How to Arrive Fresh and Alert After a Long Flight

We've all been there. The idea of travel can be so romantic in our heads; but that thought quickly disappears as soon as you arrive at the airport for your flight. You hope you didn't forget anything and the whole process going through security can eliminate any sense of excitement for your journey! It doesn't have to be this way, of course.

These days, I'm flying more often and to further distances so I have to be quite careful while in flight to ensure I arrive fresh and alert at my destination. Here are my rituals that I follow - hopefully you'll find these useful on your next adventure!


Where you sit on the plane will greatly determine what your flying experience will be. I typically sit in the aisle in an exit row, and if available, upgrade to Premium Economy for better legroom. I also try and get the bulkhead seats off to the side - not right in the center as that's where all the families are.


Although you may be excited for your trip the night before, make sure you get lots of sleep. It's been well documented that cumulative sleep deprivation can lead to many health issues and weakens your immune system - not a good thing while sitting for 10 hours in a steel tube with other strangers and their germs. So get lots of rest BEFORE you board the plane.


Besides my iPad mini, I always bring my own blanket, a pair of warm socks and comfortable headphones (not the standard earbud types). I have all my movies, shows and magazines (thank you, NextIssue!) loaded on the iPad, plus my blanket (much larger than the airplane ones) and socks (it gets cold and your feet need circulation). When you're wrapped up in your cocoon, letting whatever music or soundtrack help you escape, time flies by much faster. It will also put you in the right mood to slowly drift off.


I can't emphasize this enough. Being in an airplane at 35,000 feet is like being trapped in a refrigerator. If you've ever placed your hands inside a fridge, you'll notice how dry and cool it is. That's the point, right - to keep food fresh. Unfortunately for human skin, those conditions quickly eliminate nearly all forms of moisture from it. So try and stay away from the drink cart - yes, even if it's free (or try and limit yourself to one drink plus a glass of water. If you have really strong will power, avoid alcohol entirely and simply drink water; liters of it if you can throughout the flight.


You'll understand why in a minute. You want your skin to breathe - and honestly, there's no one to impress on the flight - this should be your space, your time for yourself.


Evian, Avene, and many other cosmetic manufacturers offer atomizers containing spring water that you can mist over your face throughout the duration to offer added moisture. You'll be doing this a lot, however, because the air will dry up the mist off your skin quite quickly. Remember I told you to keep your skin 'makeup free'? Misting your face on clean skin speeds up water absorption since your pores aren't clogged with makeup.


After you mist, it's a good idea to apply a thick layer of daytime moisturizer on your face. You see now why not wearing makeup is a good thing? No one applies moisturizer on top of makeup, it's counterproductive - you'll thank me later when your skin isn't breaking out. When applying, don't miss the neck!


Because our taste buds are impacted at high altitudes, airline food tends to be overly salted. A good option is to pack your own or purchase some food preflight at one of the many deli shops in the airport. Salt not only increases dehydration but also blood pressure, which is not a good thing when you're sitting in your seat, essentially immobile.


You know the little kids who walk up and down the aisles because they can't sit still in their seats? They're actually the smart ones. Follow their lead and get some circulation in those legs.


While strolling, stop once in a while in the galley areas to stretch your arms, back, neck and legs. You want to arrive limber, not stiff, right? And again, this increases blood circulation in your body which is a good thing.


About 30 mins prior to landing, this would be a good time to freshen up with some light concealer and mascara if you wish. You really don't need more than that. Or give yourself another good mist with the atomizer and you'll appear dewy and ready to for your adventure!