March 1, 2020

How to keep healthy when you’re traveling on a plane

When I’m on the plane with work (or as a passenger) it’s very easy for those long hours, recycled air, coughing passengers, and lack of sleep to catch up to you.

Before I was a flight attendant, I rarely got ill. Once I got the job, BAM! I was always (and I mean ALWAYS) sick. One time I developed a cold so fast I had to book off mid pairing. My ears were in terrible pain and I was nervous they’d burst when we landed. I was stuck in Toronto feeling like I was in a scene from a 1950’s movie where they send an old doctor with a battered, leather bag to my hotel room…because that’s exactly what happened.

Learning how to stay healthy with this job has been a lot of trial and error, it took about a year of flying, but eventually I found my rhythm. Many people have concerns about traveling these days, especially with the Corona Virus, so I thought I’d share how I keep healthy on an airplane. While I definitely have my opinions on the virus, these tips are helpful regardless of what kind of germs are on an airplane.

Don’t forget to drink (and eat something)!

I can’t tell you how many flights I’ve been on where passengers have collapsed or gotten dizzy on flights and fainted. Almost always, it’s an anxious flyer who hasn’t eaten or the girl in the middle seat who doesn’t want get up to pee (so she doesn’t drink). For whhhhhyyyy??

It doesn’t just happen to passengers, it’s happened to me and other crew. We’re working hard, trying to get it all done and we forget to take care of ourselves. I tend to have low blood sugar and it’s happened to me, more than once, where I’m sliding down the galley cupboards or hid behind the trolley in the aisle because I was fainting. Not only is it a scary, out-of-control feeling, but it is downright embarrassing. I’ve literally had passengers digging in their purses to feed me candy (I repeat: SO embarassing). I have learned that lesson one too many times so now I try to keep a few nuts or throat lozenges in my pocket.

Keep the drama on the down low and drink your water, you beautiful, but dehydrated creature, even if you’re in the middle seat and it’s a pain to get up! And speaking of…

Drink this magical “Cold Shield” on-the-go

Every pairing this is my go-to. It’s delicious and it keeps me hydrated to the nines while giving me electrolytes, the world’s highest natural form of vitamin C, and surprisingly, lots of fibre. So many wins. My philosophy is if it’s delicious, you’ll drink it. Which this drink is.

Make germ barriers

I hate to tell you the truth that everyone wants to ignore, but planes can be dirty. The groomers rarely have enough time to do any deep cleaning due to tight scheduling. That being so, the seats are dirty, the headrests have hair product residue on them, and handles and toilets are not as clean as they may look.

✨Keep as much skin covered as you can comfortably. Long sleeves, pants, and socks are comfy on a plane anyway, but you also reduce the exposure your skin has to germs.

✨Line the toilet seat with toilet paper or seat covers before you use them. Please.

✨Socks are not enough if you’re using the lav! If the floor is wet, it’s not just water. The lavatories are so small and there’s always unexpected bumps in the air…let’s just say, it’s not going to be as clean as a land bathroom when all is said and done.

✨Bring anti-bacterial wipes and swipe them down your head rest, screens, armrests, and the table trays. Seriously. There’s a good chance someone’s baby had their diaper changed there.

✨Do not touch lav handles, armrests, or bin latches (basically anything people touch) without a covered hand – or else sanitize directly after. This might not be such a big deal normally, but with the corona virus around these days it’s better to be extra careful.

✨Use hand sanitizer. DO NOT FORGET your finger tips, we often just smear it around our palms and fingers, but it’s our finger tips we use the most. I prefer to use a natural brand, but I’m also obsessed with a Bath and Body sanitizer called White Tea. Every time I put it on, someone asks me what perfume I’m wearing. Basically it’s the Gucci of hand sani.

Wash your hands whenever possible, please and thank you

The biggest…literally THE BIGGEST thing you can do for yourself (and everyone else!).

Do not touch your face or lips

Despite wiping everything down with anti-bacterial wipes, there are still plenty of germs that our fingers collect just by the slightest contact. Refrain from resting your chin in your hands and touching your face or mouth, because then the germs really spread.

Take the drug store with you

People always laugh when they see my lunch bag half filled with vitamins, pills, and supplements. This, I call “my pharmacy”. However, no one laughs when I come to the rescue for their migraine or sick stomach. While I try to stay as natural as possible, I’m equipped for every health emergency. This is something I have learned from my ever-prepared Dutchman, who has been a globetrotter his whole life. He literally has double the amount of medications and emergency items as I do!

There are so many places on God’s green earth that don’t sell even basic Advil, or if they do, it’s not name brand and in a different language. So confusing. When you need something, that is when you don’t have it…so be ready.

I always pack the following:

✨Advil cold and sinus (makes take off and landing possible if you’re fighting a cold)

✨Tylenol night 

✨Midol (for me and my girlfriends)

Melatonin

✨Baby aspirin (everyone should always have this in their bag btw, never know when someone might be experiencing a heart attack)

✨Extra strength Advil (for migraines)

✨Essential oils (to combat headaches, etc)

✨Chinese stomach pills (my mom gave these to us when we were kids when our stomachs were sick from naseau/eating something bad. They’re like magic!)

✨Ricola cough drops

✨Echicnachea tea 

✨Saje natural pharmacy (essential oils for various things)

✨B12 (for when I’m low on energy)

✨Iron supplements

Baobob powder (for my Cold Barrier bevy)

✨Collagen

Calm magnesium

Pack a big scarf

My Dutchman and I did a Dublin L/O and at that time, it was freezing. I didn’t have a coat, so he took his off and I walked around wearing his because he is a gem. In the end, he got the worse flu (and he never gets sick), and in turn, he later gave said flu to me.

After that, he went out and got me a big blanket scarf from Aritzia. I use it for an extra blanket in the hotel or plane, a shawl for going out when it’s only a little chilly, and as a scarf under my coat when it’s cold (which I bring now). It’s saved my bacon so many times. I also really love this one from Amazon, so cheap yet, looks so luxe.

That time, even though I was technically a passenger, the in-charge had me stand guard by the open door because after being stuck on the tarmac after a diverted flight, the cabin was too hot. I was cold though. 😉

Catch some Zzzzz

Bring an eye mask, a neck pillow, wrap yourself up in a big blanket scarf, put your seat back, and get dreaming. I have a hard time sleeping on planes, but my husband has some good tricks. He seems to always have room in his bags, so on a long trip he packs an entire fluffy blanket in his suitcase. When he wraps me up in that, it’s easy to feel comfy and warm enough to nap. If that doesn’t work, a little glass of wine and plugging myself into some quiet music helps.

Only drink bottled water

To this day, I’ve never drank from the airplane’s water tanks (unless it’s been scalding HOT!). I’m a stickler about only bottled water. As a passenger, if they aren’t serving bottled water, I buy sparkling water or stick to tea.

In my Mary Poppin’s lunchbox, I always pack Foursigmatic coffee packets (as well as lots of tea bags) for the plane. I’ve literally had only one sip of airplane coffee and that was enough for me to never ask for it again.

Hope these tips are helpful for your airplane adventures!

What’s your best “keep healthy” travel tip?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate link(s), meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. This funds my practise of always order an alternate milk at my coffee shop, which, as everyone knows, is .75 extra. So thank you. My promise is to only share products and brands that I am truly obsessed with. I will always give you my honest opinion and I share what I love.

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