5 things you can do to help deal with the stress of long-haul trips

Getting through the stress of a long-haul flight is key, and here's how to do it.

Life + Leisure Travel and Getaways Lyle Truden

This article was published on January 27th, 2019

You’ve just booked that amazing trip to the far-off place you’ve been meaning to go for ages but then you realize the flight is 14 hours!  This is everyone’s nightmare.  Traveling, spending time eating drinking, seeing the sites, and playing with the locals is great fun, but getting through the stress of a long-haul flight is key. Here are 5 things you can do to help you get through it. 

5 things you can do to help deal with the stress of long-haul trips
  1. Hydrate: Between the pressure changes, and the lack of hydration on the plane your body goes through a bit of torture.  Science shows that you can lose over 1L of water while flying due to the extremely low humidity onboard.  This means before flying you should make sure you are well hydrated.  Bring along a reusable water bottle and fill it once you’ve gone through security and make sure you drink it while on board.  The amazing flight attendants will serve water throughout the flight so take water every time they offer and drink yours in between.  No one wants to hear this advice but steer clear of caffeine and alcohol on board, both will dehydrate you further.  Bring your own food for the flight; airline food is full of salt and preservatives.  You can request low sodium meals with some airlines, but if you can prepare your own healthy meals and bring them onboard, you’ll save your body the bloating and dehydration that food can cause.
  2. Take vitamins.Flying can be emotionally difficult as well. Whether you get motion sick, anxiety, claustrophobia or any other feelings on board it’s best to have a management plan.  Take those anti-nausea pills, or ginger on board.  St Johns Wort is found in any vitamins aisle and can help reduce the feelings of anxiety on board.  Of course If your difficulties are serious it’s always best to consult your doctor to help manage them accordingly.
  3. Combat jetlag before you go.There are a few things you can do to reduce the feelings of jet lag when you arrive.  Check the time zone in the destination you are traveling about a week before hand and start adjusting your body clock.  Move your bed time forward or backward a little bit each day to more closely match that of where you are going. You should also start eating your meals at the time you would in destination before hand as well. This will help your body adjust to the time difference more quickly.  Try to avoid staying up all night before hand so you arrive tired at night and sleep.  Not only does this almost always fail, but it’s actually a bad idea.  You deprive your body of sleep, and still subject it to the different time zone. This can prolong your jetlag.  It is far better to make slower adjustments the week leading up to your trip.
  4. Plan your arrive time. Schedule to arrive a day before your itinerary starts, and come home a day before you work.  Give yourself time to relax into the new schedule. The worst thing you can do is force yourself to arrive and have to go, go, go.  This isn’t always possible so if it’s not then select flights that make sense.  Don’t arrive late at night, by the time you wind down and get to bed you’ll likely not get a good sleep.  Don’t arrive really early in the morning, you’ll have to try to stay awake all day. If it is possible set yourself up for a late afternoon arrival. This will give you time to settle into the city, relax a bit and not force you to stay awake too long.
  5. Pack your bags efficiently. The more you carry the more stressful it will be. You won’t have to check if you remembered everything if you have one small backpack as a carry-on bag with your essentials.  You should have water, snacks, and a meal if you can.  Pack your headphones, a book or iPad, something to entertain you for the time you have to be awake.  Make sure to have a sweater, and slippers. Your feet do swell up so getting more comfortable makes all the difference.  You also want to stay warm, and blankets aren’t always provided. Bring some toiletries to freshen up, but make sure they are under 100ml and in a clear plastic bag.  Toothpaste is great, deodorant if you sweat a lot, eye drops, and tissues will help keep you feeling more human when you travel.
  6. Connections are key.Connections are often unavoidable when you make long distance trips. Plan the connections to work for you.  Make sure they aren’t too short, so you aren’t running through the airport frantically after customs took longer than you thought. Leave enough time to stretch, eat a proper meal, and relax a bit.

Ultimately flying isn’t great for you body, but if you drink water, get up and stretch often, and eat healthy your body will thank you when you arrive.


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