Flying tips is something I’ve hinted at in my eating healthy posts, packing for Japan, and my dressing fab for Fall/Winter in Japan posts, but finally we’re getting down to it. I fly long-haul (over 10 hours usually 15 hours) flights at least two times a year for the past 10 years. If not three or four times a year. I’ve learned a lot in that time and I’m going to share it with you. I still do not like flying, but I do like arriving.
In order to spill all my secrets I’m going to break it down to basics, beauty and body. Basics are just tips for flying, seating, and entertainment etc… Body is how to maintain health and happiness and sleep on a plane. Beauty is how to look better arriving than departing.
I’m trying to gear this all to free or cheap, but sometimes I’ll suggest a pay item just because I believe it’s worth it. A bad long haul flight can take days off your travel enjoyment. You’ll be tried, jet lagged, skin dry, worn out. Do not underestimate how important taking care of yourself during a flight is to your whole vacation.
My tips revolve all around three things: sleep, hydration and lowered stress. If you can accomplish any of those, you’re looking better than the crumpled masses at immigration.
Join the member program of whatever airline you’re flying.
You get instant miles. You often get to automatically check a second bag for free. It’s often a little cheaper to upgrade as well if you’re in the member program. You can also board earlier. Which means you get to put your carryon exactly how you like it. You get settled in before worrying about someone else. These little things to cut your stress are important.
If you’re flying economy always upgrade to economy plus.
It’s usually $40 extra per one-way trip but it’s worth it. Extra leg room, boarding earlier to put your luggage etc… I find it much quieter area of the plane as well.
Aisle life is the best life
You can often stretch out your legs a bit more. Lean to sleep in the aisle and not into another person. You only have to deal with one person. Windows are for losers and you should not be in them… more on this later.
Stock up on things to keep you occupied
On most long haul flights like ones to Japan there are usually in flight entertainment options. However yours could be broken. Or you hate the selection. Do not depend on someone else for your own happiness or for your happiness in the in flight entertainment.
I prefer a paper magazine as a starter.
You can read that for the 30 minutes they have without electronics during boarding and deplaning. If you finish it just recycle and it’s one less thing to carry.
There’s so many interesting podcasts that are free. Vogue has its own if you want to learn about fashion. I’m addicted to the PBS Frontline series on audiocast and Economist’s Babbage about Future Technology.
Load up your kindle or iPad or whatever with an interesting book or two.
The amazon kindle store has daily & monthly deals that you can sometimes find some cheap good books. Or just keep items in your cart or “saved” and they’ll tell you if the purchase price decreases a lot.
Offline iPhone games
You can find a lot of free games on the app store of your choice. Here are a few lists. You’d be amazed how much time you can eat up and enjoy playing some doofy word game. My favorites are Bejeweled2 and Tiny Tower . Both are free and don’t require internet to play after you’ve downloaded.
iTunes and xfinity have downloadable free shows
Usually itunes shows are teasers or first episodes, but they’re free! Xfinity it just depends, and you have to do it through their app, but it’s very useful on long trips. I usually do this before I fly and if I don’t watch them then I can watch them on the annoying long Narita NEX train. Or just traveling in general. Take advantage of free!
If you’re a kindle iPad thing user I know you can download a lot of Prime TV shows offline. Take advantage!
Downloading before a trip is a great idea because I’ve been to many hotels that have crap wifi. Waking up jet lagged at 3am with nothing on TV, you will be happy you have something to watch.
Always order two drinks
Ask for two waters or a juice and a water. Usually I don’t drink juice because taking the fiber out of fruit is crazy talk. But it’s a little fructose to keep you pepped. Or a tea and water. Just always hydrate. One of those tiny cups every two hours isn’t enough.
Bring an empty water bottle through security
Fill it up at the fountains inside the gate. Sometimes during long haul flights stewardesses break giving out waters. Or you just sleep through it. A bottle of water during that time is all the difference.
Hydration is life
Do you see the two tips I gave? That’s why you should be in an aisle seat. Pee forever it’s better than not drinking enough. Dehydration shows everywhere. It makes you tried. It makes you eat more. It makes your skin look older. Want to look good and feel good after a flight the two best ways are sleep and hydration.
