The experiences gained from travel are great, but the journey itself can be tough, especially when you’re in the air for 10-15+ hours.
The most common side-effect of travel is jet-lag, the symptoms of which generally occur within a day or two of departure and take about a day to recover from per time zone crossed. However, there are steps you can take during a flight to minimise the effects of jet lag and get off the plane feeling as fresh as possible.
Planes are incredibly dry. In fact, the average commercial cabin is between 10-20% humidity, drier than the Sahara Desert. The air itself is actually very clean, with a total changeover every two or three minutes, capturing greater than 99% of airborne microbes.
The problem is that the dryness of the cabin makes the throat less effective at expelling viruses and bacteria, increasing your susceptibility to getting sick.
Keeping yourself well hydrated will increase your chances of staying healthy on arrival. Try drinking around of 250mL/8 ounces of water with SOS (the balance of electrolytes will help absorb the water more efficiently) for every hour that you’re in the air.
Sitting for long periods of time slows blood circulation, and when you’re stuck sitting in a cramped seat on a plane, your body has a hard time pumping blood from your legs back up to your heart. This causes fluid to pool in the legs, often meaning swollen feet and an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Wearing compression socks can help circulate the blood back up to the heart, reducing the swelling in your feet and potentially lowering the risk of DVT. Still, the best course of action is to move about. Take a short walk every hour or so up and down the aisle. When you’re sitting, rotate your ankles, point your toes and flex/relax your calf muscles to help keep the blood flowing.
The first noise cancelling headset was designed specifically for pilots in order to hear their audio and communications more clearly. Today, noise cancelling headphones are widely available and are a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of time in the air.
Noise cancelling headphones can halve the in-flight roar created by planes, meaning better rest if you’re trying to sleep or actually being able to hear the movie you’re watching.
The best accessories to go with some quality headphones are a sleep mask and neck pillow. My personal favourites are the Manta Sleep Mask and Trtl Travel Pillow which can make getting some sleep on a plane a bit easier and far more comfortable.