Long trips and the human body don’t always get along. Whether you’re charting a long-haul flight to South America or packing into a crowded train in India, the mixture of dehydration, heat, and sedentary stasis can do a number on your sense of freshness.
Primarily, the “icky” feeling of travel is physiological – your body isn’t used to being in such an environment for an extended period and behaves in all sorts of strange ways. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent that gross feeling so you can hit your destination looking and feeling like a million bucks (or whatever the local currency is!).
Here are four tried-and-true ways to stay fresh on long trips.
Wear Merino Wool Clothing
How your body interacts with particular clothing can determine how fresh or foul you feel. For instance, cotton clothing does a poor job wicking sweat, and polyester isn’t very breathable. In either case, you wind up feeling sticky, sweaty, and generally uncomfortable.
But there’s one wonder material that’s practically tailor-made for long trips: merino wool. Unlike other, scratchier forms of wool, merino is soft and tightly fibred. It breathes incredibly well and wicks sweat from your body to keep you dry.
Most importantly, merino wool is antibacterial. The foul smell you associate with body odor is actually the presence of bacteria hitching a ride on your sweat. Antibacterial fabrics like merino wool resist this odor-causing bacteria, keeping you smelling fresh. Pack a pair of merino wool socks, underwear, and maybe a compact travel hoodie in case the plane gets chilly (don’t worry: merino’s also insulating).
Weird things happen when you don’t get enough water. Your skin revolts, potentially breaking out into the dreaded “airplane acne.” You might start feeling itchy. And your face may appear paler and patchier.
Airplanes especially are notoriously dehydrative environments. If you’re keen on understanding the mechanisms behind this phenomenon, check out this Lonely Planet article.
Luckily, you can avoid the dehydrating effects of travel by overcompensating with your liquid intake. Drink plenty of water (more than you think you need). And mix things up with electrolyte drinks like sports drinks or coconut water.
Pack Wipes, Cleanser and Mouthwash
Even with the right clothes and a strict hydration regimen, you may still notice a decline in freshness after lengthy travel. For those occasions, carry a pack of on-the-go pick-me-ups. Deodorant wipes work well to pick up residual sweat and bacteria from your skin. A facial cleanser rids your face of clogged pores. And mouthwash kills the bad breath-causing bacteria lingering in your mouth (which can proliferate when you keep your mouth closed for long periods).
Kick Back, Relax and Rest
The last bit of advice is simple: relax. Stress is a leading cause of freshness-related issues, as is a disrupted sleep schedule. Therefore, to reach your destination feeling 100%, try to turn your thoughts off and get some shut-eye.
If you want to look and feel fantastic when you reach your destination, follow these simple steps. Even if you don’t plan on travelling soon, employ these tips in your everyday life to give yourself a freshness boost.