How To Stay Healthy When Flying

How To Stay Healthy When Flying

Flying is one of the best inventions ever. Of course, I have to say this! Without air transportation, I wouldn’t be sitting in my Gold Coast Airbnb right now, after making it all the way from NYC to the mesmerizing beaches of Australia.

Still, “Sit back and relax” is somewhat of an oxymoron for me, especially when it comes from a flight attendant. My meditation practice has been able to help me a little, but I have learned additional ways to make the ride as smooth as possible.

If you encounter the same troubles as I used to; not being able to get a minute of sleep, fighting with dry air, skin breakouts, back pain, crazy digestive issues,… then this article is for you!

There’s nothing like the excitement of visiting a new place for the first time. However, that excitement and anticipation can come along with anxiety, stress, and fears.

I took me years to figure out a way to make these experiences less exhausting and stay healthy while moving through time zones and continents.

Here is how I do it!


Eating and drinking

Before the flight

If you are flying early in the morning, eat a light meal high in protein before your flight. I love green smoothies and warm porridge bowls with a little fruit and nutbutter. If you are traveling later in the day, be sure to eat a hearty meal before you fly. I like big salads or macro bowls with roasted veggies before a flight.  Make sure to include healthy fats and lean proteins to keep you full and satisfied and not reaching for the candy aisle.

During the flight


I know, I know. Eating can be one of the few joys on a long flight. It’s so easy to get bored and food is an easy and pleasurable thing to partake in and look forward to. But no matter what I did, whether I brought homemade sandwhiches, oatmeal, salads or macro bowls, I would always end up bloated and constipated. Not a fun experience!

So why don’t use travel time to give your digestion a break? Yes, even on international flights! Our bodies are under a lot of stress in the air and the added food creates that much more work for your body to do.

By fasting you also have one less thing to worry about for the flight. You can focus on other things that bring joy and distraction: sleep, applying a face mask (YAY!), watching a movie, reading or journaling, and listening to your favorite podcast.

The best part? You can treat yourself to a fresh meal as soon as you arrive at your destination.

Staying hydrated

Frist things first: Ask the service crew nicely to refill your water bottle or leave you a big bottle for youself. They will appreciate not having to come down the aisle every 10 minutes to refill your cup!

Drink as much as you can. Drink it even when you are not thirsty. Water is an essential aspect of staying healthy: it helps you concentrate better, balances hunger cues, hydrates skin, and regulates digestion.

I always bring my S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle which keeps both cool and hot drinks at the perfect temperature for 24 hours!

Bring your own herbal tea

I love drinking herbal, non-caffeinated teas while traveling. There is no shame in bringing your own teabags. Peppermint teas for example contain no caffeine, but menthol, which helps to relieve headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Sipping on a cuppa peppermint tea also eases the effects stress and relaxes you.

Get my preferred organic tea fix here: Pukka Peppermint Tea

Cabin humidity and dehydration

Say no to make up

Whether you like it or not, travel time is time to go casual. Both in regards to you outfit and your make up – More so when you are on a long flight and trying to avoid dry skin and big breakouts. Do yourself a favour and make the hours spend on the plane about self-care. A natural, minimalist approach, is what’s best for your skin.

Use a hydrating cream and eye pads

You think this is exaggerated? Wait till you see the difference between you and your travel buddies after an overnight flight. Say good bye to puffiness, redness, and dryness that flying can exasperate.

Using a hydrating cream is a basic travel hack – You should always make sure to have one with you and please, wash your hands before you apply it!

Formulated without parabens, phthalates and other ingredients you don’t want on your skin: Pacifica Dreamy Youth Moisturizing Cream.

It’s definitely not a necessary part of traveling healthy, but one of my favorite self-care tricks. Honest Hazel Cactus Collagen Eye Pads leave me glowing each and every flight!

Mid-way through the flight: Use a face mask

Make your neighbors jealous and whip out a face mask for your flight. Hey, if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for that long, might as well make it worth it!

This is my favorite travel face mask: Joanna Vargas Twilight Face Mask

Get the coco glow: Coconut oil hair bun

I love to lather my hair and skin with coconut oil during travel. It’s easy for skin to get super dry, so it’s a wonderful and natural remedy.

Once I arrive at my destination I hop in the shower and use my favorite organic shampoo to wash and rinse my hair. The effect is incredible! Btw, I recommend to include coco buns in your beauty routine! My hair has never been glowing more and growing faster!

My preferred coconut oil brand is Carrington Farms Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

And I rely on the cruelty-free hair care products Jason

Bring wet wipes

Wet wipes are not just for mom’s anymore! I use them to clean my hands, face, surfaces etc. I also do not quite trust the airplane water, so I always make sure to have organic wipes on hand!

I swear by these wipes with a cleansing and refreshing effect: Tea Tree Cleansing Wipes by Body Shop

Blood circulation and muscle relaxation

Compression Socks

I know, it looks a wee bit silly and little fashionable – but trust me, not only will compression socks keep your feet warm, but help increase circulation, decrease the chances of blood clots and will help your feet from getting super swollen while up in the air.

Compression socks for traveling – Get your hands on them!

Inflight workout

Move your bum! Get out of your seat and walk, squat, stretch. I usually make sure to do so every 30-45 minutes on long flights.

You can set a timer – Just make sure not to interrupt your neighbor’s sleep!

Walk up and down the aisle, raise your arms over your head to stretch your waist. Do a calf stretch against the wall. Grab your foot behind your butt to lengthen the quads.

Did you know airplane yoga is a thing? Yoga with Adriene has a cool video about it.

 Choose the aisle seat

Choosing the aisle seat allows you to get up at your leisure without disturbing your neighbor too much.

If you don’t get lucky and are stuck with the window or middle, don’t have any shame to ask your companions to help you get out.

ALWAYS respect your needs! Self-care comes first.

(Don’t) dress to impress

This is not a runway show. Your style should be just as low maintenance as your makeup! Think yoga pants and lightweight sweaters, which layer easily, don’t wrinkle, and take up minimal space. Dress in grey, as it doesn’t show dirt and goes with everything!

Get some rest

Having a hard time falling asleep? Here are a couple of tips that will make nappingon airplanes easier!

If you can swing them, noise-cancelling headphones will help reduce the constant drones of an airplane engine. They won’t completely mute the screaming baby next to you, but they definitely help me fall asleep better.

Bose makes the highest quality ones around. I don’t know how I ever managed to fall asleep without these babes; Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones – Well, the truth is I didn’t!

 Avoid jet lag

Sleep is key to avoiding a heavy jet lag. I know how hard it is to adjust to new time zones and sleeping schedules. Try your best to adjust your internal clock to your region’s time zone before you even board the flight. This will help make your trip much much easier.

Stay graceful and patient

Staying healthy when you fly starts with being well prepared, but a good attitude is equally important.

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite travel tips?

I am looking forward to your feedback and learning something new!


Jen May

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