Nothing bigger than a nipple, flamingos & my tips on making air travel more comfortable

I downloaded an app recently. It’s call ‘App in the Air’. It happens to sync with Tripit which is where I’ve stored all my itineraries for all my trips since the site launched back in 2009. ‘App in the Air’ has synced the last 3 years of my Tripit and tells me I’ve travelled:

636,936km totalling 861 hours, 31 Airports and 22 Airlines and that’s only the last 3 years…

After all this I have still never mastered how to fly without feeling like you’ve had your soul sucked out of you when they pressurised the cabin. I arrive at all my destinations like a zombie and was in such a daze in to Sydney recently that I picked up a bag that was the same make as mine but not mine… Fair enough – that happens… The thing is this case was a Qantas crew bag and had retina burning fluorescent stickers all over the bag as well as unique tags saying ‘crew luggage’. Despite this, I grabbed this bag and left with it. I think that would have stood out less if I’d grabbed a Flamingo off the luggage belt and got in to a cab with it. Thank God Qantas rung me before I was too far away and what ensued was an embarrassing ‘handover’ of the Flamingo bag with my boring standard grey Samsonite. But this is what jet lag does.

The first time I flew to the US, I had the bright idea of hiring a red Mustang (of course) from the airport in Phoenix from arrival from Sydney. I was so confused as the attractive saleswoman walked me around the car telling me that if I damage it, she’s not worried about dents that are not “bigger than a nipple”! Thank God I resisted the urge to ask for a point of reference as it wasn’t until I told this bizarre story to My American colleges later that they laughed hysterically and told me what she would have been saying is the American expression “nothing bigger than a nickel”! Jet lag can do strange things.

Anyway, here’s my list to make things more manageable:

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Standard in-flight supplements

1. If you want to drink alcohol – that’s great. I love alcohol, but it makes you feel like crap on a plane. So if you’re unable to go without at least alternate it with a glass of water and a Berocca every 3 hours.

2. Eat at the airport. Don’t wait for plane food. Not only is it terrible (even in business class), there’s nothing worse than nodding off to some wide-eyed hostess shaking you and forcing you to eat like a baby. If you eat and get tired on the plane – this allows you to fall asleep.

3. Common sense – but ALWAYS have water in your seat pocket. If you run out, ask for more. If you sleep – every time you wake up – drink some water. Yes you will need to pee – however walking is also good for you!

4. Forget about trying to ‘get yourself in to the timezone you’re traveling to’. Your body doesn’t just go “ok, let’s sleep now because we’re going to the other side of the planet and it’s night-time there”. Whenever I try to do this – I just get stressed and frustrated, then worry I’m not sleeping and that makes it worse. If you’re tired sleep – if you’re not, don’t.

5. Noise cancelling earphone – a MUST.

6. ‘Jet-lag drinks’ such as ‘Above’ work remarkable well!

On arrival

1. Adrenaline should kick in here and give you a second wind… This may not last! If it doesn’t – have a nap! If you’re tired don’t try and pull through. HOWEVER – don’t sleep for more than 2 hours. Nap only! Set an alarm. When the alarm goes off you will feel like SHIT and will want to never get out of bed. Do it! I’ve literally (no joke) rolled on to the floor, and crawled to my hotel bathroom and in to the shower. It doesn’t take long to wake up under running water and you will be surprised the difference it makes!! Go out have a dinner, explore – but don’t have a big one on the first night, or you’ll pay for it the whole trip.

2. After this continue to follow the time-zone you’re in. Prescription melatonin works (not OTC), as do sleeping pills (Caution here) but something to get you in to the rhythm can help.

As I write this – BOARDING CALL – my non-stop 14.5 hour Auckland – San Francisco flight is boarding. Ill apply these techniques and let you know how I go!

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