Things You Should Do Before, During and After Flying to Stay Healthy

Not many travelers are aware of the affect that flying long-haul can have on your body. In fact, many seem to think is that flying is associated just with feelings of jet lag at your destination. But, you don’t need to become a health expert to hack flying. There are a few simple steps you can take to support your health when traveling to make you feel fresher, less bloated and have more energy when you land.
TPG has outlined the things you can do before, during and after flying to get back on track with feeling fresh and healthy again.
Preflight
Prepare your snacks 
It’s no secret that airplane food can be a bit ‘touch and go’ when it comes to nutrition. There are rarely healthy options, and even the BA M & S buy on board menu items are high in sugar, and the shortcake comes in as one of the healthiest options on the menu. If you can, try to bring some healthy snacks with you for your journey. Examples include:

Protein bars, which will help you keep your energy balanced until your destination. They do good for helping to satisfy the sweet tooth as well. Look for a bar containing at least 10g protein per bar and one that is low in sugar (5g per 100g of carbohydrate of which are sugars).
Oatcakes with some slices of meat and cheese prepared and stored in a container. The balance of protein and slow-releasing carbohydrates will help fuel your body for a trip.
Nuts and seeds contain protein and fat but also contain nutrients that can support the immune system during a flight.
Beef jerky is easy to carry, as you can buy it in a health store and is also a super healthy snack to have with you in times of hunger. Make sure you get a brand that does not have any added sugar, honey or maple syrup.

Hydrate
Your flight hydration begins at home. Start your morning with a big glass of water and you should try to get 1-2 liters of water in before you board the plane. Herbal teas count toward this, but regular tea and coffee do not count as water intake. If you can’t manage this, then start slowly in the days before the flight adding in an extra glass of water each day.
Eat a rainbow
Try to get a meal in before your flight that is rich in color, as it will be loaded with antioxidants, which can support your body and immune system during travel. Most people do not eat many fruit and vegetables when they’re on a plane, so having a meal with a high vegetable content before the flight is advised.
(Image courtesy of BANT)
Get in a workout
You’re going to spend a number of hours sedentary in a confined space, so it’s a good idea to get moving before you fly. A yoga class or swimming class is ideal, as those activities stretches the whole body. Don’t have time to workout before you fly? Then try do some light stretching at the boarding gate or in the lounge.
During Flight
Support your immune system
A video recently went viral of Naomi Campbell wet-wiping her first-class seat, remote and “anything you can touch” before she sat down so she could minimize the risk getting sick. If you don’t want to take it to that extreme, it may be a good idea to take vitamin C during the flight, as it can support your immune system and play a role in supporting your body if you drink on the plane.

Skip the meal or eat light
Whilst you may not want to do this, a solid recommendation to arrive feeling your best is to limit the amount of food you eat during the flight. Stay away from the heavy carbohydrate-laden foods and try to get a light meal of protein and salad. Traveling in economy? Try ordering a gluten free meal, which often comes with a fresh fruit plate for desert. Eating light can mean you get to your destination feeling less bloated and increases your chance of arriving free of jet lag.
Hydrate some more
This cannot be stressed enough. It’s so important to drink 2-3 liters in the air, as you are more likely to be dehydrated and therefore suffer with low energy, headaches, dizziness and lethargy. Try to get some water from a member of the cabin crew each time you go for a comfort break. It’s also a good idea to bring a moisturizer with you on the flight, as skin can feel dry during travel.
Move when you can
Right up there with hydration, moving around is just as important when traveling. Lack of movement can increase your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which can be life threatening.
Post-Flight
Take Magnesium
Whilst there can be a number of supplements that can be good for air travel, Magnesium is one of the best to help the post-travel yucky feeling. It’s great at supporting the nervous system and calming the body, helps balance electrolytes and can also help relax the bowel for those who feel a bit constipated or bloated. The best type of Magnesium for travelers is Magnesium Glycinate in a pill, but you can also get a Magnesium spray, which is good for cramps and general feeling of stiffness after traveling.
Get some exercise
If your flight arrives at a decent hour, then try and get to the hotel gym and get a workout in. It can wake up your body and stretch your muscles, which haven’t been used for a long time. If you arrive late at night, at least do some stretching before bed. I recommend the downward dog yoga pose to release the tension in the whole body.

