Know What To Pack To Support Your Health While Traveling
Ugh, packing. Knowing what to bring can be so hard. It is usually the part of travel that makes me want to pull my hair out. If you are like me, then you may not like it when I tell you that there is another element to think about when packing: items for health. I know more stuff!
Fortunately I came up with this quick little guide for ideas on what to bring to support you in feeling clear, energized and focused so that you can fully enjoy your trip. And most of the items don’t even take up much space! So you can still bring that snorkel or your favorite sweater.
When traveling with your health in mind it is important to plan for it, as much as you can. Putting a little effort in on the front end when packing can really help inspire positive actions while you are on-the-go. So take a few moments before you leave to set yourself up to succeed!
How to Know What You Need to Bring?
- Identify and prioritize what healthy habits you want to bring with you. The first step is to look into the healthy habits you are already doing at home and want to continue while on the road. Meditating? Eating greens? Drinking water? Create 1-2 goals of what you want to continue doing while on your trip and write in your travel journal.
- Identify what to add in to minimize travel induced issues. Are there any actions that you want to start doing to counter the effects of travel? Like balancing the inevitable travel-induced vata? Sore muscles from sitting on a plane? Stress from moving around? Something that will make you feel more at home in a hotel room? Create 1-2 goals of what you want to add in while on your trip and write in your travel journal.
- Come up with a clear game plan on how to encourage these healthy behaviors. Understand how important setting up your environment is for healthy behavior, it’s not just willpower that makes changes. It is a combination of willpower, environmental set-up, triggers, and planning. So how can you set up triggers while traveling? Set an alarm, have your supplements in a place you will see it, like with your toothbrush, and have things you need handy. Have a plan with clear simple goals. Example: I will floss every day while I am gone. I will do yoga for 5 minutes everyday. I will meditate 1 time everyday. Etc…
- Bring what you need. Set aside space in your luggage to incorporate items for your physical, mental and emotional well being (it doesn’t have to be a lot).
Healthy Travel Items To Pack
- A travel yoga mat for your circuit workouts and stretching. This you can put in your carry-on so while you are waiting in the airport you can do some pre-flight stretches, just like Adventure Kayaker, Jaime Sharp. Yay for some airports having yoga rooms! But even if there isn’t a yoga room there is often a mellow, semi-private area that you could roll your mat out for a couple spinal twists in preparation for sitting. Then you also have this mat to take out on the beach for some yoga or circuits while on your trip. It also is ready for those morning Sun Salutes in your hotel room before you have to head to your work conference. It can also be taken on your hike to ensure a nice place to sit for your summit picnic. So versatile!
- Bring a light meditation shawl (or sarong) that makes you feel comfortable and cozy. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to layer with my sleeping bag, an extra sweatshirt, or ugh, the hotel blankets (I know not ideal) when meditating. On the occasions I have brought a specific light shawl with me, it has been glorious. Just a little piece of my practice is with me that makes me feel at home while slipping into the expansiveness. And I tend to fidget less because it is cozy and basically designed for meditation, unlike a slippery sleeping bag.
- Green smoothie packets to add to juice or smoothies. Finding smoothies is getting easier to find in airports and towns, but unfortunately they still are only 3 ingredient smoothies like strawberry, banana, and orange juice. Is this even a smoothie? I put like 15 superfoods in my smoothie at home, plus a little fruit. So these strawberry banana smoothies almost mean nothing to me. Almost. How can we make this better? We go back to the basics: nutrient density. How can I add nutrient density to this weak sauce smoothie? Green smoothie packets, a travel size bottle with spirulina powder in it, and/or nutrient density packets (check out #4).
- Make your own little nutrient dense pouch. Add chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and hemp seeds together in a little jar or bag, give it a shakity shake, and you are good to go! You can bring these when you are eating out to sprinkle on your salad, add them to your breakfast cereal, and throw them in that nutrient lacking smoothie. You can even use this mix to create your own grain-free breakfast porridge by heating them with water in a pot (or you could add hot water to the mix) or milk and adding a little honey or dates, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, almonds, candied ginger, or whatever else you have. You will need some sort of sweetener, even if it is just dried fruit, these seeds have no natural sweetness to them.
- Pack some green supplements like spirulina tablets, especially if you find yourself in middle America. Or any other place where leafy greens seem hard to come by. Like islands. These tablets are not leafy greens, but spirulina/ chlorella are blue-green algae that are extremely nutrient dense and full of chlorophyll.
