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PLAN YOUR WAY TO STRESS-FREE TRAVEL

If you travel often (but not often enough to yet have the routine down) make a check list of things to do before, during and after your journey. (Do the work once and save it to computer for easy access on other trips.)

Be organized! The more organized you are - the less stress you will suffer. Nothing will drive you crazy on your trip faster than misplaced passports or forgotten underwear!

Be packed the night before (unless you’re one of those people who ALWAYS goes beyond a deadline - then shoot for two days before.)

If you’re crossing several time zones in your journey, you can help fight off the dreaded “jet lag” by a couple of simple adjustments to your normal routines beginning 3 or 4 days before your journey. While it may be difficult, changing your sleep and rising times (as well as your meal times) to closer match your destination’s times will help keep you alert and energized once you debark. Though we’ve never tested it, Magellan's offers a homeopathic remedy called No-Jet-Lag. It comes as chewable tablets and claims to prevent jet lag (and comes with a money-back guarantee.)

Exercise. Get plenty of exercise the day before your flight and walk in the airport during layovers or wait times.

If you suffer from motion sickness be sure to take/apply your medicine BEFORE the journey.

Use ear plugs during flight takeoffs and landings. This will help prevent painful, congested ears. Chewing gum also helps some people.

Watch what you eat and drink. Stop consuming all alcohol and caffeine products, especially coffee, tea, cola and... yes (gasp) chocolate, a few days before your flight. Drink PLENTY of water to stay hydrated. Ask the Flight Attendants for water regularly (don’t wait until you are thirsty as you may already be dehydrated at that point.)

Bring a few bottles of water per person onboard (but buy them AFTER you go through the security checkpoint otherwise they will have to be discarded.)

Of course, water going in means water coming out. During flights, visit the bathroom regularly. This seems a minor point but there really are times when flyers must stay strapped down on turbulent flights. You really do NOT want to be bumped about with a tight seatbelt over a full bladder!

Wear loose fitting clothing for the flight. (That includes shoes - feet tend to swell on long flights.) Not only will you be more comfortable, non-binding clothes don’t cause circulation problems.

And speaking of circulation, get up and move around every 60 to 90 minutes. Walk, stretch, visit with other travelers. This will prevent your muscles from seizing and, more importantly, gets circulation going (preventing blood clots.) You can also do isometric exercises right in your seat like toe raises, shoulder shrugs and ab crunches.

Bring something to read or do on the plane. My favorite in-flight past time? Filling out the postcards that I collected on the leg before. Then just look for a mail box in the airport and send those suckers off! (Just remember to bring a travel address book with the names and addresses of friends - as well as proper postage.)

Try to sleep on long or night flights. Rest does more for your body than anything else!

Bring your medicine cabinet - or a small version of it. Include a few doses of whatever pain reliever you normally use, Pepto-Bismol, anti-diarrhea medicine and, of course, any prescription medicines that you are taking.

Bring a few grooming articles like deodorant, toothbrush, hairbrush, etc. and use them during the flight. It will go a long way toward making you more refreshed and comfortable when you land.

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