While air travel is a miracle of modern technology, it is far from perfect. We love getting from point A to point B in a couple of hours, but the trip itself can be tough, especially for those who deal with common ailments. The good news is that there are great solutions for all of the discomforts we often feel when traveling by plane. So, whether you are taking a short trip or a long-haul flight, consider these tips to have a more enjoyable journey.

Motion Sickness

Many people deal with some form of motion sickness when they travel by boat or plane. If not properly managed, motion sickness can result in vomiting, nausea, queasiness, and a generally miserable flight. Luckily, there are several remedies that you can try to keep the worst of your motion sickness at bay.

Possibly the best way to limit motion sickness is by taking slow sips of water. Not only will you stay hydrated and feel better overall, but by drinking water, you have something to focus on, and the water can help to cure any nausea you may be experiencing. While carbonated beverages can sometimes help to settle your stomach at home, the air in a plane is pressurized, and there is less oxygen in the air, hence why you often feel dehydrated. Carbonated beverages will only make this feeling worse.

If you know that you typically experience motion sickness while on a plane, try to request a middle seat that is over the wing. The constant motion of the plane is what can make your stomach jump and these seats experience the least motion during a flight. As hard as it may be, you should also put down the phone or tablet since focusing on devices close to your face may make you nauseous.

Tips for Avoiding Common Ailments While Flying - The Wise Traveller - Water

General Discomfort

When we fly in a plane with plenty of other people in a tight space, it’s only natural to feel some discomfort in one way or another, and luckily, there are ways to fight off most of these feelings. One common phenomenon that many people feel during flight is foot swelling which is often caused due to staying in our chair and being inactive during long flights. To relieve foot swelling, make it a habit to get up every hour to take short walks down the aisle. In addition, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration which can also be responsible for foot swelling.

Many people also often deal with pressure in their head and ear popping during takeoff and landing. This phenomenon occurs during a plane’s ascent and descent when rapid changes in air pressure occur so the eustachian tube in our ears can’t react fast enough to correct the issue. While you will not always be able to avoid this sensation, you can try to limit the effects by using a nasal spray 30 minutes before your flight or putting filtered earplugs in your ears.

There is often a desire to avoid potential discomfort by sleeping through our flights, but in cramped quarters, that is much easier said than done. To give yourself the best chance, avoid drinking caffeine before or during the flight as that will keep you awake and will also contribute to your dehydration. You should also put down your phone because the blue light it emits can keep you awake for longer.


If you typically experience heartburn regularly then your plane trip will likely be no exception. Flying can be a stressful experience and when you already deal with anxiety on a somewhat recurring basis, your feelings of discomfort can double.

Since stressful travel can trigger GERD, make sure to plan (print or email yourself your tickets, get to the airport early, etc.) so you don’t feel anxiety as you board the plane. In addition, be sure to bring your regular heartburn medication, whether it be antacids or your PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) medication.

If you deal with extreme heartburn symptoms then you may also want to speak to a doctor before your trip. Also, wear loose and comfortable clothing because tight waistbands can cause stomach acid to build up and cause pain. For the same reason, don’t over-tighten your seatbelt to prevent the added pressure.

As you can see, we all deal with similar ailments when we take plane trips, but you don’t have to let the pain control your life. Try the tips discussed here and enjoy your flight to its fullest.