The original idea of this post was that both Tiff and Cait would write down their most helpful tips on staying healthy while traveling. That worked, but the thing is, we wrote down the same five tips. So instead of ten, you get five, because reading things twice is boring. Without further ado, here is how to not feel terrible after a long haul.
1. Aisle Seat. Aisle Seat. Aisle Seat.
I make a point of booking ahead and requesting for an aisle seat on all of my long-haul flights (we’re talking 5+ hours here). Long gone are the gems of seeing a new skyline (and the Instagram opportunities) of a window seat upon landing. And if I don’t manage to get that aisle seat, I’ll politely coerce my neighbour into a trade. “Hi, just to let you know, I’ll be getting up every 45 minutes, so if you would like to minimize the air-rage…” I need to move around. All of my body is happier when I do it.
2. Drink water like there is no tomorrow.
I will occassionally indulge in a glass of wine during a flight, but I’m usually obsessed with keeping hydrated while in-flight. If the flight attendant is passing around water. Take it. And ask for more. Always. The flight cabin is unnaturally dry. Headaches. General discomfort. And don’t even get me started on skin. It will also help with jet lag too! So says the pros.
3. A little me-time.
I’ve been enjoying the new movement of intuitive, or slow travel. But if it’s for work, or you’re on the mad dash to tag off a list, it’s easy to get exhausted and forget the reason why you’ve moved mountains and oceans to arrive in a destination. I like taking in the small moments of solace. Whether it’s in the middle of public transit (like rides on Bangkok’s BTS), a slow coffee at a calm little joint, or taking the night off and recovering and reflecting from the day’s inputs. Recovery is also important. I’ve been recovering from a persistent little head cold during this trip to Kenya and being conscious of my body and to what extent I can take it has really helped me extend things here. Also…jetlag.
4. Eat locally and intuitively.
I find it hard to control myself when I’m traveling. I’m on vacation, so why not go crazy on the bread and pasta? I try to be a little more intuitive with my eating while on travel. Giving a little thought about when it’s okay to go a little nuts at the hotel breakfast buffet (before a big long hike). My partner and I wind up sharing dishes in order to cover as much ground as possible. Alternatively, I also travel to eat. Local food is a constant for me. I’ve learned from friends and experience that eating street food does not necessitate a date with head over toilet. Looking out for spots crowded with locals offers a bit of easy crowdsourcing. And if you really want to minimize the risk of a stomach bug, I’ve been taking a charcoal pill before a day of anticipated street eats. Charcoal, the active ingredient in products like Pepto Bismol, will coat your stomach and prevent the nasties from getting into you. It’s worked wonders for me in India and Myanmar.
5. At least one attempt at exercise.
Your destination will impact how active you are. How active you are will also determine how you feel during your trip. Cities might be great for walking or quite the opposite due to issues of safety. Or you might be on the beach and the last thing you want is to head to the gym. Regardless of the place, I’ll try to get in some exercise. I might eschew a WOD (though I really love touring Crossfit gyms) for a very long and challenging hike through the most gorgeous of national parks, like I did this past week. Or I’ll bring a skipping rope with me and try to get in 100 double-unders to start my day.