Travelling is tiring and stressful for even the most jet-set of people, but it’s especially arduous for the Manx.
As far as we’re concerned, a twenty minute drive is a mission worthy of a day trip – one doesn’t just ‘pop’ up to Ramsey, for goodness’ sake! And the extra leg of the journey to actually get off our beloved rock makes the whole process that much more tedious.
By the end of a long journey, most people feel tired, stressed, drained of energy and full of grotty plane food. The following tips will help you plan out your trip so you’re not falling at the first hurdle when you step off that EasyJet plane at Gatwick…
Keep an eye on what you eat
Seems like an obvious one, but it’s SO easy to get wrong. The most important thing is not to overeat. When you’re sitting on boats/planes/trains all day, you’re not really moving and hardly burning any calories, so eating too much leaves you feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
I get it, travelling is boring and food is often the only highlight of the process. But the last thing you want is to feel bloated and gross before you’ve even started your holiday – or worse, your packed schedule of meetings.
As well as watching how much you’re eating, it’s also super important to make the right choices when it comes to what you eat. Again, this sounds obvious, but it’s harder than it sounds when you’re limited to stodgy plane food or a Costa cheese toastie at Ronaldsway.
The majority of airport and plane food is carb-heavy, loaded with calories and contains very little nutritional value. So don’t go overboard on the paninis and, if you’re off the island, pick up a green juice from Boots to get some fruit and veg in your system. And if you take supplements like multivitamins, it’s a great idea to take these before you travel for a little boost of goodness.
Preparing your own snacks is also an amazing way to avoid succumbing to the high-sugar treats and pick-me-ups that fill the shelves in most airports. Even protein and cereal bars can be full of sugar, so DIY is definitely the best – not to mention cheapest – way to go!
Fruit is the healthiest and easiest option – and who said you can’t take carrots on a plane? You could also try making your own trail mix with dried fruit and nuts, roasting chickpeas with paprika, or if you’re feeling particularly bougie, knocking up a batch of Deliciously Ella energy balls.
And hey, if none of that sounds appealing and you still fancy that BLT sandwich – make your own! You know exactly what’s in it and it won’t cost you five quid (thank you, Flybe!).
Keep yourself occupied
So you’ve made your sandwiches and prepped your snacks – now how do you stop from eating them all before 10am and spending the next 6 hours trying to scroll away the boredom on Instagram? Again, plan ahead so you can stay busy and entertained.
Podcasts are amazing for helping you get through long journeys! They fill all the gaps when you’d usually be bored and miserable but can’t really do anything else – like when you’re in the queue to check in for a flight or on that pesky 5 minute bus from the terminal to the plane.
And there are literally thousands to choose from covering any topic you could possibly be interested in, from film & TV, books, comedy, politics, business, fitness… There is seriously something for absolutely everyone.
For a long journey where you’re after something punchy and addictive, try true crime podcast Serial or the New York Times documentary series, Caliphate. Or if you’re looking for something a little lighter, try Fearne Cottons’s Happy Place, where she interviews celebrities on everything from their careers to mental health. And I’ve definitely never listened to the Love Island podcast. Not once. Never ever…
Have a scroll on iTunes – but remember to download your faves while you still have WiFi if you want to listen on the plane! And if you’re not into podcasts, make sure you’ve got a couple of good films downloaded on Netflix – and hey, whatever happened to a good old fashioned book!?
Fending off boredom while travelling is easy, but it’s all about forward planning! We’ve all been there when your iPad dies on the plane or you’ve forgotten your book, and you have to choose between awkwardly looking out of the window across the person next to you or playing Candy Crush for 2 hours. Don’t be that guy.
Go easy on the beers with breakfast
On a long-haul flight, it’s always tempting to indulge in the free booze (although admittedly this is much less tempting on Flybe and EasyJet where a bang average glass of wine will cost you a six quid). And if you don’t sleep well on planes, having that mini plastic bottle of red with dinner on a night flight can be just what you need to knock you out for a few hours.
And everyone knows the universal rule of travelling – time zones don’t exist, and a 7am pint on the Manannan or glass of prosecco at Ronaldsway is totally legit (“Well I AM on holiday!”, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”)…
But one of the most important things you can do while travelling is stay hydrated. The LAST thing you want is that hangover kicking in when the screaming baby on the plane wakes you up at 4am. So don’t go overboard on the booze and drink plenty of water!
