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Flights Dry You Out: Here Are 5 Hacks To Keep You Hydrated

Image by Marko / Stocksy
June 13, 2019
Healthy, summer, and travel can be things that often feel at odds with one another. That doesn't need to be the case—and, in fact, making your summer travel plans align with your day-to-day wellness standards is easier than you might think. In our new series, we're exploring everything that's unhealthy about exploring, so you can have a more well-informed journey. Welcome to Healthy Summer Travel.
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Between the dry in-flight air, lack of trusted water sources, salty foods, sweat-inducing activities—and perhaps—a glass of wine or two, travel can leave you feeling parched. It adds another layer if you are trying to stay away from one-time-use plastics, as often that's the only available option at airports, outings, and traditional "tourist" locations. Personally I find it challenging to keep up my water intake whenever I'm not at my desk or apartment, with my perpetually filled glass of water staring me down. So when I'm in a new location and environment, all bets are off.

Turns out, it's likely a little unrealistic to assume you are going to keep your hydration levels the exact same while on vacation—and that's OK. "It's fine not to be perfect when on vacation, it is vacation after all," says registered dietitian and nutritionist Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN. But, when you are low on water, you can end up feeling tired, getting a headache, or experience sallow skin. So even if it's not your eight-a-day standard, there are ways you can—and should—amp up your water intake.

Of course, getting in your fill of water is also subject to where you are and whether you trust the source. What can you do about that? Low-waste expert and nutritionist Abby K. Cannon, J.D., R.D., says to invest in a water purifying device, like the GOPure Pod.

Drink lots of water and start the night before.

"I make a challenge for myself: Bring my refillable water bottle and I must drink it all before I get to the security checkpoint," says Cannon. "This way I'm already a leg up before I get on the plane and start my trip."

Take this mentality with you on vacation. Heading out to explore for the day? Fill up your bottle and drink it all before you get to the first location. Not only are you setting a good habit for yourself in the early hours—but it acts as a reminder to bring your refillable bottle with you every day, so you don't find yourself stuck needing to buy a plastic option.

Another way to make sure you're starting the day right? Hydrate at night. "I always make sure I drink a few glasses of water before I go to bed, so I wake up feeling good and ready to go," says Cannon. This might feel like more of a struggle, especially if you're getting home late, but it will be worth it come sunrise activities.

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Get in the habit of asking for refills.

When you stop at a restaurant for a meal, ask the server to fill up your water bottle when you get your bill, especially if you're questioning the water availability at your next location.

You can also rely on your hotel for this, which especially comes in handy when you're out of the country and can't trust tap. Often, notes Feller, hotels will provide a few bottles (ideally glass) of water upon arrival or nightly in the room. "I always politely ask for more," she says. "If you're at the front desk, just ask how many bottles you can take, or if you meet the staff while they are working on your room, ask for one or two more. More often than not, they'll give a few to me for no extra charge."

Make satisfying appetizer and dessert choices.

"You can get some water intake from food," says Feller. The first step? Ask for low sodium if you find high salt intake bothers you. "Often there's a point when ordering when the server will ask if there are any allergies or restrictions the chef needs to be made aware of—at this point, you can ask for low salt, if that's something you care about or are sensitive, too." That being said, it's OK to enjoy your meals while on vacation, even the salty variety.

So another option is to make slight adjustments to the beginning and end: Feller always recommends sticking to vegetable appetizers, like fresh salad for the table or a steamed vegetable dish. And if there's fruit on the menu for dessert, that will satisfy a sugar craving but contains some water. (I'm just going to say it: There are few things more satisfying than organic strawberries for dessert while in Paris.)

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Go glass for glass.

One of the classic tips when drinking any alcoholic beverage is to follow it with equal amounts of water. This can especially come in handy when traveling: "I practice the one-for-one rule, and really you get used to it very quickly: You'll just fall into a habit of reaching for your water after a drink," says Cannon.

When all else fails, buy the biggest bottle.

If none of these options are available for you, and you forgot your refillable water bottle, Cannon says to purchase the largest bottle of water available. "You can carry it with you for longer, and you'll end up using less plastic," says Cannon. "And of course, recycle after."

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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.