Jet setting has been part of my normal routine for years, so through much trial and error I have navigated some helpful, practical tips that help make feel-good-traveling doable for anyone.
1. Don’t go pack-rat mode when you’re packing your luggage. You will rarely catch me checking luggage on a flight, as I appreciate a light load. One carry on and one personal item (strategically packed) is plenty of space to transport a laptop bag (which I take full advantage of for extra storage, including snacks), personal care items, tightly folded or rolled clothes and 2 pairs of shoes strategically tucked in (or 1 worn on my feet and 1 packed). Ladies: I never pack a hair dryer; I will pack either a flat iron or a curling iron for sake of space, and I only bring makeup that I absolutely need, which fits in a small bag easy to stuff in my laptop bag. Unless you really don’t mind lugging around a full size suitcase, give your body a break by leaving the non-necessities at home. Also consider bringing a plastic grocery bag to keep shoes packed in so you’re not treading gunk on your other belongings.
2. Indigestion is just plain obnoxious so keep your system happy by avoiding any crazy foods the day or two prior to your trip, and be sure you are still eating good choices the day of. Even if you have an early flight, get something well balanced in your stomach before you get on the road. I choose tea if I want something cozy or refreshing before my flight, and always choose water (no ice/or bottled) in flight – skip the soda and dodge the tummy grumbles. In fact, I’ve come to terms with being that person who has to ultra-politely ask for several refills (or bottles if in first class) of water; the flight attendants never really mind. As long as you are friendly and kind, people feel more willing to accommodate you – so don’t go diva or ego mode and try demanding special requests, but don’t hesitate to do what you need to do to stay healthy and feel well.
3. Quality sleep matters, for obvious reasons, so plan ahead of time (failing to prepare results in preparing to fail, after all) to be packed and ready to go before the day of your flight so you aren’t scrambling late at night or missing sleep over your ‘to do list’. Get to bed at a decent hour that allots a solid 6-8 hours of sleep time. A sleep-deprived brain and body produces extra stress hormones and we all know how much we want to avoid those! Also consider that you’re traveling to a destination where more than likely, feeling good and being in good spirit is important, and a drowsy or moody countenance is probably not the package you want to bring.
4. Hydration is important, so like any other day, be sure you aren’t neglecting your water intake, as it will encourage the body to retain water. Being consistently hydrated ensures your system is expelling fluids out, especially because traveling via plane or vehicle means extra time being sedentary. That being said, you want to keep your system operating as normal so don’t avoid restroom breaks; just stay ultra-sanitary by using seat covers and thorough hand washing (remember, about the Happy Birthday song in duration).
5. Stress stinks so keep it cool even amidst rush hour traffic or a crowded airport. It goes without saying that stress wrecks havoc on the body, and stress-sweat really reeks. I’m always thanking God in advance for a good trip, and for things to work out to and from (traffic, check in/security), while choosing to maintain an attitude that wouldn’t repel other people. Make sure you’re staying relaxed (don’t shrug up those shoulders, even if you’re in a crowded environment or unpleasant seating) and let yourself process positive thoughts, get some work done, make a new friend, read a book or listen to some audio.
6. Being outfitted in comfortable wardrobe will help you stay cool and collected, rather than feeling uncomfortable and restricted. I’ve traveled in the full spectrum of options: bulky business attire, awkward cocktail attire, too-tight jeans that cut off all of my gut circulation (auto-muffin top situation) and almost shamefully ultra scrubby sweats, so know the importance of dressing appropriately for the occasion. Keep it modest, casual (unless you need to be in more formal wardrobe), and comfortable. Your footwear should allow for pain-free walking – so ladies, this means flats or athletic shoes, and I say this from previous years of practically living in high heels, even through flights cross-country (not to worry, I broke the cycle of insanity in 2008, in large part thanks to my better half, Tyler).
7. Don’t go rigamortis in your seat – space might be limited but that doesn’t mean you can’t do some ankle rolls, neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and possibly a little leg mobility. Something else that has always proven to be a positive move is at least acknowledging people around you so there isn’t that awkward silence amongst you; we’re human – we’re social beings, so loosen up, be pleasant and at least crack an earnest smile, even if they don’t appear friendly. Don’t judge a book by its cover, right?
I hope those seven nuggets have at least inspired you to have more relaxed travel arrangements, or given you new ideas to employ next time you jet set. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share the link, and of course, plug in with me on social media by following @kelseyleedotcom!