Tips to optimise your air travel

It’s funny how time works. In India its afternoon but in your destination, just a little over nine hours away, it’s night already. You can cope well with these changes if exercise is a part of your daily routine.

You don’t have to be a cross-country runner to survive jet lag. Just get more active about two weeks before you get on the flight. Move around. Do simple stretch exercises that get the joints moving more smoothly and the blood pumping better.

Economy seats are designed for acrobats. Most of us aren’t, so make sure you stretch your feet, work your toes and gently move your shoulders to stop uncomfortable freezes.

The trick is not to fall asleep for the first two hours of your flight. Look around. Check out the entertainment on offer. Eat well. And hydrate. Don’t be afraid to use the toilet. Every two hours or so, take a small walk.

Sleep after the meal service is over. If you want to be woken up for snack or the next meal, check your complimentary airline bag, it will have stickers that say “wake me for a meal” that you can stick on your chair above your head.

It’s tough when you can’t get to a phone to inform anxious family that you survived the airline food after all. With international roaming options threatening to get more expensive than the flight what do travellers do while leaving home turf?

See that your phone will work in different countries. Tri-band GSM phones work everywhere and are the best options with portable SIM.

Take a local cell phone card the minute you land. Now, different countries have different rules for this. While in the US and UK, phone companies expect you to buy a handset from the phone company, SA and Europe don’t. So the trick is to have a local card for the country of travel from your port of departure.

Various companies today offer SIM cards with reasonable calling rates. So you already have a number the minute you land. Use it till you can check your other local options and then switch over. Don’t buy SIM cards from the airport. They are usually expensive and supermarkets often have them for one tenth the price.

Usually incoming is free in most countries so use the old “missed call” system well.

When your airlines offer you only 20 kg check-in luggage, don’t pack all of 20 kilos from your domestic port. You know you will shop or even if you don’t, you don’t want to have to leave things behind.

Pack light is a mantra that few follow. You don’t need four different kinds of shoes or a new outfit for every photo. Mix and match. Wash and wear. Carry clothes that dry fast. Bright colours look nice in the photos and also don’t need intensive ironing. Carry a tiny travel iron to iron out the stubborn wrinkles.

Multi-use stuff. Team up a cool shawl with plain tops to stay warm and add colour to your outfit. Shoes you can wear out for a meal should also serve as good walking shoes. Heavy stacked heels and platforms are best left home.

Invest in multipurpose clothes like jeans (they can be heavy so check out the lightweight stuff) and t-shirts. Remember you’re on holiday. Sit back and relax.

COMPILED BY PAROMITA PAIN

Keywords: air travel