Travel tips / hacks
This is the 2nd in the series of posts that I upload on lessons learnt during my travels. You can read the first post here.
Selecting your flights
I have always wanted to find the best fare. I will look at the fare calendar, see the lowest fare and book my dates accordingly. This is possible when the dates are flexible. What if you want to visit Tawang for the Zero Music Festival on particular dates or you want to match your public holidays in India with a friend’s weekend in UAE?
Flying non-stop, avoiding multi-carrier airlines and preferred time of departure and return are the basic filters I apply. That eliminates many options.
I then evaluate the timings. I prefer the flight landing at a destination latest by 12a.m., so that I get a good night’s sleep and I am fresh to work or explore during the day. (Please refrain from applying this logic if you are travelling to a party capital like Ibiza!)
In the case below, Jet Airways and Emirates were close competitors for the onward flight. Emirates won the ticket thanks to their comfortable time of the return flight.
In terms of departure, I like to sleep well at night, so that I am fresh for the journey and the day ahead. It is nice to look like the diva or dude you admire, rather than be groggy in case of an early morning or late night flight. Accounting for time to get ready and travel time to the airport (1hr) + time for check-in, security check (1hr) + immigration if applicable (1hr); I like to take the flight after 9a.m. Therefore, Emirates scored over Jet Airways.
Selecting your airline
Well begun is half done. A quote that is so true when we travel. With the thrill of reaching the new destination or getting to the work meeting on time, it is important to choose airlines known for their on time performance and courteous customer service. A complimentary meal, although a norm in the past is like an icing on the cake now and the airline scores brownie points for the same.
It is best to research on the airline’s performance, especially when the carrier is relatively new or too old. The airlines section on TripAdvisor is a good platform to get traveller reviews. Another website is Skytrax.
I keep aside a sum of Rs.2400/- as the margin for the difference in fare. If the price of a better airline exceeds that sum, then I will select the next best airline.
There are certain carriers that are a complete no-no based on personal travel experiences and those of friends and family.
This is something we tend to skip, whether we are travelling for work or vacation. We want to make most of the time, so we will compromise by travelling during sleep hours. And then later in the year, there are trips to Goa to catch up on sleep!
There is so much to take in, in a new place; new sights, new sounds, new flavours and tastes, new people … I like to be awake and alert. That fresh feeling while exploring a new place, beings in a sense of confidence as well.
While travelling in a flight may not seem tiring, the body needs time to recuperate from the journey and time difference (if any). Ensure you get sleep of atleast 7 hours in a 24 hour day.
The human body is attuned to being in an atmosphere where the humidity in the air is between 40% to 70%. In an aircraft, the cabin pressure drops the humidity to 20%. This, along with the dry recirculated air results in dehydration.
It is important to keep sipping on water often, so as to keep the body well hydrated. Advantages of drinking water are a plenty. The skin and eyes don’t feel dry and stretched. The digestive system works better. It helps increase immunity and avoids infections.
I prefer carrying a steel bottle, which I can refill at the airports or along the way. This way, I avoid buying multiple plastic bottles, thereby reducing the waste produced, helping the environment.
With over 45mn pax flying every year from the Mumbai airport alone, imaging the number of bottles we reduce if each one of us carries their own bottle.
Help your body
We go through so many changes when we travel. Distances in unimaginable speeds are covered, from 100 to 120kms per hour for train and road travel, to 450 to 500 knots or 900km/hr in case of air travel. The food types and flavours change. There is a time difference in case of international travel. Lack of sleep, the sense of thrill and excitement, all add to the body trying to cope with changes at many levels.
It is best to help the body to stay balanced and bounce back to normal faster. Here are few quick tips I follow:
- 1 tsp of Dabur Chwanprash every day. It helps increase immunity and keep infections at bay.
- A glass of warm water couple of times in the day. Generally 1 cup on waking up and 1 before sleeping aid the digestive system and help in keeping the system clean.
- Ensuring there is sufficient fibre in the diet. I enjoy the salads and variety greens when I travel. At least 1 meal in the day is a salad. And you will be surprised by the innovation and awesomeness with which chefs make salads today. The California Guacamole Salad at The Cheesecake Factory is one such example.
- If you like, take a digestive aid. Try to keep it natural and don’t get in the habit of popping pills unnecessarily.
- Consciously visit the loo, even if you don’t feel like. The body will understand what it has to do!
Make fruits your friend
Take the opportunity to try out local fruits. From Kinu in North India to Rambhutan, Mangostein, Nectarine, types of Mangoes … there is the world of nature awaiting us in the supermarkets internationally. Make fruits your travel companion. They make for a great snack too.
Do you have a travel lesson you’d like to share? I would love to hear it and learn from you. On that note, wishing you happy travels.
Picture courtesy: Slava Bowman