Expert Opinions

7 insider tips to avoid unhealthy choices on business trips

It is well known that travelling can impact diet, exercise routines, risk lethargy, jetlag and discomfort when conducting important work meetings. That is why Flight Centre Travel Group’s flagship corporate divisions of FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller have teamed up to pick the top seven useful tips for travellers to protect their health and wellbeing when flying.

Bonnie Smith, GM for Corporate Traveller and FCM, says: “As corporates continue to get back on planes for meetings, events, and conferences, their health often takes a backseat. Early morning flights followed by a full day of meetings can impact energy levels, while a long flight can create prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour and frequent in-flight food orders.

“Employers have a duty of care to ensure their teams know how to keep themselves safe and well when travelling. That is why we’ve created a list of easy and practical ways for travellers to keep their health and fitness levels in check.”

  1. Pack a basic health kit. A small health kit should be able to temporarily manage the symptoms of minor injuries, illnesses and pre-existing conditions while travelling. Bring adequate supplies to last the duration of your trip. Items such as adhesive bandages, gauze, antiseptic solution, safety pins and scissors are useful additions should you sustain a cut or graze.Painkillers, decongestants, and rehydration salts can help with minor cold and sickness symptoms. Other worthy additions to consider are allergy medications, including EpiPens if applicable, and topical creams to treat bug bites and stings.
  • Perfect your pre-airport routine. Use the night before your flight to prepare for the hustle and bustle of airport check-in and security. Pack yourself a healthy snack for the flight, have a quick but balanced breakfast, such as Bircher muesli or egg white frittata, ready for the morning, and get an early night’s sleep. It is also worth checking your journey to the airport the night before in case there are scheduled roadworks on your route. These extra steps of preparation will help reduce any unplanned stresses ahead of departure.
  • Use seat selection to your advantage. Once you have made it on board, it is easy to sink into your seat and settle in until landing time. However, remaining immobile if your flight is several hours will leave your body working harder to pump blood from your legs back to your heart. By selecting an aisle seat at the time of booking, you will ensure you can get up as you please (when safe to do so) and use the aisles to stretch your legs.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks are a tempting option when travelling; it’s common to feel the need for a few cups of coffee after an early start or a glass of wine on the flight home to decompress. Their diuretic nature combined with the humidity levels on planes, however, increases the risk of dehydration. It’s best to stick to bottled water when flying, and if you’re travelling on a long-haul flight, consider trying a hydration tablet full of electrolytes to assist with water absorption.
  • Eat balanced meals, in moderation. It’s easy to slip into unhealthy food habits when travelling, with the enticement of hotel breakfast buffetsand restaurant meals on offer. Foods with processed sugars, such as pastries, energy drinks and chocolate cake, can cause our energy levels to peak and crash, so these are best to avoid if you want to optimise your energy levels. In addition, moderation is key. If you’ve had a meal of lean protein, vegetables, and wholegrains, and aren’t completely satisfied, a scoop of ice cream won’t hurt and may help to curb the cravings.
  • Stay on the move when on the move. There is no reason to pause your exercise routinewhen travelling and staying active can help your body acclimatise to your new location. Consider going for a walk after you check in to get the blood circulating before your flight or consider packing compact fitness items, such as resistance bands, that you can use in your hotel room. Simple exercises such as squats, burpees and bicycle crunches can all be performed in small indoor spaces.
  • Play your part in infection control. The best defence against illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza is to maintain basic hygiene such as thorough hand washing, especially after coughing or sneezing, and wiping down surfaces in high-touch areas such as tray tables and armrests.

“Even if travellers are short on time and seeking convenience, they can still maintain and improve their health. Something as simple as walking the length of the plane is worth doing. When it comes to your wellbeing, every little step helps,” concludes Smith.

For more information about Corporate Traveller, or to interview Corporate Traveller South Africa GM Bonnie Smith, call Dorine Reinstein on 083 278 8994 or email


About Corporate Traveller

Corporate Traveller is a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, dedicated to saving businesses across Southern Africa time and money. Corporate Traveller has the benefit of being part of the world’s third-largest travel retailer, leveraging its global negotiating strength. It has access to over 50 of the world’s leading airlines and deals with more than 100 000 hotels around the world to guarantee savings for clients. Corporate Traveller provides clear, consolidated reporting of all its clients’ travel activities, helping them to control travel spend and identify opportunities to save costs.

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