Business Travel 101: Looking Good When You Get To Your Destination

Business Travel 101 is a weekly series about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. Packing, security, comfort, and etiquette are all factors that, with a little planning, can contribute to a smooth and efficient trip. If you think of a topic I should include, email me at

Travel is a fact of life for many of us, and heading to the office right after a flight often an unfortunate necessity. There are things you can do to avoid the travel-worn look so many road warriors have. Tricks abound for both short and long flights. Obviously, for a red-eye or other long flight the strategy is a little more intense. But don’t worry! No one has to know you got up at 4am or that you commuted six hours for your meeting.

For all flights:

  • Wear comfortable, wrinkle resistant clothes. The easiest way to look good during and after travel: clothes that don’t wrinkle.  Nothing says, “I just got off a plane,” like a crumpled shirt and creased skirt.  There are plenty of wrinkle-resistant, non-iron clothes out there.  TravelSmith has a great collection, as does Brooks Brothers. Trust me, this is not the time to wear your new linen suit, no matter how cute and professional it is.
  • Stay hydrated. This is important for comfort, health, and looking good. Drink at least 8 oz of water for every hour you are flying. This will keep you from getting dehydrated, which in turn keeps you feeling more alert and prevents your skin from feeling like sandpaper.
  • Freshen up upon arrival. Once you land, head to the ladies’ room to repair any damage that may have occurred to hair or makeup during the flight.

For longer flights:

  • Put your hair back. If you have long hair, keep your hair in a low ponytail. This keeps your hair controlled, gets it out of your way, and minimizes the crimp that can happen when you have a higher ponytail. It also allows you to comfortably rest your head against the seat. Another good option is a braid.
  • Moisturize!! Use lip balm and hand lotion often.  There are also great face sprays that you can use to keep your skin hydrated. I like the Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist.
  • Get some rest. Use an eye mask and earplugs if necessary, or even a Tylenol PM, so that you wake up feeling (and looking) refreshed.
  • Avoid mascara. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you feel comfortable going without mascara for the flight I highly recommend it. It’s an easy way to avoid the raccoon look on a red-eye. Or, you can…..
  • Do your morning routine. Wash your face, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and refresh your makeup before landing. Once you wake up, nothing feels better or more eye-opening than washing your face. It helps get rid of the travel grime, and gives you a fresh canvas for applying makeup. I like to use face cleansing pads like these from Korres. For brushing your teeth, you can use your normal toothbrush or one of those new disposable ones. Finally, going through an airplane friendly (possibly slightly abbreviated) makeup routine will make you look your best and feel ready to take on the world, and hide the fact that you slept on a 757.
  • If that’s not an option….. If you’re flying in Economy and you don’t think you can get a few minutes in the lav to freshen up, use the face cleansing pads at your seat. You can chew gum to make your mouth feel fresh, and probably even apply minimal makeup.
  • Put on fresh clothes. Some people like to wear something very comfortable for sleeping on the plane, and then change into their business outfit for the day immediately before arriving. It’s definitely one way to avoid the wrinkles you get when sleeping in your clothes, but may not be feasible for everyone.



  1. The worst experience would be when you have to fly for more than 30 hours. Your hair becomes messy and itchy, and you find nowhere to attend to it. On top of that, you are meeting up with your bosses or customers right after disembarking. What are you going to do then? Bring a dry shampoo – a must have item that will allow you handle your hair quickly.

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