"Long flights can either be the best thing ever or the absolute worst," says Heather Greenwood Davis, award-winning travel writer and founder of GlobetrottingMama.com. Davis has learned this during her extensive travels around the world, most recently to long-haul destinations such as the Azores and Hawaii.
Often, she's expected to launch right into a full day of tours and meetings without first heading to a hotel to catch some sleep or even splash some water on her face. So, how does she stay fresh when facing a long flight?
"Sometimes refreshing is also about not losing the freshness to begin with. To that end, I tend to wear very little makeup on the flight and use moisturizer throughout," she says.
Banking executive and business writer Dina Vardouniotis agrees. She travels frequently with her family and for work, where she often exits the airport and heads right into all day meetings.
"Don't wear makeup when you're flying out an early morning flight... having to be at the airport a couple of hours early at best plus flight and travel to your meetings means you'll have half worn out face by the time you see one person that knows who you are." Instead, Vardouniotis brings a mini pouch of makeup essentials in her purse and heads straight to the airport washroom for a fresh application.
Davis agrees, adding that she also brushes her teeth when she lands. Of course, being physically refreshed is only part of it; mental freshness is also very important, particularly if you're heading into an important meeting or heading out onto a press tour.
"At the hotel, sometimes I only have an hour or so before I have to hit the ground running again" says Davis. "I've recently begun to include meditation in my days and a quick guided meditation from either an app or a YouTube video can do wonders in about 20 minutes. It's like a nap for those of us who can't nap."
Ah, the elusive Plane Nap. While many of us try to catch some sleep on an early morning or red-eye flight, the rest of us try to power through with caffeine.
But overdoing it can make for a restless night when you finally land. As well, Vardouniotis knows, "coffee makes for bad breath." Instead, she hydrates with water and carries Excel gum to freshen up just before stepping into a meeting.
Vardouniotis also maximizes the time spent on a long flight to prepare for when she lands. "Don't use the plane ride to chat with a stranger or watch a new movie release," she says. Instead, "go over your notes so that you freshen up on concepts and messages."
If you have to fly overnight with the expectation that you'll be meeting folks within minutes of landing, consider travelling in more comfortable clothes and changing into your more business-like outfit at the airport. Above all, take the time to review your schedule and look for opportunities to take a few minutes to refresh and revive your body and your brain before meeting back up with the real world.
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