If you’re like me, a day of flying, layovers, and crossing time zones leaves me feeling ragged. I used to load up on fried food at the airport and just ride out the misery, but now that I’m older, I try to treat my body better.
Here are some practices I’ve adopted that tend to make traveling easier on my body.
1. Eat the Healthiest Food You Can Find
Now, granted, that’s not always an easy task when you’re rushing to get from one plane to another in 30 minutes, but it is possible. If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal (#2 on my list), grab a prepackaged salad from one of those kiosks. Or bring something from home. A less satisfying but still healthy option is to grab a Naked Juice and a pack of nuts at a newsstand. It’ll tide you over until you can eat a better meal.
Why It’s Important: You’re putting your body through enough, jerking it from one time zone to another. Eating like you’re at a carnival will only compromise your digestive system, and could jeopardize your ability to get out of the hotel room and follow your itinerary, if you’re stuck in the bathroom as a result.
Link to Love: See how the top 10 airports rank on healthy offerings.
2. Sit Down to Eat (If You Have Time)
It makes me crazy how short airlines make the transfers between flights. I’d rather have a three-hour layover where I have time to walk around and then eat without being rushed. If your schedule allows, find a full-serve restaurant (not a grab-and-go food court) where you can decompress for a while. You’ll likely find better, healthier food choices here, so you win on two points.
Why It’s Important: Stress is a big part of travel, and sometimes it’s unavoidable. But just taking some time to sit, ground yourself, and enjoy a medium rare steak and a glass of beer is enough to propel you through the rest of your travels.
Link to Love: Plan ahead with this list of the 25 best airport restaurants.
3. Get a Massage
I love the fact that quickie massage places are sprouting up at airports. I tend to get crunched up in my neck and back when traveling, so getting a massage (even a 10-minute chair massage) makes a huge difference. I recently stopped by the XpresSpa in the Atlanta airport. It wasn’t luxury, by any means, and it was rather loud with the other customers, but I did get a room to myself for 30 minutes. The kink in my neck magically dissapeared.
Why It’s Important: Who wants to start a vacation with a sore neck? Or who wants to bring one home, along with a suitcase of dirty laundry? Even if it’s not the most professional massage you’ve ever gotten, working out that travel stress from your body can keep you moving and keep you from getting sick.
Link to Love: Some of these airport spas are a step up from the usual. I’m hoping for a layover in one of these cities soon!
4. Charge Your Devices
Scratching your head at this one? If you’ve ever had a dead phone when you needed to get your electronic ticket off of it, you know how crappy that feels. So make sure you pack your chargers and then cozy up to the wall by an outlet with the other folks charging their stuff.
Why It’s Important: I’m all about not taking paper books and reading on my tablet. Or playing games. And I need my phone the second I land. So having these devices fully charged is essential for my well-being!
Link to Love: Who knew? There’s actually etiquette for charging your devices!
5. Refresh in the Bathroom
You’re about to get into a tin box crammed with people, all who will be using the same two tiny bathrooms. Enjoy the luxury of a spacious bathroom while you have it. Pee. Comb your hair. Wash your face. Reapply your travel lipstick. Do yoga. Whatever. Just enjoy it while you can.
Why It’s Important: Planes are germ factories. In fact, 30% of the sinks, faucets, and flush handles have E. coli. Reduce your risk by using the facilities in the airport, which may be slightly less oozing with germs.
Link to Love: Get tips on keeping from getting sick on a plane.
6. Drink Lots of Water
This is a problem for me: I know I need to drink a lot of water, but I have a tiny bladder, which makes me need to pee five times on the plane (see #5). My son and husband hate me disrupting them in their seats to get up to use the bathroom. But still. I can feel the difference when I don’t drink enough water. So I buy a bottle at the airport, chug it, then pee before boarding (then again once we’re up in the air. Can’t help it!).
Why It’s Important: With only 10-20% humidity on a plane (30-65% is normal) you’re going to get dehydrated, which can make you feel like crap. Don’t succumb to beer after beer on the plane without swilling water to counter it.
Link to Love: This will make you stand up and take notice: make sure the water you drink on a plane comes from a bottle. Otherwise, you’re screwed.