Travel Tip – Airplane Health Tips

Travel Tips - Airplane Health Tips hero

I have been on a lot of airplanes in my life. A lot. So I thought I would share a few tips for trying to stay healthy while being trapped in one of these germs tubes. That way you may actually enjoy your destination when you get there!

Wear a mask.

This is the new reality of flying. You will need to wear a mask during your entire trip. You may want to bring more than one and bring a bag to hold used ones. If it is a shorter flight avoid eating and drinking altogether. The least amount of time without your mask on the better.

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Bring sanitizing wipes and use them.

I always have a pack of these in whatever bag I am carrying around. Most of the time it is to clean myself off after enjoying the latest food truck item, but they also play a very important role on a plane (and let's face it, some restaurants too). That tray table right in front of you hasn't been wiped down in I don't know how long (if ever). So before you set your drink down, open your peanuts packet, or even place your book/iPad on it, wipe it down!

I personally use EO Products sanitizing hand wipes in lavender because I like the scent. They come individually packed (which don't dry out) and packs of 10 wipes. But more importantly, they are biodegradable which is important to me.

Drink water, but only from a can or bottle.

You know drinking water is good for you while on a plane. It is important to keep hydrated. But don't drink water from a pitcher. The water that they use to fill the pitcher is questionable and you should only drink water from a can or bottle. Another option is to bring your own refillable water bottle (one with a filter, there are tons of brands out there) which you fill up once you are past security. For hot water bring your own tumbler and ask a restaurant in the terminal to give you hot water. Here is new (2019) research from Conde Nast Traveler on how dirty the water is on a plane.

Bring your own food/snacks.

Even when airlines did provide meals for free they weren't worth much. Most airplane food is of poor quality with little nutritional value. So bring your own. Trust me you will be far happier, and healthier for that matter. If you don't want to pack a sandwich, bring portable snacks. Whatever you bring will be better than what you get on a plane.


The air in the airplane will wreak havoc on your skin, your eyes, your sinuses, and nasal mucous membranes, your hands. Bring lotion, a travel-size water spray (or make your own and saline solution for your eyes and nose.

Be cautious of UV Rays from sitting in the Window Seat.

I have written about this before, it is just something to take into consideration. I prefer to sit in the window seat, and I am not likely to change my seat type any time soon, but since you should be wearing sunscreen every day anyway and sunglasses too when it is bright out, why not make sure you are doing the same when you are sitting next to a window on the plane?

Be active (if it is safe).

This is particularly important on long haul flights where the risk is high for clots (dehydration also plays into that). Get up and stretch your legs from time to time. Do some stretches, flex those muscles. You will feel far better when you arrive.

That's it for my tips, how about you? Any of you road warriors have tips for making airplane trips healthier?

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  1. Mark Wiens says:

    Great tips Andi! Every time I’m on an airplane and hear someone coughing around me, I always try to hold my breath for as long as I can, probably this doesn’t really do much, but just my impulse move. I also drink lots of water from bottles and try to get up every hour or so (unless I’m asleep) and do a little stretching to get the blood circulating in my body.

    1. @Mark, whether it helps or not, I hold my breathe too!

  2. Sara Louise says:

    I follow all of these and when I’m on an overnight flight, I always wash my face and apply hydrating moisturizer a little bit after take off. It helps me to feel much fresher at the end of the flight 🙂

    1. @SaraLouise, that’s a good one too – thanks for adding it!

  3. Thank you for the great tips! I know so many people who get sick on airplanes and haven’t traveled in awhile so this is great.

  4. These are great tips. I love lavender-scented things, so I am going to check out the hand wipes. The fact that they’re biodegradable is a plus.

  5. 1. use bathroom in airport or at least very early in flight 2. for short flights just skip the bathroom part 3. don’t east salty food because you will drink a lot and … use the bathroom a lot… I just hate plane bathrooms!

  6. Monja Blue says:

    I wear slip on shoes so that I can remove them easily & walk about the plane in slippers.

  7. Rachel Runyan says:

    Great tips! I also suggest for long flights or international flights to have eye drops because your eyes just dry out more in an airplane.

  8. Betsy Barnes says:

    I love these tips. I really didn’t follow them when I traveled in my 20’s, but when I flew with my child, I was on top of it. Funny how things change when you’re a mom 🙂

  9. Karen Hug-Nagy says:

    Very good advice, I don’t travel often, but when I do, I’ll remember this.

  10. I never thought about sunscreen for plane trips. I get the window seat whenever I can.

  11. Great tips when going on an airplane. Ive only been on one time and I was only 3 years old and dont remember much, Im too afraid to go on planes nowadays so I tend to stick to driving in cars lol…

  12. Kristina Sullins says:

    Great tips. I like to bring cup of soup. Most airlines offer hot tea, so hot water for your cup of soup is no problem

    1. @Kristina, I had not thought of that one, excellent tip!

  13. Those are great tips. I wouldn’t have thought about the trays, but it makes a lot of sense. I keep hand sanitizer in the diaper bag to keep all of our hands clean. But cleaning things like that is a great idea, and very useful for other places too! Thanks for sharing these tips.

  14. These are great tips. I haven’t traveled by plane in a number of years, but if I do again in the future I’ll keep these in mind.

