Between new in-flight rules and restrictions on where you can travel, jet setting in 2021 can feel like a minefield. But as anyone who’s hopped on a plane in the past few months can attest, getting back into the swing of travel isn’t as stressful as it seems, provided you’re prepared.
Most of us are out of practice at the moment, which may mean travel is more exhausting than before. The good news: There’s a lot you can do about that. Besides simply following airlines’ guidance to wear your mask, etcetera, here’s how to arrive at your destination feeling as fresh as possible.
Sandwich your flight with light movement.
If you’re tempted to squeeze in an all-out effort workout right before you get on the plane, resist. Why? Airplanes aren’t a great place to recover thanks to reduced blood flow from sitting and super dry air. Together, these two factors are a recipe for sore, stiff muscles—even on a relatively short flight.
So instead of doing a pre-travel burner, do some bodyweight movements before and after your flight, focusing on the muscles that will be inactive in the air. Think: Air squats for your quads, glute bridges for your glutes, and bird dogs for your core. Then, repeat your routine after you land.
Take a 20-minute nap on board.
A quick mid-flight nap can help you repay any sleep debt you accumulated from getting up early for a flight or staying up late packing. The ideal nap length is 20 to 30 minutes which is long enough to cycle through the first two stages of sleep, but helps you avoid the later stages of REM and deep sleep that can make you feel sluggish and groggy (if you’re not sleeping through the night). Ideally you’d have an eye mask and ear plugs with you to optimize your nap.
As for how to power down on demand, or simply feel less anxious on board, Calm Mab Sticks, which are packed with CBN (from hemp), ashwagandha, chamomile, hops and lemon balm, are a great way to chill out. You’ll find a sample on TK JSX flights through TK timeframe. Pair it with one of these breathing exercises to double down on the relaxation powers.
BYO water bottle or buy a sustainably-packaged one.
The air in airplanes is extremely dry. In the context of a global pandemic, it’s particularly important to stay hydrated, since many symptoms of dehydration inconveniently overlap with COVID symptoms: fatigue, throat discomfort, and headaches.
Just avoid the water that comes from the tank on the airplane, which may not be the most sanitary. Instead, bring your own water bottle to fill up at the airport (most airports have water-filling stations now, and that water is generally filtered), or choose bottled/boxed water that comes in sustainable packaging.
Food can also contribute to your hydration status. Before your flight, snack on high water content foods like cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and watermelon.
Speaking of what you eat pre-flight…
Skip High-FODMAP foods.
Ever notice that you feel gassy and bloated after even an hour or two in the air? That’s because changes in air pressure mean any gas in your gut can expand as you reach cruising altitude.
Reduce your chances of uncomfortable bloating by skipping foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharide and polyols (FODMAPS)—which can contribute to extra gas in your digestive tract—in the 24 hours before your flight as well as on the flight itself. High-FODMAP foods include things like chickpeas, cauliflower, cashews, garlic, onions, and anything with sugar alcohols. Consider passing on carbonated beverages during your flight for the same reason.
Apply a moisturizing serum and lip conditioner pre-flight.
It’s no secret that flying can be harsh on your face. Dry air can leave your skin feeling tight, irritated, and flaky. Add wearing a mask to the mix, and it’s easy to see why flights can do a number on your skin. According to Medical News Today, glands produce more sebum to counteract dry skin. Excess sebum and dead skin can cause acne.
Esthetician Rio Viera-Newton told New York Magazine that she recommends applying four products sometime before flying: a moisturizing serum with vitamin E, a sleeping pack (which is an ultra-hydrating combination of a moisturizer and a mask), a soothing eye cream, and a lip conditioning treatment. Slather one or more on before takeoff, and land with plump, moisturized skin.