My life is a serious case of wanderlust. I fly for work two weeks out of three, and then when I have a holiday, a few days off, or even a weekend, I fly again: to discover the world. In my head, I try to punctuate all this flying with rest and some basic recovery. In practice, tough, I think about every of these trips separately and every one of them seems productive (for work) or fantastic (for discovery missions). So I sometimes find myself in situations when I have back-to-back flights to Singapore for 4 days, then back to Paris for 5 hours, then directly to Seattle for 3 days and then back to Paris again, still thinking whether I should change my ticket and stop by New York to spend a weekend with my best friend. (True story.)
How do I deal with all this flying and manage to live a relatively normal life and to look relatively ok (I would like to think)? Some of you asked me this and so I am sharing some hard-won wisdom. I literally never write about beauty and health tips, so leave me a sign in comments, even such simple as +, for me to know that you are interested in the topic.
So, my few tips:
1. Travel light and pack smart. I fly with a hand luggage for all my trips up to a week. Unless I am going for some snowboarding and carefully tucking in my board, or going on a fantastic multi-climate escapade like Singapore-Seattle, I only take a small luggage that every normal airline would allow on board. I pack stuff that goes well in several possible combinations, one pair of high heels, sneakers to hit the gym, and that is usually enough for any week. It might seem tough (it used to seem tough for me back in the days when I was checking in 25 kg going for a weekend in Rome). But it is perfectly manageable and saves you at least 25 min per travel for checking in and picking up the luggage. Which is, for me, 50 min a week, 150 min (2.5 hours) a month and 30 hours a year. 30h a of waiting at the conveyer belt!
2. Take your fundamentals with you. I have a double of all the cosmetics I normally use and keep them in a transparent cosmetics bag, including my usual shampoo and conditioner in 100 ml bottles, which I usually buy at Sephora at 1 EUR. The transparent cosmetics bag keeps the security officers at bay in all the world’s airports except Germany. In Germany I have to take my stuff from the plastic cosmetics bag and put it to a regular plastic bag. Fine. I don’t fly to Germany so often any more anyway.
3. Stop ruining your back – and your shoulder bags, too. For years, I was looking for big bags that would fit a PC and still look fancy. I would then load these bags as much as I could and carry them on my shoulder, smiling effortlessly at the air hostess while boarding the plane. Like, I only have 10 kilos there, feather! When I finally found the ultimate big bag (which is Bottega Veneta Tote, for all you obsessed fashion people out there), I started feeling sorry for it. Hand bags wear off when you use them to transport lots of stuff, even big ones. So do shoulders. Now I am travelling with a (leather) backpack and I am loving it. My back has never felt better. And it looks good, too.
4. Keep the water balance. Plane air dries your skin. Like, a lot. So do coffee and alcohol, which are always served on most of the flights, for free. It is essential to keep the water balance when you travel. I drink a lot of water, and limit coffee and alcohol. The latter is generally a good idea but I especially look after it on my trips because coffee and alcohol tend to keep me up at night. It is somehow very easy to consume both when you travel (and they are offered), so I really control it now. My bar is at 1 glass of wine and 2-3 cups of coffee before 4 p.m. It is reasonable and it is doable. Not only I sleep better, my skin feels better, too.
5. Make up for it. However, it would be a bit misleading for me to say that drinking water and cutting on coffee and wine is enough to keep your skin good. I make up for my travels, systematically. My favorite products are these (I can’t believe I am writing this post):
- Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask Cell Renew by Missha (that’s Korean stuff)
- Snail Hydro-Gel Mask by Missha by Missha
- Klorane’s Eye Patches (French)
- Revital Retina Science AA Patches by Shiseido (Japanese).
The last two are basically the same product in two versions and both leave the eye area in a much better shape, but Shiseido is much more powerful (and costs 70 EUR instead of 10 EUR for Klorane).
6. Pack a pair of sneakers. I sometimes go to gym when I travel and sometimes do a series of Ballet Beautiful exercises, which I recorded in a sequence that makes sense to me, in my hotel room. I don’t do it very often, but sometimes is better than never and a pair of sneakers and sport shorts don’t take that much space.
7. Catch up with your time zone. I have no jet-lag problems when flying to the West but East gets me. I learnt from air hostesses to take melatonin, which helps to tune your body clocks to the light cycle (and in France is sold without prescription).
8. Try to prioritize sleep over fun, at least sometimes. That one is hard for me. There are so many better things than sleep on my discovery missions, really. I have so few days to travel for fun, I so much look forward to them that sleeping feels counter-intuitive. The same is true for my work trips. They are usually so packed with meetings, events and, often, friends too, that sleeping seems the last choice. But try it. You might get a different perspective and then balance it with all the other great and useful things, like I do.
9. Watch what you eat. That’s usually a difficult one for everyone. Usually people give themselves some slack when they travel, and it is usually ok. Unless you travel two thirds of your time, then slack becomes a lifestyle. And it is not exactly what you want. It is not a diet post, so I would just say that personally, I feel better when I don’t eat sugar – in my trips as well. I try to stick with this, and it works. However, there are days – for example when I travel non-stop for 3-4 weeks and still have to stay super productive, sharp and otherwise a hero, and then I give in to the promise of a quick energy win that sugar offers. It usually works but I feel worse the next day and go back to my sugar-free roots.
10. You can’t give what you don’t have. It is true for many things in life but especially for energy. You can’t be motivating, productive and inspiring at work if your energy level is at zero. Weekends when you can’t get out of bed because you are so tired are not worth even the most useful work weeks. So you need to balance, even when balance is not your first option. You need to get enough of sleep, eat right, exercise and look after yourself when all you want is to go out there, be productive and conquer the world. In fact, especially if you want to be productive and conquer the world.
Happy flying! What’s your tips?