Red Eye Essentials

Going back and forth to Michigan this summer has been amazing. I’ve been home every month for enough time to enjoy the Michigan summer and see my family. With the frequent visits comes the added cost of flights… which are rarely well priced for the ideal times I need. So I’ve become familiar with the Monday morning red eye to La Guardia and heading straight to the office. It’s certainly not ideal, but in all honesty it’s not that difficult to traverse and it allows me an extra night at home even. Here are my best tips for tackling a red eye and avoiding it’s namesake.

  1. Make-up free flight: I prefer to roll out of bed and head straight to airport to maximize sleep, and catch some extra sleep on the flight if I can. Applying make-up for the workday at my arrival airport makes this loads easier. I have a smaller make-up bag for traveling that carries only the essentials, making it easy to stow in my purse.
  2. Prep the night before: Getting things together is easier when you aren’t groggy from four hours of sleep. I head to bed with bags packed and clothes laid out to go. I always make sure the essentials for arrival are in the top of purse (keys for wherever I’m headed, work badge, etc.). This prevents panic and confusion during the trip.
  3. Snack and water: I never lave my apartment without emergency snacks even if I’m just headed to the grocery store so this is a no brainer. I try not to eat until I normally would be having breakfast in order to keep my normal schedule, but hydrating is super important. Plus once the inevitable wave of hunger hits (usually as I’m deplaning and headed for the bus and Subway), I have a snack readily available.
  4. Caffeinate responsibly: I’m not someone who has coffee everyday but after an early flight it’s a necessity. I hold off on coffee until after the flight when my normal day is beginning, waiting until I’m in the office to grab a cup to power through the work day.
  5. Plan for sleep: Plan on getting a good night’s rest plus some for the next few nights, not just the affected night. I flew in Monday morning and it being Wednesday I’m still feeling fatigued in the mornings and making sure I’m in bed with plenty of time to catch up further.
  6. Cover for the flight: I like to keep a hat, sunglasses, or both to help me sleep on flight by covering my face. I’ve never managed to make a face mask feel natural so a baseball hat is my go-to.
  7. Stick to a carryon: Carry on only if you can help it – this allows to arrive later to the airport in the morning, maximizing sleep, and prevents the added wait at the baggage carousel after. It helps to have pre-check or Clear as well (I invested in Clear out of necessity last Thanksgiving but it turns out it’s my favorite luxury now).

Flight tips