In 37 days. . . wow 37! . . . I will be traveling halfway around the world to arguably one of my favorite countries. (If you would like to know more why I'm going and how you can help, check out this post here.)
This will be my fourth trip to India and after logging all of those hours on the plane, I thought it might be fun to share my tried and true tips for traveling to the other side of the world. In the previous post I shared my tips for the prep for the trip; this post will be all about the Plane.
1. Pre-hydrate/hydrate/rehydrate: One summer, at camp, we had a catch-phrase, "HYDRATE OR DIE". We would often follow it up by explaining to our teenage campers that if they didn't drink enough water their blood would thicken up and they would feel drowsy and fuzzy-headed. Not the most technical of descriptions, but it seemed to do the job. When you fly, dehydration happens very quickly, so at least a day before you board the plane, start drinking more water than normal, but don't stop once you board the plane or when you land in country.
Sidenote: when you drink a lot of water on the plane, you have to get up and go the bathroom often. This is good for keeping your blood flowing and preventing blood clots and dizziness later.
2. Sleep on the plane as much as possible: The truth is when you are traveling to India, you are flipping your sleep patterns on their head (an 11 or 12 hour time change), so don't try and figure that out and sleep accordingly. Sleep while you can. Sleep while you are still. Sleep because you may not rest well the rest of your trip. Sleep so that be awake and experience the incredible country you are traveling to.
Don't watch movies unless movies help you sleep (I happen to have the gift of falling asleep within the first 15 minutes of any movie I watch, so I will almost always have a movie on and almost always be sleeping through it.)
If you need a sleep aid to turn your brain off, test it before you go! I am unusually sensitive to sleep aids. One Tylenol PM can make me feel like a zombie for at least 24 hours, so Dramamine and Benadryl are my go-tos to help me fall asleep. Once I am asleep, I'm out.
3. Heavy Cream: Because the air in the plane and in the airport can be terribly dry, I always wear a heavy night-cream on my face and Eucerin or other strong lotion on my hands and arms. It simply makes the hours in the plane more comfortable.
4. Compression Socks: Compression socks are not just for the older population and pregnant ladies anymore, they are a key tool to travel without growing "kankles". I have flown with them and I have flown without and the truth is, I would way rather wear them.
5. Bedtime/Wake-up routine: Whatever you do to get ready for bed and what ever you do to wake up in the morning, bring supplies so that you can mimic that. You will go through a couple of sleep cycles flying there and back and if you can put your body through regular bedtime and wake up rhythms, it will help.
For me, this means carrying a small "diddy" bag with me all of the time that has the following in it:
- Colgate Wisp toothbrushes (they are disposable and they do the job!)
- Facial cleansing wipes (again, disposable and don't mess with my skin too much)
- Travel deodorant (obvious freshening up reasons)
- Lotion (see reason 3)
- Medications (a few doses of each just in case)
- Malarone (an anti-maleria med that works great, but always gives me a touch of vertigo)
- Cipro (an antibiotic that is good for any stomach issues that may be caused by bacteria)
And that's it. Simple, packable, reproducible, disposable.
6. Take a Hike: Finally, during your layover, be sure to walk. Walking and moving during a layover will help you sleep better on the plane and help your body realize you aren't going to make it sit still in a huge metal flying tube forever.
Did I mention I really hate to fly? No? That's good. I really, really hate flying, but I do it and it is worth it to travel and be a part of what God is doing all over the world.