Feeling and looking fresh after a long flight can feel impossible. After my trip around the world I have learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't when flying. I like to think I have a pretty good routine down! These little tips keep me feeling light after a long flight so that as soon as I land I hit the ground running.
1. Stretch before, during, and after
Simple stretches targeting your back and chest can do wonders for you on a long flight. Think of how a seat on a plane rounds your spine and forces you in a slouched position. Try positions like Downward Dog to open up the backs of your legs and relieve tension from your low back prior to a flight. A more simple stretch for your chest is simply interlacing your hands behind your back with palms touching.
During the flight try basic twists in your seat and reaching your arms over head when standing in the bathroom line.
2. Relax and Sleep
Get an eye mask, ear plugs, and some soothing lavender oil to knock you out before a flight. The sleep quality is never as good but flying can be so draining that a solid sleep is crucial to feeling awake and alert when you land.
3. Support Your Low Back
Looking back on that hunched position we are forced into on a flight, it is important to give that low back some quality attention. Try rolling up a Turkish Towel and placing it behind your lower back for lumbar support (a water bottle works too!). Use your core to roll your shoulders back and open the chest.
4. Wash Your Face Before and Moisturize During
Going into a flight with a clean, makeup free face is so much better for your skin. The dry, recycled air on planes is so drying I like to moisturize with 100% pure aragon oil during a flight. It is very light and not super greasy like other oils.
5. Stay Hydrated With Plenty of Water
Even it means annoying the person next to your for multiple bathroom trips, drink drink drink. I always buy 2 large bottles of water for long haul flights and make sure I stay hydrated. Ideally you would have raw coconut water too for electrolytes but very few airports offer this sadly. Tell me if you know of any airports with raw coconut water!
6. Eat Hydrating Foods Before Your Flight
Watery fruits and veggies are the way to go before a flight so that you go in fully hydrated. Pineapple, cucumber, leafy greens, and apples are great examples! The vitamins and electrolytes allow your body to absorb water easily.
Think of those times where you kept drinking mass amounts of water but it seemed to just go right through you; this is because you were deficient in the electrolytes needed to absorb it. Rather than flush all your vitamins out, eat your way to hydration.
7. DO NOT Eat Airplane Food
I repeat, DO NOT EAT AIRPLANE FOOD. Unless it is simply fruit, the food on airplanes is just horrible. Often loaded with excess sodium and MSG (and who knows what else), this will make you feel and look your worst! I try to fast on flights or eat super light snacks of my own that I know are good for me if the flight is really long.
It is so hard to digest when you are crammed in a seat, unable to move. If you know you will be unable to fast on a long flight, always bring healthy snacks to hold you over. Remember that the crap airlines serve in that piece of foil is not real food. Rather than tell yourself you can't have it, remind yourself you don't want it.
8. Avoid Alcohol
This is obvious but it needs to be said. The free drinks in a lounge or in business class can be tempting, but if you are trying to start the day as soon as you land definitely resist the urge to drink. Flying is already so dehydrating that adding alcohol is just bad news.
9. Brush Your Teeth
Grab your water bottle and some tooth paste after eating a snack and brush your teeth on the plane - it makes a world of difference.
10. Keep Moving
Rotate your ankles, twist your body, stretch your legs...anything! Keep moving to get the blood flowing and body circulating on long flights. Who cares how silly you look! It is better to not be a swollen mess at the end of your journey. People must think I'm crazy doing pyramid pose near the bathroom and side body stretches in the aisles...whatever!
On my 14 hour flight from Santiago to Sydney, I was stuck in a middle seat with someone passed out next to me unable to get out. I should have moved more because by the end of the flight my ankles were nearly double the size. I was so swollen from being stagnant that long (and dehydrated) that my shoes barely fit. Never again...