Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City: Beauty and Power

February 13th, 2016




maria cristina

Do you have that delightful feeling whenever you see those images from your books in person? If you studied in the Philippines, Maria Cristina Falls is definitely a familiar sight. Or when you were exchanging letters to your pen pal back in the 70s and 80s, you may have sent a postcard of Maria Cristina Falls.

But Maria Cristina Falls is not just one of the most popular falls in the Philippines, it is a main source of hydroelectric power, giving cheap electricity all over Mindanao. Funny that I spent almost every summer as a child in Lanao del Norte, never missing Timoga but I’ve never seen Maria Cristina Falls.

It took me almost 20 years to come and see this beautiful falls in Iligan.


Tourists and guests can view Maria Cristina Falls by visiting the NPC Nature Park. If you don’t have a car, there are golf carts for you to ride. It is a beautiful park and how I wish more and more people will come to visit it.

Iligan City has 39 waterfalls. Open to the public and a great place for families, the nature park has plenty of activities from Zipline to kayaking ( up in Agus River).

We toured around and saw animals like wild boar and crocodile. From the entrance to every corner of the park, it is covered with lush vegetation and water flowing from the mountain side. We spotted a small monitor lizard too. Totally relaxing.  This is definitely one of the places for families visiting Mindanao.


Unlike other falls in Iligan like Tinago Falls ( which I have visited when I was 13), you can’t swim at Maria Cristina Falls for obvious reasons. The water current is so strong that I have morbid images of what will happen if you accidentally fall into its currents. Yikes!


The water is from Agus River which also came from the Great Lake Lanao, an ancient lake. This water has generated power in Mindanao for decades.

The strong water flow along with the verdant forests impressively created a cozy ambiance. The park has a nice area for picnic or coffee..check out the strong current.


My kids enjoying their ice cream and hotdog sandwiches while we adults including my parents and uncle had a nice nook for our afternoon coffee.


Safe even for little kids. Kudos to the local government for creating this Nature Park, an educational destination for kids and adults. It has been around for years and looking at it, it is well-maintained.


At 5pm, we saw two military trucks arriving, our cue that it is time to go home.  As the main power source of Mindanao, Maria Cristina Falls is a security hotspot. It was a fan-mode moment for my boys to see our honourable soldiers.

Thank you Sir for letting my boys have a photo of you. Kid2 stole a touch of his gun after we took this photo. Hehee.


Thanks for reading!

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The Wildest Plane Paint Jobs We’ve Ever Seen

February 12th, 2016


This post is posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 18,2016.



Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) recently rolled out a Boeing 787 airplane painted from tip to tail with the likeness of Star Wars’ R2-D2. The airplane will carry its first lucky passengers beginning Oct. 18 with a flight between Tokyo and Vancouver, Canada. The project is part of a five-year promotional deal between ANA and the Walt Disney Company.

This is hardly the first time an airline has made headlines for dolling up its planes. These designs are typically part of publicity partnerships or are created to promote special events or anniversaries. Check out some of the wackiest paint jobs in airline history, below.


Photo: Flickr user Mark Harkin 


Hobbit Plane, Air New Zealand

First on the list is the world’s largest plane decal, which reportedly took more than 400 hours to complete before it was released into the air in 2012. The Lord of the Rings-themed plane didn’t stop at the paint job. Inside, a hobbit-themed safety video featured characters from Middle Earth, while the cabin crew adorned themselves with pointy ears for the plane’s first flight.




Photo: Flickr user Aero Icarus


San Francisco Plane, Swiss International Airlines

In 2010, Swiss International instated daily flights between Zurich and San Francisco. To celebrate the new route, the airline decorated a plane with just about every San Francisco stereotype around, from peace signs to flower power.

Screen-Shot-2016-01-18-at-5.59.25-PMPhoto: Wikimedia Commons via Flickr user Cubbie_n_vegas


Salmon, Alaska Airlines

Get it? A Boeing 737 becomes a Boeing salmon-thirty-salmon in this 2005 fish-themed paint job. The inspiration for the artwork is a bit unclear: Some sources claim it was designed to celebrate Alaska’s seafood industry, while others believe it stemmed from a 1987 incident in which an Alaska Airlines plane was hit by a fish while taking off in Juneau (The fish was purportedly dropped by an eagle).



