How to fly! (On a plane).

In honor of my second trip this month, and by way of (pathetic) excuse for the interval between posts, I thought I’d offer some advice/thoughts based on my experiences flying.

I love to travel, but I’m pretty terrible at tolerating various forms of transportation. I get carsick. . . I can’t read in the car. . . so far I’ve never gotten seasick, but I’ve never been on a big ship where you couldn’t see the outside, so who knows? But today, it’s all about the planes. I definitely don’t tolerate planes well. I get the classic “airsick” reaction to some extent, but I also get really thrown by the pressure change, and I hate being in confined spaces with lots of strangers. I’m pretty much a disaster in this context. So, what’s a girl with a wanderlust soul to do?

1. Drugs! Not like that. Well, maybe like that, who knows? But I’m talking about the boring kind. I start with meclizine— this is what’s in “less-drowsy” dramamine, or bonine. Stops me from feeling like I might hurl. I can also use regular dramamine, which is dimenhydrintae— but that knocks me out hard. Great for a long flight— not so great when you’re by youself and have connections. So, these don’t really help with the other issues— the pressure, the general sense of motion/head/stomach disconnect, but at least my lunch stays down.

nalgene2. Hydration. You’ve heard it before becaue it’s true. Start out hydrated— you should have to pee before you get on, and your pee should be pretty darn clear. Sorry, but that’s the best way to tell. And you probably need to start the night before. Then bring lots of water— I always take my empty nalgene through security and fill it on the other side. A lot of airports have those nifty waterfountains for bottle-filling now. If you are a little less organized about it or can’t stand the taste of airport water, buy a big-ass one. But at least reuse the damn bottle, or recycle it. Try to drink the whole thing before you land. And don’t let the drinks cart skip you! They’ll give you water, too. Or, it’s cool to drink something else, too— I once in a while drink soda on a plane, maybe because it’s oddly comforting. I also admit to occasionally drinking wine. Is that  a good idea? Probably not really, but hey. I do catch a buzz off half of one of those little bottles, and sometimes that takes the edge off. Just stick to one, OK? And everyone’s favorite tomato juice. . . well, if you are prone to retaining fluid at times like this, it will make it worse. Read the label. Yikes, sodium!

3. Compression socks. This sounds dorky. Well, I’m a dork. I used to wear them all the time when I was an ICU nurse (12-hour shifts on your feet, think about it!). My feet swell when I fly, and we also know that compression socks help prevent the dreaded blood clots. (So, BTW, does moving around and staying hydrated). My favorites? These: Not dorky at all! Feels like an all-day leg hug. You can also usually find some less-cute, cheaper ones at the drugstore.

4. Aromatherapy. No, you can’t set up a diffuser and make the whole plane smell like whatever tickles your fancy, but you can keep a personal supply. I have a little lavendar “roller” that looks like a perfume rollerball. I like to take it out and get a whiff when the stale and/or grossness takes over.

5. Headphones. Now that you can use your stuff for the whole flight, without takeoff/landing restrictions, I put on my noise-cancelling headphones as soon as I’m sitting and I don’t take them off. I swear it helps me feel less fatigued, and it discourages people from talking to me (since I hate being stuck with a lot of strangers).

bananas6. Snacks. Why does travelling make me hungry? I’m sitting on my ass. Who knows, but I need to have a satisfying, and preferably hydrating, snack. Fruit is my number 1 pick. In the airport, I like a banana. On the plane/in my bag, I like grapes or blueberries— they’re modular, don’t smell, aren’t messy.

7. Get out! When I get there, I have to get outside in the fresh air. Preferably with a little breeze and sunshine. And somewhere to do a few yoga poses. This is pretty much never the wrong answer to the question, “what will make me feel better?”!


So what’s your trick to arrive feeling good?

2 thoughts on “How to fly! (On a plane).

Add yours

  1. I have no idea how I didn’t get HORRIFICALLY ill on the tour train riding backwards, but I didn’t. Call it a rare occurrence. I’m with you on the hydration and getting motion sick with just about any kind of travel.

    Ginger Ale is my go to for air travel. I also suck on the peanuts if they give them out. I can’t do fruit as the sweetness makes me feel even worse. I also pretty much demand the window if I’m having a wonky moment. Sometimes I’m good with the middle seat, but I typically plaster myself to the window for the majority of air travel. Even those 8 hour Across The Pond flights. I don’t sleep, I just stare up at the stars or look at the ocean below.

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