How to Function While Traveling: 4 Tips From a Bi-Coastal Pilates Instructor


I always imagined a bi-coastal lifestyle was the ultimate goal. A few months in New York, and then a quick six-hour flight across the country to get my L.A. fix. It all sounded so dreamlike and perfect in my head—like the best of both worlds. That is, until I chatted with Karen Lord, a fashion stylist turned Pilates pro and founder of Karen Lord Pilates Movement, over eggs and coffee one morning. She assured me that there were perks to the idea, but in actual execution it's exhausting on both your mind and body. "You're constantly moving," she said. "It's really hard."

That said, there are a few practices she's picked up over the years that can really help. She makes sure to plan her strategy in advance—created a quick to-do list to promote immunity and soothe stress before, during, and after flying. Each one is easy, feels good, and backed by science. So, we figure, why not give 'em all a try? Below, find her sage advice.

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Give your immune system a boost.


"A few days before travel," Lord says, "I always get an IV at my integrative medicine doctor’s office to prepare for a long flight. The IV contains vitamins, minerals, glutathione, and added saline hydration," she adds. IV drips have become especially popular because of the speed at which they work—the ingredients are administered directly into your bloodstream, making all the nutrients available immediately (rather than after digestion of an oral supplement). Lord's particular blend is hydrating, antioxidant-filled, and nutrient-rich to give your immune system the support it needs before traveling. That said, you can choose various combinations and ingredients based on your specific needs.

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Stretch and massage your body.


"I use my foam-roller the night before," Lord explains. "It’s essentially a self-massage in preparation for the stress that travel ravages on your body," she says. Foam-rolling gets deep into your connective issue and tiny muscle fibers, and it also helps boost circulation and reduces bloating. According to structural integrative specialist, Lauren Roxburgh, foam-rolling can also help "regenerate, hydrate, and smooth out your fascia, rolling away away excess bulk, thickness, stress, and density." Lord packs a mini-size foam-roller and therabands to allow for restorative Pilates sessions on the floor of her hotel, allowing her to undo the "airplane pretzel positions" and the effects of less-than-perfect hotel beds or pillows.

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Bring essential oil wipes in your carry-on.


"I travel with eucalyptus essential oil wipes and breathe them in during a long flight," Lord shares. "It helps to clean the air and recharge my senses. They're a great, nontoxic alternative to antibacterial wipes," she adds. Eucalyptus helps to boost energy, soothe inflammation, and can help with muscle soreness or sore throats. Plus, science suggests inhaling eucalyptus essential oil is also great for reducing pain, and, if you've ever squeezed your body into a Basic Economy airplane seat for hours on end, you know it's not exactly pain-free. 

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Create a vitamin regimen.


"I have a daily immune-boosting vitamin regimen and I make sure to add NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) and Holy Basil. Both are incredible for a stressed body and mind," Lord explains. Holy Basil is a potent adaptogen, one used to prevent disease, promote general health, and assist in dealing with the stresses of daily life, while NAC is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. The type of vitamin regimen that would work best for you is a personal thing—every body is different. But it's easy to come up with a plan courtesy of bespoke supplement companies like Care/Of. All you have to do is take a quick quiz online and they'll recommend the right plan for you on the spot.

FYI: This writer tested out best beauty products for travel during 64 hours in the air—peep her thoughts here.

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