Aboriginal Design, Qantas

A collaboration between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists, the design for this Boeing 737-800 was inspired by Uluru, aka Ayers Rock. The Australian World Heritage site is famous for its rich colors, which appear to change as the sun’s angle shifts throughout the day.


Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The Wizarding World Plane, Virgin Atlantic Airways

What a magical  idea. In partnership with Virgin Holidays, Virgin Atlantic branded one of its 747 jets with the logo for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The paint job functioned as publicity for the Universal Orlando resort.



Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Panda Jet, All Nippon Airways

To celebrate 20 years of flying between Japan and China, ANA unveiled its panda-themed jet in 2007. It reportedly took 350 people a total of 80 hours to plaster the image of the world’s cutest bear onto the jet.

Whether you’re flying to TokyoVancouver, or anywhere in between, may the force (and sweet paint jobs) always be with you.


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Delayed at the Airport? Get in Shape While You Wait

February 10th, 2016


This post is posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on February 5,2016.



Getting fit when there’s access to a gym, roads, and even the living room floor is one thing. But when you’re sitting for multiple hours on a plane, after sitting in the airport lounge with several hours of delay, that Channing Tatum 12-pack seems impossible.

Fear not. There is a solution.

Check for a gym!

There’s a decent chance an airport actually has a gym for its passengers to use. In fact, airport gyms seem to be popping up all over the world, allowing people to get fit on the fly. See this comprehensive list of airports that come with health clubs, weight rooms, and more. As an alternative, many city hubs (like New York City) have gyms that are a quick taxi ride from the airport in case a layover is long enough to warrant a trip outside.

Stick to bodyweight. 

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get the muscles burning without needing any equipment. Find a quiet corner of the airport, and do sets of squats, lunges, push-ups, and mountain climbers to get the heart rate up in no time. For those heading to sunbathe at a tropical island, an exercise to fire up the core (like crunches and planks) will be a nice treat beforehand. Here’s a great 30 minute bodyweight exercise workout for any airport, or try the quick routine below:

  • Tuck jump (12-15 reps)
  • Push-up (12-15 reps)
  • Squat (12-15 reps)
  • Mountain climber (12-15 reps)
  • Tricep dip on chair (12-15 reps)
  • Glute bridge (12-15 reps)
  • Jump plank (12-15 reps)
  • Superman (12-15 reps)

One round should take about 10 minutes or under going once through. (Still have time or want more of a challenge? Try it twice back-to-back!) Workout illustrations can be found here!

Exercise the mind!

People can meditate anywhere—airport included. After a nice bodyweight workout, sit in silence for 5-10 minutes and count inhales and exhales in order to calm and strengthen the mind. Here’s a great routine to get started. Lucky you if you’re at SFO-you can hit up the meditation room for added peace.




Lap the airport. 


If it’s too hard to change into workout gear, don’t sweat. (Well, not mentally). There are simple ways to take advantage of the long halls and multiple floors of an airport. When killing time, take the stairs versus an escalator, walk down the long stretch of gates instead of hopping on the moving escalators, and if the airport allows, walk to a terminal versus taking the air rail. Also, make sure to avoid sitting for as long as possible, even when at the gate.


If you find yourself a set of stairs, give this a shot:

20 Calf Raises

Run or Walk the Stairs (And back)

40 Calf Raises

2 X Run or Walk The Stairs (And Back)

60 Calf Raises

Run or Walk the Stairs Two At a Time

Repeat As Necessary!

Stretch it out.


Okay, so even even it’s time to give the body a rest, we can still get some work down sitting down. When people sit at thegate and count down the minutes until they can finally board, most never think about using their chair to give the muscles a good stretch. But the glutes, hips, calves, and back can all get a nice mini workout in, and most fellow passengers won’t even notice!

