Flying doctor Ben MacFarlane reveals his top 10 travel tips

NEVER sleep naked, DON’T chew gum and ALWAYS put a black shoelace in your hand luggage: A flying doctor reveals his top 10 travel tips

  • Ben MacFarlane brings ill holidaymakers back to the UK after a crisis abroad
  • He spends lots of time in hotels and on planes – so he speaks from experience
  • His advice should make you feel more comfortable and help you sleep well 

As a ‘flying doctor’ who brings ill or injured holidaymakers back to the UK after a crisis abroad I spend most of my time in planes and hotels.

Here are my top tips to stay safe, happy and healthy overseas, from ditching the gum to using shoelaces to help thwart pickpockets.

1: Excessive gas is never fun on a plane, especially for the people sitting next to you. So why get more bloated and put extra oxygen into your system? Cutting out fizzy water (and saying no to Champagne, if you’re lucky enough to be offered it) makes everyone more comfortable.

Flying doctor Ben MacFarlane has revealed his top ten tips for staying safe, happy and healthy on holiday. He suggests not chewing gum or drinking fizzy water on planes to avoid excessive gas

2: Forget about chewing gum to stop your ears hurting at take-off or landing. Chewing makes us swallow more air – just like fizzy water. It’s also a choke-risk in turbulence or bumpy landings. Wiggling your lower jaw and doing some big fake yawns sorts your ears out more safely.

3: Want an extra cup of tea or G&T on a plane? Don’t ask for it until an hour after the meal trays have been cleared away. That’s the magic hour when cabin crew get to eat their own meals. They’ll answer call bells or serve you in the galley. But their smiles won’t be real. And you might not want to know where the slice of lemon was just before it hit your drink.

4: The moment you get into your hotel room unplug the phone (or at least turn the ringer off). That’s what cabin crew friends do. Because no-one wants a wrong number at 3am.

5: Check the bedside alarm clock is showing the right time, because if you’ve got a plane to catch then 7am is not a good time to find out it’s actually 9am – as I found out to my cost years ago.

6: Never go to sleep without checking the last person who stayed in your room hasn’t left the alarm set to go off at dawn. Unwanted wake-up calls can ruin the best of holidays.

7: Never sleep naked, because only one thing is worse than being woken up at 2am by a hotel fire alarm and having to stumble down the stairs to the car park. And that’s doing it naked because you’re panicking too much to find your clothes. Top travel tip? Sleep in shorts and a t-shirt and you sleep more soundly.

In his Ben MacFarlane reveals what life is like as a flying doctor

In his Ben MacFarlane reveals what life is like as a flying doctor

8: Make pickpockets work for their money. Tie the two metal zip tags of your backpack or handbag together with a discrete black shoelace. It won’t stop a determined thief, but it can buy you a split second to see what they’re trying to do. It also stops over-stuffed bags falling open in crowded airports and busy streets.

9: The paper wallet that’s got your hotel room number on and the key card inside? Leave it behind when you go out. Have that lifted from your pocket and the thief knows three things – where you’re staying, what room you’re in and that you’re out. So don’t expect your valuables to be there on your return.

10: Never be too embarrassed to wear a seat belt in a car, taxi or coach. One simple medical fact is worth remembering. The people who survive crashes are the ones who wore their seatbelts. So buckle up. Don’t risk dying of embarrassment.

Holiday SOS: Lifesaving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor by Ben MacFarlane is out now in paperback and e-book on Amazon.