International travel is all glamour all the time, right? Right?!
WRONG! International travel is rife with grimness. Teeny-tiny seats, crappy snacks and delays can take a toll on the spirit of the most buoyant babe… And that’s not even taking jet-lag into account!
A few interesting facts about jet-lag: it’s worse when flying east; it’s even more unbearable if you’re dehydrated before you even get on the plane; and sleeping during the flight doesn’t actually help you. These facts are a bummer, but there are plenty of ways to defeat jet-lag at its own game!
Be smart on the way over.
As tempting as it is to load up on carbohydrate-heavy foods and knock back a couple of flutes of champagne in-flight, they will only make you feel shitty upon your arrival.
Drink water on the plane. All that circulated air will dry you out like a piece of toast! Often, if you bring your own water bottle, the flight attendants are happy to refill it for you (which also means you can put the lid back on and throw it in your seat pocket, rather than being held hostage by your tray-table). Of course, it helps to have an aisle seat — or a compassionate seat-mate! — when you’re quaffing water like it’s going out of style!
Don’t go crazy on the food, either. You’re just sitting there, not burning up much energy, so it’s more likely that you’ll be tempted to eat out of boredom more than actual hunger. Try to pace yourself if possible.
Try chewing No-Jet-Lag tablets, too: they’re homeopathic and they give great results.
Get as much rest as you need.
The best tactic is always to try to acclimatise to your location as soon as possible. For example, when I get on a plane in London bound for NYC, I immediately set my phone to NYC time. Try to resist having a nap in the middle of the day when you arrive, as it will mess with your body clock even more. Better to stay up for as long as you can, and then hit the sack once the sun goes down.
Upon returning from London on Tuesday night, I dedicated Wednesday to slowly-but-surely getting back into my NYC groove. I woke up at 6am (without an alarm clock), took a shower, did some work, took several walks and had a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. By about 10.30pm I was completely wiped out, and ready to go back to bed. Perfect!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Even if you’re not jet-lagged, loading up on water will take you from average to excellent! Plump up those cells and get ’em singin’ again. Keep a huge glass of water beside you at all times, and refill it regularly. Squeeze a lemon in that blighter for massive benefits.
I like to keep a bottle on my nightstand, too, because there’s nothing worse than stumbling towards the fridge at 2am.
In summary: when in doubt, drink water. Then drink some more!
Eat your greens!
Let me guess: while you were elsewhere, you probably didn’t eat as virtuously as you might have at home. When I travel, my lack of a regular routine means I’m often ravenous, and I tend to eat whatever is easiest or most convenient. Inevitably, I start to hanker for vegetables before long!
Once you land, make a wonderful meal your first priority. No matter whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, raw, kosher or plain ol’ omnivore, fill your body with plenty of vegetables! Try to eat them raw or steamed, rather than fried or covered in sauce! Raw vegetables, as well as being chockablock with nutrients, are extremely high in fibre, which gets your whole body moving again.
Don’t forget to add in some protein and healthy fats. My idea of a perfect first meal is grilled salmon with dark green vegetables, or chicken with quinoa and steamed vegetables. (Actually, that’s my idea of a perfect meal any time.)
To combat the urge to snack on whatever is available while you’re travelling, be sure to stock your handbag with healthy (and delicious) treats. A bag of homemade trail mix, a Kind bar or some fruit will make you feel so much more alive — and give you so much more long-lasting energy — than a bagel and an extra-large coffee!
One of the things that happens to me when I’m away from home for a while is I start to slack on my regular beauty duty. My eyebrows become a little more unkempt, my skin could use a jolly good serum, and my manicure is looking a little worse for wear. So it’s great to spend a bit of time — in between sleeping and drinking plenty of water — just getting back up to speed.
Scrub your entire body with a dry brush before you jump in the shower. Use all the sugar scrubs your poor epidermis can handle (and don’t forget to do your feet), shave any appropriate areas and moisturise your body once you’ve dried off.
When it comes to my face, I like to use a Biore Pore Strip, scrub my face with my Clarisonic, apply a mask (at the moment, I’m loving Tarte Amazonian Clay Double Detox as well as Boscia Luminizing Black Mask) and then a hydrating treatment. Then I spend some time with my tweezers, plucking errant eyebrow hairs.
By the time I’m done, I feel like a brand new woman… And I look like one, too!
Get active once you arrive
Having to sit motionless on a plane for several hours at a stretch is abnormal and afterwards, you feel like the Tin Man (pre-oil can). The only real way to combat this uncomfortable feeling is to move your body with gusto!
Go for a walk or a run or take a restorative yoga class. Lift some weights, have a swim, or hula-hoop in your living room. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something! You will feel so much more human — and so much less cranky! — afterwards.
Melatonin is a girl’s best friend.
If you’re having trouble sleeping once you arrive, pop some melatonin. It will help you nod off quickly, and, unlike traditional sleeping pills, you’ll actually feel rested when you wake up. Perfect.
One caveat: if you use melatonin too much — say, several times a week — you will have the most vivid nightmares of your life. So, you know, use it in moderation!
Get some extra help…
You’d be amazed what a liberal application of self-tanner can achieve! Once I’ve staggered off a plane and spent a day inside, getting back to normal, the prospect of leaving the house to go out and be human again can seem daunting.
An easy beauty formula to follow? Give your face a good scrub. Apply some self-tanner to your face (I love St. Tropez Wash Off Instant Glow Face Lotion). Curl your eyelashes and use an illuminating pencil like Benefit’s Eye Bright along your waterline. Add a bit of blush and some bright lipstick on your kisser, then trot out the door.
Everyone you see will think you are an international playgirl, globe-trotting gamine, intercontinental sweetheart… Not an exhausted, confused, slightly irritable babe with a good face on!
So tell me, what are your tricks to cope with travel?
(Almost) back to normal,
Extra For Experts
Check out these tips from NASA!