to the washroom as you require and make the most of them, stretching and working out your legs along the way. You should also be rolling your ankles regularly and pulling your knees to your chest frequently to stimulate blood flow.