For a glute stretch, raise the knee towards the opposite shoulder, and wrap the arm around the knee. Move the leg towards the shoulder and feel the burn. For hips, rest the ankle on the opposite knee and press down gently. The calves can get a nice stretch by extending the leg, raising the toes, and then trying to grab them. As far as the back goes, cross the thighs, and turn the body toward the leg that’s raised to feel a good stretch in the lower back. To target other areas of the body (and get off the chair!) try these stretching ideas.

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Mambukal Mountain Resort for Families Part II

February 8th, 2016





As promised, here is the second instalment to our overnight trip in Mambukal Resort sharing with your family activities as well as more Mambukal resort pictures. Read the first part of this story:

   ”Mambukal Mountain Resort for Families Part 1″

One of the things I was looking forward to when in Mambukal is to wake up to the sound of the birds surrounded with lush vegetation. True enough, I woke at 6am ( pretty early for me) but it was all darkness. It was also fogging giving me a good reason to go back to bed. We finally went out almost two hours later, enough to explore the resort before day trippers arrive.


With cold temperature, we checked out the Sulphur Pool, which was hotter during that time of the day. Check out the steam!


The sleepy boys enjoying early morning foot dip…


From the sulphur pool, off we went to the lagoon because the kids have been waiting for the boating trips. No staff, we had breakfast outside the resort and when we came back at 9am. Still no one to assist us ( they were understaffed that time), we opted to just hang out and enjoy this view.

The best time to get this popular subject in Mambukal photography.


We opted to explore the Ishiwata Bath House, the earliest structure in the property.  Going up, I took this shot that mirrors the tranquility of Mambukal.


Mambukal is a lovely place to enjoy walking..


While waiting for the boating staff, I had no choice to bring my kids to the Butterfly Garden. Surprisingly, my kids love it. It was a shame that I was gender biased when it comes to butterflies.


Finally, boating in Mamabukal’s lagoon!


Great for kids to do in Mambukal..


After the boating, the kids went on a final dip to one of the pools of Mambukal. We love walking the shady canopy of the resort.


We left Mamnukal Resort after lunch. I took this photo on our way to Bacolod. A few days after Mt. Kanlaon spitted out ashes, explaining the  hotter water temperature in Mambukal.

Hello Mt. Kanlaon!


To sum it all, Mambukal is a family-friendly resort in Bacolod ( near to be exact since it’s in Murcia). I’m glad to temporarily commune with nature with my family.

For more information including fees, you might want to check out their site here.



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Mambukal Mountain Resort For Families Part 1

February 7th, 2016




I believe that Negros Island is one of Philippines’ underrated destinations. From ancestral homes to stunning beaches, it is a paradise to those who love the outdoors. Often, you are caught with some cravings for the mountains, hiking, and yes waterfalls. Where else to bring my family other than Mambukal Mountain Resort?

This is our first time to enjoy an overnight stay. Our friends from the provincial tourism always bring me here and I was more excited that the kids will finally enjoy a night in Mambukal, sitting at the bottom of Mt. Kanlaon.

Welcome to our accommodation! We stayed at the Matrimonial Villa. I love our villa. Rate is only Php1,700 per night.


As a government property, Mambukal Resort is very affordable, that is why many locals come here as a big group. I prefer to stay at the villas compared to other Mambukal accommodations like the LGU cottages – more peaceful and away from the crowd and the price difference is very slim.

Let’s explore Mambukal Resort! We started with Sulphur Pool and walked all the way to the lagoon.


Kids want to go boating, but there was nobody around. They wanted to swim in one of the pools right away ,thus the grumpy faces.


The lagoon is one of the most photographed areas in the resort. I wish to stay in the accommodation facing the lagoon next time.


My main objective for this trip is for the kids to trek to the falls. Into the woods…


We visited some falls but it didn’t require some walking.  Kid2 enjoyed our trek after their afternoon nap.


I suggest you trek in the afternoon or early morning. A guide is great not just to lead the way but to give some information and insights.


Totally family-friendly, Mambukal’s falls #1.


I have seen falls #2 during my previous visits. My husband went and checked it out.


It was raining that morning, resulting to heavy volume of water. Took this shot on Automatic mode. No need for some shutter speed settings. That’s the beauty of nature.


If you want to expose your family and kids to nature, Mambukal is the place to go.


