I know I don’t travel nearly as often as most people, but I do a fair amount, usually on a tight budget, and also with the aim of keeping my body (and mind) in top shape, as I will normally be racing once I arrive at my destination.
Here are some ideas to try next time you have a long haul flight, to make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
1. Airport Lounges
It is very worthwhile signing up to a frequent flyer program, and earning miles every time you fly. Once you get to a certain status, you will be granted access to that program’s airline lounge. These places are the bomb! They are pretty quiet, have complimentary food, water and coffee. There is WiFi, reading material and recline chairs. And most have showers. They all go a long way in making your long layover fly by:)
Attempt to always fly with your regular airline, to accumulate miles with the same program, and most of the programs are affiliated with a few airlines, making this easier than in the past.
If you don’t fly that often, check out the airport you will be stopping at, as there are a number of private lounges, that for 20-30 Euro, you should get once-off access. Plus, after 6 hours in an airport, with 3 x coffees, 2x meals, and paying for WiFi, 30 Euro’s is cheap!
There is a gym in one of the hotels in the Dubai airport, and if I have a long stopover there, I find spending 30mins on the bike, and some stretching, followed by a refreshing shower, goes a long way in helping my “cankles” from becoming a total disaster. And this saves my back from being too stiff, and sets me up for the next flight.
3. Compression socks
As silly as these look, if I don’t put them on, the “cankles” make walking pretty bleak, and my transition into my first few sessions when I arrive at my destination is slower. You can get flesh covered ones, that aren’t so obvious, but who cares really? Have you seen how bad “cankles” look?
4.Don’t wear a fanny pack.
5. Drink more water than normal.
Try and stay hydrated. So less coffee, more plain water, and no alcohol.
6. Get an aisle seat.
See point #5.
7. Buy a local sim card.
International roaming will kill your budget! Buy a local sim card, and load it with data and airtime. If you still have some left over when you fly home, phone some people from the airport. Everyone loves getting a call from an international number!
8. Always try keep some local currency.
If you arrive late, and have to rush to catch transport, at least you will already have some local cash.
9. Invest in a cabin-size roller bag.
Your shoulders and back take huge strain with a backpack that rapidly gets heavier, when filled with your laptop and valuables (that can’t go in your check in luggage).
10. Pack light.
You will always end up buying a few things, plus getting the race/event T-shirt etc. You really don’t need that much stuff. I pack my race kit in my hand luggage, as well as a change of clothes (just in case my bag doesn’t arrive). I race with a reservoir system, as it takes less place than a bottle. I also always take 1x Thermal, a body warmer/wind-cheater (I have a cool Nelo one) and a Buff. Then, if some cold weather surprises me, I will at least race warm. And if not, well, those items weigh almost nothing! You only need to get caught out once to never forget to pack them again!
An don’t forget your sunblock!