Start an exercise regimen several weeks before your trip. Carrying suitcases, prolonged sitting or standing, unfamiliar beds and other activities that you’re not accustomed to can aggravate aches and pains. Build your flexibility and stamina gradually – BEFORE you leave. Walking and stretching exercises will help you get ready. You’ll probably find it so enjoyable that it will become part of your lifestyle.
Try to get as much sleep as possible before you leave.
Take sunglasses that deflect 100% of ultraviolet rays. You also may want to take eye drops for long flights, bright days, and in hot/dry environments.
Be sure you take comfortable shoes that are well-worn. Do NOT buy new shoes the day before your trip. Look for a good fit and firm arch support and wear your shoes for a few weeks before you leave to be sure that they’re comfortable and don’t cause blisters or any other discomfort.
On the Plane
Your airline flight is often the most tiring part of your trip, and it can leave you feeling stiff and disoriented. Here are a few suggestions to help you feel much better when you arrive at your destination.
Move around as much as possible. Walk the aisles frequently. Movement minimizes swollen feet and ankles. Also, while you’re sitting, get your feet up on a small travel bag to keep the edge of the seat from cutting off the circulation in your legs. Avoid falling asleep with your head cocked to one side, and regularly exercise your neck muscles. Roll your head around in circles and from side to side and from front to back slowly. Loosen your shoulder muscles. Exercise your feet and hands. As often as you think about it, move the muscles in some part of your body to keep from getting stiff.
Put a cushion behind the small of your back. Use the airline cushion, or even better, bring your own small cushion.
Drink plenty of water. It is good to drink at least 4 ounces of water an hour. Avoid alcohol because it causes dehydration. Also, to counter the effect of the dry air on the airplane, use a moisturizer on your face and hands. Or spray your face with water from an atomizer bottle.
If you suffer from earaches while flying, try taking an antihistamine or decongestant about 30-45 minutes before take-off. Just before takeoff, “pop” your ears by holding your nose shut, closing your mouth, and attempting to blow air through your nostrils gently. This helps to clear the Eustachian tube, which often becomes swollen and blocked when cabin pressure changes. While in flight you should swallow frequently, chew gum or candy, and “pop” your ears frequently when the pressure builds. It’s especially important to take these precautions if you feel a cold coming on – if the tubes are blocked, fluids can become trapped, causing painful ear infections.