Really, anytime of the year is a great time to travel. But if it’s been a while, you may be wondering what to pack to stay healthy. Are you traveling soon? Then let’s get you ready!
Traveling can be such an adventurous, humbling and learning time. It’s a time to self-explore, self-experiment, try new flavors and new cuisines, meet new people, explore nature, be exposed to new cultural practices, and so much more!
While there is so much opportunity and space for growth when traveling, you are also at a heightened risk of illness. With the change in your environment, being introduced to foreign foods and sources of water and foreign bacteria, it’s no wonder your system can be easily thrown off balance. On top of that, the stress of traveling can compromise your immunity, your digestion, your sleep cycles, and so on.
However, today, I’m going to share with you what to pack to be prepared for anything and to maintain optimal health while on the move. So if you’re planning on traveling soon, listen up!
Traveling Soon? Here’s Your Ultimate Packing Guide!
1) Hydration Essentials
You know, we are over 70% water, right, so it’s good to be prepared. I suggest that you carry an empty, refillable water bottle through airport security – most preferably a glass water bottle, or mason jar. Although you can’t bring liquids through security, you can bring this empty bottle or container, which will save you and the planet a lot of unnecessary waste. Fill it at a water fountain as soon as you’re through your security check, and make sure you drink up and hydrate before your flight and, of course, during the flight. Kindly ask a flight attendant to fill your bottle for you throughout your flight; even if they’re not coming through often with the cart, there is always an abundant supply of water in the back service station.
And what about actually on your adventure? If you’ve brought a refillable container, then you can top off the water wherever you find yourself, as well. This will ensure that you are staying hydrated at all times of the day. (1)
Herbal Tea Bags:
Ginger and fennel are my favorite as they are super grounding. From an Ayurvedic perspective, ginger’s heating qualities make it useful for treating “vata” imbalances. Vata is the element of air – something that we are exposed to in excess while traveling. So ginger, an earthy root vegetable, helps to keep us feeling “grounded,” further helping us reconnect with the Earth element. (2)
Don’t forget your skin! Always have some form of natural skin moisturizer on hand, to alleviate the symptoms of dehydrated skin from being in a pressurized air cabin for extended periods of time. A small (leak proof) container of coconut oil is ideal.
2) Supplement Essentials
Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes:
Since the vast majority of our immune system lies in our gut, keeping the intestinal tract healthy and happy while traveling will keep you feeling great This will also ensure that you enjoy your travels to the utmost extent! Invest in brands that do not have to be refrigerated. It’s a good idea to incorporate beneficial ‘bugs’ in your daily regime while traveling, because being exposed to new water sources, foods and time zones naturally has an effect on your natural digestion cycle. Having these supplements on hand are also effective in alleviating any debilitating symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea. (3)
This essential mineral acts as a natural relaxant – that is, it relaxes skeletal muscles, as well as the smooth muscles of blood vessels and the GI tract. Not only that, magnesium is also a natural tranquilizer, making it a fantastic sleep aid. OK – what a great, natural way to help you adapt to a different time zone! Magnesium aids in peristalsis, which aids in proper digestion, promotes motility in the intestinal tract and softens stools. For this reason, it also helps alleviate cramping and constipation due to the dehydrating conditions. Last, but not least, magnesium alleviates feelings of nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue – some of which can loom over you when traveling and changing time zones frequently. (4)
Seriously, don’t travel without it! A God-send for travelers, activated charcoal alleviates symptoms of nervous diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea, a spastic colon, and indigestion. It’s great to have on hand when people overdose on drugs or alcohol. For example, you can probably see the need for young adults traveling post-graduation from university. Why? Because it helps capture and eliminate these toxic compounds from your digestive system. (5)
Like ginger tea, ginger tablets are great to alleviate stomach troubles especially nausea. But these are handy, too, when hot tea isn’t an option. Ginger may prevent symptoms of motion sickness, including nausea, dizziness and vomiting – making it great for times of turbulence while flying, traveling on a boat and/or ferry, and so on. Finally, ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrients known as gingerols, as well as strong antioxidant and antibacterial properties – helpful for warding off any foreign invaders! (2)
This medicinal mushroom is a fantastic adaptogenic herb, which helps our bodies optimally cope in times of physical and emotional stress and adversity. Reishi mushroom is known as the “mushroom of immortality.” (6) The ever powerful Reishi boosts and supports the immune system. Reishi is also referred to as “the great protector,” as it helps guard against the impact of physical, immunological, and mental stressors while traveling. (7)
3) Food Essentials
- Personally, I avoid refined sugars, so for me, stevia is a fantastic plant-based, all-natural solution.
