Does Flying Dehydrate You? Unraveling the Connection Between Air Travel and Hydration

Does Flying Dehydrate You? Unraveling the Connection Between Air Travel and Hydration

As we buckle our seatbelts and prepare to take to the skies, hydration is often the last thing on our minds. We're more focused on the journey ahead, the view from the window, or even the in-flight movie. Yet, did you know that flying can significantly affect your body's hydration levels? Let’s explore the complex relationship between flying and dehydration, aiming to shed light on this less-known aspect of air travel. 

Understanding the impact of flying on hydration is important not only for frequent flyers but also for occasional travelers. Dehydration may lead to a variety of health issues, from mild discomfort to severe physical symptoms. The good news is that with the right knowledge and precautions, it's possible to arrive at your destination as hydrated as when you took off. Read on as we dive into this intriguing topic.

The Science of Dehydration Unique to Flying

Airplane cabins are far from being the most hydration-friendly environments. This can largely be attributed to the extremely low humidity levels inside an aircraft. While the typical humidity level in homes hovers around 30-60%, an airplane cabin's humidity can plunge to a meager 10-20%. This dramatic drop in humidity means that our bodies lose moisture rapidly through the skin and by breathing out humidified air.

The situation is further compounded by changes in altitude and pressure during a flight. As the airplane ascends, the cabin pressure decreases, causing gases in our bodies to expand. This can lead to increased respiratory rate as our bodies try to release these gases, which in turn can hasten dehydration. 

Moreover, the cabin pressure can also interfere with our bodies' water balance. At high altitudes, our bodies work harder to deliver oxygen to tissues, which can increase urine production and further deplete our water reserves. Combine these factors with the dry cabin air that strips moisture from our bodies, and it's easy to see how dehydration can sneak up on us while we're soaring through the clouds.

The Link between Dehydration and Jet Lag

Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, is a temporary sleep disorder experienced by travelers who quickly cross multiple time zones. The condition is characterized by a series of symptoms, including fatigue, difficulty sleeping, confusion, and general discomfort, all caused by the disruption of the body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm.

Dehydration plays a significant role in exacerbating these symptoms. Firstly, it can contribute to the feelings of fatigue and lethargy often associated with jet lag, as water is vital for various bodily functions, including energy production. Dehydration can also cause headaches and exacerbate feelings of disorientation, further intensifying the effects of jet lag.

A number of scientific studies back this connection. For instance, a study in the Aerospace Medical Association journal found that air travelers experienced increased severity of jet lag symptoms when they were dehydrated. Furthermore, a report from the World Health Organization stresses the importance of hydration while flying, as it can significantly alleviate jet lag symptoms. The link between hydration and reduced jet lag symptoms has become so well accepted, it's now a standard part of many airlines' travel advice.

Combating Jet Lag

The mitigation of jet lag symptoms significantly relies on proper hydration. When you stay well-hydrated, your body can perform its essential functions more effectively, making it easier for your internal clock to adjust to new time zones. Therefore, it's recommended to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, which both promote dehydration, can also help maintain optimal hydration levels.

In addition to proper hydration, adjusting your sleep schedule before travel can help your body ease into the new time zone. This could mean going to bed and waking up earlier if you're traveling east, or later if you're traveling west. A gradual adjustment in the days leading up to your flight can make the transition smoother.

Lastly, maintaining a balanced diet and engaging in light physical activity can work wonders in reducing jet lag. Consuming nutrient-rich foods helps fuel your body with essential vitamins and minerals, supporting your overall energy levels and body functions. Moreover, light physical activities, such as walking or stretching, especially after a long flight, can stimulate blood flow and help reset your circadian rhythm. Try to keep your walks outside to reset to the light cycles in your new time zone, and eat meals according to the time zone you are in. This may seem like obvious advice, but it may involve ignoring your normal hunger cues, as you’re used to eating on a different schedule, and your body knows it.

Remember, every traveler's experience with jet lag can be different, and these suggestions may need to be adjusted based on your personal needs and the specifics of your travel.

Hydrating Before, During, and After Flights

Staying adequately hydrated is vital to maintaining your energy, focus, and overall wellness, especially while traveling by air. This process begins well before your flight and continues after you've landed.

Pre-flight Hydration

Before you even reach the airport, start prioritizing your hydration. Drink plenty of fluids the day before your flight. Not all drinks are equal, though. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can dehydrate you. Instead, opt for water or electrolyte-enhanced beverages like Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus. It's packed with essential electrolytes, vitamins, and no added sugars, providing a flavorful and hydrating boost without the guilt. Electrolyte minerals help water molecules cross into cells as well as support nerve and muscle function, so pregame with hydration to feel your best.

