In spite of all the comforts and amenities at airports, air travel is usually the ‘eat-your-veggies’ part of a delicious vacation we have been planning for months. Here are 15 tips and tricks I share with my clients to have a terrific start to their vacation.
- 24 hours before the trip, make half a gallon of Tulsi(Holy Basil) tea, and drink it all up. Holy Basil is an adaptogen of immense benefit to the body’s immunity and stress management abilities. Organic India is a good brand that sells excellent quality Tulsi tea.
- When you shower to get ready for the drive to the airport, factor in another 15 mins to apply a bit of food-grade sesame or almond oil all over the body. Every nook and cranny. Yes, even there! Leave it on for a few minutes to soak into the skin. Wipe off with a paper towel or cotton rag to save the plumbing and wash off with a warm shower. You just did an oil Abhyangam, congratulations!
- The afternoon before your flight, warm some sesame oil, dip your pinky in it and stick it up your nose. Yes!! That was a Nasyam , or an oleation, of the nostrils. If you are feeling brave use a dropper and add 1 drop of oil to each nostril. You have just created a protective barrier between the cruel world and your sensitive nose lining.
- To your airline amenity bag for the plane ride, add a vial of 30 ml of Almond or Jojoba oil, a saline nasal spray, and a small bottle of 100% Organic rose water spray. Frequently use on your face, neck, hands, and nostrils to stay moisturized.
- A light 100% wool scarf works both as a pretty accessory and an extra blanket during the flight. Also, use it as a yoga strap when you find a quiet spot to stretch. Works very well for hip openings, forward bending, and shoulder stretches.
- Almost all International airports have a prayer room, seek it out, and practice ‘Ishvara Pranidhana’ or surrender to the higher power. Spend a few minutes offering yourself and your experience to the Divine. When I am in total surrender, I often find myself cruising through Immigration, walking to the baggage claim, and reaching out for my bright ginger pink Samsonite as it makes its way to me on the carousel.
- In your travel tote, carry two pairs of underwear and one set of outerwear and a pair of ballet flats. Never be caught off guard by a truant baggage handler who sent your checked luggage to Timbuktu, unless that was your destination.
- Observe the sea of faces at the airport, pay special attention to the ones who serve us. The Divine has manifested itself in so many unique forms. Relish the show that is on display and smile. Smiling and addressing people by name earns me free food, extra information, courteous service, and undisclosed discounts.
- The most nerve-wracking thing after one has cleared Immigration is the ‘have they forgotten me?’ feeling at the Arrival section. Your boutique travel agent would have WhatsApped you the pick-up person’s name, number, and picture 24 hours in advance before each segment. Take screenshots of all important information like hotel and bank contacts to access at will with a flourish, even if you don’t have wi-fi or cell coverage.
- Your boutique travel agent will send you a check-list of critical information a week before you fly, like email your travel alert and order local currency from your US Bank at least 5 business days in advance. Banks have the best exchange rates and often do not stock foreign currency, this has to be ordered and shipped in for you.
- Confirm the foreign transaction fee percentage for your credit card, if you run out of cash and end up using your credit card. I love my BOA Travel Card for zero transaction fees.
- I always freeze portions of my homemade spinach lentil soup, curry, and rice puddings before I leave. This way, the day I am back from my trip, all I need to do is throw in some rice in the cooker and voila! I have tasty hot home-made food that makes me feel so good. When you go grocery shopping, pick up a couple of special nutritious frozen meals and a tasty dessert for your post-trip meals at home.
- Pack an empty lightweight waterproof Nylon duffel bag so you have extra luggage to hold your shopping. This will save you time shopping for luggage during your vacation.
- Instead of relying on the hotel staff or employees where you are staying, unless they have a dedicated travel desk, bookmark top attractions and restaurants on TripAdvisor for the day you arrive. If you hire a boutique travel agent, she will have your days well-planned for maximum juice. She can do what TripAdvisor cannot intelligently match your preferences and personality to the activities offered at your vacation destination.
- You have arrived at your destination and are in your spectacular hotel room, but your skin feels like sandpaper!! Take that handy vial of almond or jojoba oil from your amenity bag and give yourself a full body massage. Wash off with a warm shower. If you have an Ayurveda Spa in your hotel, lucky you! Treat yourself to an oil Abhyangam massage to help your skin get back to normal.
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Footnote: After a life-altering Panchakarma, an Ayurvedic detoxification of the body and mind in 2015, I have made Ayurveda my mission. My travel consultancy Ayurgamaya offers my clients tailored solo and group Ayurveda wellness journeys to Kerala, India, the birthplace of Ayurveda. I only support Ayurveda lineages and establishments that are committed to leaving their community and environment better than they found it. I am also working on my Ayurveda diet App, super fun! Sign up for more Ayurveda tips here.