10 Tips to Survive Long Haul Travel

Is there somewhere you've always wanted to travel that requires a lot of time in the air? A cool town in Europe, Asia, or Australia? A place you've been dreaming about? What's stopping you? Are you thinking something like this? "I can't bear to do that flight... it's a long haul. It's too overwhelming. I'll stay home. I can't do it!" Well.... I say.... "YES you can! And here's how!"

1. Load up on the H2O... Take it easy on the alcohol. It's always fun when the food and beverage cart comes by on long flights... and you might be extra excited that you don't have to pay for beer and wine.... But I advise against drinking too many booze.  It's easy to get dehydrated on these epic journeys in the air. Alcohol adds to that likelihood. 

2. Keep your toiletry bag handy. It's nice to be able to brush your teeth, wipe your face down, etc... I like to put wet wipes or hand sanitizer in there too. The other must have for your magic sack? Moisturizer? Your skin will likely get very dry while you're up in the air. Lotion will keep you comfortable. I recommend bringing a moisturizer suitable for your face and body.

3. Invest in a pair of compression socksBut buy them before you get to the airport. I forgot mine this trip and ended up spending about three times what I would have if I'd planned better! Compression socks are often recommended by physicians because they keep the blood flowing on long flights. They prevent achey legs and feet that can be associated with cramped seating. 

4. Walk Around. Even if you don't need to use the restroom... Get up! Get moving every so often. I leave my seat every two hours or so. Just like using compression socks... walking around keeps the blood flowing and decreases chances of deep vein thrombosis.

5. Check the back of the plane for free fruit and snacks. I have found that on most long haul flights the airlines will keep apples or some sort of fruit in a couple areas accessible by passengers between meals. 

6. Bring a shaker cup and protein powder. I like to bring the individual packs... and pick a blend that also includes some vitamins and minerals. This won't take up much space in your carry-on... and will be great to have if you don't get enough to eat or you don't like the meal you were served. Drinking a protein shake along the way will also ensure you are getting proper nutrition. Again, it also encourages you to drink more H2O!

7. Bring healthy crunchy snacks. I like to bring split pea snacks, dried chickpeas, or edamame. These are great between airline meals. The salt and crunch often gives me a little pick-me-up if I'm feeling motion sick or lethargic. 

8. Pack a compressible, comfy, and cozy jacket or sweater. Sometimes these flights get cold. I mean COLD. The airlines will provide a light blanket, but sometimes that's not enough for me. This is a biggie... don't forget!

9. Fight jet lag by getting on your destination's time zone ahead of time... Here's what I mean... Even if it is mid-morning in your departure city... if it happens to be evening in your destination city... imagine the meal you are about to eat is your DINNER... not your breakfast or lunch... sometimes you can really fool yourself.

10. Consider eye masks and melatonin to help you sleep. A lot of folks like to take sleeping pills, whether over the counter or prescription. But I prefer to do things in more natural ways when possible. Eye masks (similar to headphones) can help tune out the foreign environment around you. Melatonin can help get your circadian rhythms on track for your new 'bedtime.' It is said to reduce the time needed to fall asleep.

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I've learned a lot of travel hacks from being on the road for breaking news and fun, road trip feature stories around the US, I also have a tremendous itch for world travel. I'll share long haul travel tips too. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!