When you spend the day in a plane, train or automobile, it’s tough to stay — and feel — clean and fresh. But just because you have a 12-hour flight doesn’t mean you have to leave the plane smelling like it. Here are some tips to help you smell fresh on those long, strenuous travel days.
Wear athletic clothes
Few activities crank up the stench quite like working out, and companies that make fitness clothing have gotten good at mitigating this problem. Workout clothes are designed to pull moisture away from your body, kill odious bacteria and be comfortable even when you have to move a lot. You still need to wash these clothes, of course. However, if you save some clean workout clothing for your travel days, you might smell a little better on that last hour of your cramped plane ride.
Avoid heavy perfumes or cologne
If you think you have an odor cloud following you around, you might be tempted to mask it with some perfume, cologne or even body spray. Do your fellow passengers a favor and don’t do this. Heavy scents can be just as overwhelming as body odor, and just as inescapable in confined spaces. Instead, reach for a basic deodorant. You can even try some deodorizing wipes or freshening wipes, which aren’t quite as good as taking a shower, but they’ll do in a pinch.
Squeeze in hygiene whenever you can
It’s not necessarily the case that you won’t be able to get a shower or brush your teeth while traveling. For frequent fliers, an airport lounge that offers showers can be an option (or if you’re really desperate, you can buy a day pass for some lounges). Some long-distance trains offer either private or public bathrooms that may include space to shower. If you’re traveling by car, you can find publicly accessible showers at a variety of places including community gyms or a Y.M.C.A. While opinions vary on whether it’s acceptable to brush your teeth or wash up in an airport bathroom, you wouldn’t be the first to do so. Worst case, packing some face wipes will help you clean up a bit without going the full shower route.
Staying hydrated is always healthy, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on the go all day. Among other health benefits, water can help prevent bad breath. When your mouth dries out, your saliva can’t do its job of keeping your mouth clean and kill bacteria. Staying hydrated will also keep you from sweating as much, which will also help limit body odor. You might also want to skip the alcohol or soda, which can have a tendency to dry out your mouth, as well as avoid some of the more gnarly-smelling foods like garlic, onions and spicy food.
Bring a plastic bag just for dirty laundry
Every day you return to your hotel, you bring back dirty clothes that you have to pack. Don’t just throw them back in your suitcase where they’ll just stink up your clean clothes. Bring a plastic bag with you for all your dirty laundry and keep them (and their smell) isolated from the rest of your clothes. If they’re particularly dirty — maybe after a long day of walking around the city under the hot sun — hang them up in your hotel room and let them air out for a bit before putting them in the bag.
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