  15. Jennifer Chisholm says:

    I ALWAYS take a small vial of peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil in the case that I am near a child having a hard time on the flight. Usually one or the other or both will calm them right down and the parents are amazed. (ask the parents to apply it, I wouldn’t suggest you do it without their permission unless you want a scene 😉 )

    1. @Jennifer, funny until you said that last I was envisioning how I could get away with sneaking it on the kid!

  16. Francisca says:

    I normally carry my own headphones and the adapter that works on planes.

  17. I totally agree with you about the snacks. We’ve been doing this for years. The other plus with bringing your own snacks is that it is food that is familiar to you & won’t upset your stomach.

    1. @Julie, and you know what’s in your snacks compared to whatever the planes have, which aren’t healthy!

  18. I’ve never thought about wiping down the fold down tray or the concern of UV rays when sitting in a window seat. I do prefer to take my own snacks and maybe grab a fresh salad or sandwich during layovers instead of eating the airline meals. Great tips!

  19. really great tips! Thanks! I’ve also heard putting polysporin under your nose helps!

    1. @Josie, I have never heard of that, I will have to look into it!

  20. Mary Ann Dennis says:

    Great tips. It’s so easy to catch something on an airplane and people sometimes need that friendly reminder. Germs are unfortunately everywhere!

    1. @Mary Ann, as someone fighting a cold from a million people in my office who are sick – I hear ya!

  21. Bring ear plugs, I will be sitting next you with two screaming toddlers.

  22. Jennifer Chisholm says:

    In all reality.. putting some on your hands being nearby the child should be almost as effective 🙂 But I have thought of just doing it myself, more than once…..

    1. @Jennifer, good alternative, they get the essence by osmosis!

  23. I don’t even want to think about what is on the tray tables on an airplane! Yuck! Great idea to bring a water bottle with a filter!

  24. Great tips! I have a trip coming up soon to visit family. I didn’t realize some airlines use pitchers. I usually fly Southwest; their water is in a can like their sodas.

    1. @Sylvia, stay healthy on your holiday travels!

  25. I don’t fly often but these are excellent tips to remember

  26. Deborah Hogue says:

    All of these are great tips!! Something I will have to add to my list of things to do! Thanks for the advice!

  27. meegan whitford says:

    Thanks for the tips! I havent traveled in awhile but it never fails everytime I fly I pick up something.

  28. Denise Darcel Shook says:

    Thease are great tips!! I also have packed my own I belive their pillows and blankets are supposed to be washed but I don’t take any chances and we bring our own when we travel. Wiping down surfaces as you have said is important also.

  29. Mikki Cross says:

    Great tipa. I get motion sickness and dramamine doesn’t work all the time so I use those stretchable bracelets with the little button that goes on the bottom part of the wrist. I don’t know how they work but they do. I always have them in my carry-on.

  30. Thanks for the tip about bring some wipes to sanitize my space! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself!

    1. @Cindy, I now carry them everywhere I go, they are so convenient. I am always tempted to wipe down the ATM before I use it, but I don’t want to look like a crazy person!

  31. I have never flown but i can totally relate to the germ thingy. I am a total germ freak. i hold my breathe too. I was at my daughters cheerleading tonight and this guy was coughing on the bleachers behind me. I had to come home and rewash my hair thinking he coughed all over it…LOL

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

  32. laurie nykaza says:

    I keep everything wiped down as well and really try not touch anything I don’t have to. I carry snack’s with me as well . Long delays without food or a bottle of water on hand would be awful. So I pack up when traveling and can put my headset with music on and relax.

  33. Judith S. says:

    All great travel tips, although I never thought about the UV rays from sitting next to a window. I will remember to add the sunscreen next time I fly. I also take my own travel pillow covered by a couple of extra small pillow cases. I remove the top one after we arrive at our destination, having a clean pillow and case to sleep with.

  34. Summer bartlett says:

    HAHA Germ tubes. That’s great. I am a germ freak and I die a little inside when I hear someone hacking up a lung on the plane.

  35. Eileen Richter says:

    I have not traveled a lot, so this post is especially important for our family who will be traveling for a wedding next spring. ALL of us… husband and I an 6 kids and my older ones with THEIR kids. I am looking for travel info from blogs on how to deal with little ones, travel safety, etc. I never really thought about how dirty and germy travel might be. I assumed the plane is cleaned after each use, but duh…I guess not! So appreciate this info…how fun would a family wedding be if ALL of us get some crazy virus and spend the week sick, esp,. the bride and groom. Also thinking about if most people on large family trips like this…I know air travel is considered WAY safer than by car, but wondering if the entire fam should travel on same flights? Am showing this post to my husband who travels a lot. I wonder how many germs he brings home to us while on work trips. (I call them “vacations” and he gets so mad at me. LOL!) He “gets” to travel to really warm locations a lot while we are stuck in the midwest.

  36. Margaret Smith says:

    These are such great tips. Never thought of uv rays from a window. Great tips.

  37. UV rays are everywhere, but no one believes me. I always try and wear sunscreen no matter what (near ANY window) but people think I’m crazy.. thanks for validating it!

  38. Sanitizing wipes / washing your hands frequently, and staying hydrated with water are the best defenses when traveling via commercial airlines, especially during cold & flu season !