Over the past couple of years, my job has had me air-bound more so than usual. Typically saved for holidays away, I was now faced with security check lines as far as the eye can see, packing promptly and making sure I made it to my gate 10 minutes before boarding (yes, this is my idea of living on the edge) more than I could count on two hands. With this new jet-set agenda came a lot of anxiety. I without a doubt always felt miserable post-long-distance travel. My stomach would bloat for FOUR days, my skin would come to look like a porous dry sponge and it kept me from truly enjoying the first few days of any vacay to the fullest.
With such history, one that left little to be desired, I asked friends, I scoured the Internet, I consulted well-heeled oracle Gwenyth Paltrow and in the end, came across a lot of odd advice (unsurprising TBH, considering Paltrow once preached the wonder of vaginal steaming).
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve tried all kinds of remedies in the hopes of never having to deal with another bout of bloating, another puffy-faced touchdown or hellish skin breakout. Ever. Again. Which brings us to my tried-and-true tips, the six travel hack every woman (and man) needs to know.
Buckle up friends, THE FILE is taking you to Mile High School.
1. For god sake, please don't touch the plane food
Okay. So I’m going to let you in on my little jetlag secret; one that has also made me feel like a smug superhuman post-flight: DO NOT eat the plane food!! I say this with love for I have lived to tell the tale of a cross-Atlantic 11-hour stint with no snacks permitted. To get into some science, your sense of taste is lessened by 30% in-flight and all the salt-saturated foods you’re offered will do nothing for your skin, or your gut for that matter. You’ll also upset your body’s natural rhythm when you eat at random hours, worsening your first couple of days in a 6-hour time zone change. Fasting is rarely advice from my lips, but I haven’t eaten on an airplane in years and it has become my watertight rule for flying.
2. Gwyneth Paltrow the sh*t out of it
From colloidal silver to public sheet masks, the one thing I love about Gwen Paltrow is her incessant need to one-up everyone at giving fewer shits about coming off as raving mad (again, vaginal steaming). I’ve not yet reached her level of Korean skincare prowess mid-air but I’ve made sure that I guzzle at least 16 ounces of water every 2 hours. I also make sure to spray a little colloidal silver pre-flight to prevent myself from getting sick during my impending trip. Hint: No one will ever remember you discreetly performing some self-care in your seat. Just please don’t be the person spraying Evian mist in the direction of others. Our efforts need to at least be self-contained!
3. Get high on your own supply
Supplements for those beginning this journey can mean the difference between no sleep on a red eye flight or making your meeting right from the airport with a half-rested glow. Melatonin, ear plugs and a non-irritating sleep mask can keep you snoozing in the most unlikely of circumstances. It’s up to you to risk the harder prescription options, though I know they’ve come in handy too. I’m just not going to publicly promote them here with my name attached.
Bloated, uncomfortable and sickly after landing? Magnesium in the evening can help de-stress you and keep your tummy in a semi-normal state amidst all the changes it’s about to encounter. Work it into your routine a week before travel to let your body adjust.
4. If it won’t make you hate me, drink a smoothie
Listen, I know all the Chinese dumplings, French pastries and NYC bagels will call to you, and I have no right to ask you to give them up. If anything, I’d prefer you enjoy them at your leisure, especially if this is your vacation and you couldn’t care less how you feel because you’ll be drinking after hours anyway. But for those of you that need some functionality and focus, eating a breakfast, especially in the realm of high fiber plant-based offerings, can hydrate your cells and get you started with clean energy that will drastically alter your day.
I recall one particular work trip after I made this commitment. I made sure that every morning I would start at a boring generic smoothie place that had every health hype ingredient at my disposal. It was not fun, and definitely not a bagel, but I was killing it at getting around the city with ease while having no issue focusing on a conference call despite the time difference, nor the odd noises from the cat cafe I had to run into to take it.
5. Move around...then move around again
Once I heeded none of what I’ve said above, ate salt-saturated content to the nines each day of my trip and had two glasses of wine minimum each night. The last day of my visit to San Francisco had me looking like a puffer fish. I believe I actually took a photo and sent it to friends thinking it was an allergic reaction of sorts. Knowing that my body is an amazing machine, best functioning in motion, I performed a facial massage and then went for a 4-mile walk. When I returned my old face had come back to greet me.
Essentially, if you’re somewhere where 15-mile walks are a daily norm, don’t be as worried to indulge. Those extra steps help the lymphatic system drain and give your body the ability to move around things that would normally stagnate. I’ve even become a hotel gym person. Pray for me.
Words, Megan Laber.