After a trek, give your feet and soles some pampering at the Sulphur Dipping Pool. It was very hot because during that time, Mt. Kanlaon was on eruption alert. FYI, I checked the status ahead of time and another reason why we only spent one night.


It was my first time to enjoy the Sulphur Dipping Pool at Mambukal. My first visit, I was pregnant with kid2 ( pregnant women are not allowed) and in the other visits, I didn’t want to get wet and change.

Due to the present condition of Kanlaon during our visit, the water was hotter than the usual. I’ve visited the resort before with the pool temperature at lukewarm level, but not this one. Onsen in the tropics!


Enjoy the dipping pool at the end of the day. It was easy for me to put the kids to bed that night because of our dipping pool experience.  The resort also has an Ofuro (Japanese bath, hotter temperature) but the temperature of the dipping pool was hot enough for me so we skipped it.


The hazy pic above is also due to the steam. I loved it. My kid was actually looking at these bats…


My kids pleaded to swim in one of the pools until dusk. We had dinner and enjoyed them at the outdoor terrace of our villa. And off to bed to another adventure the next day!

Keep on! click!

Mambukal Mountain Resort for Families Part II




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Best Boutique Hotels in Carmel

February 3rd, 2016



Photo by Kevin Hogue via Trover



You have planned the activities, the restaurants to visit, and the things to buy – now where to stay in Carmel? Carmel has been a top travel destination and has been synonymous with relaxation for visitors enjoying a much-deserved break. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices when it comes to accommodations.


For your next trip, stay in any of these boutique hotels in Carmel.


Carmel Village Inn


We all look for hotels with the best location, and Carmel Village Inn certainly has it. Located in downtown Carmel right across from Carmel Plaza & Devendorf Park, this cozy boutique hotel is also near restaurants, shops, and Carmel’s famous white-sand beach.

Guests will love the country-home appeal of its guest rooms, with selected rooms including a fireplace. If you are traveling with children or as a group, this is one of the best hotels in Carmel offering free cribs and infant beds as well as roll away and extra beds.


Carmel Mission Inn


Renovated in 2008, guests are guaranteed to have modern rooms at Carmel Mission Inn. Best for today’s new breed of travelers, rooms have invigorating colors with ample space that opens to a balcony.

Each room has two queen beds. Rooms also have iPod docking systems, and other updated technology. Carmel Mission Inn is one of the city’s pet friendly boutique hotels in Carmel. The hotel is also equipped for guests with special accessibility needs.

Photo by James Wilkinson via Trover



Carmel Valley Ranch


Seclusion, pampering, and luxury – all these await you at Carmel Valley Ranch.  Set on a 500-acre property, Carmel Valley Ranch is the place for those who want to explore the outdoors in a more laid back way.  Spend the days on their 18-hole golf course and hiking trails, or enjoy the vineyards and organic garden.

Experience yoga in a beautiful mountaintop setting or enjoy their relaxing pool. The property has 81 well-appointed studio suites with stunning views of the rolling hills and ridges.


Carmel Wayfarer Inn


For those looking for cheap hotels in Carmel, book your nights at Carmel Wayfarer Inn. With affordable rates and central location, you will be pleasantly surprised at the value you’ll get for your money.

The property is a converted 1920s opulent apartment complex. Well designed with spacious rooms, guests will enjoy ocean views and its cozy courtyard with a fireplace. Guests should never miss the wine and cheese tasting that is offered every afternoon.

Carmel Quail Lodge Golf Club


If you want a luxury boutique hotel in Carmel, Carmel Quail Lodge Golf Club suits you best. Set in the midst of Carmel Valley along Santa Lucia mountain range, anticipate serenity throughout your stay.

This boutique hotel in Carmel has 75 guest rooms and 18 suites, all showcasing the California ranch style and fitted with the best in-room amenities and an outdoor patio and balcony to enjoy the stunning views.

Some amenities at this pet-friendly hotel in Carmel include babysitting services, laundry, pet sitting, and bicycle rentals. This luxury hotel has an 18-hole golf course, meeting rooms, tennis court, 24-hour business center, pools, and restaurants.