- Healthy snacks like superfood trail mix are always good to have on hand to help you avoid making a poor food choice.
- Survival food like quinoa flakes and nuts, for those early mornings when nothing else is available!
- Pink Himalayan salt. This is great to have on hand because normally when you eat out, the only option you have is processed, iodized table salt. No, thank you! Instead, effortlessly enrich all your meals with electrolytes and trace minerals by having the right salt on hand.
- Traveler’s utensils and reusable food bags, and as aforementioned my own water bottle (don’t leave home without it!); all of which I keep in my backpack. Guess what that means – NO WASTE PRODUCTION (yay!).
4) Lymph Essentials
Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that moves through every individual’s body and sweeps up bacteria and viruses, filtering them out via the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system has no pump – and for those reasons has to be stimulated or manually pumped by our actions. It’s functions exclusively depend on muscle contractions (in some form of vigorous exercise), diaphragmatic breathing [that is deep breathing], dry brushing and massage. That’s why I like to move around as much as I can during my layovers. I want to keep that lymph flowing and to aid my body’s immunity functions. (8)
Two key things that I do not travel without are my yoga mat and resistance bands. I do yoga and exercise using my resistance bands during layovers to increase my circulation and stimulate mobility in my body after sitting for an extended period of time. Inverted poses are particularly stimulating of lymph. Some easy inverted yoga poses you can incorporate in your layover routine are; downward dog, standing forward bend, supported shoulder stand, headstand, wheel pose, bridge pose and so on.
Dry Skin Brush:
Dry-brushing is an excellent way to love your lymphatic system for working so very hard to keep you healthy and vibrant! The lymphatic system is composed of organs, lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that work as transportation channels for lymph to run smoothly within and throughout the body. Many of our lymph vessels run just below the surface of our skin. This is why dry brushing regularly helps stimulate and support a normalized and optimal lymph flow. This naturally helps the body in its detoxification and elimination processes [by stimulating circulation that is]. On that same token, dry brushing can be a very energizing and revitalizing practice. This is especially useful when people are feeling groggy and jet-lagged after long traveling hours. (9)
Traveling or not, a good daily practice is to ask yourself what you have done to move your lymph during the day.
5) Essential Superhero Tool: A Zapper
Finally, I want to share with you a cool gadget that I bring everywhere to help support my immune system. It’s called a Zapper! I keep it clipped to my waist and it’s pretty much unnoticeable. The zapper is a device that was invented to disturb parasites, bacteria, viruses, molds, and fungi with electrical currents. How a zapper works is by sending vibrations and electric charges through your system, which creates an environment and space around you [look at it as your very own personal ozone layer] that is not conducive to pathogens and foreign invaders. In tandem with that, the positive electrical currents of the zapper stimulate and energize our white blood cells. These specialized little helpers work to eliminate our body’s worst enemies. Great team work, right?
Travel greatly weakens our immune systems, putting a great burden on our bodies. Fortunately, zapping offers the support that the immune system needs, so you can engage in all of the activities and fun while you’re out in the world. (10)
You deserve to get out there and explore the wonders of the world. Just don’t forget to show love and support to the physical body that allows you to walk through this life with energy, vibrancy, vitality, and love!