It’s that time of year where many of us are packing our bags for summer vacations. While vacations are often fun and relaxing, travel to and from your destination can be stressful and take a toll on your physical and mental health. The added stress of the pandemic is leaving many families wondering what extra steps they should take to ensure wellness while traveling. Below are my top 7 travel essentials.
Eye drops and Nasal Spray
The air inside an aircraft is usually very dry, about 10-40 percent less humid than the indoor air you are used to. This dehydrates your skin and dries out the mucus membranes in your eyes and nose. Keeping these mucus membranes lubricated is not just for comfort, but also essential for preventing illness. Look for eye drops that are pH balanced, like Biotrue Hydration Boost Eye Drops by Bausch + Lomb. XLEAR Xylitol and Saline Nasal Spray by Xlear is a great nasal spray with the addition of xylitol that prevents microbes and pollutants from sticking to your nasal passages.
This one should be no surprise! Opt for more eco-friendly and non-toxic sanitizers like ones from Mrs. Meyers, Dr. Bronners, The Honest Company, or EO Products.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that contributes to your immune defenses against microbes and illnesses commonly acquired during travel. Foundational dosages for adults are between 1,000-3,000 mg per day in divided doses, but can be increased during times of acute illness. You can take vitamin C in capsule form or as an effervescent powder like Emergen-C®.
Travel is not just hard on your body, it can be hard on your microbiome too! Probiotics can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea and also keep you regular if you are someone prone to constipation. Opt for shelf stable probiotics that do not need to be refrigerated and are easy to travel with, like Ther-Biotic Synbiotic by Klaire Labs or BioMaintenance Shelf Stable Probiotic by Metabolic Maintenance.
Despite your best efforts to meal prep and pack snacks, travel may upend your dietary routine and impact your digestive function. This is especially true if you have food sensitivities or intolerances that may be difficult to avoid while traveling or on vacation. Digestive enzymes help alleviate gas, bloating, fullness, and discomfort associated with indigestion from consuming unavoidable allergens or indulging in rich foods or treats. They also help with the breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients and can help prevent constipation.
It often takes our bodies a little while to get adjusted to a new environment. Add in to the equation travel across time zones and our normal sleep/wake cycles that we work so hard to maintain at home get totally out-of-whack. Melatonin can be very helpful in regulating disturbed sleep patterns, mitigating jet lag, or acting as a short-term sleep-aid on an overnight flight. Foundational dosages for adults are between 1-5 mg.
All aspects of travel can be stressful. Lavender is a wonderful botanical that calms the nervous system and promotes a sense of relaxation during times of temporary stress. It is especially wonderful for people who get a lot of anxiety about flying. It can be taken internally or used externally in the form of essential oil. A great internal preparation is Lavela WS 1265™ by Integrative Therapeutics. Floracopeia has nice essential oil blends with lavender like “Relax” and “Little Angels” that come in roll-ons that are TSA approved and can easily fit in your carry-on.