Eat a healthy meal
Try not to gorge on sugar and drink a lot of alcohol on the first night away. Your body is still recovering from the flight. Try to get a meal that is rich in protein and vegetables, and go easy on the carbohydrates. This combination will help you sleep and support your flight recovery and minimize jet lag risk.
Consider a sleep tea
There are many herbal teas designed to support the body for sleeping. The ingredients of these usually are camomile, lavender and valerian. Sample a few different brands at your health shop and see which one works the best for you. If it helps you sleep better when adjusting to a new time zone, then be sure to pack it with you.
Featured photo by Melissa Tse/Getty Images.

This Woman Traveled Alone to 52 Places in a Year — Here’s What She Learned

In 2018, writer Jada Yuan was chosen out of some 13,000 applicants to hit the road for a year, traveling to 52 destinations selected by The New York Times.
When it comes to favorites from the trip, which she had zero input planning, Yuan told The Points Guy, “When you travel like this and go to so many places in a year, superlatives just don’t make sense.” Despite the three-day trek from Italy, however, her time in São Tomé and Príncipe (a dual-island nation off the west coast of Africa) stands out.
The mass development happening in Cambodia, on the other hand, put her time there at the bottom of the list. “I flew to Sihanoukville Resort, which is located on a private island that’s the fastest growing place in Cambodia, allegedly. You can just tell there’s so much development happening there. It wants to be the new Macau.”
Although she traveled economy the whole way, she admits to having a soft spot for Emirates when it comes to airlines, prefers Global Entry to TSA PreCheck, will check her bags rather than carry them on any day, is definitely a window seat gal and relied on her Chase Sapphire Reserve to get her through the trip (she started with the Citi Prestige, but it quickly got the boot due to a low spending limit on a very high-expense trip).
She earned Gold status on American, and although she couldn’t book travel herself, made sure to take advantage of the former Starwood and Marriott rewards programs whenever possible.
The journalist recently wrapped up her year on the road and handed the baton to her successor, Sebastian Modak. Here are a few things she learned along the way.
Pack the Right Clothing
In the Moroccan port city of Tangier, that meant clothing that would help with the heat but was also culturally appropriate.
“Tangier is a pretty cosmopolitan place, but I didn’t have a lot of clothes. I had one dress that was appropriate for the heat and culture, just above the knee, but I maybe would have had an easier time not getting harassed if I covered up my knees. It was the only place I felt harassed,” said Yuan.
“I packed three pairs of shoes: hiking boots, which were warm and waterproof and had traction; Reef flip flops; and Altra sneakers which were like clouds.”
Taste New Foods
The best thing Yuan ate during 52 weeks on the road was in Bogotá, Colombia.
“I had this dish from Cali, in the south … There’s a fruit called the lulo. It’s kind of like a kiwi and green tomato. They make a drink [with it] called the lulato. A lulo is too tart to eat by itself, but chopped up into a thick smoothie with a little milk and sugar and it’s one of the greatest taste sensations I have known. I had 10 while I was there.”
But Always Bring Snacks!
“I didn’t have room for snacks,” Yuan said. “I was hungry a lot of the time.”
Be a Tourist
There’s something to be said for living like a local, but the same is true for traveling like a tourist, according to Yuan. “I think you should see the tourist spots and check them off the list.”
“Every time I had trouble it was because I listened to locals too closely. You have to do your own homework. What works for locals won’t always work for you. Be cautious, but open.”
Don’t Overpack Your Itinerary
“I had the bare bones of what happens when I land, what activities are possibilities and then I just winged it. I picked what seemed interesting or went by a theme, like glass in Seattle or Tasmania for food.”
“Trying to hit every place in one day is pretty exhausting and it doesn’t lead to pleasurable vacations or a sense of place. I didn’t have days off but had photo days. Those were my favorite days. I used my iPhone camera and a Sony RX100-V.”
Book Your Hotel Wisely
“Get a rate on another site, and usually the hotel will match it. When you extend a stay, watch out for price increases (when booking online instead of in person). Small places can give you better rates over the phone than on sites like Booking.com.”
Try a Two-Wheel Bag
Yuan traveled with a Briggs and Riley Baseline International carry-on. And though it’s not as common, she purposely packed a two-wheel bag.
“It was sturdier when dragging over cobblestone and dirt roads. Plus, spinner bags are easier to steal. The case also made a good seat waiting for trains. It has taken a beating, but shows no sign of slowing.”
Consider a Second Passport 
Yuan didn’t know she would be separated from her passport during her travels — which is one of the best reasons to apply for second passport. “My visa to China took three days to get while I was in New Zealand,” Yuan said. “You have to physically give over your passport.”
Feature photo via Ruth McDowall/AFP/Getty Images.

