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    • After getting sick a few times while traveling (which is by far the most miserable way to be sick), I became a bit of a germaphobe and started doing research and being hyper-aware of everything I did that increased my exposure to germs while traveling.

      And I stopped getting sick while traveling! Here's the basic stuff I do to try to stay healthy on a trip:

      - Be aware of what you're touching. Handrails on escalators, bins at TSA checkpoints, airplane armrests and tray tables, airplane lavatories. You can't avoid touching these things, but you can avoid touching your face or eating after touching them until you've had a chance to wash or sanitize your hands.

      - Bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (for your hands) and some Wet Ones antibacterial wipes (to wipe down surfaces like airplane tray tables and armrests). I like Wet Ones wipes specifically because their active ingredient is benzethonium chloride, which is both food-safe and is one of the few antibacterial agents that's effective against norovirus. Norovirus is often found on surfaces like tray tables, but alcohol-based hand sanitizers won't kill it.

      - Once you're on the plane, stay in your seat as much as possible. Statistically this is the single best way to avoid getting the flu on a plane, and is likely to be effective for other pathogens as well. Moving around the cabin and especially using the lavatory exposes you to more other passengers and more germs on surfaces.

      In this old conversation I shared some links to actual research about this, and some other folks shared their own tips (like @Rusty's great suggestion to use a UV wand to help disinfect surfaces):

    • I don't usually notice jet lag when I cross 2 or 3 time zones - but once you cross 6-12 hours of difference - say NewYork to Kenya, jet lag can really be an issue. The first time my wife and I flew to Africa for safari, we stopped in London( 5 hours east of NY ) for 3 or 4 days to explore, and get resynced, and then flew on to Nairobi - worked like a charm. We felt great in Nairobi which is 3 hours east of London. I had some friends who flew from LA to Nairobi as directly as they could, and it took them almost 4 days of the safari to get themselves upright and enjoying the vistas.

      Hydration really is an important factor for dealing with Jet lag.

      I always take a couple baby aspirin a day before flying to reduce the risks of blood clots with deep vein thromobosis as well as trying to stay hydrated. I bring along some baby aspirin and some ibuprofen in my carryon, in case I might need them.

      Comfortable but supportive slip on shoes are very desireable. The last time I came home from Europe I walked over 4 miles inside airports carrying over 50 pounds of bags. Carrying a bag of cement 4 miles can be tiring and one needs good shoes. I am glad I was not wearing high heels like some of my fellow passengers,

      Standing up and moving a bit, after the seat belt sign is turned of if it is, also helps keep your blood flowing normally. I have a sneeking suspicion some airline personnel don't really want their passengers up wandering around, and tend to not provide enough water unless they are prodded - ask nicely and politely. Ask more than once if needed.

      I like chewable vit C in 500mg tabs. I like the ones from Nature-Made.

      I always keep a soft dark well worn cotton bandana in my briefcase to help cover my eyes from external light so I can doze off if I want to. I keep a microfibre cloth in my briefcase also, to clean my glasses, or to remove fingeroprints from the window if I want to photograph out of it.

      If you wear glases, bring a second pair in your carry on. You might find you need them before you get back home, and they will be hard to get replaced quickly in some areas of the globe.

      Take a picture of your passport with your phone, upload an image of it to a secure storage area in the cloud, so if your passport goes missing, you can help the embassy personnel get you sorted out more quickly.

      Any medications you need to take daily, should be with you inside the airplane in your carry on bag, not lost in luggage in Idaho, or somewhere. It is probably better if the drugs are in their original Rx bottles, but I have never had an issue with a small bottle of pills containing all my medications for a 2 week trip - but I am an old man, and I do not carry recreational drug type items, nor do I look like it would fit that profile. Use your own judgement.

      Be smart, be polite and cheerful to customs officers. Make their day a bit more pleasant, and they might reciprocate.

