I travel a lot and through my years of travel I have found there are a few no-fail ways to encourage a healthy and happy trip. It really is the small simple changes we make that can have a huge impact on our overall daily well being. I'm currently in South Africa preparing to teach at a retreat here. So I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you some simple things I do when I travel to stay healthy and sane.
Healthy Travel Tips:
Do This First:
There are a few preventative measures you can take before you leave home to prepare for a brilliant time away.
Travel can often times be stressful for the body. Whether that is simply because of changes in food and surroundings, lack of sleep, or other pressures, there are many things you can do to amp up your system so that you can survive and thrive during, and after, your time in transit.
Oftentimes our digestive system is under extra stress when traveling so starting at least a month to 2 weeks before your trip with a high quality pro-biotic is recommended. This will help to prepare your digestive tract for any unusual bacteria and digestive upsets. This is also a wonderful practice to continue throughout your trip if the food and water you will be consuming is at all questionable. Remember that when taking probiotics some people experience mild digestive upset to begin but this should pass within a few days to a week. This usually means the probiotic is working. If it seems to be too much upset you can lower your dosage and then slowly increase it as your trip progresses.
If you can, use your time before the trip to catch up on sleep. And get plenty of movement in the days leading up to traveling (this is especially true in the case of long air travel). This is also a great time to start taking a medium daily dose of vitamin C. Make sure your diet consists of lots of water and high vibration vegetables (fresh! organic! and local if possible!). All of this will support your immune system and the fibrous vegetables will help to keep your bowels moving. I also emphasize consumption of herbs or foods that are especially high in nutrients during this time. Some of my favorites, depending on the season, are nettle tea, and organic green juice.
The physical act of travel can be very unsettling for the physical and energetic body. In particular, air travel can aggravate "vata" energy which has a dry, and light quality. This can show up as not feeling grounded or nourished. To counter this tendency it is imperative you stay very hydrated during travel. I also recommend minimizing congesting foods and alcohol.
Air travel in particular is extremely dehydrating so you may notice that, especially on longer flights, your bowels are dry or stop moving. When the bowels stop moving all of your waste stays in the body and toxicity starts to build leading to fatigue, heaviness, headaches, irritability and many other low level symptoms. Make sure to stay moving as much as possible -- get up out of your seat, move around and drink water!!
I have found that using my flying time as a time to fast or at least greatly simplifying my intake of food has been incredibly effective at keeping my energy clear. Generally airport and airline food is overcooked, full of additives and preservatives and lacks the vitality you need to sustain yourself. Instead, the food offered further weighs you down and dehydrates you further. If you are not used to fasting bring some prepared snacks with you such as dried apricots, raw soaked almonds and sprouts.
Create a Tea Stash
I always bring an assortment of teas with me when traveling to minimize any issues that may come up. I prefer the brand Traditional Medicinals (which is widely available) or another brand that emphasizes sourcing their teas from reputable growers and provides high quality tea. (Side note: Many conventional tea bags have little to no medicinal value unfortunately. In many conventional tea bags the medicinal components have been removed and used for other products such as beauty or essential oil products. The tea bags are then just "empty" leaf mater that are void of any medicine. Plus the bags themselves can be full of other chemicals that are used to bleach and color the bag.) Bring the following or something similar with you: echinacea plus (to drink throughout your flight), throat coat (the second you feel a scratchy throat), peppermint and/or ginger (great for stomach upset and/or if you feel a little hot or cold -- drink the peppermint if you feel hot and the ginger if you feel cold), smooth move (if you are constipated), nighty night or chamomile (to help you calm down and sleep).
After arriving at your destination of course getting some rest, movement, more water and healthy food should be your top priority. I like using the ayurvedic technique of rubbing oil on your skin to nourish and pacify vata energy further. You can use almost any oil -- I like almond or sesame oils. Rub it in using circular motions starting at your feet and making your way towards your heart. To make your treatment complete you can also shower after you rub the oil in (the warm water will help the oil to seep deeper into the skin). Just be sure to avoid lots of soap which will just dry out the skin and careful which towel you use because excess oil can stain.
Bring with you:
Continue your use of the vitamins and probiotics I discussed above. In addition I like to carry with me a few extra supplements and products for specific circumstances. Bring rescue remedy (great for a huge variety of circumstances -- take when in shock or if feeling a bit frazzled), and cranberry pills (if you feel a UTI coming on). I also always travel with a handful of essential oils. You can check out my favourites here.
As I started to write I realized it turns out I have been doing all of this for years! There are so many ways to stay healthy when traveling and I hope you benefit from these simple steps. Let me know in the comments below how you stay healthy on the go and what you can't leave home without.
Until next time,