When we asked our favorite travel experts how they balance work and travel, we got so many great answers that we turned it into a three-part series covering how to stay productive, how to have fun on business trips, and, in this article, how to stay healthy while traveling. Because if you’re feeling lousy, nothing else about your trip will matter.
If you’ve ever had the urge to sleep for two days straight after returning from a trip, you know that travel can take a toll. The stress. The change of routine. The heavy eating schedule at hours your body isn’t used to. It all adds up, especially if you’re on the road all the time for work. So how can you beat the burnout? We asked the experts — frequent fliers, business travelers, nomadic freelancers — for their best tips on practicing self-care before, after, and during trips.
I get dry on flights and in mountain towns. I use The Lost Explorer Travel Balm to combat dry skin and try to stay hydrated. I bring a metal water bottle on flights and ask attendants to refill it, so I end up drinking more water and using less plastic. I have this weird idea that I should order something, usually coffee, simply because they ask and it’s free, this the water bottle lets me do that without adding to the waste count. – Darrell Hartman, co-founder, Jungles in Paris
I’m obsessed with Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, which knocks you out cold. Working in Italy involves meetings with suppliers and clients almost always over a good meal. To stay balanced, I walk as much as possible as early as possible in the morning. At dawn, Rome is a city of locals — even the Spanish Steps are empty. – Emily FitzRoy, founder, Bellini Travel
Before: I try to complete as much as possible so work doesn’t distract from the trip. During: I set aside specific hours for contact with the office and let everyone know ahead of time. If I have a busy schedule, I’ll pick out a restaurant or two and treat myself. I’ll try to find one that is frequented more by locals so I can get a real feel for the food and culture. After: If it’s a long trip, I’ll arrive home a day before I need to be back in the office so I can adjust my body to the new time zone and catch up on emails. – Mitchell Hochberg, President, Lightstone
Two recent discoveries to make long flights less painful. 1) Wear compression socks, even if you’re young and fit. 2) Skip the alcohol and have a couple of rehydrating tablets, which you can buy from a pharmacy, and you’ll land fresh as a cucumber. Skin hydration is also key: I use Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask as a day cream while flying and always have Nuxe dry oil with me for my body. – Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer, Silversea Cruises
First off is battling jet lag. When I fly overnight on a flight that’s less than nine hours, I change my watch to my destination’s time zone the minute I get on the plane and live that time zone. I don’t eat on the flight. I don’t even look at the movie selection. I change into pajamas, drink herbal tea, and put on my Bose noise-cancelling headphones. I wake up one hour before landing, freshen up, shave, and change into my work clothes. – Jack Ezon, founder, Embark
I use the free app Insight Timer, which offers a ton of guided and timed meditations. Closing my eyes for a few minutes to the sound of Tibetan singing bowls does wonders when I want to catch my breath in between a packed itinerary. – Natasha Lee, photographer
Exercise when you get to your destination or when you come home. It will reset your body quicker and increase your odds of staying healthy. Even if it is just a 20-30 minute walk, you will thank yourself for getting your blood flowing. – Kevin Rutherford, CEO, Nuun
In addition to the golden rules of drinking tons of water and trying to get as much sleep as a busy schedule allows, I stay healthy by not getting sick in the first place. This usually means wearing extra sweaters to stay warm on always-frigid flights (even in August), not drinking for two hours before bedtime, avoiding food that’s heavier than what I’m used to, and popping an Advil the moment I feel less than 100 percent. — Pavia, CEO, Fathom
I’m a huge fan of daily Pilates, which keeps me strong, flexible, and helps me focus on work and recover after long flights. When I travel, I try to find fitness studios to keep that momentum going. I also have a strict skincare regime, which helps me feel normal and refreshed wherever I am. I love Sunday Riley’s Sleeping Night Oil for combating sun damage, and Drunk Elephant’s Shaba Complex Eye Serum for de-puffing and hydrating tired eyes. I’m a long time user of La Mer’s Moisturizing Soft Cream. I also love Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask for instant hydration on the plane. – Rhiannon Taylor, photographer and founder, In Bed With
Fitness is really important to me, but when I’m traveling, sleep is more important. I swear by melatonin to help me sleep when I’m supposed to be sleeping no matter which time zone I’m in. – Alyssa Coscarelli, freelance writer and consultant
I have a twenty-minute yoga and stretch routine I do when I travel and I use the gym if there is one. On safari, I go on as many walks and hikes and outdoor activities as possible. It’s easy to overeat since the food is always so delicious, so I make a point of always asking for fruit instead of cake. – Elizabeth Gordon, co-founder and CEO, Extraordinary Journeys
I use Nuun’s Immunity hydration tablets to give my body what it needs and stay hydrated throughout flights. I always travel with Rescue Skin moisturizer and serum to help combat the dry in-cabin air. These come in single-serve packets that are perfect for travel. – Karl Backlund, owner, Marchay
Two things I always use when traveling.1. My Peloton app for yoga, meditation, and stretching classes. 2. A little pouch of travel-specific, self-care products for relaxation, refreshing, and moisturizing: herbal tea bags (always ask for hot water and use these on the plane), refillable water bottle, mini size of Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator (super moisturizing face mist), mini size of Follain x Organic Bath Co body butter, hand sanitizer mist, Follain x French Girl Eye Opening Rose Oil, CBD oil tincture, liquid chlorophyll to add to water, and Cocokind MyMatcha Moisture Stick. – Tara Foley, founder, Follain
More Tips on Balancing Work and Travel
We Asked the Pros: How Can I Stay Productive While Traveling?
We Asked the Pros: How Can I Have Fun on Business Trips?