In my years of traveling I’ve spent a lot of time on long haul flights. I somehow managed to live on other continents but still travel back to the United States regularly which meant lots of time on airplanes. Spending 5 to 20 hours on a flight(s) is a very different experience than hoping on a flight to go somewhere quickly. This means you have to plan and work harder to stay healthy during these long haul flights.
My Experience With Long Haul Flights
I’ve flown from the US to Australia and US to New Zealand and US to Europe dozens of times now. At first I was completely unprepared to be on a plane for such a long length of time. Prior to studying abroad in Europe by only airplane experience was a short 3 hour ride to California.
I’ve lost count of the long haul flights I’ve taken at this point but I do have a very tried method of getting through these long flights.
One thing I’ve learned about long haul flights is that you absolutely have to be prepared for them. It’s such a better experience if you know what to expect and are ready to make the experience easier on yourself.
Tips For Staying Healthy On A Long Haul Flight
Here are my favorite tips to stay healthy on long haul flights:
- Drink lots of water! This is especially important on the long flights. It’s so easy to get dehydrated. Dehydration plus not moving increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, aka blood clots in your veins. Drink plenty the night before, at the airport, and on the plane.
- Walk! Walk as much as you can. Walk at the airport and skip those travelators. Walk up and down the aisles every hour or so on the plane during a long flight. Walk while you can because you will be sitting on the plane plenty.
- Stretch! Stretch whenever you get up to get your blood flowing and stop cramps and prevent pain.
- Bring tools for comfort. On a long flight you need things like a neck pillow, headphones, eye mask, and ear plugs. Nothing is worse than spending 15 hours on a plane uncomfortable and unable to sleep or tune out the other people.
- Take some healthy snacks. Pack some trail mix or some granola bars in your carry on if you can.
- Pick healthy food choices at the airport. It’s tempting to pick junk at the airport but choosing healthier options will make you feel better and make the flight easier. Try to grab whole foods or something simple like a turkey sandwich and apple and skip the fast food. It might take more work to put together that kind of meal but it’s worth it.
- Wear comfortable clothes. You don’t have to look like a complete slacker but you need to be comfortable. It makes a huge difference!
Those are my tips for staying healthy on a long haul flight. If you come prepared the trip will be a lot easier and more comfortable for you, which is key when you are going to be on a plane for ten hours or more.
Photo by Swaminathan
What are your tips for traveling healthy?