Updated June 1, 2020.
It’s Travel Tip Tuesday! Let’s be practical for a minute. We all know I LOVE to travel, but I’ll be completely honest, there are some uncomfortable and less than convenient parts to traveling. Travel is awesome, fulfilling, and I would not trade my travels for almost anything, but here are some things to remember when preparing for your travels!
They Get Swollen Feet and Legs
After 24+ hours in airports and airplanes coming home from Cambodia, my feet were the most swollen I ever remember them being! It’s not typically harmful to have swollen feet after flying. It just means your blood is circulating down into your legs and feet, but not back out. Drinking water and moving around helps, but sometimes it’s just not possible to get up enough. Middle seat fliers, you’re the most at-risk! It’s uncomfortable, but again, not usually harmful. Wear a pair of compression socks, too, which obviously I forgot to pack. The pictures below were taken just one day apart!
This is preventable: How to Survive Long-Haul Flights
They Definitely Get Jet Lag
This one is pretty well-known. You cross time zones, your body gets confused! But there’s lots of advice out there to help you cope:
- Heads-up, it’s a little tougher if you’re flying east; a little easier if you’re flying west
- Cross enough time zones (12-14) and it’s been my experience that my body’s so confused, it’s a little easier to make myself adjust
- They say it takes as many days to be fully adjusted as time zones you cross (14 time zones flying from Japan to Tennessee, 14 days to fully adjust–true story)
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine when you fly; they will dehydrate you more than usual when you’re at a high altitude in-flight, making your jet lag worse
- Stay in the sunshine! If you land during the day time, walk around outside or even just sit outside for a while; it will naturally help your body adjust
- Resist napping; it’s tempting, but it will definitely prolong your adjustment time
- If all else fails, melatonin tablets will help you sleep at the right time
Use it to your advantage! Jet Lag: Your Secret Travel Weapon
They Fight Hunger
Bring snacks! Airport food is expensive, and unless you’re flying business or using the lounges at the airport, you will be paying for food. Some airlines still include a meal or two in-flight for long flight times, but be prepared with cash or a credit card in your carry-on to avoid the “hangry” curse. (Hungry+Angry=HANGRY).
Steve and I like to bring protein bars, fruit (be sure you finish it before you go through customs in another country!), trail mix, sandwiches, etc. I’ve even made it through security with a baked sweet potato and a pack of honey with only a slightly odd look from TSA. Oh, and bananas sometimes look like a liquid, so don’t be shocked or offended if your bag gets flagged. Just show them the banana and let them search if needed. Oh, and bring a water bottle to be refilled after security!
Keep reading: The Best Snacks to Pack for the Flight
They Feel General Ickiness
Full disclosure: I do not feel my most beautiful when I fly. Luckily, it’s not that hard to fake it! Here are a few things that help in-flight and just before landing:
- Hydrate from within by drinking lots of water; bring your own tea bag and a travel mug so you can ask for hot tea, and fill up your water bottle before you board so you’re not dependent on the little 4-ounce cups they give you (but always take one when offered!)
- Hydrate from without by using a skin moisturizer on your face, hands, and any other exposed skin that starts to feel tight and itchy; I use coconut oil
- Wash your face–those disposable makeup removing wipes are such a blessing and easy to pack
- Put on makeup; I only ever use eyeliner and mascara, but it really helps me look and feel more awake just before landing from a long flight
- Walk around, even if it’s just up and down the aisles a few times!
- Brush up–bring a toothbrush and travel size toothpaste, or take a short cut and pick up some Colgate Wisps for your carry-on
But we roll with it: 5 Habits of Flexible Travelers
They Have Stomach Issues
Everyone’s favorite! Or not. Even the strongest of stomachs will run the chance of encountering an unusual food that just doesn’t agree with it. For me, it was something about the Turkish food. Maybe all the olive oil (everything seemed to be drowning in it!), maybe I was consuming water and didn’t realize it (on fresh fruits? accidentally swallowing in the shower?), or maybe it was something else. Either way, my stomach was not having a good trip! But I didn’t let that stop me! Take some Immodium, Pepto-bismol, or whatever stomach remedy works for you, just in case.
Additionally, it’s amazing what water can do for you. Stay hydrated, and shoot for a gallon a day. Just make sure you’re drinking clean water; budget for bottled water if you’re traveling on a budget. Find some familiar foods that you know your stomach likes, get some fiber in you to sweep things through your system, and while you should totally enjoy that authentic, ethnic food wherever you are, try to eat a “healthy” meal once in a while–fresh fruit, lean protein, and oatmeal can usually be found just about anywhere in the world. Oatmeal can even be taken with you. All you need is a coffee or tea maker to heat some water.
Related: What to Do When You Get Sick on Travel
They Fall in Love
If you know Steve’s and my story, you know we met in Prague traveling with mutual friends, and less than two years later we were married! And we basically haven’t unpacked. We certainly fell in love with each other, but long before we met, we each fell in love with travel!
Mark Twain summed it up best when he said that “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Travel opened our eyes and changed our lives in ways that staying home never could.
More here: The Ultimate Couple Travel Bucket List
If you travel enough, you will encounter a cancelled flight. Check out my tips for What To Do When Your Flight is Cancelled and What to Do When You Miss Your Flight!
Want more like this? You’ll find everything you need and more on my Travel Tips Page!
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5 thoughts on “6 Things that Happen to Travelers”
Nice post. Compression stockings are also great for long flights to prevent the sausage feet syndrome!-)
I would add one small thing. Travel will most likely cause restlessness once you are back home. That is at least the case for us and there are always a new trip being planned. 🙂
I agree! There are a lot of things that could be added to this list!
There always is, once you start with a list it will never end. 🙂