Suffering from travel brain? Here are 6 travel tips to help!

This last year taught me a lot in the terms of being organized and efficient when traveling and living in 2 different countries. I often developed what I call “travel brain,” that hazy, foggy, unfocused brain state that is less than ideal.

An untidy life can lead to this stressful mind & unhealthy brain. As a result I had to quickly adapt to making lists and planning ahead. It’s important to look out for your mental & physical wellbeing while always on the go.

Silhouette of stressed woman in the airport. Flight delay.

So, given that I cross the Atlantic every few weeks, I’ve jotted down some easy tips for those who want to stay sharp and focused while traveling.

Travel brain rule number one: Be organized!

Travel preparations on an old wooden table

Yes, we have all done it. We don’t need to overpack those extra 10 dresses that will never be worn!  (My other half was right.) Don’t forget that you can wash and reuse your clothes. Coin laundries are just around the corner and most come with free wi-fi, so you can work on the tedious list of emails or catchup on your favourite shows. To avoid any expensive surprises at the luggage check-in desk, remember that the maximum is 23kg (50lbs) per suitcase for transatlantic flights.

Number two: Stay hydrated.


When traveling from Belfast to San Diego my body can become very dehydrated! Plenty of water to hydrate helps me overcome the dreaded jet lag. (Tired and grumpy wife is not highly recommended). Long haul flights are notorious for leaving you mentally drained and the chances of becoming dehydrated are quite high. Personally I try to avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and energy or fizzy drinks. Although they feel like a quick fix at the time, you won’t be happy when you feel awful in the long run.

Number 3: Look after your skin!

Young woman in bathroom clean face make-up removal looking mirror

When I travel I always have a simple skin routine. Mentally feeling good on the inside is very important, but I don’t forget how important feeling good on the outside is too. I want to feel confident in my own skin, literally, so having a good skin routine is key. Firstly, I remove all my makeup (often I choose not to wear any) and prep my skin with a good moisturizer and hydrating mist spray. I then use a simple hydrating mask, sit back and enjoy the numerous in-flight movies without feeling guilty!

Number four: Melatonin & Sleep.


Melatonin is a slightly strange product that only a doctor can authorize in the UK, but you can buy this nearly anywhere in the USA without any form of prescription or medical checks. Melatonin is a chemical in the brain that signals when it’s bedtime (when the natural daylight begins to fade). Usually 1 to 2mg at bedtime is enough for most people to get a decent nights sleep while recovering from jet lag. It certainly helps me to get back into my normal sleeping routine and prevent the 3am munchies.

Number five: Be health conscious.


As well as staying hydrated, don’t forget to keep your diet healthy. Traveling can cause a lot of stress so I adopt a nutrient rich diet to help feed the brain and body. Zooming  through time zones often means you end up wanting meals at weird times. Try to make the smart choice and avoid heavy foods until your stomach adjusts. Salads, fruit, vegetables along with the occasional healthy snack will make you feel much better than tons of chocolate and sweets. Healthy snacking equals a healthy mind. You don’t want to feel bloated when trying to catch those few precious hours sleep on the plane.

Number six: In-Flight exercises.

travel concept, people in the airport

Many people have fear getting a clot (or DVT) when on long flights. To reduce my own worries about this I make sure to continually keep the blood flowing, simply by walking in the aisle (and in the connecting airport) whenever I can. I also make imaginary circles with my feet when seated and I try to ensure my legs stay straight and relaxed. Make sure you discuss with your doctor if you’re worried about clots, it’s a very serious medical condition!

So, the next time you need to hop on a plane, remember these six tips:

  1. Organize!
  2. Stay Hydrated
  3. Look after your skin
  4. Take Melatonin
  5. Eat healthy
  6. Do in-flight exercises

Will following these tips guarantee stress-free traveling? Absolutely not!! Chances are it will still be chaos, but hopefully these tips will make it a little better for your brain 🙂

Patricia McKeown
Patricia McKeown

Being a teacher makes me super passionate about health & fitness for children.

I love encouraging kids to be more active and helping them (and their parents) make healthy diet decisions.

Education is key! The more knowledge we have about healthy living the better we can tackle childhood obesity.

I also LOVE to travel…

Read my blogs to find out diet & exercise tips for kids, and also travel tips for adults :)