By Debbi K. Kickham, contributing from GorgeousGlobetrotter.com.
I became a travel writer 25 years ago, when I was an editor at Robb Report, “The Millionaire’s Magazine.” My very first press trip was a first-class affair, on PanAm, to the South of France. Nice work if you can get it, right? But here’s the rub. My very first press dinner with the French tourism authorities lasted four hours. You read that right—four hours. I wanted to dine on something nice, but I also knew that the next day, I still wanted to fit into my size-four clothes. How could I possibly do that when I was offered endless cocktails, rich sauces, fattening starches, and even a cheese course?
On the fly, right then and there I taught myself a strategy for staying svelte when I traveled: Eat one, just one, piece of lightly-buttered bread—along with lots of unbuttered vegetables, a nice big piece of lean protein, no alcohol, and two bites of chocolate dessert—at any meal. That’s it. More importantly, right then and there, at that elaborate dinner, I yearned to find products and tips that could help me through the elaborate minefield that is travel. You see, I wanted not only to stay thin on the road—when most diet-and-exercise routines take their own vacations—but also to discover what other road warriors did to make their travels, especially on airplanes, more comfortable, healthy and even, dare I say it, more luxurious.
The following products are just a few of the goodies I’ve found that can do just that—and that can make or break a trip on any airplane. Something tells me that these items can work to your advantage too.
Ready for take-off? Tote these in your Travelpro carry-on:
1. Scented oils on cotton balls
Lavender oil has always been known to induce sleep, and I’ve even heard that it’s used in European hospitals. When you want to sleep on the plane, and a Benadryl alone won’t do the trick, bring a cotton ball bathed in lavender oil so you can sniff it before you sleep at 35,000 feet. Next, also bring a cotton ball scented with orange oil to wake yourself up; it offers zest after your Zzzz’s. Nothing is more uplifting than the scent of citrus, and it will rev up your engine when the plane touches down. Just pack your cotton balls in separate Ziploc bags, for irresistible aromas that you can inhale and also wipe onto your wrists (especially when you’re surrounded by stale airplane air).
2. Water spritz
Airplane air is so dry that it sucks the moisture out of your face and hair. What I like to do is spray a fine mist onto my face through the flight, to keep my skin supple. Pack a small can of Evian spray, or prepare your own spritz in a two-ounce bottle.
3. Karin Herzog chocolate face cream!
This product is your visa to a vivacious face and it smells just as good as it sounds. Karin Herzog’s face cream is made in Switzerland with real chocolate, and also contains orange, avocado and wheat-germ oils. I adore it and you know who else loves this brand? Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. So, after you spritz your face, seal in the misty water with this luxurious lotion. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman; applying cream to your face (even in the plane’s tiny lavatory) will do wonders towards preventing the aging, dehydrated look of jetlag, and the lingering, luscious chocolate-orange scent will be a pleasure to breathe in. P.S.: chocolate is said to be high in antioxidants.
While you’re at it, all guys and gals need to bring lip balm on the plane to keep their smackers moist. ChapStick just introduced MixStix lip moisturizers that have a different flavor on both ends of the tube, which you can mix and match. There’s green apple/caramel, strawberry/banana smoothie, and lemon/berry sorbet. Keeping your lips hydrated on a plane has never been sweeter.
4. Travel Lite La Fresh antibacterial wipes
When you get on the plane, do not, I repeat, do not touch the tray table and the armrests until you’ve swiped them with some antibacterial wipes, like these ones from Travel Lite. La Fresh antibacterial wipes are individually wrapped and easy to tote in your travel case to keep germs at bay.
5. Flavored water packets
Your local supermarket has a wealth of flavored water packets, which can add zing to plain old bottled water that you receive from the flight attendant. It’s so important to stay hydrated on an airplane, and flavored water is downright delicious.
6. Slimming snacks
Whether you’re going to Bangkok or Bora Bora, you should never get on a plane without healthy snacks, which will keep you satisfied and tide you over until you can eat a healthy meal. Flavored nuts are a great protein-packed option; Blue Diamond just introduced their delicious oven-roasted almonds in the fruity flavors of strawberry, raspberry and blueberry. I’m totally juiced up about them, and each almond only has about eight calories.
Crackers adorned with Laughing Cow cheese wedges (just 35 calories each) will also make taste, not waist. These tempting triangles are totally satisfying and super yummy. They come in several flavors; the Swiss cheese variety has always been a big hit, and the new cheddar is even better.
Fresh fruit is also a great snack option, so bring on the grapes, apples and bananas. My secret travel weapons are Sunsweet cherry-essence dried plums, which weigh in at just 20 calories each, are filled with potassium (and fiber) to keep up my energy, and are devastatingly delicious. They come in a resealable pouch and pack easily in any carry-on.
And if you crave guilt-free, fat-free candy, nothing beats strawberry—or chocolate—Twizzlers licorice, at just 30 calories per piece. (I even took them on a safari to Africa, where they hit the spot after afternoons spent on game runs.) Twizzlers are a treat—that can let you still stay petite.
Honorable mention: Duct tape
My sturdy Samsonite is never without a small roll of travel-sized duct tape that can be purchased from Minimus.biz, where you can find travel-sized pretty-much-anything. When you’re away from home, duct tape can repair just about any problem—from your luggage falling apart, to a ripped seam, to a broken heel on your shoe. It can solve plenty of headaches, and is a terrific troubleshooter.
Lastly, here’s one more thing that you should always travel with: a sense of humor. It packs easily, zips through Customs and is your passport to the best trip ever—even if you do wind up with jetlag. Laughing and making light of any travel situation makes every trip first-class—especially if you travel in coach.
For more fabulous travel suggestions, check out Debbi’s bestselling book, “The Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide: Diet and Beauty Secrets of Travel and Beauty Pros, Traveling Executives and Celebrity Travelers,” which is the world’s first beauty book for traveling women. Check out her website GorgeousGlobetrotter.com and her beauty/well-being/travel blog here. Debbi is also the owner of a marketing communications firm near Boston, called Maxima Marketing. She is a long-standing member of the Society of American Travel Writers, and also writes a legal blog.