How to handle the long haul
It’s getting to that time of year. The jet setting time. The one where everyone is still searching for a bit of that summer sun but realises that winter is just around the corner and the sun is nowhere to be found. So for many of us, April beckons the season where we pack our bags and set off in hope of prolonging our tan and avoiding the long slog that is winter.
For me, travelling is a part of the lifestyle I live. Playing international hockey, we are travelling both domestically and internationally all through the year. Being able to travel and see much of the world is certainly a blessing, but it can most definitely take its toll on the body. Sitting on a plane for 24+ hours or in car for 4+ hours can leave you feeling less than idyllic.
Whether you’re travelling for work or for leisure, in an ideal world you want to be able to walk off that plane feeling a million bucks, ready to take on what ever challenge lies ahead of you. Now, this may not be realistically achievable and of course depend heavily on whether you were seated next to a new born baby / chronic snorer or not. But I can certainly tell you this – what you eat and drink during your travel can make a HUGE difference to how you feel when you reach your destination. Over the years I have been slowly perfecting my travel routines and think I am close to nailing the long haul voyage.
So whether you're travelling long or short, for business or for leisure, plane, train or car - here are some of my top tips for travel-eating to help you feel maybe not one hundred, but as close to one hundred as possible when you reach your destination.
BE (AND STAY) HYDRATED
This would have to be one of my top tips for travel, particularly those longer voyages on a plane. So much of the grogginess and lethargy we feel when we get off a plane comes down to being super dehydrated. A lot of different factors play a role in this. For one, a plane cabin environment is extremely dehydrating in itself- spending 12+ hours in a low humidity, air conditioned environment is less than optimal. On top of this, we often engage in things that dehydrate us even further – in particular the free bar service that we ALWAYS get excited about. Drinks such as tea, coffee and alcohol are what we call diuretics- this means that they increase our production of urine and thus our need to go to the bathroom. So unless we are prepared to counteract this with drinking even more water, it’s best to avoid consuming large amounts of these beverages.
My tips? Be and stay hydrated. Make sure the day leading up to the flight you consume a little more water than you usually would. Also, take a drink bottle on the plane with you. The cabin crew are always more than happy keep filling it up for you and it means you can continue sipping throughout the flight. Yes, it may mean you have to get up to use the bathroom every now and then, but as well helping to prevent DVT ('Deep Vein Thrombosis' - a whole other issue) I do promise it will all be worth it at the other end.
TAKE YOUR OWN SNACKS
Own snacks are a must for me for whatever journey I embark on – plane, train or car. Taking your own food in a car is obviously super easy and as long as your organized, you’ll always be prepared and not have to make a choice between a greasy day-old steak and cheese pie or a choco lamington to keep you going from the rural servo. Both may satisfy your hunger for a moment or two but of course will not help you feel fabulous when you arrive at your destination!
I find that a lot of people get nervous about taking their own food on the plane, or think that you are not allowed. As long as it is not liquid and you throw it out at the other end, you're completely fine. Some airlines and airports offer pretty good quality meals. But for me, I always equip myself with half a bag of hand luggage filled with nutrient dense, fresh and tasty snacks. Try to avoid eating big, heavy meals and stick to lots of little snacks just when your feeling hungry. You don’t always have to take the meal when it comes around if you’re not hungry!
These are my go to snacks that I always have on hand when I fly:
- Mixed nuts (tamari almonds are one of my favourites!)
- Fresh fruit – an apple, banana, snap lock bag of grapes, fresh berries
- Baby carrots or prepared carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Wholegrain crackers – I often pack some homemade seeded crackers
- An avocado (to go on the crackers!)
- Natural or lightly salted popcorn
- Dark chocolate (I’m an 85-90% kind of girl and you always need some treats on hand)
- A snap lock bag of homemade muesli (the cabin crew can always provide some milk or is easy enough to find some yoghurt at transit airports)
What ever else you enjoy to snack on!
This may be a lot to think about, but at the end of the day it’s your choice. I have stuck to this routine for a few times now and I can honestly promise you it makes a huge difference to my overall feeling when I arrive somewhere. If you want to be able to explore from the moment you land (or in my case, train and play!) then try out some of these travel tips. A little organization and thought can go a long way.
S U M M A R Y
- Keep hydrated
- Take a drink bottle, sip regularly
- Take your own nutrient dense, fresh snacks
- High sugar snacks