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
*this post contains affiliate links
20 responses to “10 Healthy Travel Essentials I Always Pack With Me”
Meghan—I love this list and the salt pipe is definitely intriguing. I will note that every time I travel and am just by the sea, I feel better; more energy and the minerals must have loads of beneficial qualities.
1- What is the best type of ginger to take for motion sickness?
2-How are you using these essential oils?
Hi Grace! Thank you for your questions. Any ginger supplement tablets will work. You can use different essential oils in different ways, but I like to use mine in my nebulizer, I put some lavender on my sleeping mask to relax, and tea-tree is great as an antiseptic can can be made into a cleaner by adding a few drops to some water.
Actually that sounds like a pretty good list! I don’t think I could handle the lavender on the sleep mask, to overpowering. My nose and ears are super sensitive, but I have my lavender oil and use it and my plant is doing well in my sunroom, Alberta!
The probiotics really, maybe I should try them, hubby and I are in our 80’s and I cook fairly basic and from scratch, but am having a few stomach problems. Will look into that. I have raised five children and am happy for you, enjoy your pregnancy !
Wonderful list and I’ve never even heard of a salt inhaler! I get motion sickness too and have come to rely on the Hyland’s homeopathic Motion Sickness tablets to get me through boat/car/train rides.
I’m curious what pillow you love so much you take it with you. We are on the hunt for better pillows.
I use an organic wool pillow. I recommend testing out a few brands as it is a very personal choice.
Loved this article but what brand is your wonderful wool pillow. Mine bunches up! Thanks.
Hi Linda! I use an organic wool pillow. I recommend testing out a few brands as it is a very personal choice.
I always travel with crystals too, they can be a great comfort. I have a few notes, since you asked for input!
The most important thing is to cleanse your crystals regularly when traveling. Not from a germ perspective but from an energy-accumulation perspective. When you arrive at your destination and remove your crystals from your bra (which is a wonderful place to keep them!), take them to the bathroom and wash them under cold running water for about a minute. Gently pat dry and then you can replace on your person or place next to your bed. While traveling, clean them daily.
Some great stones for energetic protection while traveling are clear quartz, amethyst, red jasper, and selenite. Selenite does not need to be cleaned under running water (it is “self-cleaning”) and if you bring along a baggie of it you can place a bit at each corner of your hotel bed to help keep away those weirdo dreams that can happen in an unfamiliar place.
PS – Amethyst should be kept out of direct sunlight as it’s color will fade over time from the UV rays. It’s a great stone to keep under your pillow!
If your e-reader ever breaks you might want to consider getting a Kobo. It is e-lit and does not affect your sleep like a ipad, tablet or certain e-readers. The light comes out from the sides not the surface. I know this because I worked in a store that sold them and we were trained on the product.
I take re-positioning cruises and the Queen Mary 2 cruise to cross the Atlantic because I don’t fly for environmental reasons.
As you can imagine, crossing the Atlantic can sometimes be rocky. I totally find the ginger helps. (My mom suggest that to save money, I could buy powdered ginger from the supermarket instead of the supplements.) I also see people wearing the acupressure wrist bracelets and they say it really works.
Thanks for all the advice! I’ll definitely add an essential oil to my travel bag.
Love the info about the crystals but wondering what happens when you go through airport security with them in your bra? Wishing you the best with your pregnancy!
My 6 year old gets really bad motion sickness in the car also. Is a ginger supplement ok to give to children? Thanks!
Hi Lora, Thanks for your message. I would suggest you consult with your child’s natural health care provider directly to find out if it is appropriate for him.
I also keep crystals in my bra sometimes! It just makes sense to me.
The Crystal part made me laugh. In a good way! I once bought a few stones because they were pretty. I was cleaning up and found one my son had placed in a weird spot. I didn’t have pockets so I just put it in my bra. I now find it comforting and keep putting that same stone in my bra. I call it my boob rock. 🤷🏼♀️😊
Good to know I’m not the only one who does this!
Hi Meghan, I`ve been reading your tips for travelling since I`ll be visiting Costa Rica in a few days. I have really bad motion sickness in airplanes, like really bad. I`m hoping that ginger can work as well as for you. At my natural health store they didn`t have the exact brand as yours, is there something specific I should look for?
I refer to your articles on a regular basis!
Thank you so much,
Have a fantastic trip! I hope that ginger works for you. I have some general advice about choosing supplements in this post that you can check out: https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/the-truth-behind-centrum-doing-more-harm-than-good/
Am always looking for the perfect pillow, could you share where you get yours?
I have some pillow advice here: https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/natural-bedding-and-linens-guide/. You can also check out Dormio or Organic Lifestyle.