I always pass on airplane food. Aside from some meals being prepared in unsanitary conditions, the food is bland, full of sodium, and not all that nutritious. Let's be honest, they are feeding you a lot of empty calories. Instead make sure that the meals you consume pre-flight are nutrient rich, (packed with a high percentage of vitamins and minerals per calorie), protein heavy, and full of fatty acids. This kind of meal keep you full and satisfied, but also the omega-3 fatty acids will help to keep skin from drying out onboard. Grilled fish and dark green vegetables, with a side of olive oiled avocado is my typical pre-flight meal. If you eat meat, a lean protein such as a small skinless chicken breast would be a good substitute. Insider tip: Flight attendants pack their own food. This should tell you something!
3 hours to go: Pack Snacks
Packing snacks high in protein and fiber will keep you sated until you reach your destination and can get your hands on a proper balanced meal. Almond butter, which falls under the high protein and fiber category, is also high in calcium and iron. You can pack a small container to spread on celery or my favorite seven-grain bread. Cooked whole grain pasta is also a good option to bring on board. You can choose your own accoutrements such as grated cheese, olives, peas or sautéed mushrooms. Pack separately, combined when ready and enjoy your own pasta salad to the envy of your neighbors. On a return flight you don’t typically have the ability to make your snacks so instead, stock up on raw unsalted nuts or trail mix and grab some fruit such a banana or apple at the airport before takeoff.
2 hours to go: Get Ready for Bed
If you are going to be on a plane for more than 8 hours, hop in the shower before leaving home. Be sure to slather on organic body oil to seal in moisture and make your skin feel soft and supple in preparation for plane dehydration (this oil goes in my hair and on my face as well). Dress in comfortable yet chic clothes like loose linen pants and a plush sweater or a cotton t-shirt, and grab a cashmere scarf that can double as a blanket. I never wear makeup to the airport, but if you can't stand the thought of this, you should hightail it to the airplane bathroom once on board. Wash your face using your travel size face oil and your skin will be happy throughout the flight. If you are in business class, you might run into a celebrity, as this is part of most of their beauty regimens.
1 hour to go: Cup ‘o Tea Love?
My nightly bedtime routine does not involve a cup of tea unless it is a very cold winter night. Therefore before flying it helps me to settle into a different rhythm. Traveling with your own tea bags ensures that you will have the flavor and natural sedative effects that you need to wind down from a busy, stress-filled day. Chamomile or valerian are my go-to flavors and they taste yummy without milk or sugar, both of which are going to aggravate your mucous membrane and lead to further dehydration. If these flavors don’t appeal to you by themselves, there are plenty of companies that make bedtime teas with complementing spices. Most coffee shops or flight attendants will be happy to offer you a cup of hot water.
By consciously constructing this pre-travel wellness routine, I know that if nothing else, I will feel better, less stressed and less affected by jet lag when I arrive at my destination. Trust me, I’ve been doing this for years and have seen the results to prove it. - Linden Schaffer