Dry air, uncomfortable seating, over salted, under nutritious snacks and a lack of quality rest. Travel is a lot of fun and experiences the world is a priority for me. But planes, they really do work against you.
My most recent trip in the spring of 2015 was the longest time I have gone away and by far the most planes I have been on, in one vacation (9 planes, 17 days). It's not uncommon to catch some flu bug given the circumstances.
Taking everything into consideration I really made the effort this time to find some strategies to keep me healthy and feeling good along the way. I figured this would allow me to continuously enjoy each day without catching a general cold or flu, and needing a “vacation from my vacation.”
When traveling so much is out of your control. Luckily, there are some things that are in your control. I have drawn up some strategies that have kept me happy, and healthy throughout my travels. Check them out below:
1. Bring your own water bottle
Bringing my own water with me, wherever I went (especially within the plane), has to have been by far my biggest saving grace. Staying hydrated is extremely important, and the amount of water you’re given on the plane isn’t much. So purchase your own bottle before you board or bring an empty bottle with you to fill up prior to boarding and be sure to sip it throughout your flight.
2. Carry your own snacks
Pack your own snacks. One of my favorite snacks on the go are protein bars (Quest and Combat right now). A great thing about snacks you can actually purchase these outside the airport, allowing you a much larger (healthier) option, than what the airport will typically offer you.
3. Stand up every 60-90 minutes
If your flight is more than 2 hours long, I recommend you stand up every 60-90 minutes. This allows your muscles to stretch out and get the blood flowing throughout the body. It sounds simple, but you’ll almost feel the benefits immediately upon doing so.
4. Stretch - Bring a lacrosse ball or a foam roller
I mention this a lot to my personal training clients. I make a conscious effort to always travel with the a roller or stretching ball. I will carry a lacrosse ball in the carry on because you can’t exactly lie down on the plane to foam roll. The roller is beneficial throughout your trip to allow more range of motion in your joints and muscles.
The lacrosse ball comes in handy for those long flights. You can use the lacrosse ball for trigger points on your hips, feet, and back while sitting in your seat. You even have the option to use this modality in the airport waiting to board.
Sure, the person next to you might shoot you a weird look, or "um, are you okay?" a security guard might say, (I have had a few), but you will not regret releasing some tension when you’re feeling better.
5. Eat at restaurants (or food trucks)
Food is tricky when it comes to traveling. If you have a longer layover, and need something to eat I strongly recommend finding a sit down establishment to have your meal. It might not be the greatest of food quality, or nutritious, but at least you have peace of mind knowing it was not sitting in the cooler or on the shelf for a few hours or days.
A "mindful" tip is to focus on high protein foods and pair it with either a carb or fat. For example, an easy meal would be chicken fingers with a side salad or a chicken burger/sandwich with a side sandwich.
Most recently, I actually ate a food truck for this reason, and because… well it was a food truck in an airport. That’s awesome.