Between the routine disruption, free-flowing drinks, overuse of hand sanitizer and dry airplane cabins, staying hydrated while flying is no small feat. But it’s one of the most vital steps to ensure you arrive at your destination feeling fresh and ready to go.
“When at altitude, commercial airliners bring in outside air as part of the normal circulation process,” explains Bob Bacheler, managing director and in-flight nurse at Flying Angels. “One advantage of this is air is exchanged more often than [almost] any other building, making the air safer to breathe from a viral transmission perspective. The downside of this is the lack of humidification, usually around 15% to 20%, which is half of what people find comfortable.”
According to Bacheler, the human body loses about 8 ounces of water per hour on an aircraft at altitude, mostly from breathing. As such, the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) recommends drinking about 0.25 liters (or 8 ounces) of water per hour while on an airplane.
That said, staying hydrated while on a long-haul flight can be tricky — especially if you’re not exactly one to guzzle water in the first place. If you struggle to stay hydrated while flying or simply want to ensure you’re doing everything right by your body, you’ll want to read on.
We spoke to a handful of frequent flyers and nutritionists to get their top tips on how to stay properly hydrated on a long flight without having to shimmy into the aisle to run to the bathroom every couple of hours. These are our favorite, expert-approved tips for making sure you stay properly hydrated on your next flight.
Consider the power of chia seeds
From $6.99 at Amazon
“When we fly, we often bring muffins with chia seeds or try to get our overnight oats through security,” says Erin Kaese, managing editor at Athletic-Minded Traveler. “And if we aren’t bringing the food on the plane, we load up prior to the flight. Chia seeds can absorb thirty times their weight in water, which means body fluid regulation. Travelers can prepare their body for the long flight with a pre-flight meal that is heavy — about 1 tablespoon — on chia seeds.”
Get a good water bottle
From $95 at Amazon
We like the Larq Water Purification Thermal Bottle in particular for a solid travel mug option. The water purification vessel allows you to fill up your bottle wherever you are thanks to the UV light-equipped lid that filters up to 99% of waterborne bacteria and viruses in under three minutes.
Enlist the help of a digital tracker
Free download at Apple and Android
Aqualert specifically will calculate your daily water requirements and send notifications directly to you during the day to keep you on track. It’s free to download, though there are in-app purchases available to enhance the experience.
Turn to tea
$25.15 at Amazon
Consider bringing your own herbal tea bags while flying. They’re TSA-compliant and all you’ll need is a source of boiling water and a good travel mug to keep your tea piping hot. Flight attendants will generally be more than happy to provide hot water and you can even find hot water dispensers at many public drinking fountains in major airports around the country.
Think beyond water
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Packing these foods or grabbing them at the airport can help you stay hydrated when you fly. But pay close attention to the rules regarding where you’re traveling. Specifically, don’t bring any raw fruit or vegetables on international flights, as most countries do not allow the import of foreign produce or seeds.
Multiply your water intake
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Keep your face moisturized
$25 at ASOS
We suggest using the travel-friendly leave-on recovery mask by Lanolips. The Australian-founded beauty company created the Aussie Flyer with long-haul flights in mind. The super-thick face mask is extremely hydrating and the leave-on formula will help to lock in moisture for much longer than a regular mask or face cream.
Don’t forget your eyes
$11.35 $8.95 at Amazon
A hydrating spray is a game-changer
$16 at Amazon
Pack a hand cream
$13.99 $10.52 at Amazon
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