The prospect of air travel can stir up different emotions for different people. Some have no trouble jetting around - they're seasoned travellers and have worked out a travel routine. But for others, it's impossible to get past the travelling part.

Worries about motion sickness, ear pain, jet lag, and cramped spaces can be enough to keep some people from ever leaving ground. Stop missing out on that dream vacation or that special occasion already! Follow these air travel tips to help ease your in-flight woes.

To prevent motion sickness:

  • Avoid eating a large meal within 3 hours of travel.
  • During travel, only eat light meals and avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid reading and watching videos during travel.
  • Recline your seat, rest your head against the headrest, and close your eyes. Sleep if possible.
  • Ask if you can sit over the wing section.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medication options.

To prevent ear pain:

  • Swallow, chew gum, eat candy, or open your mouth wide frequently, especially during take-off and landing.
  • Try the Valsalva maneuver: keep your mouth closed and your nose pinched shut while you gently breathe out of your nose.
  • If you have nasal congestion, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about using decongestants during your flight.
  • Use filtered ear plugs, which equalize the pressure against your ear drum during take-off and landing. They can be found at your local pharmacy.

To minimize jet lag:

  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
  • Eat small meals that are high in protein and low in fat.
  • If flying eastbound, go to bed earlier than usual a few nights before you leave. If flying westbound, go to bed later.
  • Try to adjust your eating and sleeping schedule to the new time zone as soon as possible. If you arrive early in the morning, try to make it through the day. If you must nap, limit it to a couple of hours. If you arrive in the evening, go to bed shortly after.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking melatonin before travel.

To stay comfortable and promote blood circulation:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes.
  • Avoid crossing your legs.
  • Get up and walk up and down the aisle once an hour.
  • Exercise your feet and calves periodically.
  • Talk to your doctor about support stockings if you have poor circulation.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are at risk for blood clots before travelling. People who may be at increased risk include those with a family or personal history of blood clots, blood disorders, cardiovascular disease, recent surgery, pregnancy, or birth control use.

Lisa Tourountzas