The 6:00am flight. We've all taken it. It's either the cheapest option or it gives us the most time at our travel destination.
Most of us wake up late, scramble to pack up our last few things, and hop in an Uber to the airport.
By the time you get to the airport, you are hungry, thirsty, and tired. You end up eating at some restaurant by your gate, which does not sit well during the flight. You only get that small plastic cup of water during the flight, so you are parched beyond belief. There is never a comfortable position, but you try and sleep through the flight.
Now your neck is sore. No matter how much water you drink that day, your mouth feels like the desert. You spend the entire day sleepy and groggy, and the fatigue hangover carries over into the following morning.
You don’t have time to waste days being tired. You want to have the best day ever, every single day. This includes days with early morning flights.
Let's optimize this day, so you are more productive, alert, active, and excited for the flight - wherever it is taking you.
Our journey starts the day before:
Drink plenty of water to stock the body full of liquids. This is key to feeling alert and focused during the flight the next day.
Get in a workout that makes you sweat. I prefer yoga or a light weight cardio type workout. This helps rid the body of toxins the day before you fly, which helps flush your body before you are inside a small plane for hours breathing in recycled air.
3. Have everything ready
Check into your flight early. Have your flight outfit, travel snacks, filtered water bottle, and all luggage packed and ready to go. When everything is laid out the night before, you are not rushed and you reduce decision fatigue, which keeps you mentally sharp on your travel day.
Morning of the flight:
1. Drink more water
The first thing to do is drink at least 24 oz. of water before anything else. This will be the body's final flush before you take off for the airport. Your body needs this kick in the morning so you can be more efficient during your travel day.
You may not feel hungry yet, but eating prior to leaving will reduce the likelihood of needing to eat something at the airport. You want to eat a clean and healthy breakfast so your body is full of nutrients before getting in the air. I prefer a superfood packed protein shake.
This is one of the most overlooked “pre-flight” rituals. You want to be and feel clean before you travel. This shower will wake you up and give you a more productive flight.
At the airport:
Use your filtered water bottle to fill up at a water station in the airport. Drink another 24 oz. before you get on the plane and make sure your water bottle is full before boarding. This is the most important step before the flight because once you take off, the increase in altitude requires your body to use more water to keep your lymphatic system functioning.
You will be sitting for the majority of the flight in the least ergonomically designed seats of all time. I always bring a lacrosse ball and use it to roll out knots by my gate before I board. This is great to do because any knots that you have before boarding flair up while being sedentary at a high elevation. Plain and simple - just move around.
Depending on the length of your flight, consume a small or large snack. Your goal is to be full enough to not have to eat on the plane. I always pack a trail mix because this will keep me fuller for longer. Remember, you can pack so many different kinds of foods, from salads, fruit, veggies, to nut butters. All of these will pass through security with no problems.
In the air:
Have you noticed a pattern? Drink 12 oz. of water per hour in the air. Sit in the aisle seat, so you can get up to use the washroom if needed. You need to make sure to hydrate during the flight to avoid fatigue when you land.
2. Refrain from eating and NEVER eat the plane snacks
Your body is not meant to process food at cruising attitude. The change in air pressure and oxygen intake limit the digestive system's ability to function correctly. If you are traveling for over 3 hours and get super hungry, make sure to pack a salad or light snack such as vegetables and hummus. Never eat the plane food. These are usually processed snacks with little nutrients or a microwaved meal that is covered in preservatives. The body has an incredibly hard time processing clean food while flying, so consuming processed foods slows you down and uses your immune system to fend off the chemicals. This is a large cause for feeling sick during the flight or getting sick during the trip.
3. Keep the mind occupied
During your preparation for the flight you have done everything right to keep your mind sharp. Use the flight to be productive by either reading, writing, or perhaps doing Sudoko or another puzzle. When the mind is in use during the flight, you feel the time go faster. You land feeling a sense of accomplishment, which will translate to the rest of your travels.
1. Get grounded
You have been in the air for a long time and your body is not meant to be at those altitudes. The first step to reset your body’s systems is to get your bare feet to the ground. Find a field or grass patch and just stand there barefoot for at least five minutes. This process has endless positive benefits for the rest of your trip, including decreasing jet lag and revitalizing your immune system.
Sitting in your seat does not bode well for posture and alignment. I have mastered a quick 12-minute yoga style stretching routine that I do immediately after I have grounded myself. Make sure to stretch hips, shoulders, and neck as these are the hot spots from being on a plane.
3. Ice Cold Shower
When you get to your stay for the trip jump right in a cold shower. Not only will this clean you off from the morning of travel, but it will shock the central nervous system to keep you moving for the day. This is the perfect start to the best day ever.
Traveling is amazing. I recommend it to everyone to broaden their horizons, see new places all around the world, and meet people from different cultures. As you look to optimize your life and make the most out of every single day, utilize these tips to have the best travel days ever.