Long flights in cramped seats with crying babies, smelly trains full of dust and grime, layovers and delays, dodgy and flavourless food, unclean facilities, and shot equilibrium between mind and body more often than not conspire to make your journey memorable for all the wrong reasons. It’s not easy travelling for work and pleasure when the conditions work against you, and let’s be honest it’s rare that you get off a flight or train feeling rested and energetic. But there are ways to combat things like fatigue, illness and discomfort. Check out these tips to make your travels a little bit more comfortable.
• A flexible pillow can go a long way. As well as supporting your head when you sleep, one that moulds easily can also serve as armrest, lumbar support and neck brace. Add to that the convenience factor – such a tool can easily fit into a carry-on bag or backpack.
• Essential oils work wonders in pepping you up. Lavender is a great relaxant, and peppermint is just as good at waking you up. After long layovers and hours of chasing connecting flights, you can’t help but feel groggy and weighed down. One drop of peppermint oil applied at the base of your skull is a fantastic (and instant) solution.
• Water is a must. Dehydration is a leading cause of grogginess and fatigue. Purchase water where you can (at the station if travelling by train, after security if by flight). You simply must remain hydrated if you’re going to put your body through the rigours of travel.
• If you sleep sitting up, your head inevitably leans to one side. ‘Resting’ this way for extended periods of time causes muscle cramps and tightness. Prevent this with a simple scarf, wrapping it around your neck for added support. You can also fold it and tuck it under your buttocks for lumbar support.
• If you plan on bringing your own food, avoid things like rice and meat. Substantial eats might do more harm than good, so pick snacks that are high in water content. Oranges, sliced cucumber, cut melon, and berries are great energy-boosters.
• For longer flights across continents and time zones, ginger tea bags are your best friend. Spending so much time in rarefied air causes bloating and indigestion, so pack more than a few.
• Passing time is a lot easier when you have someone to interact with. If you’re travelling alone, you might want to consider striking up a conversation with your fellow passengers. Greet the people near you. Even if it turns out that you can’t communicate or have nothing to discuss, you can always talk about your shared destination.
• We don’t suggest you bring a mat on board and do a full-fledged yoga routine, but the least you can do is keep your limbs limber and fresh. Blood circulation goes for a toss in the sardine can-like nature of economy class, but you can always find room near the lavatory and galley to do a few stretches and keep the blood pumping.
• Jetlag is possibly the worst thing that can happen when you travel across time zones. Imagine landing in Europe when it’s bright and sunny but feeling sleepy. Or perhaps you end up in the Far East in the middle of the night but can’t stop yourself from buzzing about. Ignore clocks to keep your awareness internal.