How to “Survive” Air Travel by Frederic Patenaude

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How to “Survive” Air Travel by Frederic Patenaude

I travel maybe once a month on average by plane, so over the years I’ve come up with a few ways to stay healthier doing something that is often a source of stress for most people.

A few of my tips have nothing to do with food. When you travel, your primary concern is to avoid or reduce stress. Stress will take a huge toll on the body and add to the fatigue of traveling. If you’re crossing time-zones, you’re putting your body under even more stress.

So my goal when traveling by plane is to lower stress as much as possible. Every tip I will give you has something to do with that goal. If you make flying a pleasant experience, your digestion and overall health will improve.

1) Get a 9 a.m. flight if you can

This is a tip that I picked up years ago from an airline employee. During weekdays, 9 a.m. is the best time to fly. Why? All the rush hour is over. Business travel must arrive at their destination BY 9 or 10 a.m, so they take the 6 and 7 a.m. flights. By 9 a.m., the airport is empty. Any flight between 9 and 11 a.m will be during a time where the airport is practically empty. You will breeze through security and get to relax at the lounge much sooner!

2) Bring Snacks

I always bring healthy snacks with me on the plane and to the airport. Most people don’t realize they can bring fresh fruit and produce as long as they are “prepared,” even when fruit is otherwise forbidden. For example, you can’t leave Hawaii with a fresh pineapple, but you can cut up the pineapple in a fruit salad and bring that in a container.

Fresh fruit is king for flying. It’s truly the best food you can eat, along with water-rich vegetables like bell peppers, celery, and cucumbers (and yes, I realize that two of those vegetables are technically fruits, but give me a break! We do eat them like vegetables).

You don’t want to bring too much and then be burdened by excess weight. I typically bring the following:

Ginger chews (to avoid motion sickness). Available in health food stores.
A big bowl of fruit salad, with plastic utensils and napkins (don’t forget that part!)
2-3 healthy snack bars
A small bag of nuts or dried fruit, or both

3) Drink water

On the plane, drink plenty of water. However, don’t go crazy and drink so much that you have to constantly go to the bathroom. If you’re taking a night flight and you’re trying to get some rest, that can impair your ability to sleep.

There’s no set formula for how much you should drink, although some people suggest certain amounts by hours of flying. Essentially, you want to prevent dehydration. As long as your urine remains relatively clear and abundant, you’re doing a good job. If it gets very yellow, you’re becoming dehydrated.

4) Considering eating only fruit

If you have a flight that’s only a few hours long, consider eating only fruit during your entire travel time. Personally, my digestion always gets messed up when I travel by plane. It’s probably because of stress related to my fear of flying. But fruit is the one food I can handle no matter what. Fruit is also water-rich, which helps keep you hydrated. You can also consume celery, and other cut up water-rich vegetables (but not a big salad with avocados, nuts, and dressing!).

If you’re flying longer, you may get hungry and need to eat something more than fruit. In this case, stick with foods that are easy to digest. Personally, I can’t handle a big salad when I travel by plane. But nuts and seeds work well. And I only eat airplane food when I’m sitting in business class (see more tips about business class below).

5) Drink green tea

If you need a “pick me up” while flying, drink green tea instead of other caffeinated beverages. Green tea is full of antioxidants that will help your health while flying. Bring your own tea bags and ask for hot water. If you’re in business class, they can make green tea for you.

6) Use Light Therapy

I use a website called “Jet Lag Rooster” to create a plan to follow before or after arriving at my destination.

The plan essentially involves resetting the circadian cycles by exposing yourself to light. The website explains everything, and they also have an iPhone app.

You will need a few pieces of gear if you want this to work:
An inexpensive travel lightbox
Dark sunglasses or shades
A night mask
This program really works. I’ve used it a few times and then traveled again without it, and it was night and day! It’s sometimes not easy to follow because you have to wake up very early at inconvenient times to expose yourself to light, but if you can, try to do the program as explained on the website. It will save you from huge amounts of stress and unpleasantness on your next international or cross-country trip.

7) Fly in business class

There’s a reason why business travelers fly in business or first class when flying internationally. It’s simply a more restful experience! You can sleep on a fully reclined seat or “bed” and be treated to a royal experience.

However, business class seats are not cheap, especially internationally.

I personally always fly business class when going international, but I never pay for it. I use the system I teach in the course “How to Travel the World for Free.” How to Travel the World for Free


Finally, the trick to remaining healthy while traveling by plane is lowering stress. Sure, you can boost your immune system marginally by consuming supplements and superfoods, but none of those things will have as much of a powerful effect on your health as lowering stress will.

Whatever you do, try to make flying a pleasant experience, and enjoy your trip!

If you’d like to find out how to travel the world for free, make sure to check out our program: How to Travel the World for Free


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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All Rights Reserved. Advice and recommendations given in this website or in personal consultation by phone, email, in-person, online coaching, or otherwise, is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk. You should see a qualified, licensed doctor before starting any skin care, nutritional, diet, stretching, and/or exercise program. Information presented on this website is not to be interpreted as kind of attempt to prescribe or practice medicine. These statements and information have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No product offerings are intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult with a competent, fully-informed medical professional or health practitioner when making decisions having to do with your health. You are advised to investigate and educate yourself about any health related actions and choices you make.


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