Tips to Travel Well this Holiday Season
Thankfully, this holiday season feels much, much different than the last, and many of us will be off to destinations – hot and humid or dry and cool – for the upcoming holidays (YAY!). I just spent two weeks in Western Australia, and when I learned that I would be on a plane for 21 ish hours plus long stopovers, I dove into all of the ways I could support my body through the stress of travel. This included preventing jet lag, creating as comfortable of a flight for myself as possible, keeping my immune system strong, and optimizing nutrition during a full day of travel. I am happy to report that my tools paid off – I was able to soak up every minute of my holiday, jet-lag free, and found the transition back to home life very easeful. So, I thought I would share my travel toolkit to support you on your next getaway, especially if it involves a change in time zone.
Prevent jet lag with the Timeshifter app
This free app was incredibly helpful in letting me know when to maximize sunlight, when to put on my blue blocker glasses, when to have caffeine, nap or sleep, and take melatonin. You plug in your flight details and it creates a custom plan for you that begins 2 days before your trip and ends 2 days after, so you can transition time zones smoothly. I loved the caffeine prompts and how it gave me guidance on when to stay awake and when to nap on the plane.
It’s also helpful to add your home time zone to the world clock on your phone so you can keep tabs on what you need to sync up with on your flight back. For example when it was 11pm at the start of our stopover in Singapore. It was 6am in Vancouver, so we stayed up and kept moving throughout our whole stopover to get our bodies used to PST. It would have been tempting to simply sleep through the whole stopover (which is what we saw most folks do), but that would have made transitioning to PST much more challenging.
Drink more water than you thought possible
Planes and airports are extremely dehydrating. Paired with the coffee (or two) you’ll likely be consuming during your travels, it’s imperative to drink water consistently. The flight crew are happy to keep refilling that water bottle, so go for it! I aimed to drink 1L bottle an hour, which meant getting up to pee a lot, but not nearly as much as i thought which just proves how dehydrating it is up there. So, I recommend opting for an isle seat. I was also recommended Weleda Skin Food while in Aus, which I applied a few times during the flight home and my skin felt dewy and hydrated the whole trip (great for skin recovering from a cold dry climate or from lots of sun exposure.) You can take a TurF immunity shot or add a greens powder and electrolytes to your hydration, too.
Pack your own snacks
I personally chose to fast for my first flight, with the exception of some greens powder and electrolytes and trail mix towards the end. Digesting on a plane can give some folks bloating and discomfort, so that might be a great option for you. If you’re opting to eat on your flight, mixed nuts or a low sugar granola are my go-tos (Birdie Bites are great for snacking, too). I also packed a TurF bowl from the grab + go (thanks Natalie for the reco!) to enjoy on my layover and it traveled really well!
Keep moving on your layover
We had an 8 hour layover in Singapore, and for both legs of the journey we kept moving for about 6 hours by walking through the various terminals. The journey home found us some luggage trolleys which I HIGHLY recommend if you’re going to explore and walk around. We also put on a couple of on-demand quickies and found a quiet corner of the airport to work in some Pilates-inspired movement (love you, TurF Digital). On the flight to WA, we paid a very reasonable fee to use the airport gym, pool and showers – this was a 10/10 move and highly recommend if you stopover in an airport that has a gym (google it!).
Take movement breaks on your flight
I opted to get up once every hour and found a corner in the back of the plane to get some movement in and hydrate my joints. There’s usually a secret spot between sections (like business and economy) where I was able to do some squats and legs up the wall (yes, I was that person). Some effective movements are forward folds to release a tight low back and hamstrings, squats, ankle circles, lateral leans to stretch out sides and fascia, big stretches reaching fingers away from toes, heel raises to pump stagnant lymph through the body, and wall sits to elevate heart rate and energize your circulatory system.
Maximize the in-flight experience: a carry-on packing list
- TurF immunity shot (before you head through security)
- Earplugs + noise cancelling headphones (I wore together and it was pure bliss)
- Lip balm and moisturizer
- Bee Keeper’s Naturals propolis throat spray for immune support and to prevent a dry throat from developing
- Rose water as a toner to refresh for the face
- Mouth tape (a piece of medical tape the size of a postage stamp works perfectly) to encourage nose breathing while you snooze (our nose is our best immune defence for trapping viruses)
- An eye mask
- Blue blocker glasses (the kind with red lenses)
- Large water bottle
- Thick socks and flip flops
- A blanket, as not all carriers include post-Covid
- A neck pillow
- Electrolytes and greens powder (I went with Athletic Greens)
- Betadine nasal spray or throat gargle – i use this to prevent catching a cold as it kills viruses that you may pick up on the plane
- Caffeine free tea bags
- Compression socks
- A yoga nidra or meditation playlist
- Melatonin, however be sure to consult a health practitioner before using
- Gravol (the drowsy kind)
The two biggest tools to prevent jet lag when you land: sunlight and exercise
I loved the Timeshifter app for its guidance on when to see or avoid sunlight to help my body sync up with the new time zone. I was also able to get movement in within hours of landing on both days through a long beach walk and then a run back home right after I landed. I also booked myself in for acupuncture on the day I landed, which felt amazing to get some restorative time in to create some ease in my body.
All of the above tools felt really supportive and nourishing. For me, I was extra cautious to not throw my body out of whack as teaching requires me to feel really well and energized! I hope you find this useful and can pull some tricks for your next flight. Let me know how it lands (no pun intended).