Bring meals and snacks
You know what is trash? Airline food. It’s not made to be healthy, it’s made to be cheap. You’re putting a cheap meal into your stomach when you’re stressed and probably dehydrated. There’s very little nutrients in what they’re giving you. I have found that checking vegetarian can often make the vegetable content go up, but it just depends. My go to carry on meal is baked chicken, brussel sprouts and a small amount of bacon in a cheap ziploc container that I can keep or throwaway if needed. I get protein, fats and greens. You can cater this to your own needs. Just make sure it’s a dry meal.
Nuts, dry unsweetened fruit, celery, squeezable peanut butter. So many options to bring in your carry on bag. It’s perfectly okay to go through airport security with them.
Bring a giant shawl
This was a game changer for me. You know how airlines give you a blanket and it’s always to short EVERYWHERE? I think this is one of the big reasons people sleep badly. Waking up cold on your elbow or some other random body part is so weird.
My answer to this is a big shawl. I have a nice cashmere one that I didn’t buy for airline travel. It’s about 60 x 60 inches. It’s pretty huge and makes the perfect blanket, because it’s cashmere it’s thinner but still warm and easy storage. You can even layer up with the bad blanket they give you. I use it traveling as well in the Fall through Spring since mornings and nights are chilly. You can just use and store during the warm parts of the day.
I like to also use mine as a hoodie to muffle airline noise, without actually wearing a hoodie. If you don’t like shawls another choice is a sweater-style calf-to-ankle length cardigan (f21). I actually like combining shawl and cardigan for blanket life.
You know how you sleep better with your own blanket? A shawl is your blanket.
My eyemask from Aromatherapy Associates
Bring an eye mask
I don’t use these daily, but I do like to carry one for travel. They make all kinds. If you fly enough you may get one from your airline. I have a giant one that is velvet and silk because I like fancy. But really it’s just whatever you like. It does help airplane sleeping. Especially if you’ve got someone using their overhead light right next to you.
Japanese brand Kao also makes these disposable heated steam eye masks. They really help relaxation and sleep. I recommend doubling up with a regular eye mask.
Don’t be afraid to sleep medicate
I know some people who go with the heavy stuff. I don’t really like to. For me melatonin or over-the-counter sleep aids work fine. I usually cut off my caffeine during the day to help this. My man always sleeps worse than me on flights and finally gave into sleep aids. It’s helped him get a few more Zs (if he followed all my instructions he’d get even more, but well he’s stubborn).
If you didn’t get good sleep worrying/being excited about the trip the nights before this tip is useless. The whole list may be. Really focus on your sleep the days before, get into good habits like putting away your iPhone three hours before bed, doing a routine like skincare to get you relaxed for bed.
A pack of pocket tissues
Maybe something on the plane affects your allergies. Or you just get the cold sneezes. Either way you’ll be happy you’re using the nice tissue than tearing up your nose on the airplane toilet tissues.
Wear loose shoes or laceable shoes
Feet can swell during long travel. Just stuck sitting around for long. Even if you take off your shoes during a flight. Having tight pinchy shoes when you have to put them on just sucks.
Dress comfortable but you
I know people say that sweats are travel, but I hate arriving in Tokyo or overseas and just looking frumpy. No matter how much your skin is glowing and you slept on a plane, if you feel frumpy you won’t be happy. But I also think travel can make you bloat and there’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a plane in tight jeans.
Leggings and a dress. Leggings are elastic, you don’t have to worry about showing anything in a dress, or getting cold with weird drafts. Combined with your shawl you look cute. This can work for a lot of style choices.
Or just jean leggings and a tunic. This is the route I tend to go. Or just jeans with a lot of elastic or a long loose dress. Nothing that hugs you. I go for a lot of shirt layers so I can adjust to all the temperatures. Long skirts are okay as well, but beware of drafts. You can always strip off the leggings off the plane.
Put on clean underwear right before you leave the house to the airport
This cuts down on the hours you have to be in the same pair of underwear in a day. I know it’s TMI but well it helps. You will still feel grody after a flight, but not as gross.
Be comfortable and cute in this Forever 21 bra
A wireless or sports bra is more comfortable to sleep in
And your goal on this flight is sleeping. Just wear something baggy if you don’t like the form it gives.