      Travel is one of my greatest joys, but not all parts of travel are always fun, and airports aren't as much fun as they used to be many years ago. I can remember getting to look out the cockpit windshield in flight on a commercial flight from Kansas City to Chicago when I was an adolescent. Long time ago in many ways...

    • Thank you Victoria!!

      I was going to mention NOT wearing flip flocks or going sockless when I was suggesting casual clothes but I agree, some folks really carry casual way too far.

      That said, in business class on overnight flights, many airlines dispense a clean pair of socks ( among other things) to wear mostly for sleeping I think. I usually bring a pair of clogs or plastic solid sole sandals to wear in a cabin in a plane or boat if I think I will be wanting/needing to remove my shoes. And I always wear a new clean pair of socks for a trip.

      I didn't mention bring soft ear plugs but I recommend them, or the noise cancelling ones from Sony or Bose. Motorcycle travelers usually have a whole bag of new ones at home anyway. I always did.

    • You are a wealth of knowledge! Yes, I absolutely agree that these are all great tips. I personally fall asleep on planes listening to podcasts (the soothing sounds of Jason, Paul and June arguing on HOW DID THIS GET MADE helps) but earplugs or earphones are invaluable!

    • I am a victim of my own TOO HIP attitude, I wonder while on the plane if those surgical masks that you see the Chinese wearing is actually beneficial? It might be worth it.

    • Masks can be effective at preventing infection from airborne viruses, especially for someone with a weakened immune system.

      Personally I don't go that far, but I would absolutely wear a mask if for some reason I had to travel when I knew I was already sick, since it would help prevent my nasty germs from spreading to other passengers.

    • I love your suggestion about taking a photo of your passport with your phone and uploading it to a safe place. I never thought about doing that but I will be sure to take a photo now!

      Thanks for the idea.

    • I've never experienced leg swelling on long flights, even flying to Europe (haven't done Asia yet.) Is this common? Also, I basically never use the bathroom on flights by not really drinking much on the plane or before the flight. (Depends on the length of the flight of course!)

    • I do same with all credit cards, and driver license too, pictures front and back. I then create a password encrypted file (with something like 7zip or winrar) and then store in the cloud.

    • Be careful with this. The "encryption" offered by compression tools like 7-Zip and WinRAR is weak and easily broken. 😬

      A safer way to do this that I highly recommend is to use 1Password. In addition to being a really great password manager, 1Password will also let you store the details of your credit cards, passport, driver's license, etc. And it uses strong encryption so your secrets are safe as long as you choose a good master passphrase.

    • I agree and use something similar, Enpass to preserve just account info. I've been reading about an open source version I am thinking to try simply because of open source being more trust inspiring. But having actual backup photo copies is very helpful in the event of loss, and may be even required. Convenience vs. security is always a conundrum; Amazon drive should be decently secure, to my mind. And there is TruCrypt, the new version also. What do you think?

    • 1Password supports photo attachments (I store photos of my passport and driver's license along with their info), and also allows you to store your encrypted data on their cloud service so you can access it anywhere while traveling. With a family account you can even choose to share certain information with family members, which is super useful. It's both convenient and secure. 🙂

    • I’m currently planning a June trip to Scandinavia with my 83yo Mom. Very happy to read all these tips, some of which I had not considered before. I will share them with her. Thank you, @Victoria, for the beanbag neck pillow tip especially!

      My tip for this thread is to check out consolidators for business class seats priced well below what the airlines quote. I have been pleasantly surprised to find some great deals this way and will thoroughly enjoy the added comfort and service for some long-haul flights I have coming up.

    • I got this travel hack from a journalist and it saved me many a sleepless night in hotels when I was traveling 60% of the year.

      Most hotel room windows have curtains that should pull together tightly. Unfortunately, when you turn off the lights, there often is a small gap remaining between the curtains, which lets light in. If you need total darkness to fall asleep, you’re basically SOL.

      I always packed a handful of these, courtesy of the office supply closet. Fasten the ends of the curtains with the binder clips and the room should become noticeably darker.