Traveling can take a real toll on your body and health. After all, sharing a pressurized cabin with strangers for hours on end means germs are rife, communal bathrooms can be hotbeds for bacteria, and jet lag can mess with your circadian rhythm, which compromises your immune system. It's little wonder why so many people get sick after traveling.
I've certainly had my fair share of post-travel coughs and colds, but after spending about 203 hours on airplanes last year, I think I've cracked the code to staying healthy midair. I'm not a doctor or nutrition expert; I'm just a travel editor who flies a lot for work and regularly experiments with the latest vitamins, beauty products, and travel gadgets. After spending hours in the air, I've finally got my routine down pat. Here's what I use every time I travel.
Getting a good night's sleep is so important to arrive at your destination feeling rested and resorted, but sometimes I need a little help dozing off. These natural melatonin pills give me the nudge I need.
Thinking about the germs on planes is enough to make you sick. Microbiologists hired by Travelmath found that seat-back trays harbor an average of 2155 colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch. I use hand sanitizer before and after eating on planes, and this mini product from Byredo makes the basic task feel a bit more luxe.
Dry cabin air and salty plane food can lead to dehydration mid-flight. According to Yasmin Badiani, physiotherapist and head of Phizz Sport, people lose as much as half a gallon of bodily water on the average 10-hour flight. The bottom line: Stay hydrated. Even though it's cumbersome, I always pack a S'well water bottle on long flights so I don't have to rely on flight attendants to refill my glass.
Probiotics help regulate "good" bacteria and your immune system. I'm dying to try Care/Of's new Pocket Productor pack, which contains five sticks of melt-in-your-mouth flavored powder. It's basically a quick immune boost that doesn't involve water or pills. Genius.
It's impossible to know often carriers wash and clean their in-flight blankets and pillows, so I prefer to pack this kit. The merino wool throw keeps me nice and warm when the cabin temperature drops, and the soft bag doubles as a pillowcase.
One of the first signs of dehydration is a dry mouth and lips, so I keep Lano's 101 Superbalm on hand. It's really dense and made from lanolin, which closely resembles your own skin oils.
Getting a few hours' sleep is essential on a long-haul flight, so I always pack good-quality earplugs to muffle engine noise. I wear them with B&O headphones over the top and play storm sounds on the app Rain Rain. It's bliss.
The juices and sodas they hand out from the drinks cart are so high in sugar, which can cause a blood sugar spike and make it difficult to rest. Sometimes I pack a few bags of chamomile tea and ask for a cup of hot water.
These handy deodorant wipes were created for the gym, but they're also great for freshening up on long-haul flights. The formula is aluminum-free, removes sweat, conditions skin, and prevents future odor.
Next up: A travel editor shares her go-to flight outfit.