Stretch in the restroom
It’s a little embarrassing to stretch in a flight and there’s no room. But you can do it everytime you use the bathroom and you’ll be using it a lot because you best be using my water tips. Don’t full yoga, but a good calf raise and touching your toes. Also move your arms around the full range of motion. Stretching out your back is key.
Look better than when you left? I believe it!
The morning of: Dry shampoo your hair
Dry Shampoo looks best when it’s worn overnight, in the case during a long flight. So before you leave your house just spray some dry shampoo in. Traveling can make people sweat and Narita airport is the WORST AIR CONDITIONED AIRPORT EVER (all caps) always. It could be January and they’d make you sweat. It’s always humid.
Wear your hair your most comfortable to sleep
Up, down, braids etc… whatever feels the best for you. Comfort is important. I usually leave mine down and then have a hair tie if I’m annoyed with it in front of my face. I usually put a little bottom curl in my hair before I leave to fly. That usually keeps my hair settled and looking not to scuzzy when I arrive.
Don’t think about wearing make-up
These 10-14 hours are all about skincare. Let’s get on it. A tinted sunscreen you can wash off is fine for the start of your flight. Washing off a full face in an airplane bathroom isn’t advisable. I’ve done it, but man I was such a tryhard gyaru. hehehe
10-14 hours of sweet sweet skincare
You know what flights are for? Skincare. All this time you have to work on steps. To hydrate. To cream and lather. It’s also a wonderful way to break up the time if you can’t sleep. Or if you wake up frequently.
My three big skincare musts for travel are these: hyaluronic acid, ceramides, a thick cream. Everything else is negotiable. I prefer to talk about ingredients in skincare mostly because ingredients matter so much more than the price or the fancy writing on the bottle. I love ingredients!
Hyaluronic acid I love you. Yes it says acid but it’s not that kind of acid. Our skin is also naturally acidic. It’s our skin but better. Hyaluronic acid plumps the skin. It holds onto water, it’s the opposite of dehydrated. There’s also some interesting research that maybe it can go deeper than thought and actually plump up deeper levels of skin tissue, which is awesome!! Didn’t think you’d get a skincare tip? Well boom! Put this on first. The results can be instant.
Ceramides are another skincare ingredient star. Ceramides are long chain fatty acids that help make up the skin’s moisture barrier. Helping that moisture barrier and protecting it is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Ceramides have shown they can help protect that barrier. Plane air is the driest air, so ceramides love you. You can find these ingredients in heavy creams if you’d like to combine the two, but I like to use these with lighter lotions, essences or ampoules.
Heavy Cream my one non-ingredient item on the list. Although yours may contain Hyaluronic Acid or Ceramides. Just a good thick cream to help keep that moisture barrier happy and keep you from drying out. Use on your neck and hands! This is one I say just use what you enjoy best. Keep slathering throughout the flight.
My current favorite: Innisfree Orchid Encriched Cream
Other beauty items to bring:
sheet mask – My Beauty Diary brand are the thinnest if you’d like to look not sheet mask white
wash off pack – Innisfree capsules are very plane portable
hand cream – public restrooms have the most drying soap even if you don’t usually use one I recommend using one during travel.
samples – If you skin is hardy. If you breakout don’t patch test your face with something new. It’ll just create some embarrassing travel photos.
lip balm – Don’t underestimate the plane dryness getting to your precious lips. If you’re in a pinch put some hyaluronic acid on those puckers.
toilet paper wipes – Because airplane toilet paper is so cheap and is not as hygienic as you can be.
A small make-up kit
Either 30 minutes before I land or on the Narita Express I do my make-up. It’s a pared down version just some moisturizer, bb cream, eyeliner, eyebrow mascara, lipgloss. Nothing too fancy but if I’m meeting friends or such I like to look not completely busted.
So this is a lot of tips and it may suit you to ignore some. You do you Taking care of your health on a plane is so important to your whole trip. I promise if you follow a lot of these you will come out on the other side feeling better. Now I gotta go and start prepping for this, because I’m on a flight in a day.
Sorry an earlier half-finished version came out. I didn’t realize I pressed publish instead of save. This is the final version. Thanks for reading through the full one :hearts3: