Travel Tricks from the Pro
** Written by Paula Newby-Fraser, the "Queen of Kona."
I am looking at my travel schedule for the next 5 weeks - SFO, ORD and Japan. That's a lot of flying. I was giving a little thought to the things that will make it all manageable:
My Preflight Plan
- Reserve an aisle seat: It's easier to stretch my legs; especially on the long-haul flights.
- Ease up on the workouts 48 hours prior to traveling: There's no sense in stressing the immune system and making myself vulnerable before boarding an aircraft. I always plan my travel around the workout schedule.
- Strategic packing: Sometimes I'll pack a really soft pillowcase, so if the hotel's linens are rough, I've got something more comfortable. I also will make sure I have ample water, bars, trail mix, string cheese and other food so I can avoid the likely unappealing airline food.
- Wear loose clothing. Layers are key for quick adjustments to shifts in cabin temperature.
- Stock up on drugs. I always carry Airbourne and Esbiritox--echinacea/ herbal products--as a preventative measure. I take some the day before and the day of travel. This helps to boost the immune system and reduces the risk of colds and infections. I also pack melatonin in case I need sleep help. Friends prefer Emergen-C...same idea.
- Avoid stress: I consciously stay cool and calm in line and try to maintain a positive attitude whilst waiting in ticket or baggage lines. I take a few deep breaths and remind myself that getting agitated will not help anything along.
- Stay hydrated: It may be obvious, but if I don't make the effort I suffer. Aircraft humidity is kept very low, so I constantly sip on water to keep myself hydrated and to prevent my skin and mucous membranes from drying out; which would make me more susceptible to catching something. I also try not to over drink because then it is an endless up and down to the bathroom; another good reason for that aisle seat.
- Move it: I walk down the aisle and make a point of moving about the cabin especially on longer flights ; like the 10-hour one to Osaka. Taking a stroll keeps the blood circulating and helps minimize any swelling in my ankles and feet. Compression tights are a new addition to these long flights to assist with the swelling.
- Sleep: Depending upon the expected time change, I will attempt to get some zzzs to make the adjustment easier. I also avoid the airline pillows and blankets. They are potential germ carriers.
At My Destination:
- Reset my body clock: After crossing numerous time zones, I try to adjust immediately to the local meal times to help get my body into normal sleep patterns. If I have a real problem sleeping, I will use melatonin for a day or two to help.
- Work out: On arrival, provided it is not the middle of the night, the first order of business is a light workout in the gym or better yet, a quick outdoor jog; something to get my body and brain re-oxygenated and moving. Nothing works better.