Karen’s rules: How to fly around the world and not get sick

Written by admin on December 13, 2012 – 5:45 pm -

Flying around the world, especially on vacation may sound glamorous. But in reality, you’re taking your health in your hands. Should you break up the trip? Wear a face mask? What are some tricks and tips for not arriving home sick?

Frequent long haul flyers offer all types of advice. Pick and choose and from it and please add your feed back about what’s worked for you.

Try to be rested before taking off. If possible, take a late evening flight with the first leg of the trip being the longest, so you can hopefully sleep. When you arrive at your first stop, if the connection is more than two hours, being a member of an airline club can and often does make great and good sense. Many have rooms where you can take a shower and clean some off some of the grunge.

While en route, don’t drink liquor (Ok, perhaps a glass of wine) and drink lots of water. Get up and move around and whatever you do, wash your hands well and often. Many people carry their own wipes or a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer. Remember to clean your hands after leaving the lavatories because the handles are used by everyone on the plane, whether or not the passenger is healthy. Some travelers carry a face mask and use it if people are sneezing around them. Germs have a way of spreading when air isn’t being constantly recirculated.

Try to upgrade for a portion of the trip if possible. As temperatures vary from flight to flight, pack clothes to take aboard that keep your body temperature constant.

Travel aids:
Some people swear by Airborne and a multitude of other vitamins. Pack your own fruit, nuts, health bars and items you know and know your stomach. Skip the meal if you’re able to sleep before it’s presented or if you think you might not digest it well. Many frequent flyers say that setting your watch (and your psyche) on your destination’s time zone helps.

Breaking up the trip:
When the flight time is 24 hours or more, and that’s not counting the time spent waiting to board, in transit and getting out of the airport when you arrive at your destination, some claim spending an overnight to acclimate to the time difference is worth the time and money. Others simply push on; there’s no one answer.

Assume a Zen attitude:
Many say that retreating into their own cocoon is what makes the difference. Wear a pair of quality noise canceling ear phones, try not to engage in conversations with neighbors, become totally self-absorbed and retreat into their own world, accompanied by a fully charged IPad, a computer plus a do-not-disturb sign. I’ve found extra thick eye pads to be a godsend.

If there’s a less crowded area of the plane, go for it (providing it’s in your class of service). Don’t eat and drink everything that’s placed in front of you, try not to hear other passengers and avoid stress. Watch some downloaded movies or listen to your choice of music and catnap when possible.

David Christensen, an executive who lives in Singapore and spends a great deal of his time up in the air says, “I am sure the way I retreat into my own world and try to let things wash over me without getting too upset while I’m traveling has helped me cope psychologically at least. I am confident that this also has positive benefits in keeping me out of harm’s way as much as possible.”

At your destination:
When you’re on your trip, take care to eat and drink things you hope are safe. If you’re a place where’s there’s street food, some travelers say it’s verboten. Others will eat it if they watch it being prepared and can see how it’s cooked. Many drink only bottled water that’s clearly sealed, never drink anything out of a can unless they use a straw they’ve unwrapped, never have a drink with ice and refrain from eating nuts (or anything) out of a communal bowl.

People tend to use caution when they’re in strange and exotic places. The question comes down to how to fly around the world and not come down with a hell of a cold or something more.


Posted in Around the World, Consumer Traveler |