Whether it’s for work or play, traveling to international destinations can be a thrill. It’s just getting there and back that can be a real pain, both figuratively and literally. Keep the pain at a minimum and sanity at a maximum with some healthy tips for international flights.
Staying hydrated is essential, but guzzling the free airline alcohol isn’t the way to go about it. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it can actually contribute to dehydration. Besides, you don’t want to get too tipsy, especially if you’re traveling for business, and the decreased oxygen in the cabin air can result in your body metabolizing alcohol quicker than it normally would.
Instead, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Electrolyte drinks, such as Gatorade, are even better. Aim to drink at least one liter of water or Gatorade every five hours. Bring your own along for the ride by refilling your water bottle or purchasing an electrolyte beverage or two before your board but after you go through airport security.
Grab sleep when it comes, but don’t count on it as a given. Sleeping on an extended flight can be a great idea that never pans out in reality. But if you’re in the middle of the in-flight magazine and your eyes start to droop and your head sag, grab the chance to take a nap.
If sleep remains elusive, you can always try various sleep aids to help you get some shut-eye. Make sure you give the sleep aid a trial run at home first so you know how your body reacts. Different medications or even natural remedies can affect different people different ways – even acting as a stimulant instead of a sleep aid.
Take advantage of the chance to move around whenever possible, as the risk of developing blood clots deep in the veins, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), increases on flights lasting longer than four hours. While you can’t very well break into a set of jumping jacks, you can:
- Walk up and down the aisle
- Stand up and stretch
- Flex, stretch and move your legs to enhance blood flow
- Wear loose clothing
- Drink adequate fluids but avoid alcohol
- Take a baby aspirin before the flight
- Consider compression stockings if you’re at risk
Bring Your Sanity Kit
Killing time is key to retaining sanity on an international flight, which means you want plenty of entertainment options. Being comfortable and germ-free are other priorities.
- Comfortable headphones and music options
- Smartphone or tablet with movie options
- Reading materials and/or word puzzles
- Eye mask and travel pillow
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Healthy snacks, such as veggie sticks, mixed nuts and granola
Make sure you keep your valuables hidden and secure throughout the entire flight to thwart would-be thieves. International flights give ne’er-do-wells plenty of time to scope out and take advantage of unwary travelers. You may want to hide your passport, money and credit cards in a money belt around your waist.
While the traveling time may still be extensive, these healthy tips for international flights can help it pass more quickly – while keeping your sanity intact. Contact Swift with any questions about visas, passport renewal or other travel-related topics; we’re always happy to help!
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.