How to Feel and Look Better at 35,000 Feet: 8 Insider Travel Secrets

Everyone knows about safe travels, but comfortable travels? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

These days, everyone travels—and everyone complains about it. But there are some readily available remedies to make your trip easier, more comfortable—and dare I say it?—even more luxurious.

After spending 25 years as a professional travel journalist, here are my tips for how to make a “bon voyage” even better. Everyone already knows about eye shades and noise-reducing headphones—but without these recommendations, you just might ruin your trip.

Here’s a homeopathic product I swear by in my travels: Arnicare. It’s a fact that
much of travel involves sitting, sitting, and more sitting, and my entire body starts
to shut down when it’s not moving. I always bring Arnicare Gel with me to relieve
achy, sore and stiff muscles—the result of too much time spent in seat 23A or in
the backseat of a car. Arnicare—which contains Arnica montana—is quickly
absorbed, unscented, and non-greasy, so you can apply it to your stiff muscles.


Here’s an insider travel secret that the initiated know about: the allure of scented
oils. Simply purchase scented oils, soak some cotton balls in them, zip them up in
separate plastic bags, and stash them in your travel tote. Use cotton balls scented
in sweet orange oil to clean and sanitize your surroundings (including tray tables),
and ones scented with lavender oil to help induce sleep, relieve bug bites,
and remove makeup. Men can even use them as an after-shave. Tote
peppermint-oil cotton balls to help with motion sickness.

Oil-Scented Cotton Balls

Why take a detour on the road to Sveltesville? I never transit the tarmac without
having packed my breakfast/snack of champions—puffed rice cereal, raisins and
powdered nonfat milk, packed in a clear plastic bag. Bring your own plastic spoon
and bowl, pour in the dry ingredients, and just add water for a great snack on
the plane or at your hotel. I also swear by flavored almonds, which have only
about eight calories per nut; some companies even make handy 100-calorie
packets. (Try those made with cinnamon sugar or the smokehouse variety.)
Low-fat cheese wedges on diet bread, fresh fruit and dried fruit are also healthy
choices (and after you land, more slimming options than the hotel mini-bar). And
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love turkey pepperoni, which is a guilt-free
gourmet goodie, no matter where you are in the world. All of these items will
save you from scarfing down high-fat foods at your destination, so you can
indulge without the bulge.

Smart Snacks

Regular water handed out by the flight attendant is oh-so-boring. But if you
bring flavored water packets containing dry powder, you’ll turn a glass of plain
ol’ you-know-what into something wonderful. It will not only taste terrific, but
you’ll keep yourself hydrated on the road.

Flavored Water Packets

Everyone knows how parched your lips get when you spend time on a plane.
By the time you land, your smackers are dying of dehydration. Keep a tube of lip
balm in your pocket as ammunition against the stale dry air. Don’t forget a
moisturizer for your face for radiant results by the time you land. I especially love
scented moisturizers when I travel, as the scent you choose makes your
immediate surroundings more succulent and much more pleasant than the
horrible odor of diesel fuel. I personally love moisturizers in Hawaiian scents such
as mango or plumeria flower, as well as those in chocolate.

Lip Balm and Scented Moisturizer

Use it to cover the travel pillow that you tote in your carry-on. I also always place
my silk or satin pillowcase over the cotton pillowcase in my hotel room or cruise
ship stateroom for sybaritic slumber that’s kinder and gentler to my face and
which obviates wrinkles.

Silk or Satin Pillowcase

It’s an absolute travel necessity, to repair just about anything. Use it to quickly
hem your pants, mend your luggage (as I had to do in Bora Bora once), fix a
broken shoe, or hang a note on your hotel room door. I can tell you this—if you
don’t pack duct tape, chances are you will need it!

Duct Tape

Don’t leave home without a photocopy of your passport or a PDF of it
downloaded to your smart phone. When you get to your destination, stash the
passport in your hotel safe, and take the copy with you when sightseeing or
shopping. Should you lose your passport, at least you will have a photocopy,
which is invaluable.

Photocopy of Your Passport

The Globetrotter's Get-Gorgeous Guide book

For more fabulous travel suggestions, read Debbi’s bestselling bookThe Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide: Diet and Beauty Secrets of Travel and Beauty Pros, Traveling Executives and Celebrity Travelers, the world’s first beauty book for traveling women and #1 on in the “Honeymoon Travel Guide” category. Also check out her beauty/well-being/travel blog at

Debbi is the owner of Maxima Marketing, a marketing communications firm near Boston, and a long-standing member of the Society of American Travel Writers.

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