These Are the US Travel Advisory Updates for 2019

As we flesh out vacation plans each year, it’s important to revisit the travel advisories that have been issued by the US Department of State, especially as these advisories are constantly being updated. For example in January, we saw the US update its travel advisory for China to a Level 2, due to what the Department of State is calling “arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.”
There as four categories of travel advisories: “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions”, “Level Two: Exercise Increased Caution”, “Level 3: Reconsider Travel”, and “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” The US Department of State recommends travelers do the following upon any decision to visit a country with a standing travel advisory:

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
Review the Crime and Safety Report for the country.
US citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

In order to help you keep up, TPG has compiled a list of all the advisories that have been issued or updated since January 2019 (you can also find the complete list of travel advisories on the State Department’s website), as well as ALL of the Level 4 advisories to date.
Level 1 Advisories (Exercise Normal Precautions):
Aruba
Bahrain
Barbados
Bermuda
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
Cambodia
Canada
Cayman Islands
Croatia
Curacao
Gabon
Georgia
Grenada
Liberia
Luxembourg
Mongolia
Montserrat
Qatar
Saint Lucia
Saint Maarten
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
Sao Tome and Principe
Taiwan
Vietnam
Level 2 Advisories (Exercise Increased Caution):
Algeria
Antarctica
Belize
China
Indonesia
Nepal
Tunisia
Level 3 Advisories (Reconsider Travel):
Haiti
Turkey
Venezuela
All Current Level 4 Advisories (Do Not Travel):
Afghanistan
Central African Republic
Iran
Iraq
Libya
Mali
North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
Somalia
South Sudan
Syria
Yemen
This article has been updated as of 01/18/19.
Featured image of the map of US travel advisories by the US Department of State.

