Here's What I Carry With Me On 15-Hour Flights
I'd been in Melbourne, Australia, less than a day before I started to feel chilled and ever-so-slightly achy. Before I knew it, I was in bed with a fever. Fast-forward three days, and I hadn't left my bed except to visit the doctor, who told me that I was very dehydrated from the (very) long flight and had picked up a virus.
What ended up being a week of total misery was enough to make me reevaluate my travel habits. I'd made a lot of mistakes on that flight; I hadn't packed enough healthy snacks for myself, I'd slept so much that I'd barely drunk any water, and I'd ultimately left myself vulnerable to getting sick.
In other words, I learned my lesson and knew I wasn't going to make those mistakes again.
Now, after talking to doctors and wellness experts, I'm armed with a bag of healthy products on every flight—but especially long hauls, like the 15-plus-hour one from Los Angeles to Melbourne. Here are the ones I won't travel without:
When you're traveling, staying hydrated is absolutely critical. And while I can admit it's annoying to keep getting up to use the bathroom when you're on a long flight, it's well worth the inconvenience.
But there's more to hydration than just water. Electrolytes are nutrients—like sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphate—that play an important role in hydration, carrying water in and out of our cells. By adding them to your water, you're supercharging its hydrating powers.
I almost never travel without a few packets of Liquid IV Passionfruit Hydration Multiplier ($1/stick) or a container of Nuun Sport Nutrients ($7) in the grape flavor. I continue to take them for a few days after I land.
Ask any integrative or functional medicine doctor, and they'll tell you the same thing: Magnesium is critical to our health, and most of us aren't getting enough of it. This is especially relevant when you're traveling since magnesium helps us relax, supports our blood sugar and energy production, and even appears to prevent headaches and muscle spasms.
I typically reach for a powder when traveling since it encourages me to drink more water. My two go-to products are this Thorne Research Magnesium ($40), which is lightly sweetened, and these Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Easy Sticks ($36.60), which are flavored with organic blueberry powder.
3. Compression socks
Compression socks are one of life's greatest treasures. You might think I'm being dramatic, but I mean it! When you're not moving or walking around for long periods of time, it impedes blood flow, and you can get blood pooling in your feet and legs, causing swelling, pain, and leg fatigue. This happens to me all the time on long flights, and it can make it hard to sleep.
So how do compression socks solve this problem? According to Berkeley Wellness at the University of California, "By squeezing the leg tissues and walls of the veins, compression stockings can help blood in the veins return to the heart." As an added bonus, they might also be beneficial for the lymphatic system. "They [compression socks] can also improve the flow of the fluid (called lymph) that bathes the cells in the legs," they explained.
Try Smartwool Compression Socks ($35), or you can pick some up at Walgreens or CVS.
4. Powdered greens
When you're in the air for almost a day, throwing a few healthy snacks in your bag isn't going to cut it. While it would be technically possible to pack a day's worth of meals for yourself, who has the time (or the room in their carry-on!) for that? Enter: powdered greens. They're chock-full of the same nutrients you would get from a salad or green smoothie in a convenient, drinkable form.
5. Reusable water bottle
Not only are they better for the environment, but they encourage you to drink more water on a flight. Most long-haul flights have water stations where you can fill it up yourself instead of waiting for drink service. As an added bonus, having a reusable bottle makes taking your magnesium and powdered greens way easier. Just pour them in and shake them up.
6. Ginger herbal tincture
Ginger is one of my wellness staples; in fact, it's almost always in my purse. Those with a sensitive inner ear will understand that nausea can strike at any moment—whether it be a ferry ride, road trip, or even a snorkeling excursion. Studies have shown that ginger can fend off nausea related to pregnancy, seasickness, and even chemotherapy.
Ginger isn't just great for nausea, though. It has also demonstrated powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. And when you're on a plane for hours on end, you could definitely use the extra boost.
If you've got a big trip coming up, learn from my mistakes and take these items with you. You'll soon find out that it is possible to maintain your wellness, even when you're bouncing from hemisphere to hemisphere.
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