7 Tips to Not Feel like Crap After Traveling

Let’s face it: a lot of the time, travel sucks. Specifically, the transportation part of travel. Cramped spaces and long periods of discomfort, combined with unusual situations and changing timezones is enough to make even the most hardened road warrior feel like crap. Want some tips on how to not feel like crap after traveling? Here are a few things I found useful.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Airplanes literally suck the water out of you. Most snacks that you eat on road trips or in airports are salty – another water suck. You might even not drink as much as you normally would since it is hard to get to the bathrooms on the plane. So, you really need to hydrate, especially the first night before going to bed. You really will appreciate it the next day. And just water is enough here – skip the juices and any drink with additive. Just water.

“Lean into” time zone changes. This is how I fight jet lag, or even just the disorientation of a two or three hour time change, which can throw you. You just need to lean into it: as soon as you are ready to leave home, switch your mindset to the new time zone. Adjust your meal times and try to start sleeping as close to that time as possible. If you’re flying quite far, start a day or two before by getting up an hour earlier/later. Doing this buffers the impact of the instant time shift, and will help you not feel so lousy.

Give yourself permission to use caffeine and alcohol creatively. Ridiculous, right, that a website about health and wellness is suggesting that you drink those nasty bad things? Well, yes. Here’s my view: people say you should never drink on the plane. But, if a glass of wine will give you that hazy yawn that will let you sleep a couple of extra hours that you otherwise wouldn’t, that’s a good trade off. As well, if a cup of coffee in a new destination can perk you up to get through the first day of jet lag, then do it. Just know your limits – if you never drink wine, 30 thousand feet above the Atlantic is not a time to start.

Stretch (or get a massage). I’m a regular practitioner of yoga, but you don’t need to be a Jedi master to appreciate some stretching that will help combat the poor conditions of travel. If you don’t want to stretch of if you’ve got a nagging problem that stretching isn’t helping, a massage helps too, and in larger cities you can get post-flight/post-road trip massages that specifically target improving blood circulation.

Plan ahead for food. Planning ahead about your journey helps out a lot. Buy healthier snacks before you go to the airport, which only has sugar and salt. If you’re going to be in the car for 9 hours, why not enjoy a healthy/hearty meal at home, or if it’s an early start, then make some nice sandwiches the night before? You have to eat, and on the road, bad food choices can really result in feeling like crap.

Get some air. Similar to the stretching suggestion, fresh air in the lungs does wonders to combat the negative effects of travel. Either a jog along the local river or lake or a stroll in the local park, get outside and get some air – yes, even if it is raining or snowing or whatever. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Remember the big picture. All of these previous tips are about your physical well-being, and I’d like to close with something else that is an important aspect of health: your mental well-being. I know that travel delays, breakdowns, and other hassles can be a real mental drain. But stop for a second and remember: you are lucky to be able to travel. You no doubt have a few things to look forward to when you get where you’re going, and you have some things to look forward to when you get back home. If you’re on the road for business, consider that your clients are lucky to get to work with you in person, and that you’re being rewarded for your efforts. So enjoy it – not everyone gets to travel.

Andy Hayes is know as that travel guy and has his own popular travel magazine.

Have more questions about Healthy Travel? Join Andy and his partner in travel health, Nathalie Lussier, tomorrow, December 7th, at 5PM EST for their Healthy Travel Lifestyle Happy Hour, a free call where they’ll be answering your questions about health and travel. RSVP for call in details and a copy of the call recording afterwards!

Image by Flickr user Robert Donovan

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