6 ways to avoid feeling like garbage before and after travel

There are several things we can all do (or avoid) mid-flight and afterward to mitigate the not-so-fun side effects of extended air travel.

Jaromir Chalabala/EyeEm

Traveling is easily one of the most exhilarating experiences of our lives, but sometimes, those airplanes that help us reach our final destinations just leave us feeling ill, out of sorts and exhausted.

From the cramped quarters to the super dry recycled air, we really aren’t doing our bodies many favors on long flights. However, there are several things we can all do (or avoid) mid-flight and afterward to mitigate the not-so-fun side effects of extended air travel. Give these tips a try so you can get on with the exciting part of your trip ASAP.


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1. Take long, full, deep breaths mid-flight

The pressurized cabin obviously keeps us breathing while we’re flying at 35,000 feet, which is pretty freaking awesome. However, that doesn’t mean the oxygen content we’re used to on the ground is what we get to enjoy in the air. So to avoid feelings of nausea, dizziness or light-headedness, be intentional about how you breathe throughout your flight. The longer, deeper breaths you take, the more stable (and calmer) you’ll feel.

2. Pack some marshmallow root for your water bottle

Everyone knows that staying hydrated on planes is a difficult thing to do, thanks to the crazy dry air. Plus, plenty of us don’t want to have to get up to use the bathroom every 30 minutes when we’re mid-flight. But it needs to be a clear priority because hydration is key for a healthy and active immune system. So bring your own reusable water bottle, fill it to the brim at an airport water fountain, and add some marshmallow root for good measure. It’ll give your water a slightly slimy texture and earthy taste, but it’ll take its hydration benefits to entirely new levels.

3. Avoid sugary drinks and salty snacks

Sugar is highly inflammatory, and salt negates all of your solid hydration efforts, so be kind to your body and just avoid these two in-flight mainstays while you’re traveling. Keep sipping your water instead of snagging a complimentary soda, and if you want a hot beverage, opt for a cup of herbal tea. Instead of stocking up on airplane pretzels, bring your own healthy snacks or a small meal from home that strikes a solid balance between lean protein, healthy fat and satiating carbs. Luckily, the TSA doesn’t have anything against food prep… yet.

4. Avoid alcohol

Speaking of dehydration, avoid drinking alcohol right before you get on a plane and during a flight. Even just one drink or two can make it harder for your body to retain and reabsorb water, leaving you feeling sluggish once you land. That complimentary glass of wine might sound like a good idea to calm those travel jitters, but it won’t do your body any favors.

5. Keep your personal air vent open

You might be surprised to learn that those little air vents above each seat don’t just provide a means for temperature control. They help keep that not-so-clean recycled air moving around the passenger cabin rather than sitting in stale pockets collecting even more germs. So when you sit down, turn the vent on and direct it so that the air blows down directly in front of your face. This airflow could help protect your eyes, nose and mouth from contacting even more illness-causing molecules. Just keep a blanket scarf and nasal spray handy as well so you can keep warm and prevent your sinuses from drying out.

6. Get moving ASAP

As soon as you land, make it a clear priority to bring some movement back into your body. Sitting in such a tiny space for an extended period of time can lead to painful cramps and even increase certain people’s risk of developing blood clots. When you get to your hotel room, break out your travel yoga mat and work through some full-body stretches. Or if you have a layover, snag your own little corner in the airport and enjoy some asanas. People might look at you in funny ways, but your body won’t care when you’re on your next flight or when you finally reach your intended destination feeling alive and energized.

This article originally appeared on Swirled.


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