Stay Fresh While Flying | Thriving While Traveling Long-Haul
London. Vancouver. Melbourne. Sydney. Brisbane. Townsville. Auckland. Queenstown. Bali. Maui. Hong Kong. Back to Bali… Cities I’ve traveled by plane between since October (and not in a way that makes logical sense, that’s for sure). It’s been… A LOT, even though airports are among my favourite places on this physical plane. We can’t help but be in all the grit of our humanness in airports — emotional farewells and ecstatic reunions, hanger rearing its head, tiredness, tested patience… it’s a space we’re all acting out our inner children, and I love the truth of it. That said, the raw can be confronting — so I’ve collated a list of tools and practices that keep me grounded while flying high, and soothed throughout the transition of travel.
Departure + Arrival As Sacred
I’m a sucker for take off and landing in a plane feeling ceremonial and intentional — it’s so easy to take the magic of air travel for granted in this day and age, so having certain songs to ‘anchor’ me in to the experience and not dissociate from it is crucial. It gives me the sacred pause I need to be present with what I’m letting go and leaving behind upon take off, and appreciation for what is to come. So, upon hustling to your seat or pre-empting the scurry back to reality post-flight, chill the f out, pop your phone on airplane mode, play a tune that connects you to the moment and BE IN IT.
My all-time favourite take off and landing songs are:
The Wolves by Ben Howard
Sleep On The Floor by The Lumineers (as I typed this, it literally came on at the cafe I’m at!)
At The River by Groove Armada
Feeling Good by Avicii
When I’m flying, I’m not one for watching films (unless it’s Bohemian Rhapsody or Interstellar, both of which I’ve watched twice each on long flights, coz immersive genius) because I’d rather use the time as a way to connect to my creativity and write, be introspective and breathe or deeply rest. Music is the carrier of cultivating a vibe for a certain experience, for sure, so don’t underestimate the power of your playlist. My playlist below is created for calming travel anxiety and welcoming reflection.
Earbuds + Eye Mask
If music ain’t your thing, ear buds or noise cancelling headphones are a MUST for thriving long haul travel. Those engines get real loud real quick, and for any fellow misophoniacs like me, you’ll wanna shut that shit out. Cheap earbuds do the trick, but if you’re flashy, I recommend Bose’s headphones and finding an eye mask to filter out distracting light changes in the flight. I recently purchased Saje’s shut eye mask which has lavender infused… Winner!
Well, duh — vetiver and cedarwood on the soles of my feet to earth me when I’m high in the sky, Console (Doterra blend for soothing) on my chest (seriously, this is the smell of safety) and lavender on my temples. I carry the 5-10ml bottles in a ziplock bag so going through security is a breeze. If you’re wanting restful travels, be mindful of using high energy essential oils like citrus based ones, or peppermint! That signals my brain to focus and alertness which is not what I’m going for..
Probiotics, Vitamin C + Green Powder
I unfortunately can’t recommend any brands because I’m not a genius in terms of supplementation, but as far as I view it, the placebo effect is pretty darn strong, so whatever single use packets I find at Wholefoods are good enough for me. Keep the immune system high and down 5000mg of Vitamin C to protect yourself from catching a cheeky cold, stir in a few servings of supergreens powder in your drink bottle to get your greens in, and take probiotics and or digestive enzymes to support your gut function. Like I said, I ain’t no health nerd, but for the sake of sharing, here’s what I’ve used before and been stoked on the result: Total Gut Health Pack by Onnit and EmergenC single use packets. Do your research, copycat, and feel into what your body needs.
Hot water is free, yo! Use it. BYO keep cup and have a handful of tea bags in your carry on to sip throughout your travels. I love chamomile and valerian root. This brand is my all time fave — vanilla is so the best flava out there, kids.
That pesky airport and plane air conditioning will suck you dry of skin hydration. I always have some pure organic rosehip oil in a little tester bottle that I refill before a flight (gotta consider the liquid restrictions for carry on) that I apply before + after a flight and also during. Just turn the tap on warm water and splash your face, pat dry with paper towel and apply 2-3 drops by pressing in to the skin for hydration. (If rosehip doesn’t work for you, don’t use it — olive oil is also great, or a high quality natural moisturiser. You do you, boo).
Nothing worse than being chilly on a plane. I always pack a pair of thick fluffy socks in my carry on backpack for when my toes get icy!
OK, so the next two tips are contradictory, but all of my favourite humans are paradoxical creatures so stick it out with me. My #1 tip to smooth, easy and feel good travel where you feel stellar upon landing (I am proof of not experiencing jet lag, and I owe it to this tip) DO NOT EAT THE FUCKING PLANE FOOD! Airport food is also notoriously shitty. Our digestive systems need time to recalibrate, renew and regenerate, which mostly happens while we sleep because we spend our whole day munching calories, which takes a lot of our bodies energy to do (rather than healing). Fasting on flights keeps me feeling light, avoiding any discomfort like bloating or firing up food sensitivities that suck all that energy I can use to land in my new location with joy and good feels. If going without food for 12-24 hours freaks you out, see my other tip below for emergency… but I do encourage and invite you to sit out mealtimes on planes purely for an experiment to see how you feel differently.
Pack your carryon with a takeout or pre-home-made salad to get your nutrients in before boarding, and attempt fasting for your flight… but if you’re a hungry monster, opt for good fats like brazil nuts, date-free bars (my favourites are from Bulletproof and Hornby) and cucumber and carrot sticks (hello hydration through food!).
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
I’ve just landed in Bali from Vancouver (a total of 19 hours fly time, not inc. long security lines and layovers…) and I gotta tell ya: wearing my new blue light blocking glasses made a MASSIVE difference in my ability to snooze on the plane. I’ve been a lifelong insomniac, so falling asleep on planes has always been a tricky one for me so this fact THRILLS ME. You can find blue light blocking glasses everywhere online (i bought mine in Vancouver here) and they filter out the artificial and blue light from the world around you. Make sure your phone and laptop screens are switched to nightshift mode the whole time you travel to support your brainwaves to be in a calmer state, and experiment with wearing blue light blocking glasses. I had mine on the entire time in the airport under the fluorescent lights and also on the plane, and can contribute my anxiety-free experience to this, for sure.
Would love to know if you try any of these with success, and tell me in the comments below your favourite ways to support an ease-filled travel experience!
Here’s to thriving, not just surviving,