Giles Gilbert does a lot of travelling. As the regional manager for Malaysia Airlines in Australia and New Zealand, he’s more likely than most to be on a plane.
It’s not the easiest lifestyle for staying healthy. All those people crammed into the plane can spread colds fast and flying can take a toll on your body.
We asked Giles for a few tips on staying healthy while travelling. These are the ones he swears by.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water is my number one piece of advice for anyone travelling – especially for medium and long haul flights.
Humidity levels inside aeroplane cabins are way lower than most of us are used to. Flying in an aeroplane is literally draining moisture from your body. The chance of becoming dehydrated is much higher than it is on the ground. Not only does this tend to make most of us feel fairly average but it can also exacerbate jet lag.
To ensure I’m drinking enough water in-flight, I always aim to drink one standard glass of water every hour. You can also take a moisturising lotion or a hydrating face spray on board – just make sure they meet the 100-millimetre liquid rule.
Move around regularly
Sitting down in a cramped seat for hours is uncomfortable and increases the risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis. To avoid this, I always try to move around the plane by walking up and down the aisles every couple of hours or so. Another great idea is to wear compression socks as this can significantly reduce swelling of the feet and legs.
Get some sleep
Sleeping on flights can be harder than it seems. But try.
To minimise jet lag at the other end, it is worth adjusting your watch to the time zone of your destination at the outset of your flight. Follow the cues of the cabin staff in terms of when to sleep and eat.
To help you get some rest on long haul flights, I recommend investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones; a neck pillow and even a good eye mask to increase the chance of getting a few hours sleep.
Load up on antioxidants before your flight
It really is important to protect your immune system as much as possible when flying. When you spend long periods of time in a closed environment such as an aeroplane, breathing in recycled air can certainly increase your risk of getting sick.
My tip? Try and avoid eating heavy, stodgy food and instead eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables – before and during your flight. I always keep some Vitamin C tablets or Berocca handy at all times. Plus it’s a great idea to carry some hand sanitiser in your carry-on luggage to keep germs at bay.
There’s nothing worse than being on a long flight stuck in tight, uncomfortable clothing. I always make sure to pack a change of loose, comfortable clothes in my carry-on luggage to slip into. And don’t forget to layer up. Aeroplanes can get quite cold, so bring an extra jumper or a wrap can help you avoid a chill.