While many people hate flying overnight, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Not because it’s enjoyable, but because it’s necessary to make many of my weekend getaways worth the time and expense. Whether you’re flying overnight on a Friday so you can arrive Saturday morning or taking the red eye straight to the office on Monday, having a few more hours at your destination is totally worth sacrificing a little sleep. Unfortunately, airplane seats aren’t quite conducive to restful sleep and all that time in the sky can dry out your skin and leave you looking like you just came off a bender. Not exactly the professional look you’re going for to start off your week!
If you’re planning to fly overnight, I’ve learned a few tricks for looking fresh right off the plane. Below are my 10 tips to survive an overnight flight in style, but I’d love to hear of any that you use to look good and feel healthy while traveling! So please let me know in the comments if there are any vital tricks I’m missing.
1. Book a window seat. This one might be obvious, but unless you want to wake up accidentally drooling on your seatmate it’s best to snag the window so you can lean against the wall. You also won’t have to wake up every time someone in your row gets up to use the restroom. If no seats are available when you are making selections online, I always ask at the check-in counter upon arrival to the airport. Those “extra space” seats that cost more money are often left empty, and I can usually move into them at check in at no additional cost. Bonus points if the flight’s not fully booked and I can snag a window seat where no one is sitting in the middle!
photo: Nan Palmero/Flickr
2. Put together an in-flight sleep kit, and bring it every time. Falling asleep when you’re uncomfortable is virtually impossible. Arrive prepared by packing a travel pillow, blanket, eye mask and ear plugs so you can completely zone out and not wake up every time a baby cries, your seatmate orders a drink or the pilot makes a routine announcement. It might sound like a lot to carry around, but surprisingly I can fit it all in my lightweight Incase Range Backpack along with a laptop, tablet, phone charger and several other necessities.
3. Eat dinner, brush your teeth and remove make up before boarding. It sounds silly, but following a routine similar to your bedtime at home will trick your body into feeling tired. Plus, you don’t want to board hungry and have to wait up for the attendants to deliver a snack. This isn’t the time to splurge on greasy, unhealthy food. If you want to look refreshed in the morning, I recommend skipping alcohol and refined carbs, and dining on a dish made with fresh vegetables or fruit, and lean protein like chicken. Brushing your teeth and washing your face will help you get into bedtime mode and keep you from waking up with terrible breath and a breakout. Because I don’t like using the public airport restrooms too much, I usually pack Colgate Wisps and facial wipes so I can get ready for bed in my own seat.
4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. It’s a well-known fact that air travel dries out your skin. Immediately after washing your face, you should slather on the moisturizer. Don’t forget to pack lip balm; there’s nothing worse than waking up with chapped lips. My favorite product is Alba Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer, which is lightweight but effective.
5. Don’t drink much water for two hours before you board. I know, I know… this goes against every piece of flight advice you’ve ever heard before. But trust me, having to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night is not going to help you wake up well-rested. Instead of hydrating during the flight, pack a large bottle of water and plan on chugging it as soon as you land.
photo: Leo Newball, Jr./Flickr
6. Dress for both comfort and style. Easier said than done, right? My favorite way to dress for an overnight flight is a comfy jersey dress over a pair of yoga leggings. If I’m going somewhere warm, I can simply take off my leggings when I get there and look instantly put together. Another good option is a pair of loose-fitting silky pants like these that are still chic and appropriate for both the office and touring a new city. Whatever you wear, always pack a change of underwear for the morning!
photo: Le Fashion Image
7. Take a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to control your sleep cycle, and taking it in supplement form will give you the extra sleepiness you need to doze off. I personally prefer to take melatonin over actual “sleeping pills” since those can leave you feeling very groggy. Of course you should talk to your doctor before taking anything since I’m not any type of official expert, but melatonin has been very helpful for me.
8. Beauty routine: dry shampoo + BB cream + red lipstick. In my opinion, these three beauty items are all you need to get off a flight looking fabulous. Dry shampoo will bring limp hair back to life and revive yesterday’s blowout. BB Cream will brighten and smooth your skin tone all at once. And red lipstick is just an instant pick-me-up for your face.
9. Have nuts and a real fruit smoothie or juice for breakfast. As soon as I get off a plane, my eyes are peeled for the nearest healthy eatery. A fruit smoothie helps me feel instantly rehydrated, and nuts give me a much-needed energy boost. If possible, I pack a banana and a KIND bar in my carry on but depending where I’m coming from, that’s not always an option.
10. Coffee and sunglasses. When all else fails, bust out your biggest sunglasses and order an extra shot of espresso in your latte. I’ve confessed before that I rely heavily on coffee, but I can’t deny the fact that it can be a lifesaver.
The other option, of course, would be to toss all these tips out the window and just purchase one of these incredibly luxurious seats on Singapore Airlines. No you’re not seeing a five star hotel – that is on an airplane. Maybe someday, when The Blonde Banana makes the big time, I’ll be flying like this!
photo: c/o Singapore Airlines
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