Depending on where you find yourself in life, traveling full-time as a professional flight crew member can be either a blessing or a curse. The excitement of traveling to new places and sharing those experiences with your crews can be great. While sometimes, we need downtime at home to focus on other things. Attitudes and perspectives evolve over time with successive aircraft or company changes along with our ever-changing home/family life. Along with these lifestyle fluctuations, we can expect our health to ride the same waves. Whether you are just getting started in professional aviation or nearing retirement, the one aspect that has remained consistent that has dramatically improved our quality life while away from home is technological advances.
During the past ten years, we have gone from no smartphones to now having every wonder of mankind in our pockets via the internet. It used to be not knowing what crew scheduling was up to or how the weather was changing. Now we see everything in real time and don’t have to be at a computer. Same goes for checking flight loads on other carries and listing for the jump seat during your commute home or on the way to vacation. In a matter of minutes, we can check the flight loads on multiple carriers, list, and get going.
Many of these conveniences are attributed to the evolution of websites becoming more mobile-friendly then evolving into mobile applications, or “apps.” Mobile applications are an incredible leap forward in that they are able to take advantage of “tool kits” that are already available on the typical smartphone, like GPS positioning, calendars, clocks/timers, push notifications, etc. Now we are seeing a version of this on wrist watches!
In the spirit of working smarter, not harder, it suits us to use what we already carry with us to improve our quality of life. Gone are the days of asking someone at the hotel front desk what there is to do, or how to get somewhere. The Yelp app will provide all of the comprehensive reviews you can handle, and a map app will get you there. With our health and wellness in mind, the following is a list of apps that might not be so obvious to help streamline your travel life and help you to maximize your time, maintain your health and make the travel lifestyle work for you, not against you!
Of course, we are going to show a little favoritism to our own app and for good reason! The Fit Flyer app is available for free on the Apple App Store and is the first and only meal planning app designed for flight crews and traveling professionals. Combining a calendar planner with daily meal planning to choose between 50 great tasting, healthy recipes. All of the ingredients auto-populate an interactive shopping list. Each recipe is designed to take 30-45 minutes or less to prepare and all are tested to taste great for a 4-day trip in a standard crew cooler. Save money, free up time on your days off and eat healthy during travels!
Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fit-flyer/id1158022989?mt=8
An amazing gym membership app made just for travelers! Local
Fit has a growing nationwide database of over 5,000 premier health clubs, gyms and studios you can access while on the road. Gone are the days of being confined to a limited and sometimes crowded hotel gym with subpar equipment. Have your pick anywhere you go for a an extremely low monthly fee and subscribe as long as you want. If you sign up using the code LOCALFIT-JD you will receive 50% off the subscription! This is an amazing resource for those who have specific workout routines like rock climbing or surfing, or for those who seek specialty classes such as yoga or training for a first Ironman who need a pool.
One of the most widely used fitness tracking apps for cardio-based activities, like running and cycling, is Strava. It has built a fitness community around their tracking app to provide you the support and motivation to continually work toward your goals and have fun competing against friends and other local athletes. What really makes Strava shine for the traveler is its “segment explorer” option. No matter where I am, I can search for where the good running or cycling circuits are in the area, distances and leaderboard times appeal to my competitive side. Strava also promotes challenges to push training to the next level and now has integrated a social posting feature, similar to that of other social apps like Facebook or Twitter. Looking to join a group of active, healthy travelers? Join the Pilot Fitness Strava Club. https://www.strava.com/clubs/pilot-fitness and see what your fellow flight crews are doing to stay active! Pay for the upgraded membership for enhanced statistical tracking and training progress monitoring.
This new app by Sam Harris is a meditation guidance app to promote mindfulness and calming of the mind. As flight crews, we operate in one of the most stressful career fields and our schedules are among the most challenging with respect to circadian rhythm disruption. In order to stay ahead of the stress levels and better manage our sleep cycles, meditation can be a great tool to improve your mental health, reduce stress, and invite some tranquility into an otherwise seemingly chaotic lifestyle. This quote from the homepage sums it us; “Join Sam Harris – a neuroscientist, philosopher, and bestselling author—on a course that will teach you to meditate, reason more effectively, and deepen your understanding of yourself and others.” Waking
Up is a wonderful resource for teaching beginners to guiding meditation experts. Simply one of the best tools available.
From the creator of Nutrition Facts.org, Dr. Michael Gregor, developed Daily
Dozen, a free app that helps the user track and incorporate the right amount of fruits and vegetables into their daily routine. Flight crew members and travelers are exposed to high stress and high amounts of radiation from flying at high altitudes. The best way to protect ourselves is to increase antioxidant consumption, which is only found in plants. This app provides all the information you need to find out what plant foods are the best and how much you should be eating on a daily basis. There are tons of information packed into the app that provide an education in healthy eating. This app pairs wonderfully with our Fit
Flyer app, as our app is also driven to maximize dietary sources of antioxidants by increasing plant food consumption for the healthy traveler and keep you fit to fly!
Obviously, this article has omitted the abundance of airline and hotel apps, transportation apps, other travel apps or booking sites, and weather apps. Our goal is to highlight the not-so-obvious apps that can really increase our quality of life in ways that go beyond just basic travels necessities. There is more to traveling than just getting from points A to B; it’s arriving there healthy and happy, time and time again. ACN