From affordable to upscale properties, you will unquestionably find the best boutique hotel in Carmel that suits your budget and tastes.

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Meeting Jericho as Kuya J Comes to Iloilo

February 2nd, 2016



Crispy Pata Poster

Kuya J Restaurant is one of the anticipated restaurants when SM Iloilo opened its new wing last November. From Cebu, it has made a bold move to expand to different parts of the country.  For a foodie destination like Iloilo, Kuya J offers comfort food that every Filipino will love to enjoy with family and friends.

Brought to you by Winglip Chang, who has more than 3 decades of experience in the food industry, Kuya J has 30 stores  as of the end of 2015 – impressively, they opened 12 stores in a span of 3 months ( Sept-December). Kuya J is eyeing to open 80 new stores in the country from SM Davao to SM Cabanatuan. No doubt, Kuya J is the country’s bagong bida.

One of their most popular dishes  is Crispy Pata.

Crispy Pata

Crackling skin with meat so tender, they softly separate from the bones. I love that their Crispy Pata is not the very oily type we often get from other family restaurants.

A Filipino family meal will be incomplete without Kare-Kare.

Kare Kare

If you want something light, enjoy their Lumpia Presko which has sautéed crabmeat. The wrapper is infused with malunggay, thus giving its green hue and made healthier.

Lumpia Presko

Yours truly was delighted to attend a Meet and Greet event with Kuya J’s endorser – Jericho Rosales – last January 31st. Kuya J Restaurant in Iloilo opened last December.

Jericho Rosales

We enjoyed other dishes like Kuya J Grilled Scallops, Crispy Catfish,Rellenong Talong, Danggit Rice, Humba (Cebuano version of adobo) rice along with desserts, Mango Pandan and Tablea Coffe Flan ( must-try!).

You might be asking if the restaurant is named after Jericho Rosales. No, it isn’t. A press conference was held and Mr. Chang himself explained that the name came from the fact that many Filipino names begin with “J” like Juan.  For Jericho, he considers Kuya J restaurant as his ” best endorsement ever”.

Let me share some photos from the Meet and Greet event at Kuya J Restaurant in Iloilo.


With blogger and Panay News Correspondent Raymart Escopel. We were kilig because Jericho was sitting at our back. So close yet so far situation.


Photo by Tisha September Arnaldo 

After the casual press conference, Echo treated the guests with few of his songs. He is a great singer. And of course, my fan girling moment.


For your next hearty meal, visit your nearest Kuya J restaurant. If you happen to be in Iloilo, Kuya J Restaurant is located at SM City Iloilo new wing.

For updates, follow Kuya J’s Facebook page . See you there!


*all photos unless stated courtesy of Kuya J


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Going Crazy over Madonna in Manila?

January 30th, 2016


Globe Madonna

Here’s your last chance to see the Queen of Pop in MNL for free when you subscribe to GoSURF, Tattoo Home Broadband Plan or Madonna ringback tones with the Globe RebelHeart Tour Raffle Promo!

Less than a month from now, Madonna’s RebelHeart Tour in Manila will take the Philippine music scene by storm as the SM Mall of Asia Arena is expected to house a 2-day concert experience that will go down in music history.

Madonna fans all over the country are beyond excited and feeling ecstatic as the Queen of Pop is expected to bring her mighty all in terms of singing prowess and overall stage performance. Got your tickets to the show already? Don’t fret if you are still on the lookout for those precious tickets. Globe Telecom, the exclusive presenter of the tour’s Manila leg, is bringing back the second installment of its RebelHeart Tour Raffle Promo which will give you the chance to win free passes to the concert.

After the success of the first RebelHeart Tour Raffle Promo, which brought 2 lucky Globe customers to Los Angeles, California for an all-expense paid trip to catch Madonna on stage, Globe recently announced the second round of the raffle which gives any Globe Prepaid, TM, Postpaid, Platinum, and Tattoo customers a chance to win tickets to Madonna’s concert in Manila.

