“Let the games begin!” We all have heard that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest travel times of the year. While the beginning of the holiday season brings us together for joyful times with family and friends, we are also at a higher risk for getting sick when we jump on an airplane to visit them.
In the spirit of recognizing how busy we all are, and wanting to simplify this post, here are my Top 10 Travel Tips for staying healthy while flying this year:
- Check out this product: NO JET LAG. I highly recommend trying this natural product, especially if you’re flying across at least two time zones. My husband and I tried it last year with great success flying to and from London. I have also used it when flying from Denver to the east coast. No Jet Lag is a homeopathic remedy and can be purchased at many health food stores as well as online. For more information, check out www.nojetlag.com.
- Bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport and refill it once you are through security. Some airlines are not always willing to fill it on the plane and there is some debate over the cleanliness of airline tap water. Bringing your own bottle and filling at the airport saves you money and helps the environment by not adding another throw-away bottle into the waste stream. Because the humidity is greatly reduced on planes, it is important to stay hydrated before, during and after a flight. Dehydration can put us at a higher risk of picking up viruses. (WikiHow) Drinking alcohol and caffeine also dehydrates us so just hang on until the big party after deplaning.
Pack your own snacks so that you are sure to have healthy options while you’re traveling. Many airports are now offering more healthy food options, but you can save money by packing your own favorite healthy snacks. Some of my favorites: almonds, healthy sandwiches and apples cut into wedges. Get as creative as you want, but don’t forget the TSA regulations for liquids in your carry-on bags.It’s also advised to take extra Vitamin C and B Complex to boost our immune systems prior to airplane travel. (Greatlist.com)We also try to eat a healthy meal at home before leaving for the airport.
- Bring disinfectant wipes. Germs are everywhere, especially in crowded places like airports, train and bus stations. We can’t always be sure how clean our seats, arm rests, seat-belt buckles and tray tables are; so I usually wipe them down with a disposable disinfectant wipe when I get to my seat. It takes about 30 seconds, but gives me peace of mind and reduces my risk of picking up nasty germs. I also wipe down my luggage handle upon arrival if I have checked a bag. My favorite of line of wipes is called Herban Essentials. These towelettes contain pure essential oils in orange, lemon, peppermint and eucalyptus. I always keep several in my purse at all times. They come in handy at the airport and in public restrooms where most of the soap contains parabens and is harsh on my hands. They smell wonderful and are easy to travel with! To find out more see www.herbanessentials.com.
- Bring your own blanket, wrap and pillow. Unless these are wrapped in plastic, I always wonder how many other passengers have used them? Talk about germs! I usually travel with my own neck/back pillow and a light wrap that can be used around my shoulders or laid across my lap if it’s chilly. If it gets very chilly, I commandeer my husband’s sports coat.
- Dress comfortably and seasonally. Dressing in layers with comfortable shoes has always been an important part of my healthy-minded travel. I have been caught in the summer on a plane wearing a skirt with the air conditioning blowing full blast — definitely not “the friendly skies” — I came down with a cold a week later. Note to self- “layer!” I’ve also learned that wearing flat, comfortable shoes pays off during flight delays and in those two mile hauls to another gate between connecting flights. I also usually pack a pair of warm shoes or flexible boots in my carry on if I’m flying from a warm to a cold climate.
- Move and stretch. This is critical to keep our circulation going. We tend to hear that getting up and moving every hour is a good rule of thumb. Lack of blood flow to our lower limbs while flying can, in extreme cases, cause blood clots to form and can cause pain and even death. You may have heard of DVT or deep vein thrombosis. It often occurs during long flights or other times of immobility. Tight legroom and sitting with your legs crossed may increase this risk. (WebMD) When I’m sitting I also try to rotate my ankles just to keep circulation going.
- Try to avoid people who are sick. We never want to be rude but sometimes in looking after our health on a flight, I’ve found that it’s okay to ask a flight attendant for another seat, if available. And if I were sick, maybe it would be a good idea to postpone a trip so as not to expose others. We usually pay a little more for travel insurance for this very reason.
- Try to use the plane restroom infrequently. As most of us know the closer we are in proximity to the toilet, the closer we are to germs. I try to be good about hydrating on the plane and thus I do need to use the restroom more than I would like. However, I use a paper towel to open and close the lids, to flush, to use the faucets after a thorough hand scrubbing and finally using the paper towel to open the door and then discarding in the attendant’s station.
- Don’t touch your eyes. Our eyes are one of the primary places in which we can transmit germs to ourselves. It’s so easy to rub our eyes, especially in the dry environment of a plane. These days, I pack my contact lenses and fly wearing my glasses. I also pack a small bottle of eye drops to keep them hydrated, but only after washing my hands thoroughly.
As always, I highly recommend checking with your doctor if you are pregnant, have recently been very ill or have any other health related concerns before traveling.
Fly safely and be healthy!