In-flight Hydration

During the flight, your hydration needs increase due to the dry cabin air. Aim to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every hour you're in the air. Again, avoiding alcohol and caffeine can prevent further dehydration. If plain water seems a bit too boring for a long flight, Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus, available in a range of delicious flavors, can be a refreshing alternative. The travel packs are the easiest way to take your electrolytes to the skies, since they do not contain any liquid and you can mix them with a bottle of water on the flight.

Post-flight Hydration

Once you've landed, continue your hydration regimen. This is particularly important if you've crossed time zones and are experiencing jet lag. Rehydrating can help your body adjust and recover. Consuming an electrolyte-packed drink like Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus can help restore the minerals your body may have lost during the flight due to excess fluid loss, ensuring you're ready to explore your destination or return to your daily routine with the necessary energy and hydration levels.

Your flight doesn't have to be a dehydrating experience. With a bit of planning and the right hydration solutions, you can arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to go.

Dealing with Flight-Induced Dehydration: Other Considerations

Flight-induced dehydration extends beyond just your body's internal water balance. It also affects your skin, dietary needs, and the impact of certain beverages. Let's look into these aspects:

Skincare and Flying

The dry cabin air can wreak havoc on your skin, leading to dryness, tightness, and discomfort. To counter this, consider using a hydrating facial mist or a moisturizer to keep your skin feeling refreshed. Choose a light moisturizer, and see if there is a small size available that meets the carry-on requirements by your airline so you can reapply in flight when necessary. Drinking water and other hydrating fluids can also help maintain your skin's hydration from the inside out.

Dietary Tips for Enhanced Hydration

The food you consume while flying can either help or hinder your hydration levels. Opt for water-rich fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, strawberries, and oranges if available. Avoid salty and dry foods, like chips and crackers, as they can contribute to dehydration by increasing your body's need for water. Pack your own healthy snacks if possible to ensure you're consuming hydrating and nutritious foods during your journey.

Alcohol and Caffeine

While it might be tempting to have a cup of coffee for early flights or a glass of wine to help you relax, both alcohol and caffeine can exacerbate dehydration. They are diuretics, meaning they increase urine production and can lead to fluid loss. If you need a drink to help you stay awake or unwind, limit yourself to one drink of either to avoid compounding the dehydration from your trip.

Maintaining hydration while flying involves more than just drinking water. By addressing your skincare, dietary, and beverage choices, you can make your next flight a more hydrating experience.

Carrying Hydration Solutions during Flights

Hydration solutions like electrolyte drinks should be an essential part of your travel kit, especially for long-haul flights. Not only do they help maintain your body's fluid balance, but they also replenish essential minerals that are lost during the journey.

Importance of Hydration Solutions

Flying, particularly on long-haul flights, can seriously dehydrate your body. While drinking water is a great start, it isn't enough to replace the vital electrolytes and vitamins your body needs. This is where hydration solutions, like electrolyte drinks, come into play. They're specifically designed to replenish your body's electrolyte balance, promoting optimal hydration and reducing the risk of jet lag.

Practicality and Benefits

Carrying hydration solutions like electrolyte drinks is incredibly practical. Take, for example, Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus travel packs. These are lightweight, easy to pack, and can be mixed with water available onboard. What sets Electrolyte Recovery Plus apart is its sugar-free formulation that provides a balance of electrolytes, vitamins, and other necessary co-factors. It promotes deep hydration, provides energy, and supports overall health - all essential for combating flight-induced dehydration.

Recommendations for Use

It's advisable to begin hydrating with electrolyte solutions before your flight and continue to do so during and after the journey. Mix one pack of Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus with a glass of water, stirring until dissolved. For long-haul flights, consider taking additional packs and consuming a serving every few hours to ensure consistent hydration.


When considering your next big vacation, the link between flying and dehydration may seem like a minor detail that’s easily overlooked. However, as we've discovered, this seemingly insignificant detail plays a noticeable role in the overall wellbeing of anyone who is traveling. From impacting our energy levels to intensifying jet lag symptoms and even affecting our skin, the dehydrating effects of air travel can significantly shape our travel experience.

The beauty of this revelation lies in the power it offers us - power to transform our flights from dehydrating experiences into opportunities for mindful self-care. With some knowledge and foresight, we can turn to hydration solutions like Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus. Its easy-to-carry travel packs offer deep hydration, replenishing essential electrolytes and vitamins while steering clear of unwanted sugars.

Whether you're a frequent flyer or an occasional globetrotter, maintaining hydration should be a non-negotiable part of your travel itinerary. By prioritizing hydration before, during, and after flights, we can all reach our destinations feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to take on the world. Let's make the skies not just a pathway to our destinations, but also a pathway to optimal hydration and better health. Bon voyage and remember - keep hydrated!

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