To earn raffle entries, simply register to GoSURF30 and up, apply for a Tattoo Home Broadband Plan 999 and up, or download a Madonna ringback tone from January 1 to 31, 2016. To register to the raffle, text MADONNA REG <Name>/<Address>/<Email>/<Age>/<Gender> to 2662. Platinum and Tattoo Home Broadband customers are automatically registered to the raffle. Draw date is on February 5, 2016. Twenty four (24) lucky winners will get the chance to see the Queen of Pop perform live in Manila.

“In a few weeks, the RebelHeart Tour lands on Philippine shores and Globe is here to give lucky Globe and Tattoo customers a once in a lifetime concert experience with the second installment of our RebelHeart Tour Raffle Promo. Music is an integral part of the Filipino digital lifestyle and we wish to make the experience wonderful each time,” shares Globe Telecom Senior Vice President for Consumer Mobile Marketing Issa Cabreira.

For more details on how you can earn raffle entries, visit

Tickets for Madonna’s RebelHeart Tour on February 24 and 25 at the Mall of Asia Arena are on sale now in all SM Ticket Outlets, or call 470-2222. Exclusive ticket deals also await Globe customers. Visit to learn more.

# # #



For more information, please contact:


Yoly C. Crisanto

Head, Corporate Communications

Globe Telecom, Inc.

Email Address:

Globe Press Room:

Twitter: @talk2GLOBE │ Facebook:


*source: Globe Telecom,Inc


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Cozy Boutique Hotels in Marina del Rey You Need to Check Out

January 27th, 2016



Heading to Marina del Rey and enjoy its wonderful beaches, harbor, and waterfront? This time, you might want to stay in a boutique hotel to complement the laidback and relaxing atmosphere of Marina del Rey.

Here are five boutique hotels in Marina del Rey to choose from.


Photo by cheriska@NomNomNomads via Trover 

Foghorn Harbor Inn



A family-owned boutique hotel, this beachfront property only has 23 rooms assuring all guests receive personalized services.  With its prime location and balconies and patios, guests can wake up to marina views as well as enjoying sunrises and sunsets.

The hotel offers deluxe continental breakfast along with 24-hour coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks in the lobby. Rooms are spacious and equipped with ample amenities such as Internet access. Foghorn Harbor Inn also provides airport shuttle services.



Hotel MdR Marina del Rey – a Double Tree by Hilton


If you are looking for something more posh in the area, a perfect place is  Hotel MdR Marina del Rey. The whole property smacks of sophistication and style from its décor to modern amenities. To name a few, the hotel has an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurants as well as a pool, gym, and Wi-Fi.

This pet-friendly hotel enjoys a great location with the Marina Marketplace next door. Silicon Valley is also nearby.

Photo by rabbit.Hole via Trover 

Jamaica Bay Inn


Located at Mother’s Beach, this boutique hotel bears West-Indies elements from the furniture pieces to its overall ambiance. Relax on its rattan furniture and enjoy the waterfront views. From the balconies, guests can indulge in the soothing hues of the waters of the marina.

Offering exclusive and personalized services to guests, Jamaica Bay Inn has an all-year-round heated pool. A must is to enjoy seafood and local cuisine from their in-house Beachside Restaurant.



The Inn at Marina del Rey

One of the luxury boutique hotels in Marina del Rey is The Inn at Marina del Rey. It has 68 rooms all fitted with upscale amenities while the rest of the property has a tropical and hip ambiance to soothe and encourage guests to unwind and relax while in town.

The main attraction in this hotel is the open-air courtyard. With its chaise-lounge and heated pool, this is a great spot to enjoy while not out in Marina del Rey, as well as meet fellow guests. After a long day, get a relaxing massage at the spa.



The Inn at Venice Beach 


As a sister company of The Inn at Marina del Rey boutique hotel, The Inn at Venice Beach is a luxury hotel. There are only 43 rooms, all spacious and filled with energetic hues. Some rooms have artwork and balconies, so guests to wake up to the soothing sound of the waves and the shores of Venice Beach.

This property also has a courtyard for guests to unwind.  Nearby attractions include the boardwalk, where guests can enjoy pier fishing, and surfing.

To fully live the relaxed culture of Marina del Rey, book your stay in boutique hotels. They are not only trendy but offer tailored services and amenities.

