Time to Create Your Red Eye Kit

Hi, fellow travelers! It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Between launching my own company for my full-time job (I wish it were travel writing, of course) and planning a wedding, things have been pretty hectic.

Back to the wedding bit, my fiancé is Austrian, so I’m back and forth from central Europe quite a bit. I’ve become a master of red eye travel, even if I can’t sleep very well on a plane. This often leaves me groggy and out of sorts when I finally arrive at my European destination.

I decided to tackle this problem once and for all, so I created my own “red eye kit” to store in my carry-on for my transatlantic flights. They have truly helped to refresh me after a long journey, sending me on my way to a productive day – whether that’s a business meeting or sightseeing.

Here’s what’s inside my red eye kit.

The Bag: Sephora’s “Beauty on the Fly” Bag ($4.95 or free with qualifying travel size purchases).

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This TSA-friendly reusable bag is a must-have. It’s transparent, so it’ll zip through security checks with ease. It holds a lot, but it’s also compact enough to slip into a purse, as well.

Makeup Remover: Neutrogena Travel Size Towelettes ($2.95).

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Before nodding off into sky-high dreamland, make sure to remove your makeup! These travel size towelettes are easy to use and fit nicely in your red eye kit.

The Sleeping Mask: Prices vary.

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Some airlines will give you an inexpensive cloth sleeping mask, or you could purchase it elsewhere. The smaller, lightweight options are easily folded for storage in your red eye kit.

The Moisturizer: Le Mer Moisturizing Cream (Free).

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The skin really dries out from a lot of flying. To prevent it dulling, grab a sample size moisturizer from your favorite department store. The samples are typically small enough to be TSA compliant, and they’ll probably last more than one trip.

The Eye Mask: Sephora Green Tea Eye Mask ($5).

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Before slipping your sleep mask on, place the two patches contained in this eye mask underneath your peepers. The skin under your eyes is very thin, and this mask will deeply moisturize it while you snooze. It makes a huge difference, I promise.

The Sleep Aid: NatureMade Melatonin ($6.99).

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This 3mg all natural sleep aid will send you snoozing in no time. It’s totally safe to use, but just make sure you’ll get at least 6 hours of sleep on the flight or you’ll end up groggy upon arriving at your destination.

The Pain Reliever: Aleve ($6.63).

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There’s probably no worse place to get sick than an airplane. Pack this small bottle of pain reliever in your red eye kit so you’re always prepared for sinus headaches, hangovers and general “airplane flu.”

The Dry Shampoo: Bumble and Bumble “Prêt-à-Powder” ($12).

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When you wake up from your airplane slumber, this mini bottle of wonder powder will surely be a lifesaver! Tackle bedhead (or, in this case, really-small-and-uncomfortable-seat-head) by sprinkling a tiny amount of this dry shampoo into your hand and massaging your scalp with it. It will give you good-as-new hair before deplaning!

The Teeth Cleaners: Toothbrush (prices vary), Miniature Toothpaste (prices vary), Miniature Mouthwash (prices vary) and Flossing Tooth Picks (prices vary).

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Airplane breath is pretty terrible. Get your day started off right, just as you would at home, with a full dental cleaning. Pack a small toothbrush (I’m so serious about this that I even pack my electric toothbrush), mini tube of toothpaste, a travel size mouthwash bottle and even a couple of those floss picks (I find it easier than the typical “spool” style).

The Complexion Pick-Me-Up: Tinted Moisturizer (prices vary).

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Since you probably don’t want to carry a bunch of makeup in your carry-on (and TSA probably won’t let you, anyway), pack a travel size tinted moisturizer. It will give you a little glow, leaving you refreshed after your long flight.

The Spritzer: Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18).

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After applying your tinted moisturizer (or not, if you’re a guy and not into that sort of thing), spray on a little of this miracle product to freshen up your skin. It will give you that dewey glow – the kind that warrants the use of the word “dewey,” I think – that fools folks into thinking you didn’t just get off a flight. The scent is wonderfully calming.

The Breath Freshener – C.O. Bigelow Mentha Shimmer Tint ($7.50).

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This lip moisturizer doubles as a breath freshener. I love it! You can choose one with a tint and shimmer, or just a plain ole moisturizer. Either way, those around you will be glad you put some on.

Finally, a few more things to consider packing in that bag: a pen (to fill out your landing card), socks (since no one really likes wearing shoes on a plane, right?) and sample perfume vials from a department store (just wait until you’re off the plane so as not to suffocate your fellow passengers!).

Hope you enjoyed these tips and consider making your own kit. If you have any other “must have” items, let me know. And I promise I’ll start trying to write again!

Happy trails!







When to Arrive at the Airport

The airport waiting game.

The airport waiting game.

As a former presidential campaign staffer, I spent a lot of time flying. Half of those trips began out at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport- the second busiest airport in the world. While the airport has lots of amenities, arriving at your gate in time for your flight often proves to be a challenge.

That’s why I was fascinated by a theory from Jordan Ellenberg, a mathematics professor and author of How Not To Be Wrong – The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life. Ellenberg (fantastic name, by the way) claims that “if you’ve never missed a flight, you’re not doing it right.” He concludes that “if you consistently arrive at an airport three hours ahead of take-off, then it is true, you may never miss a flight. However, he claims that over the course of a lifetime you will also waste countless hours browsing duty-free shops and snoozing in airport lounges.”

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Anthony Bourdain’s Guide to Traveling Well

Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam (Travel Channel).

Anthony Bourdain in Vietnam (Travel Channel).

On his hit Travel Channel program, “No Reservations,” Anthony Bourdain enjoys some adventurous culinary experiences around the globe – including France, Iceland, New Jersey (!!), Vietnam, Malaysia, Sicily, Las Vegas, Uzbekistan and New Zealand. And that’s just the first season! Along the way, he’s discovered more than just unique cuisine. As he explains in a September 2013 interview with Esquire Magazine, Bourdain has learned how to travel well, from making flying more comfortable to indulging in a bit of luxury upon arrival.

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