Ask wellness pros how they stay healthy while traveling, and most of them will tell you it involves drinking lots of water in flight. Consuming extra H20 on board helps counteract the arid conditions on airplanes that can dehydrate you. Which is why women’s functional medicine expert (and Well+Good Council member) Robin Berzin, MD, recommends drinking five times more water in flight than you think you need.
So, what’s the best way to follow the doctor’s orders? To find out, I tapped flight attendants, who, thanks to countless frequent flyer miles, have ample time to road test (air test?) the best ways to do everything from pack a carry-on to combat jet lag to (you guessed it) figure out how to hydrate on a plane.
Scroll down to see 3 flight attendant-approved hydration hacks to try next time you fly.
Upgrade your H2O
Who says hydrating on a plane has to be as boring as a flight with no WiFi? Steve F. (who prefers to keep his anonymity in case your paths should ever cross in a cabin) has been a flight attendant for over 20 years and swears by adding lemon to his water. “I try to drink at least one gallon per day,” he says. You can also pop mint leaves, fruit, or herbs into your water bottle to make your own flavored H2O in flight.
In a pinch, have some of the potable stuff
The flight attendants interviewed for this story say they usually stick with bottled beverages to quench their in-flight thirst. (Maybe that has something to do with an EPA study that claims one in eight airplanes fail to meet safety standards with their tap water….) But seven-year airline veteran Nguvu Tsare says the plane’s water isn’t so bad in the case of a hydration emergency—as long as it’s hot. “I’m not afraid, like some, to drink hot beverages that are made from the potable water on the plane,” he says. “I’ve been drinking airplane coffee for seven years and have never gotten sick.”
But bypass the booze
While a glass of pinot grigio may seem appealing when the drink cart comes by, boozing on a long flight can further dehydrate you (just as it does on the ground). “Skip the hard liquor,” advises Cathy Thompson, who’s flown with various different airlines over the last few decades. “Waking up with a hangover to find out you’re landing soon isn’t fun.” Especially not on top of jet lag.
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