When you think about it, the fact that we can travel to pretty much any destination in the world simply by purchasing a ticket is pretty freakin’ amazing.
Whilst you’re sat back relaxing and watching an in-flight movie, you’re actually traveling through the air at a rate of hundreds of miles an hour in nothing but a metal tube suspended thousands of feet above the ground.
To some people, that’s understandably terrifying. But, whether you’re a fan of flying or not, these 10 handy tips will keep you healthy and happy on your next adventure.
1. DON’T use the self-check-in kiosks
Now I know what you’re thinking; “why would I queue with everyone else when I only have hand-luggage and using the kiosks take less than half the time?“. It’s a fair point, but studies have shown that computerized check-in machines are among the dirtiest and germ-ridden surfaces in the entire airport. In some cases, they are even worse than the toilets!
So, the simplest solution is to check-in on your phone before you even arrive. That way, you can avoid all the stress of checking in amongst the crowds of people and you don’t catch something you really don’t want by placing your hands all over the same screen hundreds of other people have. Plus, you get more time to figure out things like which gate you’re supposed to go to. There’s nothing worse than that mad last-minute dash to make it before it closes!
2. DON’T be rude to the flight attendants
We all know flying can feel like a lot of hassle. Just the stress of getting through the various airport procedures can put anyone in a bad mood. It’s even worse when you’re making multiple trips in one day and you’ve been waiting for what feels like hours for your bags to appear on the conveyor belt so you don’t miss your connecting flight. Just thinking about it is getting me hot under the collar.
It’s easy to let things boil over and take it out on the staff who some people often mistake for drones that are just there to soak up abuse. When in fact, they work long, hard hours. Most of which are spent on their feet dealing with all manner of situations and awkward questions. So cut them some slack ok? It’s not their fault you spent ages getting through customs. It’s also worth remembering that they don’t actually have to put up with your sh*t and have the authority to kick you off the flight… So take a deep breath, stick a film on and relax.
3. DON’T forget your meds if you suffer from motion sickness
There’s absolutely no point in trying to be hard as nails when it comes to motion sickness. I think we can all agree, it’s a bit of b*tch. So, why ignore it? Especially if you’re taking a long-haul flight. That sinking feeling in your stomach when you’re starting to feel it combined with the sudden realization that you forgot to take your tablets to counteract it is horrid.
If we had a choice, it wouldn’t exist in the first place. But, since it does, make sure you take the necessary medication beforehand. Fortunately these days you can purchase over the counter non-drowsy, high-strength anti-nausea tablets, so you can still enjoy your flight without passing out and drooling all over the shoulder of the stranger next to you.
4. DEFINITELY DON’T eat straight from the tray table
I think this is a fairly obvious one. There’s absolutely no way on earth you would catch me eating a single grain of rice from those tray tables. It might seem a bit dramatic but when you realize just how many germs those things collect in the space of a few flights, you’ll be exactly the same (if you aren’t already).
If you are going to use it, make sure you either use a strong anti-bacterial wipe or at least spread a napkin over the surface area so that food makes no direct contact. You might ask “why so dramatic?“. Well, if you notice the image above, you’ll see that studies have shown that the tray table is the dirtiest place on the airplane. Yep, that’s even filthier than the inside of the toilet bowl. YUM.
5. DON’T ignore the seatbelt light
You’d be amazed just how many people completely ignore this one. Of course, it’s understandable that being confined to such a small, enclosed area can really play on people’s minds. Airplanes weren’t exactly designed with claustrophobics in mind. You end up itching to riggle about in your seat or get up and stretch your legs. But, if the seatbelt sign hasn’t gone off, that’s when trouble could ensue.
I know it’s hard to believe, but that light isn’t just flicked on and off for fun. The captain is able to see when turbulence is going to occur and ensures the lights are on for your own safety. Plus, planes generally tend to hurtle along at well in excess of 400mph. So, if you happen to be waiting outside of the toilet when the pilot needs to make an emergency maneuver, you might be flying halfway across the cabin in a split-second with only yourself to blame.
6. DON’T drink the water from the bathroom tap
As you’ve probably guessed, the water from an airplane washroom tap isn’t exactly the cleanest. In fact, it’s not even close to being hygienic in some cases. The EPA (that’s the Environmental Protection Agency to those that haven’t seen The Simpsons movie), carried out a study into the cleanliness of the water and what they found was on the shocking side.
Out of 158 samples, 20 of them contained bacteria. Some of those 20 samples included E.coli, which, is just not what you want to be honest. In all fairness, there are signs in the washrooms that state that the water is not drinkable, but there are always those that do before they think. In this instance though, I’d definitely refrain. Nobody wants a dodgy stomach with 9 hours of flying time still to go.
7. DON’T stay seated for the entire flight
It’s a bit of an awkward situation when you’re sat in the window seat in a row of three and the two people next to you are fast asleep. We’ve all been there at some point or another, awkwardly prodding a stranger on the shoulder in an attempt to wake them up just so you can squeeze past them. Then they get comfortable again, only for you to return 5 minutes later needing to get past once again. Airplanes don’t leave you a lot of space to do much at all.
But, you’ve just got to get over it basically because circulation is important! Now I know there isn’t exactly acres of room to go running around in on an airplane. You can hardly whip out a yoga mat and start doing the downward facing dog, but just walking up and down the aisle can do you the world of good. It helps to avoid swelling and muscle cramps and even lowers the risk of blood clots in your leg, especially on long-haul flights. So apologize to the person next to you and go for a stroll every so often!
8. DON’T forget to do your business!
A useful tip is to try and combine your washroom breaks with your little walks around the plane, just so the person huffing and puffing next to you doesn’t end up imploding with rage. Even as you’re waiting in the queue for the washroom, it’s handy to do some subtle stretches. Pointing your toes or even rolling your head around makes a difference!
Holding your bladder until the point in which you’re so uncomfortable, you feel as if you’re about to wet yourself is unnecessary. Everyone’s got to go at some point. Besides, holding everything in for too long can lead to further complications like urinary tract infections or even a full blown bladder infection. Now I’m not saying that if you don’t go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge, you’ll become heavily ill. But the potential consequences are worth remembering next time you decide against going just to keep the person next to you happy.
9. DON’T forget to adjust your body to the time at your destination
Jet lag is so freakin’ annoying! It completely messes with your body clock and can leave you with grogginess and sleepless nights for weeks. So, anything you can do to help your body adjust as quickly as possible is a must, right? Right. So, as soon as you step onto the plane, change your watch and your mind frame from the time you’re leaving to the time at your eventual destination.
What I mean by that is if it’s 2 pm in the country you’re about to depart from, but it’s 10 pm at your destination, try and sleep through the flight so that as you arrive and wake up, it’s morning time there and your body clock has already started to adjust. Items like a sleeping mask, a cushion, and a blanket can help whilst medication is also an option. It’s not always easy, but you’ll be thankful you gave it a go when you get there.
10. DON’T drink the free coffee/tea
Remember the tap water scenario? Well, this is basically the same thing. The free coffee and tea beverages are usually made from tap water on the plane (not directly from the washroom tap of course), so you’re running the risk again of catching something your body really isn’t going to agree with. Plus, drinking caffeine can make you irritable when stuck in a confined space with lots of energy and will prevent you from nodding off as easily.
My tip: drink liquids straight from ceiled bottles instead, this can be anything from water to fruit juices. Heck, even have a bottle of wine or a few beers if you’re on your holidays! As long as no part of the drink has come from a tap located onboard. That way, you’ve got peace of mind and peaceful bowel movements along with it.
What do you make of these handy tips? Let me know in the comments!