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How to Avoid Getting Sick on Your Next Flight

January 24th, 2016



This post is posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 22,2016.




Forget snakes on a plane. Worry about the germs. Research shows that air travelers are at a higher risk for infection than people going about their daily lives.

Just how are illnesses spread on a plane? It comes down to two main factors: Airborne germs that are easily inhaled by people sitting in close quarters, or contact with germ-riddled surfaces on the plane. These factors are exacerbated by the dry conditions typical of airplanes, because viruses prefer low-humidity environments.

The good news is that, for the most part, airplanes’ air filtration systems function well enough that you’re unlikely to contract more serious illnesses. Instead, your greatest risk is contracting the common cold or a classic case of the flu.

While that’s all well and good, it may be little comfort to people who don’t particularly want to have a cold or the flu while trying to enjoy their vacation. Luckily, it is possible to decrease your risk of infection from germs on a plane. Here’s how to maximize the chances of disembarking the plane as healthy as you boarded it.

Don’t travel if you’re already sick.

If you know that you’re suffering from a contagious illness, do your immune system (and your fellow passengers) a favor and don’t expose yourself to any more germs by boarding a plane. In particular, the CDC advises that people avoid plane travel if you’re more than 36 weeks pregnant, have recently had surgery, have had a recent (serious) injury, or have a fever. In each of these cases, you’ll be traveling with a compromised immune system, which increases your risk of catching a contagious infection. Some airlines may be lenient with rescheduling fees if you can prove that you’re sick; contact the airline to discuss your options.



Ask to switch seats.


If you find yourself beside someone who’s hacking or sniffling, it’s okay (really!) to ask a flight attendant if it’s possible to switch seats. Even moving just a few rows away can help protect you from a sick person’s germs. If there are no other seats on the plane, donning a face mask might help.

Wipe down germy surfaces.

Tray tables, armrests, and seat-back pockets are consistently found to be some of thegermiest parts of a plane. Minimize contact with these germs by using wet wipes to disinfect tray tables, armrests, and seat-back pockets and/or using hand sanitizer after touching any of these surfaces.

Wash your hands (a lot).

For the most part, your hands are your body’s primary point of contact with germy surfaces. Those germs (including cold and flu viruses) can survive on your skin for hours. The simple fix? Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or (in a pinch) with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Keep air vents open.

Circulating air is key to preventing the spread of illness on a plane, so keep the air vent above you open. And don’t worry—the air pumping through the vent is filtered and safe to breathe.

Bring your own blanket and pillow.

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that airlines tend to wash their blankets and pillows only every 5 to 30 days. (Yes, you read that right.) This means that when you borrow a blanket from the airline, you’re sharing a whole lot of germs. Avoid the issue entirely by bringing along your own travel blanket and pillow.

Close the toilet seat before you flush.

The spray that accompanies flushing spreads germs throughout the airplane bathroom; closing the lid before you flush will help you avoid contact with these nasty microorganisms. The flusher itself is also a hotbed of germs, so put a paper towel in between your hand and the flusher whenever you flush. And of course, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using the loo.


Stay hydrated.

The high elevations and low humidity typical of airplane travel have a dehydrating effect, which can provoke headaches, stomach problems, cramps, and fatigue, and diminish your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. The simple solution? Stay hydrated by regularly sipping water before, during, and after your flight. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can contribute to dehydration.

There are a few caveats to this point, however. It’s best to avoid drinking the tap water available on airplanes, because airplane tap water has consistently been found to contain levels of bacteria well above U.S. government limits. Opt for bottled water instead. For a similar reason, be sure to ask for drinks sans ice—since many planes refill their ice tanks at foreign airports, the water standards may not be up to par with what you’re used to.

Moisturize your nasal membranes.

Cabin air tends to dry out our nasal membranes, which are the immune system’s main line of defense against incoming germs. Keep your immune system functioning at optimal capacity by using a nasal mist or saline nasal spray during the flight.

While all the immune-boosting strategies in the world can’t guarantee your health with absolute certainty, practicing these behaviors on every flight will give you the best chance of making it through a plane ride with your immune system unscathed.

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