11 Must-Have Apps for Solo Women Travelers

As a woman traveling solo, your phone can be a source of many things. It can help you stay connected to friends and family members back home — and new friends you meet on the road— and it can keep you from getting lost. While you may want to disconnect completely while on vacation, having a data roaming plan is important, so you at least have the option to access to useful apps that translate languages, convert currencies, help you navigate a new city and organize your travel plans. Apps like these are definitely practical, but there are a few others you may want to download before leaving home if you’re a woman traveling the world alone.
(Image via Tourlina app on iTunes)
Tourlina
An app that pegs itself as your so-called “female travel buddy,” Tourlina makes it clear right off the bat that it isn’t a dating app of any kind (though its interface is reminiscent of Tinder). Instead, it’s an app for women who are traveling alone and want to safely and easily connect with other women. The app takes safety very seriously, and only verified users can chat with other users. Once you enter your trip details (location and dates), you can swipe through other women with similar travel plans, choosing to connect with them based on mutual interests, age, languages spoken and more. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Smart Traveler
Smart Traveler is a free service that offers tips and information specifically for US travelers. It’s not exclusively for women, but it’s certainly one every woman should have. You can check to see what visas and vaccines you’ll need before traveling and where to find help if you need it during your trip. Plan to register your trip on the app, which gives your information to local embassies and consulates in your destination. If there’s any kind of disaster or tragedy, the local embassy can contact you to see if you need help. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
Chirpey
Another app based on building a community of solo women travelers, this one is all about empowerment while traveling. Chirpey has a strict verification process and only women are able to join the community. You can share and get advice on destinations, hostels, hotels, attractions and more, as well as ask for advice about particular events or spots. You can also start or join events and meet-ups, meaning if you don’t want to hit up that Thai Lantern Festival alone, you can post it on Chirpey and others can sign up to join. Plus, if you have any kind of precarious situation or small emergency (for example, you lost your wallet or are feeling ill), you can drop a message in the app and women traveling in the area will be notified. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
(Image via Redzone app on iTunes)
RedZone
Kind of like Waze, this navigation map app allows users to see and report incidents or unsafe situations in the area. Here, you can see everything from road closures to panhandling, crowd acts, fires, vandalism, prostitution and even traffic, helping you to avoid situations that could be dangerous (or even just annoying, like traffic). And by contributing to RedZone, you’ll help others avoid them, too. Additionally, RedZone will find you the safest route for walking, driving or biking (carefully avoiding spots with any of the aforementioned conditions) so you get to your destination safely and easily. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
MayDay
Similar to built-in SOS functions on smartphones and watches, having the MayDay app is another tool that can keep you safe in a threatening situation. If you hit the MayDay red button three times, family and friends will be notified of your precise location, and the fact that you’re in trouble. (Note that you must have data or a signal, and your location services must be turned on.) You’ll also need to set the app up in advance, ideally before traveling, so it’s ready in case you have an emergency. A new feature, called Overwatch, is coming soon to the app, meaning you can allow specific family members to watch over your entire trip in case you forget to call Mom or Dad when you arrive. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
(Image via TripWhistle app on iTunes)
TripWhistle
Another app dedicated to keeping you safe, TripWhistle maps your location and allows you to easily text or send your GPS coordinates or location. It also provides emergency numbers for firefighters, ambulance and police in 196 different countries. After all, 911 is only for US-based emergencies — each country has its own distinct number. Download for free for iPhone.
Noonlight
Noonlight is another safety app that, when you hold and release the main button, triggers a call to emergency services who can send help to your exact location. If you accidentally activate the button, you’ll have 10 seconds to enter your pin, and the alarm will be canceled. At the moment, this app is only available in the US. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
(Image via SitOrSquat app on iTunes)
SitOrSquat
The odds that you may have to use a public toilet at some point while traveling are extremely high. This app from Charmin will help you find the nearest bathroom, and even provide information about how clean it is. You can also rate any public toilets you use, thereby helping other SitOrSquat users find clean and comfortable bathrooms while on the go. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
PeriodTracker
This app tracks your monthly cycle. While your period may not seem like a big deal, there are some countries in the world where it’s much more difficult to buy feminine hygiene products. With PeriodTracker, you’ll be able to pack everything you need, ensuring you won’t have to spend part of your trip wandering the souks of Morocco in search of tampons. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
(Image via Amazon Kindle on iTunes)
Kindle
Traveling on your own means you’ll have plenty of time for reading. And books can be your friends, too! This app isn’t exclusively for women, of course, but it’s another app that all women should definitely consider downloading before embarking on a trip alone. You may find yourself waiting in line or on the subway without your actual Kindle on you, which is when having the app comes in handy. The Kindle app gives you access to all your purchased books, syncing them to the exact position you left them at on other devices, including your iPad. Download for free for iPhone and Android.
A Rideshare App
Having a rideshare app can be a lifesaver no matter where you are, especially if it’s late at night and you’re in a new city. Before traveling, see which ride sharing app is most popular (and safe) in your destination and download it, entering all your details and payment info before leaving. Then, you’re set and ready to request a ride. Lyft is popular in many US cities, Uber has a presence in many US and European cities (and beyond) and Grab largely covers the Asian market. Cabify is a choice for travelers to Spain and Latin America, while Taxify is becoming popular in many spots such as France, Australia and some countries in Africa. Careem is a choice for those in Turkey or the Middle East.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock.