Dudes and dudettes, I’m going to Italy! In five hours! Well, we leave Rhode Island in five hours and have a layover in Newark before departing for Rome, but essentially it’s the same thing. That’s why we’ve been cleaning out our fridge and using up pantry food. VeggaSis’ boyfriend will be caring for our dogs and will probably stay over a few nights, but he’s no chef and will probably just resort to nachos and such for his meals, so we have been eating leftovers like mad lately.
But anyway, I want to share with you my top three travel tips. Going to college in Minnesota meant that I have flown quite a bit during the last four years. I’ve also been lucky enough to experience Europe three times previously, once on an EF Tour to London & Paris, once to visit a friend studying in France (we took an overnight jaunt to Germany while I was there), and I also did a summer off-campus studies program in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland a few summers ago. I am fortunate enough to have a friend in Spain (she did a homestay program with us years back), so I visited her during my midterm break while I was studying abroad. So although going to Italy will be the first time VeggaMom, VeggaDad, and VeggaBro have been abroad (VeggaSis did an EF Tour last summer), I’m a fairly seasoned flier. So I’ve decided to share my top three tips to help you feel the best you can during your travel experience. These tips are most helpful for international flights – since those situations often mean you’re traveling in one way or another for extended periods of time – but they’re also applicable for shorter domestic flights. So here we go!
1. Resist Temptation
Sure, the airport is full of seductive snack options, and when you’re on the go, the lure of Cinnabon or Starbucks can be strong. But eating crap all day long is going to take its toll. I used to skip breakfast before an early afternoon flight back to school and instead opt for a bagel at Dunkin’ Donuts when I was at the airport. By the time I’d landed in Minneapolis, I’d be starving, but I’d inevitably be rushing to catch a bus back to Carleton and wouldn’t have time to eat. Or, if I did, I might grab a pathetic little parfait at one of those ubiquitous snack kiosks. And if I’d had a layover in between, chances are good that I would’ve noshed at Cinnabon. But crap like that just doesn’t make my body happy. Maybe the fact that those yogurt parfaits have a sad little assortment of bland, watery fruit makes it seem like they’re okay, but come on – you can do better. Pack your own fruit salad with the fruit you’ve got to use up anyway, make yourself a sandwich, or put together a yummy trail mix. Not only will you save yourself from feeling like crap later on, but you’ll save money since airport food is almost invariably ridiculously overpriced. I’ve finally learnt this lesson, so this morning I drank a delicious Green Monster and shared an apple with my sister. I’ve got dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for later, and I just bought a few Larabars for a little energy boost later, because heaven knows what Continental will decide to serve for dinner, and I’m betting it won’t be too appetizing for those of us who don’t eat mystery meat!
2. Start Guzzling
Hydration is key, folks. Drink water like it’s going out of style before, during, and after your flight. Flying tends to dehydrate you, and I hate feeling parched and all tight-skinned and gross when I get off a plane. Keep drinking and your body will be better able to fight off all the nasty airplane germs and then everyone will be happy. I’ve got my Carleton Nalgene right by my laptop and I’ve been sucking down the ol’ H2O all morning.
3. Maintain thy Oral Hygiene
This one is stupidly simple, but for some reason it took me ages to figure it out. Bring your toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste in your carry-on and keep your chompers sparklin’ clean! Maybe it’s just me, but having freshly brushed teeth always makes me feel 50% cleaner, and when I’m flying I tend to start feeling grungy after a few hours in airports and on planes. Chewing minty gum only goes so far, and brushing my teeth before and after flights helps combat that feeling of all-over nastiness, and I think it’ll work like a charm for the extreme grossness I experience when taking a trans-Atlantic flight. And if brushing your teeth in a public bathroom skeeves you out (which, to be honest, is pretty much the case with me), you can wait ’til someone cleans one of the restrooms and then dart in there, or you could bring some of those wet wipes and wash the handle, or you could use bottled water and not even touch the handle at all… don’t let germ phobia keep you from feeling minty fresh!
So there they are, folks, my top three travel tips. And now I’m going to go have a marathon water-drinking session, eat a healthy lunch, and then blow this popsicle stand!