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Travel essentials: eight easy tips to staying fit and healthy
  • BY XSSAT STREET FASHION
Stylish globe trotter Natalie Cantell shares her tried and true tips with Xiaohan Shen.
Having been at the beck and call of international clients since she was a teenager, Natalie Cantell knows all about the demands of travel. As a model, fashion writer and editor, Natalie is based between Sydney, New York and the South of France alongside her boyfriend Ben Sears, the founder and CEO of the Luxyoga retreat. The pair is dedicated to his vision of the #luxlife, a carefully curated balance of mindful living, dedicated practice and tasteful indulgences.
Natalie isn’t easy to pin down, but I caught up with her before she jetted off to New York fashion week and there’s really no one better to look to than Natalie for some realistic health, fitness and beauty tips that will see you through different timezones and keep you happy and looking great on the road.

1. Always prep your skin and hair beforehand

Ellery dress.
A little prep before departure is always worth the effort. Getting your eyelashes and eyebrows tinted is a sure-fire trick to being low maintenance while abroad, as is keeping your nails short and nude. I prefer just a clear polish like the Scotch Naturals toxin-free base coat, which is designed to nourish.
My trick to low admin hair is twisting bone dry, freshly washed hair into a loose ballerina bun at the nape of my neck. It’s out of the way, comfortable on the plane and makes for perfectly relaxed waves on arrival. Just be sure to use a soft hair tie so you don’t get kinks, and keep a soft bristled brush in your hand luggage – Richard Kavanagh is the king of beautiful, undone hair and he got me onto the pocket-sized Mason Pearson brush. It’s pint-sized and perfect to loosen up curls.

2. Fill your carry-on with essentials

My suitcase is never without sunscreen, a swimsuit and work out gear, no matter where I’m headed. I love putting pen to paper so you’ll also always find a notebook in my bag. I’m currently obsessed with the An Organised Life range, they’re chic and perfect for chronic list-makers like me. I’m a huge fan of the jet set travel packs from Aesop, they have all the essentials, smell amazing and are exactly the right size to be allowed in your carry-on. Also, the Aesop rose hair and scalp moisturising masque is a saviour when the water quality is not great in some cities.
If you’re lucky enough to be packing for France, don’t forget to save room for a bunch of French pharmacy steals – even the tiniest drugstore will carry an incredible range of cult French skincare brands at a fraction of the price you pay everywhere else in the world. Stock up on industry favourites like Bioderma créaline H20, Le Roche-Posay anthelios XL sunscreen, Embryolisse lait-crème concentre, Klorane gentle dry shampoo and Avène eau thermale water spray.

3. Avoid airplane food and hotel minibars

I sometimes give in and will occasionally argue that anything you eat in the air or in airports doesn’t count, but Ben’s first rule of flying is to avoid plane food at all costs. He’s absolutely right, but for me it’s just a matter of being organised. He says, “You won't ever starve on a flight. Pack a cucumber and unpasteurised cheese, drink hot water in moderation and before your first meal on land to mellow the acids that have built up during the flight. It’s all about hydration and fats to calm the nervous system”.
I ask for the hotel room minibar to be cleared out so I have room to keep on hand the things that keep us feeling good – avocados, cucumbers, lemons and organic dark chocolate are top of my list. Drinking coconuts have become a part of my daily routine, so when they’re not accessible I’ll make do with Loving Earth’s freeze dried organic coconut water powder and often post some to Ben when he’s in France and suffering without his coconut fix. The Body Shop has skincare sample containers that are the perfect size to spoon a little cold-pressed coconut oil into for the flight, drink it stirred it into hot water or tea and use it as a lip balm if you suffer from extra dry lips.

4. Go for a jog after check in and get to know the neighbourhood

Asos top, Nike shorts, Nike shoes and Urban Ears headphones.
Chances are it’s the last thing I’ll feel like doing, but there’s nothing like some cardio and a good stretch to help deal with jet lag. If I’m staying somewhere new, I always like to get the lay of the land so a quick jog or walk when I arrive means I can sneak in some exercise while checking out the neighbourhood and finding a spot to get coffee in the morning. If I’m looking for something specific, like somewhere to take yoga, my Nokia Lumia has this great app called City Lens – you view your surroundings as though you’re about to take a photo and it tells you what’s around by labelling the buildings your camera sees. Just remember to organise some data for your phone and you’ll find your way back to the hotel no matter how exhausted you are.
Ben says, “Whatever workout you choose, breathe deeply through your nose while constricting the muscles in your throat. This simple breathing technique (called Ujayi breathing) will send air deeper into your lungs, clear out the plane air and get your blood pumping.”

