Travel Tips from a Woman on a Plane

I’m constantly on the lookout for things that make travel easier. Not having traveled much since BC (before Covid), a lot of my tips and tricks were not in the forefront of my mind as I prepared for my trip to South Africa. Which means, that I forgot almost everything. I was lucky enough to learn some new travel tips as I headed to South Africa.

On my New York to Amsterdam flight, I sat next to a mother and daughter traveling from Florida to Switzerland on holiday. At one point, I returned from walking around my part of the plane to stretch my legs. Due to Covid restrictions, I was only able to walk around my section of the plane. Anyway, when I returned to my seat, the woman sitting next to me had on a gold mask with stars across her forehead under her Covid mask. It startled me because it was unexpected and not how she looked when I left. I noticed her mom was wearing one too. I was intrigued.

So, I asked. She told me it was a moisturizing mask she picked up for a couple bucks at Target before her trip. Easy peasy. It seemed like a great idea. I had forgotten how dry planes are and had just been wishing my lotion wasn’t in my checked luggage.

Little did I know, she wasn’t done. I was witnessing a plane ritual. Next, she broke out a second packet. This one contained what looked like clunky hair dyeing gloves. She unfolded them from the packet and slid her hands into them cinching them around her wrists with a sticky strip. They were also filled with lotion. She and her mom wore their gloves for 10-15 minutes or so, after which they peeled the gloves off, folded them back into the original packet and massaged the rest of the lotion into their hands and arms.

We talked further. I asked her how she came up with these ideas. She said that every time she travels, she engages in this ritual toward the end of long flights. The ritual also included a moisturizing eye mask, which I had somehow missed noticing, and travel socks infused with aloe. Long trips are tiring and hard on our skin, especially on our faces and hands. She said rather than tired and moisture starved, she liked to arrive at her destination refreshed.


I typically bring a moisturizing spray for my face, saline solution for my nose, eye drops, and cuticle oil as well as hand lotion when I travel, almost all of which were currently in my checked luggage and out of reach. I’m a little out of practice. What I was observing took my typical self care routine in planes to a whole new level. I loved the idea of turning the end of a long flight into a spa moment.

Ok, so I actually got to try this out. As good fortune would have it, I got off my flight in Amsterdam, and directly across from my gate was a drugstore. Surely they wouldn’t have moisturizing face and hand masks. They had both. As I still had an over 10 hour flight ahead of me to Johannesburg, I decided to splurge and treat myself. I picked up a couple of each for my next flight and my return trip.

For my first try, it was a little messy. About 8 hours into my flight, I washed my face and brushed my teeth, then I put on the face mask, it was the kind that is face shaped and you peel off the backing, place it over your face and massage it a bit to get it to fit smoothly. It was very creamy. I placed my Covid mask on top of it and moved to the hand masks. I should have taken these steps one at a time. Nooby error. The gloves were filled with a soft lotion that warmed comfortably as I wore them. I cinched the gloves around my wrists and leaned back to relax for 20 minutes. Both felt nice, soft, creamy, and pretty refreshing. I was concerned about the possible mess though so I didn’t really relax very well.

After 20 minutes I took off the face mask, folded it up and put it back in the packet. I massaged the rest of the lotion into my face as best I could with clunky gloves on and broke out a new Covid mask. The one I had worn was full of lotion. My face felt really nice. Then I removed the gloves, folded them, and placed them in their original packet. I massaged the lotion into my hands, wrists, lower arms, and elbows. There was a lot of lotion in those gloves! Surprisingly, I didn’t make a huge mess. I did get some lotion in my hair and some strange looks from people sitting near me. But I felt very refreshed after engaging in this ritual.

As we were about to land, the woman sitting next to me asked me to explain what I had done and why. I told her about meeting the mother and daughter on the plane from New York and that on impulse I had picked up the face and hand masks at the drugstore across from our gate in the Amsterdam airport. She was intrigued and indicated that the next time she flies she might try this ritual as well. She liked the idea of feeling energized and refreshed after a long flight. Maybe this will become a trend and rather than being startled by people wearing moisturizing masks and lotion filled gloves on long flights, it will become more familiar. I highly recommend trying it. After 28 hours of travel, it felt great.

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