I feel healthy, have bags of energy and cope with most challenges life throws my way. Except, when I travel. Travelling wrecks me, both physically and emotionally, and leaves me completely out of balance. Air travel is draining and disastrous. Road travel, almost as bad. And don’t even mention boats – feel sea sick just looking at one. Trains are passable - probably, because I can get up and walk about.
I’m not just talking about feeling jet-lagged after a long-distance flight to New York, even a quick hop over to Greece makes me feel and look terrible and a two hour car journey for a weekend away leaves me tight and tetchy. However, exciting the end destination or meaningful the reason for travelling maybe, my mind and body just don’t handle journeys well so I have developed some healthy travel hacks to see me through.
Exercise before you travel
If the timing works with your itinerary, try and fit in a workout before you set off. This way your mind and body will have been challenged and revitalized and not feel so fidgety and confined. I like to go for a run outside, so I can feel the fresh air on my face and get my circulation really moving.
Prepare your skin
Celebrities may look groomed and photo-ready when travelling but trust an ex-beauty editor when she advises you not to apply any make-up before you travel. Everyone is too busy with their own travel schedule and organizing their devices to notice you have skipped the mascara. Focus on hydrating your skin with a serum and nourishing moisturizer before take off and keeps lips petal soft with lots of balm. Let your skin breathe. You can always apply your makeup just before you arrive at your final destination or at the airport while your waiting for your suitcase. Just remember the inflight packing rules – no products bigger than 50ml in a clear, plastic bag. You don’t want your favourite foundation being confiscated.
One of the worse things about travelling is that your normal food and drinks choices are not available. Pack a healthy lunch, stash your bag with healthy snacks and bring along herbal or green tea bags so you can enjoy a relaxing brew rather than that awful airline coffee. I like to drink calming teas and fill up two or three times during the flight.
Pack a large scarf
I always get cold, especially on planes, and now never leave on a trip without packing an out-size large, but not thick, scarf that I can cocoon myself up in. You can wrap it round your neck to prevent draughts from the air conditioning, roll it round and round to make a kind of cushion-pillow, or use it as a blanket to snuggle yourself up in while you try to doze or meditate.
It never smells lovely when a lot of people are cooped up together in close proximity. Bring along a mini flower water spritzer for your face or a lavender essential oil mist (again make sure you are following the baggage rules). You can spray it all over your scarf before you board and then hold your scarf close to your face so you are inhaling relaxing essential oils rather than stale aircraft air.
Chill out & unwind
Inflight movies aren’t for me. I might read for a while, but I prefer to put on ear phones and play some lovely relaxing music or a meditation podcast, and focus in on my breathing. Navigating busy airports or train stations is pretty stressful – sit down, get comfortable and try to unwind.
Be sure to move and drink lots of water
Try to get an aisle seat, so you don’t have to keep disturbing your neighbour every time you want to hop out for a little stretch. The digestive system can get very sluggish when we are travelling or away from the familiarity and comforts of home. Moving around and walking helps as does drinking water. We all know this but still need reminding – another reason for that aisle seat.
Schedule some me-time at your destination
Whether you are now on holiday or about to give an important presentation at a conference, schedule some adjustment time when you reach your destination to help you rebalance. Pack a travel yoga mat for some awakening sun salutations and chest and hip opening poses are great for counterbalancing all the mental and physical stress of long periods spent sitting.