5. Take good care of your skin in flight

Benah x Karen Walker pouch, Aesop ginger flight therapy, Aesop resurrection rinse-free handwash, Kora rosehip oil, Holistic Hair summer spritz and Witchery scarf.
In terms of what goes in my little ziplock bag in my carry-on, I’m a big fan of Miranda Kerr’s organic skincare range. The rosehip oil is my favourite Kora product – it saves my skin when I’m switching between drastically different climates. The holistic hair summer spritz has replaced my obsession with rosewater spray, and the Aesop resurrection rinse-free hand wash is a great alternative to those clinical-smelling hand sanitisers. One other thing essential to my in-flight happiness: having a super-soft wrap that can act as a scarf, pillow or blanket.

6. Dress for comfort and set a flying beauty routine

Gucci suitcase, Vanishing Elephant socks, Lover bralette, Oroton ipad case, Thom Browne glasses and Urban Ears headphones.
On a flight I’ll always cleanse my face (with a hot towel when it’s on offer), apply Lucas’ Pawpaw under my eyes and on my lips, then kick off my shoes and rub some Palmer’s cocoa butter oil into my feet before putting on socks. If it’s more than a few hours in the air, I’ll change into some relaxed yoga pants and a breathable cotton tee to keep my clothes fresh for the other end. I always opt for underwire-free lingerie, my favourites are from Lover or Lonely Hearts. Ben will swap his contacts for glasses for flying, they’re much kinder on dry and tired eyes. I’ll always packing an eye mask, noise cancelling headphones, a fully charged iPad and a series of something addictive like The Wire or Suits ready for binge-watching. We secretly love watching Damages and it’s basically become the biggest incentive for catching trains instead of driving when we’re in Europe – it's often the only time we get to do something as boring and luxurious as watch TV, and my Urban Ears headphones have a dual adapter so we can get hooked on a show together.

7. Focus on glowing makeup to go from flight to meeting

Ellery dress and vintage jacket.
I generally have to hit the ground running after a flight and end up confined to what can be achieved in a poorly-lit airport bathroom. Making dry, tired skin glow is the key to looking fresh-faced, so I always prioritise skincare over make-up. Body Shop vitamin C boost feels incredible on your skin and the citrus scent perks you right up. RMS living luminiser is certified organic and works as a beautiful, subtle illuminator – perfect for highlighting cheekbones and the little cupids bow of your lip, then what’s left on my finger I’ll mix into some Lucas’ Pawpaw and sweep over my eyelids (an old modelling trick, although it used to be with Vaseline...). A spritz of Marc Jacobs Daisy is perfect and one of my favourite scents; it’s fresh without being over-powering.

8. Immerse yourself in a new city starting with a yoga class

Agent Provocateur bikini top and Adidas leggings.
Finding a local yoga class is one of my favourite ways to immerse in a foreign city. My body feels best when I don’t get too attached to one style of yoga so I’ll try just about any class I can find. Bikram is particularly good when I’m travelling as it’s such a therapeutic practice. All the gentle back bending is just want your body wants after a long-haul flight plus you have no excuses when it comes to language barriers – the 26 postures are exactly the same the world over. Applying some coconut oil to the ends of my hair before going in the hot room is a perfect mini-treatment.
Ben travels a lot to teach seminars and private clients, and therefore has become the master of hotel room workouts – give him enough room to throw down a yoga mat and he can work up more of a sweat than I will at the gym. One of the best pieces of advice he’s given me is to flick off the air con no matter how good it feels, a warm room is much better for tight muscles.
He says, “Activate your lungs and core to beat jet lag: do two rounds of Khapalbhati breathing (breath of fire). Sit in a cross-legged position (this will loosen your hips post-flight) with spine straight. Exhale forcefully by your nose, snap your stomach back with every exhalation – there is almost no inhalation. 40 reps and finish with a long exhalation and slow, mellow inhalation."

This is a blog by Xiaohan Shen of Xssat Street Fashion.
Photos: Xiaohan Shen.
Model: Natalie Cantell.
Hair and makeup: Jess Chapman.