*I travel a lot. Like, over-100-flights-a-year-a-lot. So I have learnt a thing or two about surviving the travel-for-work syndrome. For those of you who travel a lot also, these are the best pieces of advice I can give you……… I hope they help.
I’m one of those people who forget to drink water. I can run in the morning, drink half my water bottle afterwards (before coffee) and then get to bedtime and realise I haven’t had any more to drink during the entire day.
Terrible, I know. But I just forget.
I understand how important it is. Dehydration affects our decision making, productivity, attention and energy levels. And I’ve hit some strategies so that I’m a lot better now. But one time I am diligent about hydration is when I travel. When you travel, water becomes even more important. Here’s why and what you can do about it.
On the Plane:
We get especially dehydrated on planes. The air conditioning system in most planes (or all - I’m not quite sure) has to constantly cycle air in and out of the plane. Having 100 people in a steel tube breathing out carbon dioxide is not a good thing if you don’t get rid of that carbon dioxide. So the system send the CO2 out and brings new air in.
Understandably, the air at 30,000 feet is a heck of a lot drier than that at ground level. In fact, it only has around 10-20% humidity as opposed to 50-60% on the ground where we are comfortable. Consequently, we get dehydrated very quickly.
On any flight longer than an hour, those 200ml bottles of water won’t cut it. You can either be the most annoying person on the plane and ask for five of those bottles, or you can bring your own.
The bad news: alcohol dehydrates you, so you should probably avoid this on the plane
In the Hotels
The biggest factor here is the air conditioning. Elite sporting teams have been knows to place buckets of water in their hotel rooms to essentially humidify the air if they are going to sleep with the air conditioners on. Air conditioning dries out the air considerably leaving us more dehydrated than usual.
Where possible, sleep without that air conditioning on
On the Road
In a car or bus or train, if we are travelling during the day, we often get hotter because of the direct sunlight through the windows and/or heating. The resulting increase in body temperature can lead to greater dehydration. Then we put the air conditioning on….. and that old cycle continues again.
Take water with you - plenty of water (der…), and cycle the air conditioning on and off. Break up any longer trips with plenty of stoppages to get out of the car and back into the ambient environment.
Extra Hydration Hack:
The simple one is to bring your own bottle. This reduces your excuses, saves the environment a little and you can fill it up in the lounge at the airport if you’re a member.
As a bonus, use something like Hydralyte tablets that contain electrolytes, but no calories. These add a great taste to your water so you’re more likely to drink, but also hydrate your body a lot more efficiently.