- Pre-make a supplement bottle/container you keep with you, that you can grab whenever you go out on the road. I have a little pill bottle that is already filled with my supplements that I take. To be totally honest, it is the bare minimum for travel, which for me is zinc, magnesium, and iron. I get more stomach aches without my zinc, can’t sleep as well without my magnesium and am tired and lethargic without my iron (I am anemic). I take other supplements as well when I am home, but if I am doing short term travel I take just the necessities. Another good one to bring is a shelf stable (doesn’t have to be refrigerated) probiotic. The chances of eating healthy, probiotic rich fermented foods might be more challenging (especially in the USA where aside from yogurt, we have not yet incorporated the healthy art of including fermented foods into our daily food groups.) As my goat kefir is hard to come by and I have yet to travel with my sauerkraut (although should start, hehe). Bringing a shelf-stable probiotic can also help your system adapt when traveling abroad where the gut is prone to new bacterias.
- Wear your pedometer or fitness tracker for inspiration to get moving or to know when to rest when you have had more than you think. As I have mentioned in my blog about tracking, keeping an accurate account of what you have and have not done is important for creating and continuing healthy behaviors. Our mind is not always accurate. We may think that we moved more than we did, or just the opposite. Often when we are traveling, we may not have done our usual exercise routine, but yet we walked 10 miles through a new city, ran through the airport carrying a heavy pack, or snorkeled for hours. So fully knowing what our general action level was is important. If we sat in a conference all day and didn’t get much movement then maybe we forgo the Uber ride and walk to the restaurant where we are meeting our colleagues. Or adding in 15 minutes of sun salutations in the hotel room before turning on the TV.
- Acquire some natural sleep aids like a neck pillow, eye mask, some melatonin to make sure you get your much needed sleep. I have learned how important a neck pillow is for flying. It is worth bringing for the lack of a sore neck alone, not to mention the deeper sleep I get when my head isn’t floating about the cabin. I have yet to wear an eyemask, but I do sometimes wrap a sleeve round my eyes to block out the light. And I definitely plan on bringing some relax-all (an herbal calming blend good sleep- the few times I tried this it worked great!) for my next trip.
- Sesame seed oil for balancing out vata. As you may have read in my interview with Medha Garud on Ayurveda and how travel throws off our balance, bringing some sesame oil to give ourselves a quick rub down before our evening shower can be helpful in balancing the drying effect of travel. I have yet to try this myself, but I will! And at the very least can add more pepper to my foods and look for warming foods for my evening meals.
- Snacks! This is number one for me anytime I leave my house (actually lets be real, when I am in my house too). I make sure to have a couple standbys in my purse just in case my blood sugar drops, where I am prone to making bad decisions (well decisions in general are hard to make in this state, let alone good ones). When gearing up for a flight I make sure good snacks are in my carry-on, my favorites: Kits Organic Bars and Justin’s Almond Butter. I also like to bring a cooler if I have a long drive ahead of me.
- A good dance mix and headphones. This way when you get to your hotel room, you can bust a few moves to get your energy going, the breath moving, heart rate up, and joy boosted. Also you can use this same mix to dance walk. I am a big advocate for dance walking, as well as not caring what others think of you. Dance walking will not just brighten your day, but others as well. Check out this guy!
- Lacrosse or tennis ball. I have just been introduced to having a lacrosse ball laying around the living room and I have to say that I am into it. I roll out my quads and calves when they are too tight. I can self massage a pain in my back and I roll out my feet. Rolling out your feet can help loosen and relax muscles throughout our whole body. Just think about how good that would feel after a long flight! Check out this video by The Budget Minded Traveler on how to use when traveling.
- Essential Oils are great to bring. On my last trip I brought tiny containers of peppermint and lavender. Peppermint for anytime I was groggy and needed to wake up or just wanted to feel fresh. And lavender for helping me sleep. It was also just nice to have something that smelled good on the plane while breathing in the recycled air. Oils can be put on temples, neck, hands, or on a scarf. (Check out what Renee does while flying to keep her healthy).
- Immersion Blender. Yes I just suggested you bring a blender with you while traveling. Before you freak out, just imagine this: What if as soon as you entered a new town that you were going to be in for a few days you went out bought some organic fresh fruit? Then in a cup (or large jar with a lid) you throw in that banana, those strawberries, and the above-mentioned green smoothie packets and then you add in a spoonful or two out of the nutrient density pouch with some water and BAM!!! You have a nutrient dense meal on your hands. Now you can ensure that you will have at least 1 solid meal that day. Bonus: you will save money- that is one less overpriced meal you have to buy.
Now you packed what you needed. The only thing you have left to do is:
Take Action. Do the thing. Use the item. Eat the food. Go have fun.
Want more? Get Healthy Away From Home’s guide: 33 Healthy Travel Items to Bring on Your Next Trip.
What did I miss? What is the key item that you bring for your health? Why?
I am always adding to this list! So if you have anything to add help us all out by sharing!!! Thanks!!!
Other articles for you:
- Balance Your Vata While Traveling
- Purifying Water While Abroad
- Recipe for Getting the Most Out of Your Vacation