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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Travel Tips and Tricks for the Holiday Season

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Fleur, thanks to the Anti-Bride
Photo courtesy of Everythingpanam.com

It’s holiday time and many of you are no doubt traveling quite some distance to see friends and family. Many others will also be traveling for their destination wedding or honeymoon. Whether you like flying or not (and I happen to love it), there are a few simple, easy, but effective measures I encourage to assist you on your way, making it just that bit more comfortable, and also ensuring you don’t arrive looking wrinkled, dirty and exhausted.

I have flown back and forth to the UK in the last few years more times than I have fingers and toes, and the few details I work in to my plan always ensure I have a relaxing and enjoyable flight.


1. Blag it

Some call it gift of the gab, I call it being proactive. This has worked for me in getting an upgrade a few times, so it’s worth a try. Enroll in the frequent flier program before you fly, and at check-in – try to speak to a real person, not a machine – tell them you are a bad, nervous or sick flier. (It’s not lying in my case, it’s a minor extension of the truth.) No airline wants a sick passenger, so the least you should get is your window or aisle preference, and you might just be fortunate enough for an upgrade.

2. Multivitamins

While it may sound obvious, I cannot stress this enough. Jet-lag, dirty hands, airports, airplanes and the overall number of people you are likely to come into contact with en-route, does not make for a happy immune system. Fire it up with Airborne, Emergen-C, or Berocca, (all contain large doses of vitamin C). The trick is to take it consistently, not just once or twice. Drink one three times a day, or every four hours the day before you travel, the day of travel, and the day you land. It might sound like a lot, but in my experience it’s foolproof.

3. Lip balm

The air conditioning on the plane can make your lips dry and crack, so make sure you have ample amounts of this. I carry a small tin of Vaseline or Rosebud Salve from Sephora. Both of these work well for lips, the inside of your nose, your elbows, hands… helpful all-round.

4. Hand Sanitizer

Airports are a germ-breeding ground so this will come in handy if you can’t get to a bathroom easily to wash your hands in the airport or on the plane.

5. Underwear

I don’t want to get too personal here, but do not underestimate the benefits of having a spare pair of underwear and socks. Enough said.

6. Make up and Face Wipes

Your skin can suffer terribly when traveling, so it’s vital you keep your face clean. A small Ziploc bag of face wipes will help to clean and moisturize your face, and are easy to carry. If the entire contents of your make-up bag are too much for the small plastic bag, just go with the necessities. Sample-size products from Clinique or Lancome gift-time are great, the mascaras are perfect, and Bare Escentuals foundation won’t clog your pores. Put on make-up right before you land and keep it simple. Heavy make-up on a tired or blotchy face never looks good. Foundation, a little blush, mascara, your trusty lip balm and you’re good to go. Clean, fresh and natural.

7. Triple-Leaf Relaxing Tea

I swear by this tea and always drink it when I’m flying. Sleeping pills are fine as long as you know you can actually sleep. But if for some reason you can’t, you could end up at your destination feeling drowsy and disorientated. This relaxing tea is all herbal, it will make you feel relaxed and a little sleepy, without any drowsy side-effects. I get mine from my local Asian market where they have a wide variety of teas.

8. Eye mask

Of course it will block out light, but a silk eye mask will also help to avoid redness and puffiness around the eye, and it feels fabulous next to your skin. They have some nice inexpensive ones at Target.

9. Sweatpants, and a Blanket or Hoodie

While you may not want to carry much, I would suggest a warm sweater or blanket, and some light sweatpants. If the air conditioning is low on the plane it can get cold and if you’re not flying international you are not guaranteed a blanket. I have a $20 pair of sweatpants from Old Navy that I only use when I’m traveling, I change into them just before I get on the plane. Sitting in jeans can get uncomfortable after a while, and everything else just gets horribly creased.

10. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

Pricey, but very comfortable and great at blocking out airplane noises. Well worth the investment. Or at least putting on your Christmas list….

Bon Voyage, and Happy Holidays!

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