Summer travel season is here and a question I’m often asked is how I stay healthy while traveling. So to answer that question I’ve compiled a list of my essential healthy tips that I’ve accumulated over many years of traveling. These tips will help you stick to a nourishing healthy routine and ensure nothing stands in the way of you and your summer adventure!
First things first – get organized! If you’re anything like me the build-up to the departure date of a trip can be stressful and in order to stay healthy and keep our immune systems strong, we must keep stress at bay! This is where a little “vacation prep” and organization really comes in handy:
- As soon as I book a trip, I start building my to-do lists. Having a visual of all the things I need to do to prep for a trip really helps to relieve any anxiety. I cross things off as I get them done and I find this works as a great stress reliever. Some examples of things I put on my lists are – pet boarding reservations, changing cell phone packages, what to pack, house-sitter confirmations, currency exchange info, shopping items, toiletry lists, etc.
- I like to print out my entire itinerary including flight information, hotel bookings, hotel information, rental car reservations, local area info and make copies of my passport. I put everything into a travel binder that is easily organized by each day of the trip. It fits perfectly in my carry on luggage. Cell service isn’t always reliable so having an actual hard copy of everything at my fingertips is super helpful!
- I start pre-packing early! There is nothing worse than running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to pack last minute. Rather than throw things in my luggage at random I like to pre-plan outfits and set things aside before the actual packing begins. This way I can see everything I’m bringing and make final decisions as to whether it is totally necessary or not. Often times I find this method helps me to not over pack.
- Another organizing tip is to use packing cubes. They are a game-changer! I’ll use one cube for workout clothes, one cube for jeans, one cube for tops, and so on. This keeps your entire luggage clean and organized and you’ll actually fit more into your suitcase. You can also use shoe bags to keep your shoes organized and separate from your clean clothes. I also never leave home without a small laundry bag. This is the best way to sort dirty and cleans clothes in your suitcase.
Carry on the healthy essentials! Packing a carry-on bag that is stocked with useful wellness products — both for your flight and beyond — is a crucial skill to master. Here are the essentials I always pack in my carry-on:
- Compression socks! I am here to tell you that compression socks are no longer only for your grandparents. They are a super effective travel hack that helps to reduce swelling and increase circulation on long flights. Plus there are so many cute designs on the market these days – it makes sitting in your seat for long periods of time more fun! I put them on as soon as I board the plane.
- I like to throw a few organic lavender-sanitizing packets into my carry-on. Not only do they smell delicious but they are perfect for keeping the bugs at bay and relaxing my flying nerves with the calming lavender scent. I use the wipes to give the tray table and armrests a quick wipe-down when I first take my seat; those tray tables don’t always get cleaned and since you’re eating off of them, they’re frequently ground zero for flight-borne illness.
- Don’t make a rookie mistake and forget to download your favorite podcast episodes or music before you get to the airport! Listening to music or a podcast really helps me feel relaxed during long flights and helps to pass the time.
- I love having a good hydrating facial mist during my flight. It helps my skin stay moisturized and is a subtle way to feel refreshed once the plane has landed- just give your face a good spritz and you’re good to go! Some of my favorite scents are rose and hibiscus!
- I definitely recommend investing in a silk eye mask! The slight pressure of the mask and blocking out light really helps me to catch up on valuable sleep during (and after) my flight. Plus, an eye mask doubles as a polite “do not disturb” sign. It also comes in super handy for sleeping in hotel rooms that don’t have total blackout darkness – like the annoying blue light from an alarm clock or curtains that don’t quite line up.
- Pack the Magnesium. Magnesium is known as nature’s “relaxation mineral” and it’s important for everything from the functioning of your nervous system to the health of your bones and it plays a critical role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within your body. I bring magnesium on vacation for all these reasons and more. It helps me wind down at the end of the day, tackle jet lag, and helps to keep my digestion regular.
- Propolis bee spray is my #1 go-to travel remedy. I always use this while flying. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial substance that can be used for everything from the sniffles to burns.
- I find that flying long distances are the perfect time to give my digestion a break with an intermittent fast. I typically fast before flying and during my flight. Fasting comes with a host of health benefits and it really helps to combat jet lag. Just be sure to drink enough water or even sip herbal teas with lemon.
