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Tips for Traveling Long Distances

Advice of the Infrequent Traveler
      
If you are not a frequently traveler, you may find the following this information can help reduce anxiety levels. There are basic topics you might want to consider:

Planning Considerations -

  • Consider seasonal weather differences between departure and designation sites.
  • Distance - both elapsed time and total miles.
  • Crossing of time zones - the fatigue factor.
  • Differences in altitudes between departure and designation sites require time to acclimate.
  • Acquire Passport and inoculations if required. Allow 60 to 90 days.
  • Method of travel -
    • Car or motor home
    • Boat - Steamship
    • Air plane
    • Train
  • The number of the people traveling, ages, any health problems requiring mediations.
  • Length of time away from home.
  • Lodging and meals at designation.
  • Transportation at designation.
  • Will you need local currency?
  • Research food selections, especially if on a restricted. Be aware of times meals are served in your hotel or surrounding areas.
  • Watch what you say, especially if you are not fluent in the language of the country you are visiting.  Always avoid political discussions.
  • On long trips, be sure to exercise muscles and joints. Slip your shoes off.
  • If possible, get on the local time of your designation 2 or 3 days in advance.
  • Make special arrangements for transporting sporting equipment and clothing.

General Advice -

  • Make a packing list.
  • Have name tags for all bags and place the same information inside each bag. Have a distinguishing mark or belt around luggage to make it easy to distinguish from other bags.
  • Duplicate items that you can't do without and if possible have a carry on and a checked bag.
  • Pack Light - anticipate having clothing washed or dry cleaned at designation.
  • Pack less than allowed by airline regulations.
  • Carry medications and duplicate prescriptions on board with you in case bags are lost.
  • When booking flights, allow for delayed and canceled flights caused by inclement weather.
Be Prepared -

  • Dress in layers for long flights.
  • Carry bottled water and snacks.
  • Book Your Flight And Hotel Together.
  • Plan Your Transfer From Airport To Hotel In Advance.
  • Don't Plan Anything Important In The First 36 Hours of arrival - there may be travel delays.

Air Travel
      It is extremely important to stay hydrated, specially on longer flights. It is especially helpful, when seated on flights over 2 total hours, to move about the plane to ensure that the blood flows to all of the extremities and the back doesn't stiffen up. This admonition is especially important when there is not much leg room such as when you're flying in the cramped economy seating sections.

      Adjusting to the local time zone is much easier if it is possible to schedule a flight that arrives at your final designation in the late afternoon or early evening. This allows your body's clock to adjust to the local time zone as quickly as possible. Be sure not to consume caffeine based beverages as this will interfere with falling a sleep.

Exercise and Training after arrival
      If possible, arrange to schedule a light exercise session or a walk, followed by stretching before going to bed. This helps to improve the quality of sleep and also helps to fall asleep if you napped during longer flights.

      After domestic long trips that cross multiple time zones and especially international flights, many coaches do not schedule a long or intense training session the day of arrival and even the day following it. Of real concern is the increased possibility of an athlete experiencing a soft tissue injury. This may be the result of a couple of factors: dehydration as a result of long flights, the fatigue, and the likelihood of body stiffness.

      Some athletes attempt to fly in on the day of or day before a game. This may work if there is not a big change in time zone or climate and the duration of the flight is short (less than about 2 to 3 hours). Remember that there is additional time required to travel to the airport and go through security and can increase the amount of fatigue experienced.

      Many athletes may train at different times than the actual competitive event. The athlete needs to become accustom to the actual time they will be expected to perform their best. Adjusting to changes in altitude between where they usually train and where they compete can affect an athlete's stamina/endurance.

Facilitating Sleep and Recovery from Traveling
      An ideal room is slightly cooler with window coverings that can exclude daylight. It is preferable to maintain a normal time to wake up as this speeds the process of adjusting to the local time. It is important to maintain the athlete's hydration status before leaving, upon arriving at the designation throughout intense training and competing.

Recommended Reading:

Travel Tips for Endurance Athletes  Show up at your race feeling refreshed and prepared - even after a long trip. Enjoy the Journey: Tips for Easy Long-Distance Travel.

Athletes - Air Travel - Jet Lag and Athletic Performance Oct. 31, 2007  Jet lag. Long distance flights can cause conflicts in circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles. Recommendations for athletes who travel.  By Elizabeth Quinn, About.com Guide.

PDF  Nutrition & the Traveling Athlete Road & train  Long distance travel is a fact of life for many athletes. Whether you're traveling in a car, bus or train, following nutrition tips will be helpful:

References:

PDF Nutrition for Athletics - IAAF A practical guide to eating and drinking for health and perform in track, distance running and race walking ... Eating strategies for the traveling athlete.

Sport Nutrition Resources - Coaching Association of Canada Vitamins and minerals, long distance travel, gaining weight, losing weight, etc. In addition, tip sheets have been developed for athletes traveling to other countries.

Drinking Water Safety | IndependentTraveler.com  Contaminated drinking water is one of the leading sources of health problems on trips to foreign countries. In many cases, travelers become ill simply because the pathogens in the water are foreign to US domestic tap water. Water quality may vary depending on where you are in a particular part of even developed countries - i.e. rural and urban street venders should be avoided. Hotel food service is generally properly prepared and the water quality should not pose a problem.

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Developing A Training Plan
Evaluation of Training
Age Training Guidelines
Components of Training Plan
Stages of Acquiring New Skills
Strategies for Training
Strategies for Competing
Fitness Training & Sports
Advanced Training
List Daily Training Tasks
Construction of a Training Plan
Developing An Annual Training Plan
Principles of Global Training
Competitive Training
Starting to Seriously Train
Skating Environment
Peaking Performance
Benefits of Cross Training
Principle of Varying Training
Varying Training Improves Results
Approaches to Training
Approaches to Jump Training
Transference of Knowledge & Skills
Aerobic Activities
Anaerobic Activities
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Off-Ice Activities For Skaters
Fitness and Conditioning
Off-Season Conditioning Activities
Tips for Long Distance Traveling
Mental Barriers to Training & Competing
Mental Considerations for Athletic Training
Mental Training Considerations
Mental Strategies for Training
Endurance Training Activities
Flexibility Training Activities
Bodyweight Exercise Training
Weight Training Activities
Brian Grasso Articles
Evaluation Assessment

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