In case you missed it, tomorrow we will be headed off to Europe for almost three weeks! As exciting as that is, first we have to talk about the least fun part of the trip – the eleven hour flight. I do my best to book long-haul flights as a red-eye so that some of the time is taken up by sleep, but regardless of the time of day, it’s always draining. Flying dries you out, often gets you sick, and throws your whole routine for a loop. That said, there’s a few tactics I employ to maintain my sanity and be prepared to tackle my destination upon arrival.
- Get the right baggage finding a solid carry-on bag is the best place to start. I bought the Lo & Sons O.M.G. Bag a few years ago and it makes for the perfect in-flight bag. It’s large enough to hold what I need while still compact enough to fit under an airplane seat, plus has great features like a padded laptop compartment, a separate pocket for extra shoes, and a sleeve for slipping it over your luggage handle. Inside your main bag, I recommend using several smaller bags (like these) to organize your toiletries, travel documents, etc.
- Entertain yourself I try to make the most of being locked in a cabin for an extended period of time and get some work done on my laptop, but when I inevitably burn out, I need something to occupy the time. Don’t forget your tablet (for reading or catching up on Netflix), headphones and external battery pack! Whether in the airport, on the plane or exploring a new city a Mophie can be a life-saver by keeping all your electronics charged and at the ready.
- Get some sleep I realize some people are cursed with an inability to sleep on planes, but try your best to get at least a little shut-eye. To make even your cramped economy seat a little more like your own bed, invest in a quality eye mask, travel pillow, and (if all else fails) a little Zzzquil.
- Preserve your looks puffy, dry, and un-showered is hardly the look you want to start off your vacation, right? Particularly if you’re taking an overnight flight, maintaining your nighttime and morning rituals is essential. In addition to your standard skin care and teeth-brushing, give your skin a little boost with these eye masks, my favorite hydrating spray, and an intense hand cream. If you wear contacts like I do, do not forget extra eye drops!
- Stay healthy a plane is like an incubator for germs and when you couple that with the possibility you will be doing nothing but watching TV for half a day, it’s hardly a healthy environment. Before and during your travels, load up with nutrients (whether that be through Zicam, natural immunity boosters, or vitamins). Once on board, use gently scented wipes to disinfect your area and keep hands clean throughout your travel.
- Watch what you eat the foods you eat on board and the 24 hours prior will likely have the biggest impact on how you look and feel when it’s time to deplane. That means avoid the heavy, salty and sugary foods you know and love. Focus on eating healthy and filling meals prior to your flight so you’re not starved into eating airplane meals and snacks. Bring a few of your own plane-proof food items like protein bars, instant oatmeal packs, and mixed nuts so you can’t justify spending $11 on a candy bar when you really need a snack.
- Watch what you drink this is a hard one. When you’re headed off on a vacation, all you really want to do is get the party started with an in-flight glass of champagne or treat yourself to a third cup of coffee for getting up early to catch your flight, but it’s one of the worst things for you. Flying will dehydrate you as it is, plus people tend to drink less water when it’s not as readily available. As much as you can, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and “free” sodas – replacing them with lots of water. I bring my Swell bottle with me and maintain the same amount of water-drinking as any other day (yes, this means making my neighbor move for 25,000 trips to the bathroom #noshame).
- Dress well I’m probably in the minority in saying I wish we would go back to the days when flying warranted dressing up a touch, rather than wearing your pajamas in public. On an international flight you certainly want to be comfortable enough to sit and sleep in your outfit (leave the leather pants and heels at home), but please don’t use it as an excuse to wear ratty sweatpants and flip-flops either. Now is the time to break out those on-trend joggers, polished with a sweater and ballet flats. Don’t forget a scarf or wrap and socks for ultimate comfort once you’re in the air.