If you’ve ever flown during the holiday season you’ll know how frustrating and packed the airports are. You’ll also know how expensive flights are. It’s no surprise that many people will have to get on a red-eye to reach their destination when traveling between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
If you find yourself having to take a red eye, there are a few things that will make the trip a bit easier. Take it from someone who has survived many international flights and red eyes.
- You will not get adequate rest no matter how much you try, so manage your expectations and shift them to getting the best out of the situation as you can. Don’t expend all your energy at once at the beginning of the trip.
- Don’t plan on simply staying up through the flight by loading up on caffeine. Keep your routine similar in structure as you would if you weren’t traveling. It may be unpleasant, but it won’t jolt your body as harshly when it’s already under a lot of stress. Stop eating when you regularly would and even if you can’t sleep, keep your eyes closed and try to emulate sleep as much as you can.
- Stay hydrated with WATER before the flight. You don’t need caffeine right now for a variety of reasons. Keeping hydrated with water is your best option. Stop drinking fluids an hour-2 hours before you plan on going to sleep, or keep the fluid intake to a minimum and keep it at room temperature (no ice).
- Keep yourself as cozy as possible. If you know that you’ll have to survive the night with little possibility of rest,at the very least keep your body and yourself warm and cozy to make yourself more relaxed. Pack a pair of warm fuzzy socks so you can take off your shoes during the flight and pack a large, warm scarf that your can wrap around yourself and use as a blanket.
- Forget about your usual makeup routine. Seriously, it’ll just make you feel grumpier when you noticed things drying up, flaking and smudging. Instead, moisturize well with a thick moisturizer or a beauty oil that you can leave on the skin like a mask. Dab on plenty of Vaseline on your lips and UNDER your eyes to keep the delicate eye area moisturized.
- Wear an ensemble as close to a pajama set as you can get away with in public. Once again, the less stressed your body feels, the less stressed you’ll feel, and the less grumpy fights and frazzled talks you’ll have to undergo.
- Make sure to have an accessible pouch stashed away in your front seat pocket containing: toothbrush and small toothpaste OR mouthwash (don’t overburden yourself with both), hand cream, small container of Vaseline, small blush with mirror and a travel tube of mascara, comb or travel brush.
- Bring a soothing, calming tea with you. Airlines usually only stock with caffeinated tea options for the drink service, so it’s useful to have a good high quality tea that you can sip before resting your eyes. I love Mariage Frères teas or Kusmi.
- Pack an eye mask. Make it a nice, soft, soothing eye mask that will force you to keep your eyes closed and rested.
- Load your iPod or iPhone with soothing classical music or sound-scapes that will relax you.
- Don’t make things harder on yourself when you arrive. If you have the option of taking a car to your destination vs. public transportation, choose the taxi, especially if your flight arrives early morning before rush hour or early morning on a weekend. You’ll be tired, no matter how much care you took. This is when spending a few extra dollars for a peace of mind is extremely worth it.
- Do whatever you can to avoid connections!! You might save $50 by option for a connection mid-flight, but you’ll be sacrificing more next day when you decide you won’t be able to enjoy your destination as much because you’re dead tired.
- When choosing a seat, opt for the window. It gives you an extra surface to lean on and doze off if you need it. Ideally you’ll be asleep anyway so you won’t have to get up to go to the bathroom throughout the flight.
- If you’re a light sleeper and know you’ll need an extra nudge, take a melatonin 30-45 minutes prior to when you plan on dozing off. Make sure to set your alarm so you can wake up before the plane lands and get extra time to prep.
- When on an international red-eye or a flight that changes time zones, try to adapt to the new time zone best you can. Start functioning as if you’ve arrived already!