Flying is not what it used to be

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Remember the good ole days, when people would dress up to take a flight, when airlines served real meals and when kids could visit the captain in the cockpit? (Yes, I realize I am dating myself here). Sadly those days are over.

Flying nowadays means subjecting yourself to body scanners that use electromagnetic radiation, exposing your bare feet or socks where thousands of other bare feet and socks have been, and buying overpriced plastic bottles of water in the gate area.

So what can you do to maintain your health – and your sense of calm – while you travel? Here are my top 10 tips:

1. Fly at night: You are exposed to significantly less radiation when flying at night.

2. Eat before you go: There’s nothing worse than being ravenous on a plane. You end up eating the crackers they sometimes give you, or purchasing a snack box of processed crap.

3. Bring healthy snacks: Carrying healthy snacks wherever you go – think fruit, nuts or superfood bars – will save you money and unwanted excess pounds.

4. Opt out: When you opt out of the body scanners in the U.S., not only do you avoid the electromagnetic
radiation they emit, you also bypass the metal detector as well. Added bonus: the TSA personnel has to carry your stuff to the pat-down area (just like a valet) and you can consider the pat-down a mini-massage!

5. TSA-pre: Another way to avoid the body scanners (and the occasional questionable pat-down) is to apply for the TSA-pre check. You’ll still have to walk through the regular X-ray machine though – but can do so with your shoes on!

6. Move around: Take the airport stairs rather than the escalator. Rather than go directly to the gate and sit down (you’ll be sitting down soon enough!), take a walk throughout the terminal instead. When inside the airplane – even on short flights – make sure you stand up at least once or stretch your legs. Consider moving your ankles or turning your waist side to side when seated.

7. Drink water. Flying is dehydrating, even if you drink water on the flight. Remedy this by drinking more water than you normally would.

8. Minimize the alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine compound the dehydration, which can lead to headaches, dry skin (and over time, wrinkles!) and fatigue.

9. Tune in: Forget the ipad and the inflight movies. Forgo purchasing the inflight wifi. Relish this time for yourself. Consider reading an actual book or doing absolutely nothing!

10. Ground yourself: If changing time zones, grounding upon arrival is key. Also known as “earthing,” grounding simply means getting your bare feet in contact with the surface of the earth, such as soil, grass, sand or even concrete (as long as it hasn’t been sealed or painted). Grounding for 15-20 minutes can reduce inflammation in the body and help acclimate you to whatever time zone you’re in. If it’s too cold to do this outside, consider getting a grounding mat like this one to use indoors.

Happy flying!

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