Air travel is definitely not what it used to be! It often involves a lot of emotional and physical stress. Here are some ideas on how to make things easier for you as you embark on your journey!
Before the trip:
- Back in the day I used to photocopy pretty much anything of value I was taking (e.g. passport, driver’s license, credit cards) and would leave one copy at home and one in my suitcase. In this digital era I think this translates into taking pics, putting those on a flashdrive, and leaving it accessible to a trusted person if something unforseen happens.
- Check your flight times and pre-book your seats when you are able. This could make the difference on an over-booked flight!
- Confirm your arrangements to the airport.
- Inform your credit card companies about your departure. Now some allow this online!
Things to think of packing, and the day of the flight:
- Make sure you’ve got your passport (if needed), driver’s license, and any other important documentation.
- If applicable, ensure you have a few days worth of prescription medication in your carry-on. Sometimes it helps to have a copy of the prescription.
- Additional medication could also be quite useful: pain medication (i.e. Advil, Robaxacet platinum, Tylenol), aspirin, a decongestant, allergy medication. One never knows what might be needed!
- Have an empty water bottle in your carry-on. I fill this up with water once I pass security. It takes a while for the water to be offered on the flight, and then I find one glass is often not enough.
- Have some pre-packaged, nut-free (good to be considerate to others) healthy snacks in your carry-on. Think about items such as protein bars, granola bars, dark chocolate (you gotta live a little!) and crackers.
- Think about wearing loose, unrestrictive clothing, and, shoes that are easy to put on and off. Bring a wrap or scarf for drafts and for general coziness.
- Definitely bring ear plugs.
- Think about packing travel-sized mouthwash, wet naps and travel deodorant to help feel refreshed.
- Bring or buy travel neck pillows.
- Compression socks. Not just for old people any longer! Keeps blood from pooling and helps keep feet from swelling.
On the flight:
- Stand up at least every half hour. This gets circulation back into your legs. A stroll is ideal, but hey, if nothing else, just stand up.
- Once an hour try some very small, basic stretches and mobilizations. I recommend the following basic series: pointing and flexing your feet; stretching out your legs (if you can!); stretching your arms out in front of you; gentle head circles (not all the way around – stop before full extension); range of motion for your neck (look side to side, look up and down, touch ear to shoulder then other side); twist in your seat gently one way and then the other to stretch your lower back.
- If you have had recent body aches or strains I might recommend using ThermaCare (or similar brands) after going through security. They are heat packs that are activated by air and either stick to your body part or are affixed around your torso with velcro. Sometimes having this on before, during and after the flight can keep your muscles loose and can prevent them from seizing and contracting. Contact your health care provider before utilizing this method to ensure it is appropriate for your case.
Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can skew your body and exacerbate any jet lag….I said ‘try’…..
Hope these tips help to make the journey much smoother!