You have a long flight coming up and you’ve found a way to reconcile feelings of guilt of not being able to adhere to your usual fitness regime and you’re feeling good about your travel outfit after following tips in part 1 of our 2-part series on air travel. But what about anxiety over seats, sleeping and staying healthy? Read on for actionable tips that will make an active person’s time on the plane much more enjoyable.

Fork Over and Upgrade

While it’s not an option all the time, using your frequent flier miles or forking over an extra $200 for a 7 hour plus flight, is one of the best decisions you can make. I know, it’s spendy, but once you do it, you’ll have a hard time heading back to the Economy cabin. You will thank yourself for the fully reclining seat, tasty meals (yes, real meals!), relative privacy from your neighbors, larger seats, power outlets for electronics, extra attentiveness from flight attendants and endless complimentary beverages. While the price tag may seem a bit steep, trust me on this one. The comfort you experience in business class or first class will certainly justify the spend. And you might be able to get some rope stretches in while being flat on your back!

seat guruIf you aren’t able to upgrade, be sure to select your seat ahead of time, if you have the option. Think that every exit row features more comfort? Think again. The first of 2 exit rows often doesn’t recline in order to limit obstruction of the row behind it if there is an emergency. Be sure you’re getting the most desirable seat possible by using one of my favorite sites, Seat Guru. All you have to do is type in your airline and flight number and the site knows exactly which plane you’ll be flying on and will show you which seats to avoid due to a variety of drawbacks, like proximity to the lavatory, impeded leg room and immobile arm rests.

Consider Using a Sleep Aid

I’m not typically a sleep aid person for everyday (night?) use, but I’ll tell you that I am an antsy person who can’t really sit still for more than an hour, so the appeal of being unconscious for half of my long haul flight is quite appealing. If you’d like to go the more natural way, I’d suggest using melatonin, but if you need something with a little more oompf, visit your doctor and ask about Ambien or Lunesta. I have athlete friends who have used both medications to great result, but each person is different. Heck, I had a friend in grad school who once found herself accidentally addicted to Tylenol PM, so tread carefully in the world of sleep aids. Oh, and don’t forget your eye mask. Blocking out light is essential to getting your body to relax in a less than desirable setting, so whip out those ear plus, neck pillow and eye mask and try to zonk out for a while. Dream of the amazing new landscapes you’ll see on your next run!

plane seats

What about these seats screams, “You’ll fall asleep, no problem!”? Answer: Nothing.

Watch the Movies

Get your inner Ebert on and take in those movies; they’re there for a reason. They’ll not only entertain you, but they’ll pass hours like it’s (almost) nothing. And if you’re a nervous flyer, the movies will help you disengage from that mindset. If movies aren’t your thing, be sure you load up your e-reader, mp3 player or hype yourself up for endless games of Sudoku. Whatever you do, don’t forget your headphones, noise cancelling, if possible! If you’re looking for some good new reads, check out my suggested books.

Bring Anti-germ Equipment

I’m not that person who whips out her antibacterial hand gel each time I do anything besides breathe, but airplanes vie for the top spot on the list of germiest places. Ever wonder why you often leave a plane feeling kind of stuffy even after 3 packets of Emergen-C? It’s not just because of the enclosed space, recycled air or guy in 14B that hacked up his lung somewhere over the Atlantic. It’s because the tray tables aren’t disinfected after hundreds of passengers use them, the faucets in the teeny little bathrooms distribute water that’s been in a holding tank for who knows how long (hello, bacteria!) and pillows & blankets are sketchy at best with regards to their cleanliness, etc. You get the idea.

clean area

Wipe it down. Your immune system will thank you.

While most runners don’t have a problem eating half a Power Bar that fell on the ground, there are some very special kinds of germs on internationally flying jets. Wipe down that tray table before you have a snack and don’t be afraid to pack a compact pillow/blanket travel set. And maybe bring some antibacterial hand gel, just to be on the safe side. The Body Shop makes decent smelling stuff that won’t make you any enemies but might stir up a conversation.

You’re armed with the finest travel tips the investment of your time can buy, you’re all packed, now you just need a destination. Might I suggest a place with beautiful scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to hike, run or bike? Wherever you active folks end up, know that you’ll be the best equipped in the air. Safe travels, friends! And don’t concern yourself with the funny stares you get when you get out of your seat and start doing leg swings by the galley.