Travelling is one of the best examples of expectations vs. reality I’ve ever encountered.
Expectation: Glide into airport looking like Elizabeth James from Parent Trap before she freaked out and hit the booze. Wearing outfit of both high comfort and high stylishness including layers of beige cashmere that somehow drape perfectly to make you look slim and elegant and not like a saggy camel. Hair is freshly washed and pulled back into a chic ponytail as you calmly check in your luggage leaving you with just one tiny, light hand luggage bag. Sail through security before gliding through duty free, casually spritzing yourself with perfume in a manner that would make Johnathan from Queer Eye shout ‘Yas Qween who gave you permission!’
Get to the gate just as boarding begins and sail onto the plane. Order a gin and tonic and pop on your matching cashmere eyemask for a soothing bit of shut eye. Arrive at destination and shake hair out of ponytail like a shampoo advert as you step into the sunshine.
Reality: Oversleep your alarm and wake up in a total panic.
Realise that whilst you thought you were totally packed you have actually left quite a lot of stuff ‘out for the morning’ (toothbrush, hairbrush, straighteners, entire beauty regime) that will now not fit into said suitcase and needs to be stuffed into hand luggage bag. This means you’ll have to discard the elegant handbag and use the giant ugly backpack that exists only for moments like this.
Turn up at airport sweaty and stressed, hair is in teletubby bun on top of head and the rest is stuck to forehead and neck. Yum. Outfit doesn’t look like Elizabeth James wandering into her London studio for a montage photoshoot but rather mad homeless lady with shopping trolley that shouts things at passersby.
Check in suitcase and lug sizeable backpack through security where you are forced to peel off every layer of beige cashmere from your increasingly clammy body whilst you consistently set off alarms and have to be patted down by a large lady with a moustache. Run through airport like a mad dog to your gate that is ALWAYS a twenty minute walk away no matter where you are going. Arrive in a right state only to have to sit there for twenty five minutes whilst easyjet think about boarding you. Think constantly of all the coffees and duty free time you could have had. Board plane and immediately order two gin and tonics and eat the free nuts. Arrive at destination spotty, red, bloated as all hell and unable to move without farting violently whilst also being the most constipated. Immediately begin sweating as you step into the sunshine. Shake hair out of ponytail. Hair stays in shape of ponytail. FML
Anyway…whilst this article can’t promise you a denise richards arrival at your holiday destination, it can help you arrive not feeling like a tetcy, swollen balloon. Which can only be a good thing, right? Here we go.
BYOS (bring your own snacks)
As a notoriously underprepared human, packing snacks to take to the airport has never been high on my list of priorities. Usually because there’s something more pressing like…I don’t know…finding my passport (HAHA)… locating my one and only bikini (HELP)… locating said bikini and realising it doesn’t fit and resigning self to buying some sort of hideous ruched swimsuit from the Accessorize at the airport that is both rank and inexplicably costs 70 quid (WHY).
Lol. Such an inspiration I know.
This usually means that I rock up at the airport at circa 5am in disarray, drag myself through security and head to the nearest pret for a coffee the size of my head and a sandwich containing so much bread that I may as well resign myself to wearing drawstring pants for the entirety of the holiday.
Bread doesn’t agree with me folks, what can I say.
My sister, on the other hand, is never without a careful packed array of snacks and goodies due to the fact that she is both organised and vegan so therefore never sure of whether there will be something she can eat. Assortments of nuts, some homemade bliss balls (I know…I’m sorry) or even a salad box you made earlier can be a lifesaver.
Here’s something we all know to be true: early flights and long haul journeys can wreak havoc on your sleep. And research has shown that when we have less to seven to eight hours sleep our appetite hormone increases. Which means we’re likely to consume an average of 330 more calories.
Is anyone else feeling a little attacked by ‘research’ right now.
There’s not much you can do about this unless you magically find a way to sleep on a plane (pls share) so at the very least we can make sure that what is on offer is not the crisps that weirdly come in a box, a cheese sandwich that was most definitely frozen until quite recently or a grab bag of malteasers that all cost twenty pounds each from easyjet’s ‘gourmet’ menu.
Get a fibre injection
I don’t know what it is about getting on a plane but for some reason I disembark in my chosen destination looking and feeling like I’ve eaten a boulder. (If anyone says ‘maybe it was those crisps in a box’ I’ll kill you ok).
To negate this type of painful and gassy bloating (IM SORRY) try boosting your fibre by adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your morning yoghurt or just banging a handful into your mouth. No they don’t taste great and yes they get stuck in your teeth like you wouldn’t believe but it’s a small price to pay for a stomach that doesn’t look 9 months pregnant with Shrek’s love child and being able to poo without having to assume the brace position.
Up your probiotic game
My flatmate who not only resembles a 90’s supermodel but is also my go to guru when it comes to nutrition is a big fan of probiotics to keep you…ahem…regular.
(Don’t we all love how im pretending to be coy rn when just a second ago I was graphically describing forcing out a hard poo – what am I LIKE.)
It’s worth consulting with a nutritionist if you’re fancy enough or have the inclination but, if not, try taking Wild Nutrition’s Multi-Strain Biotic which supports changes in your gut caused by travel and also don’t have to be kept in the fridge. Simples.
Sip on a herbal tea
Hey…ever found yourself…umm…unusually gassy on an aeroplane? You are not alone. Air pressure causes the gas in our intestines to expand at around 30% when we fly.
Contrary to my brother’s popular opinion that farting on planes is the best fun in the world because no one can hear it so you can just ‘let it rip’ (his fiancée is a lucky lady) it’s best to avoid fizzy drinks, beans, onions and broccoli (aka the fartiest of foods) before you board.
However if you’ve done none of those things because NAH then it could help to sip on a herbal tea rather than the tea or coffee offered as standard. I find mint helps and doesn’t taste like a badgers arse like its more virtuous colleague: green tea.
Swing it, shake it, move it, make it…
…so spaketh the ancient philosphers, The Spice Girls.
As they say:
You’re swelling out in the wrong direction, You’ve got the bug, superstar you’ve been bitten, Your trumpet’s blowing for far too long (snigger)
It’s like they ‘wrote’ it just for this post….
Anyhow – whilst I’m sure TSG are hugely relieved that someone finally realises that ‘Who do you think you are’ was written about farting on planes I think the main take away here is to get moving as much as you can. We all know that exercise improves digestion and even just getting out of your seat for a stroll down the aisle or a few stretches in the space by the loos on a long haul can keep things moving as it were.
Just make sure no one’s behind you before you reach down to your toes yeah?
And there you have it kids – the ultimate guide to beating the bloat and improving your digestion whilst you’re travelling. May your holidays be sunny, bright and devoid of constipation.