My Top 10 Air Travel Tips

Winged Mercury, Rockefeller Center, NYCI have been traveling quite a bit lately and imagine many of you are taking trips this summer, too. In light of that, I thought I would share some tips to ease the rigors of air travel and help you arrive at your destination feeling energized and refreshed. These are things I do whenever I fly, and I have noticed a real difference in how I feel when I land. I hope these tips help you travel with greater comfort and ease.

Top 10 Air Travel Tips

  1. Pack a light lunch. Airline food is pricey, unhealthy, and sometimes even non-existent. If you are traveling from home, consider a hummus/romaine lettuce/pita sandwich and apple. The pita bread travels well without getting mushy, and the hummus is a good source of protein to keep your energy up. The apple has a high water content to help keep you hydrated and has fiber to help you feel full.
  2. Avoid salty foods, including the peanuts/crackers/chips handed out in the plane.  Salt will make you retain water, and chances are good that you will bloat enough as it is due to changes in air-cabin pressure.
  3. Buy a bottle of water after you clear security.  You should try to drink 8 ounces of water for every hour of air travel. Drinking water can help prevent puffiness, and you will get the added benefit of stretching your legs as you make your way to and from the restroom.
  4. Bring a bag of raw, unsalted almonds to snack on.  They contain protein and calcium and just a few almonds will help stave off hunger during a long flight.
  5. Ladies, wear comfortable leggings.  Choose a soft, breathable fabric and select a size that is not too tight.  The reason I suggest leggings is that, not to put too fine a point on it, you don’t want your clothing to touch the floor of the airplane restroom.  I have found leggings superior to slacks and capris in this regard.
  6. Pack a pair of short cotton socks in your carry-on bag, especially if you are wearing sandals or flip-flops. After removing your footwear, simply slip the socks onto your feet when you go through airport security.  I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but, seriously, do you really want your bare feet touching those rubber floor mats in the security line?  Also, you can wear the socks later on the plane to keep your tootsies warm if the air-conditioning is too cool.
  7. Bring a bamboo pashmina shawl.  This rolls up to a very small size and can be worn around your shoulders or used as blanket while in the plane. Later, the shawl can dress up an outfit and keep you warm on a chilly night. I recommend bamboo for it’s eco-friendliness and super-soft feel.
  8. Two words:  carry-on.  If at all possible, pack everything into carry-on luggage.  This allows on-line check-in, greater flexibility if you need to change planes at the last minute,  the guarantee of having your bags arrive with you at your destination, and zero waiting-time for bags after you land.

    But, please, be sensible and courteous in the size of your carry-on bag and personal item (e.g., hand-bag or computer bag). This means no mega-bags that weigh nearly as much as a small adult. Pack simply and bring less than you think you need.  Simple living allows you to get by with less and to make creative substitutions when called for.
  9. One word:  Kindle.  The Kindle or free Kindle Reader on your smart phone or computer can take the place of a stack of books.  This is technology at its finest.
  10. Breathe.  Travel is inherently filled with unpredictability and uncertainty.  Rather than stressing over situations that are out of your control, remember to take deep breaths and enjoy the journey!

Bon voyage!

Your turn: what tips and tricks do you have for traveling more easily?  Please feel free to leave a comment below.

image: Winged Mercury, Rockefeller Center, NYC © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

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9 Responses to My Top 10 Air Travel Tips

  1. Avatar Awurrlu
    Awurrlu says:

    My pashmina is absolutely essential when I fly — it packs small, can keep me warm, and serves as a small pillow if necessary!

    But in addition to an ebook reader (I use the Kindle software on my netbook because a Kindle means owning another device), I also bring a couple of magazines. There are times when the tech needs to be turned off, and having a small amount of paper does help. I can then easily recycle them if I don't want to keep them. (This is pretty much the only time I buy magazines.)

    ps The leggings are a great idea! Thanks! Those restrooms sure get nasty…

  2. Christianna,
    What an excellent post. Full of terrific tips for travel.

    I especially like the suggestion for the bamboo pashmina.

    Thank you!

  3. Awurrlu, I am with you regarding the magazines. They are a fun indulgence while waiting in the airport or during a flight, and some airlines (e.g., Alaska Airlines and Horizon) will even recycle them for you via their in-flight recycling program.

  4. Thank you, Angela 🙂

  5. Avatar Milan Davidović
    Milan Davidović says:

    A search in Google Scholar for “air travel” + dehydration returns quite a few links related to thrombosis:

  6. Avatar Milan Davidović
    Milan Davidović says:

    Woops, something happened with that link; try or do the search manually in Google Scholar.

  7. Thanks for the links and suggested search terms, Milan.

    It is so important to hydrate adequately and take strolls (I use the term loosely!) around the cabin, especially on long hauls.

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