I got the idea for this post after a recent overseas journey which spanned around 36 hours of flights, trains and buses. Whether on a journey as long as mine, or something less intense, traveling has a definite impact on our physical well-being – time-zone changes, cramped conditions and limited food options disrupt our natural cycles, so it pays to be prepared. With the holiday season winding down this is perhaps a little belated, but keep these tips bookmarked for next time!
- The day before you travel, move around a lot – go for a long walk or gentle jog, go to a pilates or yoga class or simply stretch.
- Buy some healthy snacks to eat on the journey – avoid plane/train/ food if you can. I tend to pack leftovers (fritatta and salad is easy to pack) nuts, nut butter, coconut oil, dried fruit, healthy snack bars, crackers, bananas, avocados, kale chips, crisps, dark chocolate, bake some muffins or a loaf. You should be fine taking this food onto a plane but anything left after your flight you may have to declare on entering a new country (transit should be fine).
- Eat and hydrate well on the day you are flying so you can fill up on good quality produce and won’t be tempted by any nasties onboard. Try to get in a vegetable juice or smoothie before the flight – google beforehand to find out if your airport has a juice bar. Green tea will help with tension headaches – I take the tea bags with me and just ask for hot water.
- Pack your probiotics to help keep your tummy happily digesting and to help support your immune system (being stuck in a confined airless places with loads of people can be a germ breeding ground!).
- Prepare your travelling outfit – choose your most comfortable clothes, soft fabric that is loose fitting or nice and stretchy. Pack an extra pair of socks or some slippers or flip flops/jandals to walk around in as you want to take your shoes off as soon as you begin your journey.
- Make sure you have a good sleep the night before – no last minute packing or panicking
- Choose an aisle seat so you can get out of your seat easily to walk around (without your shoes), or if travelling in a car take regular breaks to get out and walk around and stretch: turn your head from side to side, squeeze hands together behind your back, twist, sit in a low squat, lean forward to stretch the back of your legs, point and flex your feet, and so on (images below).
- Drink plenty of water (double the amount of water offered to you if on a plane) this will make you get up to use the toilet at the very least! Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can disrupt your sleep patterns.
- If you have more than one flight then use the transit time to find a juice bar, or guzzle some good quality water. If you’re hungry choose fresh vegetables/salad or fruit.
- If you feel tired then sleep! Or at least close your eyes and rest. Take the opportunity to practise some calming breathing exercise or mindfulness. If you are transiting and need sleep then lie down rather than sit to sleep. If you’re wide awake then walk around or stand as much as you can.
- Eat your own packed food. Or if you have to eat the food served to you then definitely avoid the bread and dessert – ask for a piece of fruit or a bag of nuts instead.
- Brush your teeth! or at least swill your mouth out with oil or fresh water! This won’t only make you feel more refreshed, but will also help keep your immune system boosted. Remember the major importance oral health plays in well-being!
- Stretch, twist and move around! The cat stretch is a great one to do if you have the floor space. Massage your feet on a tennis ball to help rebalance the different reflex points that may have been affected by the travelling.
- Hydrate – plenty of fresh water perhaps with a pinch of good quality salt to help balance your electrolytes.
- Eat well to help you sleep well – fill up on any food groups you may have missed out on during your travels.
- Go to bed at the local time (between 10 and 11pm is ideal) and get 7-8 hours sleep if possible.