Seven Tips for Healthier, More Comfortable Travel

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Use melatonin to avoid jet lag when you cross time zones, so you don't miss any of your vacation fun.Many people travel during the summer months, myself included. With my speaking schedule, conferences, and meetings I attend gathering research, I've been on more planes than I'd care to count. Over the years, I’ve gathered some "insider tips" that will make your travels easier.

  1. Buy water at the airport —or bring and empty bottle with you—and take it on the flight. The air in planes is extremely dry, so either bring your own water bottle or ask the flight attendant for several glasses of water throughout your flight. Drink a lot, then a little more.
  2. Use saline nasal spray. It keeps the mucous membranes moist so they can better perform their job of screening out pathogens and reducing your risk of infections. It also makes your nose feel less dry, and you'll breathe easier.
  3. Keep moving. Stand up and walk around the plane at least once an hour, especially on long flights, to protect against deadly blood clots.
  4. Bring healthy food onboard with you. The pretzels and peanuts that most airlines serve for a snack are loaded with sodium. Not only is that detrimental to your blood pressure, that salt can make the risk of in-flight dehydration even greater.  
  5. Fear of flying? If you have a fear of flying, I recommend that you take a natural anxiety reliever before, and perhaps during, your flight. The amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is especially effective against acute anxiety or panic attacks. Products vary, so use as directed.
  6. Avoid jetlag when you cross time zones. At the new bedtime, take 1-3 mg of melatonin 30-60 minutes before you want to sleep. It's available in most health food stores.
  7. Treat motion sickness with ginger. Ginger has long been touted as a home remedy for nausea, and in recent years its effectiveness against motion sickness has been well documented. To avoid motion sickness, try eating a 1/4 inch slice of ginger, or taking 1,000 mg of standardized ginger extract three or four hours before travel.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a tip for easier, more comfortable travel?

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