May is a wonderful time to travel almost anywhere in the world. But even if the weather is cooperating, traveling well takes some organization. I talked to some of my frequent flier friends about their top travel tips. I got so much great information that I broke it up into two columns — look for their packing tips portion here in two weeks.
I’m always looking for ways to feel my best when I travel. Avoiding jet lag, finding ways to get exercise, eating well and sleeping well are essential for a relaxing vacation, and can make a business trip more successful.
To combat jet lag, eating less a few days before you travel and on the plane will help the body reset its clock faster. Margrit Mondavi, who travels frequently on behalf of Robert Mondavi Winery, agrees. “I eat lightly, if at all, on the plane,” she said. “But have a glass, maybe two, of champagne.”
Nutritionist Karen Schuppert says, “It is always best to pack your own food for air travel, especially wraps (with hearty greens) and raw nuts. Oranges are also good as they travel well, but make sure to bring napkins.” She loves pre-moistened hand-wipes and always travels with one or two packets.
Mondavi says she can’t remember ever suffering jet lag. She uses a neck pillow, and sleeps on the plane. “It’s not a good sleep, but I feel rested enough. I never take sleeping pills — I like to be conscious!”
Not everyone is as lucky as Mondavi regarding jet lag. Professional gastronaut, the author and Food Network TV personality Bob Blumer says, “You can’t beat jet lag, you just have to roll with it. Always pack a book so that when you are up at night from jet lag you are not staring at the ceiling.”
Blumer, who said he traveled more than 125,000 miles last year to 14 different countries, travels with a little spice kit. “My own ‘411’ kit to spice up bland meals consists of some small vials (contact lens bottles) that I fill with Malden salt, chipotle powder and my other favorites,” he said. “When I get a bland meal, I surreptitiously reach for my kit and add whatever is needed.”
Jim Evans, owner of the Bucket of Blood, an old saloon he’s transformed into an antique furnishings shop in Cambria, has traveled the globe on buying trips for his business. “Book the best passage you can,” he said. “I’m a great believer in non-stop flights. Not only are connections where baggage is lost, if you have jet lag, you lose a day, maybe more.” Being overly budget conscious when choosing your flight might cause you to miss out on some valuable business or vacation time.
One of my favorite ways to travel is a trip that incorporates exercise, such as hiking or yoga. I’ve gotten spoiled tagging along on Ulrika Engman’s Yoga Journeys (Yoga-Journeys.com).
“To get into the sleep cycle, continue with homeopathic jet lag pills (available at Whole Foods) the first couple of nights, and use ear plugs and eye shades to block out any noise and light you aren’t accustomed to,“ she said.
Engman suggests designing an itinerary with the body in mind, and balance time in nature with cultural activities (like visits to museums), local happenings (like farmers markets), and plenty of time for pampering (such as pedicures). She is also a fan of afternoon naps while traveling. She says, “Be sure to rest up so that you can enjoy the nightlife without suffering.”