Summer’s here! Are you as excited as we are to go on a vacation? While travel is meant to be fun and relaxing, transiting to your destination can be draining. Especially if you’re going to multiple destinations. Long distance flights and airports are the worst. Yuck!
Nobody wants to start off their vacation feeling less than 100%, right? And what about returning from a trip more tired than when you left? That’s the worst.
My Grandfather turns 103 years old this year. He has been living between Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Switzerland and Shanghai for over 3 decades (we call him Gung Gung). He has made at least 10 trips a year for most of his life and continues to travel extensively today!
Along with frequent-flyer miles, Gung Gung has acquired a bundle of time-tested techniques for feeling amazing while traveling. Lucky for us, he has boiled them down into a few simple principles.
I have personally tested and used these tips in my own trips back and forth from Asia and all over the world since I was a teenager. They work, and they are a lifesaver!
Read on to learn easy steps for how you can:
- Arrive feeling great
- Completely avoid or get over jetlag rapidly
- Attain the best physical and mental state to enjoy your vacation to the fullest
- Prevent digestive issues and sustain gut health during your trip
- Return home feeling rejuvenated
Here are the 3 Most Important Things:
1. Hydrate with water. Lots of it.
This is the number one most important thing you can do to stay energized and speed recovery. Here’s why:
Humidity in plane cabins is normally at or below 15% (vs ~30% or above at home) straining your skin, mucous membranes, eyes and entire metabolic system. (1) Avoid beverages like soda and fruit juice which can dehydrate you and cause blood glucose spikes when you’re stuck in a chair and can’t move.
Unfortunately, airlines never provide enough water, no matter what section of the plane you’re in. So remember to bring your own and plenty of it. This is a time to drink even more than you normally would at home.
2. Avoid eating
Although it may be tempting, eating on planes is counterproductive for the following reasons:
Eating will overload your already stressed metabolic and nervous system. Your poor nervous system is already busy adjusting to the high altitude, dry air, new time zone, and sitting in a fixed position and not moving for hours.
The timing of your meals regulates your circadian rhythm. (2) Eating on planes at random hours confuses your body clock even more, increasing jetlag and lengthening the recovery period.
Food on planes is highly processed and mass produced. Sauces and gravies in airplane meals are made in central kitchens using processed ingredients to maximize stability and shelf life. Meats and fish are not naturally raised or farmed. Even plain salads are industrially produced and laden with pesticides. Eating these foods will increase the toxic load on your body, during a time when it is already under strain.
Pro tip: Long plane rides are one of the best times to practice Intermittent Fasting. Embrace the hunger and burn some adipose fat and let autophagy kick in! (3) Drink herbal teas to help curb your appetite and feel sated.
Pro tip: If you need to eat, bring food with you and have light snacks. Canned sardines are loaded with omega 3s and fruits and vegetables washed and bagged at home make great snacks.
3. Whatever you do, don’t drink alcohol.
It’s extremely tempting, but drinking on planes will dehydrate you, compromise your sleep quality and overload your liver and metabolic system. (4)
The pressure in plane cabins mimic the altitude of 6000-8000 feet and decreases your blood oxygen levels. Drinking on a plane is similar to drinking at high altitude. Your whole body gets overloaded and you feel the effects faster and get a hangover more easily. This is the surest way to make a flight more draining than it already is.
If you ignore everything from here onwards, just try out these 3 simple techniques and I guarantee they will revolutionize your travel experience and quality of life!
Here are Advanced Tips that will help you travel like a pro. They can eliminate your jetlag and recovery period while optimizing your energy levels and digestive health so you can enjoy your well-deserved holiday to the fullest!
How To Prepare
Time your flight right. If you are taking a long haul flight (8+ hours), book a flight in the evening that arrives in the morning. This will allow you to rest during the flight, then tire yourself out with activity at your destination so you can have a great first night’s sleep. There’s nothing like getting off on the right foot!
If you have no choice but to fly in the morning and arrive at night, stay up during the flight and avoid sleeping, preferably without the use of caffeine (depending on your sensitivity).
Time your meals right. Eat a full meal and empty your bowels before flying. This will help you not eat on the flight or while transiting in airports. Avoid heavy foods with lots of meat, cream, cheese and heavy sauces. They will stress your already overloaded metabolic system in the air. This is a great time to drink teas or herbal teas to assist with digestion.
What To Do In Flight
Time Check / Light Control. Keep track of the time at your destination. From the moment you are on board your flight, start adjusting your body to the new time zone. Do this by planning when you sleep in flight and controlling your exposure to light through the cabin windows and on screen. This alone can save you a day of recovery!
Get up and stretch. Walk around the cabin. Being in the same position for hours will strain your bones, tendons and muscles
Morning Arrival? Try to sleep as much in flight as you can. If you can’t sleep, don’t sweat it, just try to relax and read a book. I guarantee you will sleep when your body is tired on your first night!
Nighttime Arrival? Stay up as much as possible while you’re flying. Use herbal teas and a little dark chocolate to help, or maybe caffeine if you are not sensitive to it.
What To Do After Arriving
Meal Timing. Eat a full meal that corresponds to the time of day when you arrive. Timing your first meal properly will go far in helping your circadian clock adjust to your new time zone.
Light Absorption. Get outdoors and go for a walk or exercise while the sun is out. Do this no matter how tired you are. Getting exposure to natural light will really help your circadian clock adjust
Pro-tip: When you are outside (ideally around trees or greenery), breathe deeply to kickstart the interchange with your surroundings to harmonize your body with your new environment.
On exhale, imagine releasing all the toxins from your flight and stress at home. On inhale, absorb the natural energy of your surroundings and replenish yourself. All it takes is a few minutes to work!
What To Eat & Drink To Speed Recovery (Day 1)
- If you arrive in the morning, this is a great time to have some caffeine
- Try to avoid caffeine in the afternoon, instead eat dark chocolate or drink herbal teas
- If at all possible, avoid drinking alcohol on the first day of your trip. After that, indulge as much as you like!
- Get plenty of fiber from fruits and vegetable throughout your trip to help your digestive system stay healthy
To help your body recover and give your metabolic system a little push, drink lots of tea during and after meals. This will get you right back in shape for the next wondrous experience that awaits!