Long haul flights don’t have to be miserable. A little pre-planning can keep you relaxed and feeling well. Here are some tips to ensure that you are comfortable during long haul flights and that you arrive at your destination in great condition.
Pre flight preparation
- Five to seven days before your flight de-stress. Move some appointments and free up capacity. Relaxation, brisk walks, more sleep and only positive thoughts are very important for immune health and mental health. When on travel, you will need more capacity in order to embrace the new and different experiences of the trip. You must also be able to make quick adjustments in case of lost luggage, missed connections, etc.
- Research your destination for history, culture and traveling precautions (US State Department reports) for that area.
- Plan what you will wear. Make sure that you layer so that you can adjust based on temperature. If there are no blankets available you may not be able to get comfortable or sleep. An extra layer could serve as a pillow. This outfit must also have lots of pockets that have button of zip closures.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance. Medical treatment and expenses abroad can be costly. Most insurance plans in the U.S. consider your travel abroad “out of network” and will not cover your medical expenses (including emergencies). A medically assisted transport can cost thousands of dollars. You can purchase coverage for various types of situations, from medical evacaution to cancellation of trip due to illness or accident. International travel insurance is well worth it and eliminates the stress around this issue. See your travel agent (service) for assistance.
- 48 hours before your flight drink more water (4 – 16oz bottles per day)
- 48 hours before your fight order special meals with the airline (if your diet is limited). For example, low fat, diabetic, vegetarian. These meals are almost always fresher than the standard meals. So consider having a special diet during your flight.
- Eat more fruits & vegetables, which provides the dietary fiber to keep the bowel clear and prevent days of constipation and/bloatedness
- Again, increase sleep to strengthen immune system
- Plan every item to be packed in your carry on bag
Carry on packing tips
- Make sure that your empty carry on bag is lightweight. A 5lb neat looking carry on bag once packed (could be 15 to 25 lbs), will quickly become unbearable after you start walking through the airport.
- 1-quart size zip lock bag filled with 3oz containers. What can you carry on board? TSA rules
- Pressure relieving ear plugs (if needed)
- Ear plugs for noise control or cotton balls will do)
- Protein bars – most airline meals/snacks are high carbohydrate and low in protein. A good brand is Builder’s bar. Another good choice is 30/40/30 bars, which contain 30 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. These bars will satisfy, provide energy and burn fat at the same time. You can find them at a health food store.
- WetOnes or pre-moistened anti-bacterial towelettes
- Non-caffeinated herbal teas: chamomile to relax & make you sleepy, peppermint for digestive health & wellness. Purchase a natural sleep remedy if needed.
- Pack 1 or 2 bottles of water. You may need more than the attendants are serving in order to stay hydrated, so pack your own. You will need to buy or fill them after your security clearance. Note: When you get thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated.
- Clean underwear
- Deodorant stick
- Prescription medicines (labeled in baggies to reduce bulk)
- Copy of prescriptions, list of allergies, list of emergency contacts, color copy of passport (another copy in your checked bag)
- Small inflatable pillow or soft garment that can be rolled into a pillow
- Hand sanitizer
- Entertainment – Good book or paperwork, I Pad, laptop or favorite electronic.
- Move at least every two hours to maintain good blood circulation. A forced sedentary condition can cause blood clots and other health complications. It is important to stretch, walk and turn the waist. Support stockings will also help.
- Drink water to stay hydrated. Avoid sugary beverages, alcohol, or caffeinated drinks. These all dehydrate the body and may suppress the immune system.
- Sleep is good but should be natural not induced by medicine. In flight the air is thin, which tends to make a person drowsy. Relax and flow with it. Your body will shut down as needed. Have a cup of chamomile tea or a natural sleep remedy from the a health food store if needed.
- Use the rest room. No one likes in-flight restrooms but the alternatives will make you ill. Most people clean up after themselves and so should you. Use your hand sanitizer after you wash your hands to be safe.