- For shorter flights when I’m not fasting I make sure to pack enough healthy snacks like fresh fruit, sweet potato chips, kale chips or dried apples. I also like to pack a good green powder that I can easily mix into my water bottle. It can be a challenge to get the greens I need to keep my energy up, so I bring the greens with me. They’re easy to transport and help ensure that I’m not missing out on essential vitamins and minerals while away.
- A few additional things I will pack in my carry-on are earplugs, a journal, a scarf, electronic chargers, valuables like jewelry, and my printed travel packet.
Stretch it out. On long flights, it’s so important to get up, walk around, and stretch. Many airlines have their own inflight magazine, which highlights different stretches (usually at the back of the magazine) that you can do. I like to go to Pinterest beforehand and create my own “in-flight” stretch routine to have handy on my flight.
Walk everywhere. The whole point of traveling is to get out and explore, right? Find the best walks in the area or just set out on your own to explore whatever city you’re in. I like to hit the ground walking as soon as I land. It really helps to pump up the lymphatic system and beat jet lag. Also, the fresh air is so invigorating and cleansing after being on a stuffy airplane. If walking around outside is not an option due to the time of day or weather – it’s best to hit the hotel gym. Even a 15-minute walk on the treadmill is beneficial to your body.
Keep a routine. Routines are essential for life’s healthy habits so if you can take a good schedule with you on your adventure, this will help you better stay on track with your wellness. I like to wake up at the same time every day. I drink my hot tea, stretch, workout, journal and meditate – basically all of the same healthy habits I do on a regular basis at home. I find that this helps my body to adjust to new time zones quicker and keeps me in a happy mood.
Eat healthy but have a little fun too! The best part of traveling is trying out the new foods. Here are some tips I try to follow to keep things healthy but also fun:
- One and done! Decide on what one thing you have to try from the city you’re visiting. Whether it’s gelato in Rome, a cheese steak in Philadelphia, or a croissant in Paris. Do a little research beforehand, find the best quality ones, and just enjoy it! You don’t have to try every gelato from every cart on every corner. Have one, enjoy it, and then get back to your healthy routine!
- Be mindful of what you drink. It can be tempting to booze it up while abroad but remember – alcohol typically leads to more snacking and less healthy habits. It can also hurt your sleep! If you do decide to drink – make sure you limit your consumption to a few drinks a day and drink plenty of water in between!
- Check your portion size. It can be tempting to overeat when there’s an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the hotel or the portions at restaurants are big enough for two people. Eat mindfully and split meals if needed. I find that most restaurants are super accommodating with special requests such as substituting fries for more vegetables or ordering a burger with no bun. I also always skip the bread and butter basket. Instead of filling up and over eating – save your appetite for the food you ordered and will actually enjoy. It’ll be worth it. Little substitutions really add up and ensure you won’t feel sluggish and tired – two things your adventure can’t afford.
Take a digital vacation! I like to give my mind and soul a little rest from the digital world when traveling. I often put my phone on airplane mode and wait until the end of my trip to post pictures to social media. When you travel to less developed countries you easily see that they are some of the happiest people without the possessions of technology.
Remember to stay active. One of the best ways to stay healthy and fight off unwanted infections is to exercise. Exercise always boosts my energy and mood while traveling. I try to make time in my travel schedule to do something that gets my body moving whether it’s a local hike, walk or run or even taking advantage of the hotel gym.
Sleep, sleep, sleep! It’s impossible to underestimate how important it is to get enough sleep while travelling! It can be tempting to want to stay up until all hours of the night when you’re in a new city but it’s important to remember that your body needs rest and it needs to recharge it’s batteries. Listen to your bodies needs and rest during the day if you need to! Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.
I hope you enjoyed these healthy travel tips! And if I’ve missed any please let me know! Remember -staying healthy doesn’t need to be a challenge or an obstacle to a great vacation! Stay smart, think ahead, and give your body what it needs just like you do in your everyday life at home.
Noelle Creamer is a Wellness Entrepreneur and Holistic Health Coach. She is trained in all different dietary theories, eastern/western nutrition, modern health issues and personal growth and development. After recovering from her own autoimmune condition she gained a clear vision of what is possible for the mind, body, and spirit. She now helps to support others in their own health journey through whole food and lifestyle changes that are created to be sustainable for life. You can find her on Instagram @wellnesswithnoelle