The air on planes is particularly dry so it’s really easy to become dehydrated. Take a reusable water bottle (maybe that personalised Love Island bottle your colleague bought you…) and fill it up at every opportunity! Water is life yessir.
The last thing you want to do at the end of a day/night of travelling is exercise. But the lack of movement when you’re sitting still all day is one of the main reasons you can feel stiff and drained of energy at the end of your trip.
Now I’m not saying that when you finally get to your destination you should hop on the treadmill and run 10k, but there are little things you can do throughout your journey to keep your body moving, your blood flowing and your energy levels up.
The easiest thing is to just get up and have a walk around. Stretch your legs. Go check out the Manx Knobs selection in Ocean Avenue. Do a couple of mid-flight lengths of the plane cabin or laps of the airport terminal before you catch your connection. Avoid the temptation to use the escalator or the moving walkway – this is a valuable opportunity to get a few steps in and could be the most you move all day!
And if you’re travelling for more than a couple of days, pack a travel yoga mat. Whether you need to re-energise after being sat on a plane for 12 hours, you’ve had a long day of meetings and can’t face the hotel gym, or you’ve had a heavy few nights on the town with the pals and you need to recharge for round 4 – fitting in any kind of exercise, even if it’s just a good stretch, will perk you up and ward off that lethargic feeling.
Exercise also helps you sleep better, so if you’re moving while you’re on the go, you’re less likely to get home exhausted, with the thought of going to work tomorrow making you want to hide in bed for a week.
Top tips and tricks
- Moisturise! The air on planes is super dry, so keep a small moisturiser in your hand luggage for your face, hands, and any other skin that’s exposed to that nasty recycled air.
- Stay warm – especially in summer! Yes, flip flops are comfy and yes, you’re going on holiday and you want to show off your snazzy new shorts. But it can get really cold on airplanes (not to mention the positively arctic climes onboard our trusty old Ben My Chree!) so pack a warm jumper and a cosy pair of socks.
- Take a tissue or cloth infused with essential oils in your bag. Now, this might sound a bit old school, but it really works! Sniffing a bit of tea tree oil is an absolute lifesaver when you’re sitting next to someone with a cold on a packed EasyJet flight, or on a particularly choppy sailing aboard the Manannan (urrgh).
- Girls, go makeup free for a long journey – We all know the short trip off the island is just as much a social affair as a night out on Douglas toon – whether we want it to be or not – but if you’re travelling long-haul or overnight, it’s just not worth it and your skin won’t thank you! Go bare faced and moisturise regularly to avoid breakouts and dried out skin from the grotty plane air.
- Breathe! You can literally do breathing exercises anywhere, and they really help when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. It’s amazing the difference a few slow, deep breaths can make when you’re flying through a proper Manx hoolie or when FlyMaybe cancels your flight… The rage…
Invest in some essential bits of kit that will make your journey more pleasant, particularly if you’re going long-haul.
- Portable charger or power bank – to avoid that sinking feeling when your battery hits 20%.
- Reusable water bottle – Many people don’t realise that you can take empty water bottles through airport security. Saves you £2.50 and an unnecessary plastic bottle!
- Noise-cancelling headphones – To listen to all your new podcasts in peace.
- An eye mask and ear plugs – So you can sleep through the babies crying when their ears pop. Unless it’s your baby. Then you should probably wake up.
- Travel yoga mat – They fold up and don’t take up much room in your suitcase. Perfect for beach yoga, hotel room Pilates or a mid-holiday HIIT sesh to work off all the pizza…
- Hand sanitiser and moisturiser = happy hands.
- Reusable 100ml containers – These are super cheap and will save you so much money on pointless travel sized toiletries!
The bottom line? PLAN AHEAD!
Your trip starts the day before… Make sure you get in a good night’s sleep, a workout (if you can), and a good breakfast before your journey – so don’t leave packing til the last minute! Get organised when it comes to eating and staying entertained – i.e. prep those snacks and download those podcasts.
And you’re all good to go! I hear there’s a boat in the morning…