Although Blue Onyx Travel does not purchase or organize flights at the present time, we have a lot to say about the type of flights you choose and also how to find the cheapest flights available.  We also have a lot to say about overcoming jet lag.

Booking a flight to arrive at your tour on time

First, let’s talk about scheduling a flight in order to arrive at a Blue Onyx tour at an appropriate time.  Let’s use the example of flying from the United States to Rome for a “Ten Days in Italy” tour. If you’re booking a flight in order to arrive on a Friday, then it is likely necessary to book your departing flight a day earlier, on a Thursday.  We recommend trying to arrive early in the day in order to give yourself time to check in to your hotel, unwind a bit, and make it to our 7 p.m. orientation and welcome dinner.

Finding an affordable flight

     How does one find international flights that don’t break the bank?  Many experts point to a variety of ways in which a traveler can find affordable flights.  The most obvious one would be to use a flight search engine. Kayak, Momondo, and Vayama are solid, efficient search engines that are good at finding consistently low airfares.  Another way to find low airfares is to follow individual airlines on Twitter and Facebook. Occasionally, airlines will run flash sales to their followers on social media and they don’t always advertise these sales in other places.  

Many experts also believe that there are certain optimal time frames for purchasing international travel, such as 160 days before departure.  These arbitrary time frames, however, are not as reliable as one might think. It’s better to follow airlines on social media, as previously discussed, or to set up a flight alert on a trusted search engine like Kayak.  

   One web service for discount flights that we find invaluable is Scott’s Cheap Flights.  Registering for this website’s free regular email service is extremely helpful because you get to see a lot of great low airfares to major destinations.  The nice thing about this site is that they take notice of “mistake fares” and they’re not shy to tell you about them! The director of Blue Onyx Travel availed himself of a $265 roundtrip airfare from San Jose, California to Beijing on a premium airline simply by paying attention to the free email blasts from Scott’s Cheap Flights.  This website also has a premium service which disseminates information about even more great flights for a minimal monthly fee.

    A final method we wish you inform you about is the usage of different air carriers to patch together flight segments en route to your final destination.  For instance, two years ago, for peak summer travel, it was difficult to find round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Athens, Greece for less than $800. But by using one carrier to get to Brussels, Belgium, and another carrier to complete the trip to Athens, the round-trip airfare dropped to $650.  London, U.K. is another great hub for facilitating cheap “patchwork” airfares. Think outside the cabin.

Overcoming Jet Lag

One of the things people dread dealing with when they travel is jet lag.  We recommend the following tips to help reduce or eliminate jet lag.

  1.  Try and get a good night’s sleep the night before your departing flight.  “Paying it forward” when it comes to sleep can help a person get over jet lag faster when he or she arrives at the final destination.
  2. Try not to overeat during the flight.  Naturally, we want our guests to take advantage of the meal services that are offered while flying, but eating large quantities of food or eating more than a person normally would can disrupt a person’s metabolism or sleep habits, which makes it harder to overcome jet lag.  Eat small to medium sized meals that are high in protein and packed with veggies.
  3. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol.  Dehydration can cause sleep disturbances, impair metabolism, and result in a spike in blood pressure.  The negative effects of dehydration exacerbate jet lag. And while many people believe that having a couple glasses of wine during the flight will help them nap, recent studies suggest that the quality of sleep one obtains after drinking alcohol is poor.
  4. Try to get at least some sleep while flying.  Even a one-hour nap during a flight can greatly improve a person’s ability to adjust to a new time frame.  Don’t forget those earplugs!
  5. Upon arriving at your international destination, it’s a real temptation to “just lie down for a while” after checking into your hotel.  We urge you not to do this. We strongly recommend staying up until at least 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. after arriving at your destination.


The owner of this company wants you to know that following his last two international trips, to Rome and to London respectively, he experienced no jet lag whatsoever on any leg of any trip.  Zero.

Here’s an example of an ideal scenario for getting over jet lag:

You get a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep the night before your international flight from Chicago to Paris.  You make it to the airport well ahead of your departure time. Your eight-hour flight is scheduled to depart Chicago at 8:10 p.m. and arrive at Charles De Gaulle airport at 11:10 a.m. the next morning.  You buy a bottled water at the airport to bring with you on the plane. Smart choice.  

About 90 minutes after takeoff, you take advantage of the airline’s dinner offerings; a fairly light meal.  After watching a bit of TV or reading a book, you doze off for a couple hours. After waking up, you ask the flight attendant for more water to stay fully hydrated.  A couple hours before landing, you have the medium sized breakfast provided by the airline.  

You arrive in Paris fully hydrated and refreshed.  After deplaning, getting through customs, and taking the train to the city center, you check into your hotel around 2 or 3 p.m.  After dropping off your bags in your room, you decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood and do a little sightseeing around Paris.  You return to your hotel room around 8:30 or 9:00, watch a little TV, check your email, and finally get to sleep around 10 p.m. Jet lag problem solved.

Avoiding Medical Risks Associated with Flying

Taking a flight that is long in duration or taking multiple flights in a short period time carries the risk of developing two (or more) potentially life-threatening medical conditions, mainly due to the fact that a traveler’s knees are bent while sitting for hours on end.  

Deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT, is a condition where a blood clot develops in a person’s leg, which impairs blood flow and which can cause redness, swelling, and pain.  A pulmonary embolism is an extremely serious medical condition in which a blood clot has ruptured causing the entire clot or a portion of the clot to end up in the lungs where it blocks a pulmonary artery.  Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, and coughing up blood. Left untreated, DVT can actually cause a pulmonary embolism if the clot formed in DVT ruptures, but any ruptured blood clot can result in a pulmonary embolism.  If you have redness, swelling, and pain in the legs, or if you are experiencing the symptoms of pulmonary embolism, it is advised that you seek immediate medical attention.

Having said that, there are several things that air passengers can do to minimize the potential for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.  First, passengers should try and stand up and walk around the cabin at regular intervals during the flight. Secondly, for individuals who are at high risk of DVT or pulmonary embolism, or who have experienced these medical conditions in the past, it may be advisable to receive a shot of an anti-coagulant, such as heparin, prior to flying.  Finally, many doctors recommend pumping one’s feet while sitting – that is, alternately lifting one’s toes and heels in order to improve circulation.

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