It’s winter time which means, yes, I have escaped the Canadian cold for a brief sojourn in some sunshine. This is something I intentionally built into my life and my business as a non-negotiable. My time away, however, does not mean that I toss my UnDiet lifestyle out the window in exchange for junk food and tequila shots. My goal is always to come back feeling even better than when I left and as such, I take a little bit of home with me by packing my favourite healthy travel essentials.
No matter where I go, these healthy travel essentials come along for the ride.
10 healthy travel essentials
1. Essential Oils
I was once asked at a party what one thing I would take to a desert island. I was totally mocked for saying essential oils. But it’s true. There are three that I don’t leave home without, whether I’m going to work or to another continent: Tea Tree, Lavender and Illume Classic Camphorous blend from Living Libations. Okay, I know these are technically three things but I’m lumping them into one (plus, they’re pretty small).
- Illume Classic Camphorous contains anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that keep my immune system strong and resistant to any bugs I might be exposed to at the airport, on the plane itself, and at my final destination.
- Lavender essential oil, one of my favourite scents of all time, helps to calm my nerves and soothes any muscle aches and tension. Plus, since it smells so lovely, it’s a great one to dab just under my nostrils when I’ve been on an airplane for five hours and things are getting a little stinky.
- Tea tree oil is a fantastic antiseptic and it also has amazing anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal functions. It also doubles as a quick and easy cleaner when mixed with water, in case all that’s available are toxic home cleaning products.
Everyone has their essential oil favourites, but whatever scents you choose please ensure your essential oils are top quality.
2. Sleep Mask + Ear Plugs
A good night’s sleep is elusive to some people on a regular basis, but travel can make shut eye even more challenging with disruptions to our schedule, switching time zones, new beds, getting the heating/cooling system figured out in a hotel (just me?), maybe the raucous of the jungle sounds, excitement and adrenaline, or perhaps just the general travel chaos.
I’m a pretty light sleeper and a sleep mask and earplugs are part of my usual, so when I’m traveling these two things become critical. They create a mini silent slumber chamber no matter where I am, whether I’m on a plane or in a busy city.
Also, dabbing a bit of lavender onto my sleep mask also helps lull me into a calm, relaxing state.
Travel exposes us to new foods, foreign pathogens in the water, and other bugs and infections we’re not accustomed to dealing with at home. My digestion is for sure my weakest link and that is where I feel anxiety first and also leaves me sensitive to mysterious invaders. Taking a good probiotic helps to maintain immunity, regularity and boost the good microflora in our digestive tract.
I like to take a high potency probiotic with me like this one. Bacteria counts in probiotics are typically measured at the time of bottling and will decline over time. Though I try and keep mine refrigerated while I’m away, starting out with a fresh, high potency option helps ensure there are still active little guys in there by the end of my trip too.
4. Small Hand-Soap
If you don’t know this about me, it’s time you do. I am a mild germaphobe. I think it stems back from when I suffered from an autoimmune disease and caught colds way too easily. Either way, I like having my own soap so I can wash with confidence. I carry a small bottle of my favorite liquid soap with me which makes it easy for me to thoroughly wash my hands in airports, on planes and in hotels without having to deal with heavily fragranced soaps, that terrifying commercial pink hand-soap or risk an anti-bacterial soap loaded with triclosan (thankfully new FDA regulations is banning this from hand-soaps).
Most hotels, resorts and vacation rentals don’t offer eco-friendly beauty care options and so to keep clean, I bring my own.
When I go away, I always plan in days to max and relax. I am an avid reader of nutrition books, business books and so much fiction! An e-reader allows me to download my favourite fiction and non-fiction books to catch up on while I’m away, without having to carry heavy books.
While my e-reader has a light on the screen, I always turn it all the way off and use a bed side light instead. The bright white/blue light of the device shooting right into the eyeballs can affect melatonin production. Additionally, I also shut off the wifi functionality to ensure the device is not sending/receiving signals while I am reading or while it rests on the night table beside me.
6. Travel Clock
Simply put, I like to know what time it is when I’m going to sleep and waking up without having some giant bright clock shining at me. My little battery powered travel clock has the worst light ever which suits me just fine – it’s just bright enough to see the time.
Sticking to a regular schedule is so important to our circadian rhythm. When we travel, our sense of time goes out the window and sometimes our good habits go with it. We stay up late, we sleep in and we eat at different times than we normally would. While this is fun in the short term, it means more work and discomfort when we return home as we try to pick up our regular routines.
7. Salt Inhaler
A salt inhaler, sometimes called a salt pipe, is a ceramic container that is filled with Himalayan salt and you inhale through the mouth piece at the top. You’ll get loads of strange looks but whatever, it’s awesome. The salt works to purify the air as you breathe in which really helps me on long plane journeys. I also enjoy it if I’m staying in hotels that might not be the most conducive to opening windows (or where the windows don’t open at all– how is that even still a thing?). I am not a doctor so I can’t tell you to try this, but there is loads of anecodotal evidence that has shown the salt pipe combined with a tree oil or frankencense to be helpful.
8. Set of Comfy Clothes
I used to make this mistake all the time when I travelled for work. I’d pack fancy pants working girl ensembles for the events I had, but always forgot a little lounge wear. I’d end up at 2pm in my hotel between events in my PJs.
We sometimes forget that no matter where we may be, there will be downtime. I bring some comfy clothes that can often double as yoga gear so that I have something I can kick back and relax in without putting my pajamas or bathrobe on.
I know this is a weird one and maybe a little woo woo, but I always bring a small assortment of crystals. I don’t claim to know much about them at all. I typically take about four or five of different colours, just whatever I feel inspired to take. This may be too much info, but I often keep them in my bra on my travel days and then arrange them beside my bed. I somehow feel like they bring a little home energy with me. If you know anything about crystals and have thoughts on this one, please comment below!
10. Ginger Supplements
I get severe motion sickness whether I’m in a car (even if I’m driving), plane, bus or train. Like we’re talking so bad that I get motion sick sitting on land and seeing people out in the water on a rocky boat.
I have found that ginger is one of the most consistently effective remedies for motion sickness for me. I take it every two hours beginning two hours before I leave my house on a travel day and don’t stop until I land. Yes, this is a bit much but it works. As an extra bonus they are anti-inflammatory and great for overall digestion.
And if you know of a cure for motion sickness, I am all ears!
Bonus Luxury Item: My Pillow!
The majority of travel, whether it be for one week or two months, I strive to travel carry on. Yes, all of the above healthy travel essentials will easily fit into my carry-on. My pillow however – my fluffy, wool natural love-of-my-life pillow does not.
However, on the rare occasion that I do actually need to pack a bag that requires checking, you better believe my pillow is coming with me. Learn more about pillow and bedding options I use here.
Oh and remember that bit before I said about being a germaphobe – you don’t have to be one to be totally grossed out by the estimate that 1/3 of our pillow weight is actually dust-mites, dead skin and other critters and bacteria. I’d prefer to at least know they’re my own!
additional Travel Resources
Going on holiday? These tips might help.
- How to Plan a Retreat for One or Two
- Meal and Snack Ideas for Airplane Travel
- Healthy Holiday Ideas for Any Budget
- Healthy Travel Food Staples
- Key Strategies for Healthy Holidays
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