Good night, sleep tight
If you’re considering a sleep aid for your journey, such as a sleeping tablet or a product like melatonin, make sure you try before you fly!
A helping hand
… sanitiser, that is. Make sure you pack an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and/or baby wipes in your carry-on luggage and then use them! It’s said that, on an average flight, seat-back trays are more germ-infested than plane bathrooms, so clean it as best you can before you get settled. (Apparently seatback pockets are the grossest things of all on a plane, so for further peace of mind/good flying health, maybe try to avoid using these as well).
You’ve made it! All the plans, all the packing, all the waiting… when you finally take your seat on an aeroplane at the start of a holiday you’ll probably feel like you really deserve that celebratory Champagne/gin and tonic/glass of wine. By all means, toast your journey and enjoy a drink, but after that be sure to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. Flying is massively dehydrating and drinking too much will only exacerbate that – plus it make you groggy and add to the jet lag you’re likely to experience once you land.
Water, that is! If you’re setting off on a long-haul flight, imagine you’re going for a walk that will last the same number of hours. How much water would you take/need/drink on a walk that long? That’s the amount you should aim to drink (preferably electrolyte drinks) during the course of your flight. Nope, you won’t be exerting yourself, but yes, that’s how dehydrating it is at an altitude of 10,000 metres.
It’s harder to digest food while you’re in the air, so don’t eat crazy amounts (and remember warm foods are easier to digest than cold foods). Carb-rich foods can also apparently help prevent (or minimise) jet lag, as they help induce insulin secretion.
Qantas is just one of the airlines that not only recommends doing some in-seat exercises, but even suggests a few. Their advice? Do these for three or four minutes every hour you’re in the air. The main movements involve rolling your shoulders and pointing and rotating your feet while they’re lifted a few centimetres off the ground. A good set of movements that’s super-easy to remember? Make both of your feet trace out every letter of the alphabet in large, exaggerated movements (well, as large as you can make it in an aeroplane seat!).
Don’t rush back to your seat
If you’re okay with an aisle seat, try to book one so that you can get up and walk around whenever possible. If you’re in a middle or window seat, don’t rush back to your seat after a loo break. If you can stretch a three-minute break into 20 minutes by doing some simple foot/ankle/shoulder movements or just simply walking up and down the aisle for a bit, these precious extra minutes will go a long way to helping keep the blood flowing and staving off the possibility of DVT.
Sock it to ‘em
Yes, they might be hideous and yes they can be a nightmare to put on, but compression socks are your best friends on a long flight. They can help you avoid ‘economy class syndrome’ – a.k.a swollen feet and ankles – leg pain and even blood clots and deep vein thrombosis that you can get from being seated or in the same position for too long.
Wear closed-toed shoes
These are your safest bet in the case of an emergency – they’ll let you move faster than any form of open-toed shoe/sandal or flip-flop, and will provide some protection against any fire, glass or debris. Not to mention, your compression socks will look even more unappealing if they’re poking through an open-toed sandal!
Buy a sinus spray and use it every few hours – it’s such a simple thing, but will keep you from feeling dried out, help you adjust to air pressure inflight and, best of all, even fight viruses and bacteria. So spritz away!