How to Stay Fueled for a Long Journey
I love traveling, but don’t enjoy long flights or spending hours on a hot bus. When we travel to faraway places, we undoubtedly spend a fair amount of time getting there. It is normally uncomfortable, hot, and crowded. We arrive feeling awful—a great way to start a vacation. As a vegetarian and self-confessed health freak, I struggled keeping fueled on long journeys. Food on the road is usually junk. Gas stations are filled with doughnuts, candy, and fizzy pop. Airplane food is about as processed as you can get. After many years of travel, I have developed a few tips to stay healthily fueled:
Most long-haul flights serve meals, but powdered eggs and hard white rolls will not feel satisfying for very long. When making reservations, there is usually the option to request a special meal. Opt for the vegan meal and you will be rewarded with fresher servings of fruit, salad, and a hot vegetable dish.
Pack a snack pack. Preparing a little bag of nibbles like nuts, dried fruits, chopped carrots and humus will provide a satisfying energy boost. If you travel prepared, you won’t be tempted to buy salty snacks and sugary treats during the journey. Remember that when flying internationally, most fresh food needs to be consumed before clearing customs at your destination.
Drink water and lots of it. It is easy to become dehydrated when you are in a plane or on a long bus ride. Dehydration causes headaches, nausea, and lethargy which are not fun ways to feel on holiday. We especially forget to drink when we are tired or concerned about needing the toilet too often. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, their diuretic effects can lead to dehydration. Always carry a bottle of water and take sips at regular intervals.
Taking sleeping pills or any other type of prescription medication is not good for our insides. The list of side effects says it all: drowsiness, gas, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and weakness. If you stay well hydrated and nourished, you shouldn’t have too much trouble nodding off. Need something more to relax? Try a natural calming remedy such as lavender oil—a scent proven to aid sleep and lower anxiety. Rub a bit of the lavender oil on your temples or chest, slip on an eye mask to block out light, and breathe deeply when you are ready to fall asleep.
Arriving at your destination feeling healthy and rested is a good start to any trip. There is nothing worse than arriving exhausted, groggy, and sick. It can often take a few days for the effects of dehydration, sleeping pills, and lots of caffeine to wear off. Stay well fueled en route and your holiday will be happier and healthier.
Kathleen is a contributing editor to En Route Traveler. From a young age, Her parents took her and her sister on many adventures all over the world. Kathleen has lived in South Africa, London, and Paris. After five years of being a stressed corporate lawyer, she gave it all up to move to Nicaragua where she trained as a yoga teacher, learned to surf, and worked at the eco-lodge, Buena Vista Surf Club. Kathleen loves fitness, vegetarian cooking, contributing to the wellness blog, Hip and Healthy, and managing her own site, Super Fit and Super Food.