healthy choices for traveling

travel, airline travel, healthy traveling

photo: Kuster & Wildhaber Photography | Flickr

I had a whirlwind of a weekend up in New Jersey visiting my family. Most of the trip was quality time spent with family and friends, but it ended with the loss of a family member, and I only wish I could still be up there with everyone.

Every long-distance trip is bookended with the chaos of airline travel. Once you battle the traffic to physically get yourself there, you then find yourself at the front lines of the security checkpoint. The process of getting all your bags/coats/shoes/valuables through the conveyor belt and then sheepishly allowing the TSA to perform an intimate full-body scan of yourself is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. But that’s only part of the struggle–you then have to tackle the painstaking boarding process.

The stress of airline travel seems to give people this sense of entitlement to do and eat whatever they choose. The horrors I have witnessed while traveling are many: a woman downing a huge Cinnabon for breakfast, a man “snacking” on a calorie-laden pastry, and children eating pepperoni pizzas and Cheetos before they board the plane. What some of these people don’t seem to realize is that airline travel doesn’t have to make you flabby and give you heartburn. Over the years, after days upon days of various traveling, I have come up with some things to think about to keep you on track the next time you travel:

  • The power of Purell. I always keep a small tube of Purell in my bag for those times when you don’t feel super clean–after using an airplane bathroom, after eating, after touching the seat-back trays. That little kick of germ-fighting can keep you healthy while on your vacation.
  • You are what you drink. It is quite tempting to pony up to the airport bar to waste away a flight delay, but that is one of the worst activities you can do to kill time. The alcohol dehydrates you before you even board the plane, and flying is notorious for it’s dehydrating capabilities. End result? Double dehydration and a sluggish feeling when you land. Instead, focus on beverages that hydrate: water or club soda with lemon. If you find yourself in a situation where you are on the plane, the flight is delayed on the tarmac, and no food is in sight, make sure to ask for orange juice, apple juice, or even tomato juice to help stabilize and give you some calories to hold over your hunger.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure you bring your own snacks to the airport so you can avoid the fatty, overpriced foods they sell. I like to bring almonds, apples, oranges, bananas, or low-sugar protein bars.
  • Keep moving. Instead of sitting at the gate waiting to board the plane, I like to either walk around and shake out my legs or go over to the book stand and flip through some gossip magazines. Staying on your feet helps you burn a few more calories and counteracts all the sitting you’ll be doing up in the air.
  • Walk it out. Speaking of being up in the air, make sure to get up and stroll around at least once or twice during your flight. Getting the blood flow to redistribute helps to avoid blood clots, a rare but occurring condition as a result of flying.

These tips should help you stay on a healthier path while traveling. Who wants a bloated body to start their beach vacation? That’s right, no one.

photo credit: Kuster & Wildhaber Photography | Flickr