How to Stay Healthy When Traveling, According to Three Experts
Heading out of town for the holidays and want to stay WELL? While an adventure away from home can relieve stress and restore us, it can also cause anxiety, expose us to new germs and bring us back home in need of a second vacation to recover. With travel kicking up for the holidays, the last thing any of us want is to get away only to end up sick. But, we’ve got you covered.
Your next trek doesn’t have to end in illness, experts say. When we asked three health practitioners across the country what they do to stay healthy when they travel, their message was clear—you need to prepare. With a little intentional packing, you can set yourself up before, during and after your trip with all you need to stay well (or to course correct should you start to feel under the weather).
Keep reading to hear what our wellness experts share about how to stay healthy when traveling.
Dr. Jessica Peterson, Chiropractor, Lake Pointe Wellness
“First, pack your wellness wallet! Travel prepared to support your immune system and those ‘just in case’ moments. I always start a trip with a high dose of vitamin D & C, and your natural doctor can recommend an immunity-boosting multi-vitamin to battle any cold symptoms that sneak up. Convenient travel-size probiotics and antioxidants are easy to add to a bottle of water while you travel and quality lip balm is a must to battle that dry plane air. I also pack thieves essential oil for fending off those pesky germs, and peppermint for tight neck muscles after traveling, the occasional headache or upset tummies, and it’s the best breath freshener.
Consider ways you can reduce travel anxiety and destress before you fly—no need to take extra angst with you. The SolTec chairs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chiroport’s Meditation Lounge are a must (check to see what is available near you). Thirty minutes there will leave you deeply relaxed and energized. Apps like Buddhify and Calm are great for a guided meditation to downshift stress while you travel (or anytime!).
Don’t forget that movement while you travel is a game changer and you don’t need a fancy workout center to feel fit. You can work miracles in your hotel room. Keep your healthy habits up or start a new one. I love the YogaGlo app for ease of use, and every session is complete. You can choose from five to 120-minutes classes, so this app has your downward dog covered. Better yet, take it poolside or by any outdoor green space! Or try the seven-minute workout—simple (not always easy!), fast, done.”
Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Parsley Health
“Hydration is critical when traveling; not only can the environment inside a plane really dehydrate you, but the stress and anxiety of traveling can also intensify the problem. As soon as I get through airport security, I grab the biggest bottle of electrolyte water I can find. My goal is to have the bottle finished by the time I land.
Because flying can be so hard on your skin, I also make sure I have a light moisturizer and lip balm easily accessible in my carry on. If it’s winter and you’re feeling really dry, you can also apply an overnight moisture mask at the beginning of the flight—several excellent brands make travel sizes.”
Sandra Lanshin Chiu, L.Ac. Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Founder of Treatment by Lanshin
“Starting on the day before I travel, I hydrate really well, and not just plain water but any combo of bone broth, lemon/lime water with a pinch of high-quality sea salt, juice with plumped up chia seeds. See the book Quench for more details on hydration.
The day I travel, I pack an empty and dry travel water bottle. I throw dry chia seeds in the bottom, about one tablespoon per eight ounces of fluid. I cut some lime and lemon wedges, and pack separately. Once I get past security, I fill my bottle with water and squeeze lemon or lime into it, and shake vigorously before letting it sit for 10–15 minutes. When ready, chia should be plump. I drink it before and in flight (and after).
In my carry-on bag, I bring a travel-size hydrating mist or toner, and facial oil. On board during the flight when my skin feels dry, I moisten my face generously. To avoid disturbing my neighbor, I spray [the toner] into my palm and then press into my face, and massage well into the skin. Then while my skin is still damp, I apply a few drops of facial oil into my palms and rub together, then applying to me face and massaging well. Then I apply lip balm, and my skin is much, much happier. I repeat toward the end of a long flight or once I arrive at my final destination.
Lastly, I like to wear a light scarf. During the flight I wrap it so high, it covers my mouth and nose when I breathe, so the air isn’t so dry and uncomfortable to take in. It also acts like a filter keeping out germs or pathogens in the air.”
For more travel tips, including how to avoid the dreaded jet-lag, read about essentials oils you should keep stocked in your carry-on.