"My flight gets in at 8:45 a.m. -- what do you mean I have a meeting at 9:30?!" is what your brain is screaming while you use all of your energy to politely nod your head and say, "Certainly. 9:30 is perfect."
After keeping that smile pasted to your face, the next challenge is not looking (or smelling) like something from
Night of the Living Dead
when you get off that overnight flight and hit the ground running.
So here's your stay-fresh salvation.
Leave Odor on Board
"If you've never been to Italy, you won't be used to all that smoking," says travel expert Anne McAlpin, and neither will your business partners in the board room.
On her Web site
Pack It Up, McAlpin offers a
freshen-up kit ($10) that includes hand sanitizer and a natural odor-neutralizer spray that works wonders for getting a smoky or stale smell out of clothing.
But you're really better off going straight to the source of funky smelling clothing -- your sweet self.
I have heard of some places like the
Munich Airport offering shower stalls and other hygienic necessities to travelers, but McAlpin, who's been to 67 countries, says she hasn't seen many of them. So make sure you have alternates in mind.
McAlpin recommends travel-supplies store Magellan's
fresh bath disposable body wipes ($10 for 16 cloths). Per the Web site, each cloth contains a cleansing formula with vitamins A, E and aloe vera that moisturize and clean the skin without additional soap or water.
For about $25 a bottle, Magellan's also offers
body mints, ingestible deodorant tablets made from a natural derivative of chlorophyll. While it almost sounds too futuristic to be true, the company claims two mints daily will reduce body odors -- including breath and underarm stench -- for 24 hours.
To view Alix Steel's video take of today's segment, click here.
Should mints fail you, Magellan's has
clothing shields, adhesive disposable strips that attach to a shirt's underarm, shielding the fabric from unwanted moisture and odor. A package of five pairs is $6.
McAlpin recommends getting as much freshening done in the air as you can, especially if flying business class, where you are less likely to wait on long bathroom lines than at the airport.
To avoid looking like you slept in your suit (which you most likely did) McAlpin gives some simple advice.
Instead of wearing it, take your suit with you and change at the airport. If you don't have time for that, make sure you stow away the blazer while on the plane.
To avoid wrinkling clothes when storing them, McAlpin swears by dry-cleaner bags. Simply put the suit in the bag and fold as usual. "The plastic rubs on plastic ... so there are very few wrinkles," she says. This trick also keeps the clothes dirt- and odor-free. But avoid using a dry-cleaning company that advertises on the bag, cautions McAlpin, because the ink can rub off. You don't want to become a walking advertisement for "Bob's Famous Cleaners," no matter how good its service is.
There's a slew of products to keep your outfit pristine, too. Travel-accessory vendor Christine Columbus sells a
wrinkle-free spray, which allegedly whisks away wrinkles and static cling -- no ironing required. This little wonder retails for $6 per 3-ounce can.
Or, if a bout of turbulence has caused a coffee disaster on your shirt, try the
kiss-off stain remover ($5), which promises to remove wine, makeup and even blood.
All liquids and sprays must be three ounces or under (yes, toothpaste is considered a liquid), but in addition, McAlpin stresses the importance of storing them in a single quart-sized plastic bag -- otherwise an airport security check might leave you without your precious resources.
Now that you've taken care of your smell and your outfit, it's time to focus on the top -- your face. Oil of Olay's
total effects eye transforming cream ($15) has helped give me that bright-eyed, office-ready look no matter how sleep deprived I am. It lightens the skin around the eye, and minimizes the puffiness that so often plagues frequent travelers.
To give your brain a jump, a colleague swears by aromatherapy solutions like
Earth Solutions' stay alert scent inhalers ($4). Even if it doesn't jolt you awake, the bracing peppermint and rosemary fragrance will sure serve as a nice reprise from stale airplane air.
What you eat while traveling can affect you as well. McAlpin cautions to stay away from airport pizza or hotdogs and stick to low-fat foods that are good calorie sources. Pack a few snacks like energy bars or mozzarella sticks beforehand, because you never know when you'll have time to grab a bite. Also,
Emergen-C elixir is always good for a quick hit of energy, says McAlpin, and the small packets are easy to slip into your carry-on.
Once you arrive at your destination (even if you're early), avoid naps no matter how tired you are, advises Robert Bestor, president of
Travel Essentials. Otherwise your internal clock will take longer to adjust to local time. "Keep walking, keep eating," he says. This will keep your energy level up for that meeting.
Remember, it's all about appearances. Even though you might still feel up in the clouds as you saunter into your meeting, nobody will guess you've even been on a plane.