Red Eye Survival Guide.


Ah, the red eye flight. My best friend and my worst enemy. My best friend because if I’m out on the West Coast, it means I can have a full day of fun before flying back… my worst enemy because well, 5:30am arrivals into JFK are not the most fun thing in the world, nor is the day of work that comes afterward.

Fear not: I’ve flown more than my fair share of red eye flights, so I thought it would be fun to rehash the gory details + compile all of my red eye survival guide tips and tricks for you today.

The first and most important thing I can tell you is this. Don’t check your bag unless it is completely unavoidable. There is nothing worse than waiting in the airport for your bag after an overnight flight. Nothing. It’s terrible. I like to be off the plane, and into a cab, napping in the cab, and into my bed for an hour or two before work. You’ll save time and sneak right past everyone else in line for a cab as they wait in baggage claim.

Prior to the airport.

I treat myself as if I am preparing for the beauty sleep of my life. I take a long, luxurious shower (or a bath if I am able to.) And I moisturize like crazy. I love Rahua’s travel beauty products and love to apply a layer of their Amazon Oil to my body and then a layer of their body lotion on top of that. {Sidebar: if you are looking for a good travel beauty kit, this one is for you… it has all my fave natural brands in the cutest pouch!} Flying is super drying to your skin, so proper moisturizing is key. On my face I apply Tata Harper’s serum and moisturizer. {I love this travel kit as it has all my Tata faves!} I wash my hair and apply a leave-in conditioner and throw my hair into a braid at the base of my neck for fuss-free hair that will turn into loose waves by the time I wake up the next day..

What to wear.

Lucky for us Street Fleece is “in” right now, so I always wear comfy leggings or joggers, a cozy tee or silky tank, and a long-ish cashmere sweater. Socks and sneakers on my feet, and my trusty cashmere wrap. Yes, all that cashmere may seem excessive but on the red eye, comfort is key and these pieces will keep you warm and cozy (and the wrap can double as a blanket in a pinch… there were no blankets on the plane on my way back from Portland… sadz.)

Pre take-off.

Once I’m through security and waiting for the plane, I brush my teeth in the ladies room and pop a half an Ambien. Feel free to judge me, but I’ve always struggled with insomnia and on the plane I’m even worse. I will not sleep a wink if I don’t take something. If I don’t have a sleeping pill, then I like  melatonin. And if I don’t have either of those, a glass of wine will have to do. After takeoff, I apply Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex all over my face + neck… and of course, a sleep mask comes in handy (this one is so luxe and the oversized shape ensures that no light gets in.) I also keep an inflatable neck pillow in my carry on, which was such a good purchase. I barely takes up any space and comes in handy when I need to get some sleep.

So, there you have it… all of my tips.  I’m always looking to up my travel game… would love to hear your best travel tips below!


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  1. I never travel without my iPad mini and a good pair of headphones. The mini is the perfect size, and I can load it up with movies, books, and music. I love to listen to my Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong playlist before I totally zonk out.

    11.11.14 Reply
  2. I always fly the red eye when I go from Portland to New York! It just feels crazy to waist an entire DAY flying so it makes way more sense to me to waste a night instead. Thanks for the travel tips!

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  3. I’ll certainly be saving this post! So so helpful. Love the bit about moisturizing!

    Warm Regards,

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  4. your timing is unreal. I’m taking my very first redeye for Thanksgiving this year….panic was starting to set it…but this helps. I also try to drink as much water as possible (without having to use the claustrophobia inducing airplane bathroom). Thanks for the tips!!

    11.11.14 Reply
  5. Nyc:

    My long haul flight necessity: FLUFFY SOCKS! I get cold feet. So I wear easy off shoes and pop on some snugly fluffy socks. It truly makes the difference. I only wear them in flight and fold them inside out and tuck back into my carry on. The clean socks also make me less worrisome of stepping on my carry on tucked under the seat. And shockingly, JCPenny has the best fluffy socks (found on a whim for a flight to Italy)

    11.12.14 Reply