Traveling with an autoimmune disease can be a challenge, sometimes even overwhelming. A big part of maintaining my health revolves around sticking to a controlled, well-planned daily routine. When I’m placed in a situation where my I can’t control what I eat, or when I’m faced with extra stress, poor rest, or lack of proper nutrition, it puts me at risk of getting sick. And as you know, you can only enjoy a vacation if you’re feeling well! Luckily, I’ve discovered some healthy travel essentials which help keep my immune system healthy.
We recently got to enjoy a trip to Maui, and oh, how it was long overdue! Fortunately, I was able to do some planning and make sure I was prepared. I feel I did pretty well with regard to my overall health, aside from some very poor judgement which led to a bad sunburn (I thought we were in the shade and waited too long to apply sunscreen…and after all my preaching!). It took me a couple days to adjust to a new travel routine, but once I did, I was actually able to tolerate dining out and being outside of my normal routine.
One reason it was a successful experience was due to choosing the right restaurants and asking the right questions when ordering. But it was also largely due to having my healthy travel essentials with me. Here are my favorites!
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7 Healthy Travel Essentials
I typically take elderberry syrup at home for immune and allergy support. However, it’s not exactly convenient to travel with liquid in a glass bottle. These elderberry gummies come to the rescue for easy travel, as they’re easy to pack in a ziplock or small container and take with you when you’re on-the-go. These elderberry gummies also contain vitamin C and zinc for added immune support. They are also vegetarian (i.e. no gelatin). But please be aware that they do contain sugar. In fact, they taste like candy, so they should be taken in moderation and according to directions. It could get easy to get carried away if you have a sweet tooth! (I’m not usually a big fan of gummy candies, but these little suckers taste exceptionally good.)
2. Saline Spray
This is always a plus if you’re traveling by air, as the recycled air on airplanes can dry out the nasal passages, leaving one susceptible to germs and illness. As someone who is always battling with sinus issues, this is my non-negotiable healthy travel must-have when traveling by plane. Spraying the nasal cavity with a dose of saline spray (i.e. salt water) before flying helps rinse and moisten the sinuses which helps protect against colds and flu. This saline mist made for babies is great for adults too because it is straight sodium chloride and does not contain preservatives.
3. GlutenEase (Digestive Enzymes)
If you have an intolerance to gluten or casein, this supplement is a definite must-have. I use it anytime I dine out, so it’s a necessity while traveling. This digestive enzyme will help you process small amounts of gluten or casein, as you might encounter with accidental exposure or cross-contamination. (Just remember it doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be able to down a whole pizza…it’s reserved for small amounts of exposure.) This is one of my top healthy travel essentials and is a must-have for anyone with gluten or casein allergies or intolerance.
4. A Good Probiotic
I discovered this probiotic supplement while in Maui because I forgot to pack my usual probiotics. Turns out, I really like it! Please note that I chose this one because I feel it’s best for my condition, including my histamine intolerance, but one should choose a good probiotic based on their own individual needs. Be sure to consult your functional medicine doctor, naturopath, or nutritional therapy practitioner before choosing your probiotic supplement (and try to choose a refrigerated brand…I usually just pack them in my carry-on cooler bag). Some probiotic brands that I personally like are Master Supplements, Ultimate Flora, and Seeking Health.
I stopped using chewing gum because of all the additives. Even the “natural” gum brands have ingredients that could be problematic for me (like xylitol, a natural sweetener which can disrupt the gut). Luckily, I’ve discovered this herbal breath spray from Tropical Traditions. It contains no sweeteners or preservatives, just organic extracts of licorice, peppermint, and ginger, organic essential oil of spearmint, and organic flavor extracts of cinnamon and clove. I use it in the place of gum, and it works perfectly as a breath freshener. Just one or two spritzes and you’re good to go!
6. Safe Sanitizing Wipes and Spray
Now let me just preface this by saying I would not normally encourage using hand sanitizer or products of this nature, especially those that contain harmful antibacterial ingredients (like triclosan, which has now been banned and will be phased out of products soon). However, when traveling, it’s possible to find ourselves in situations where we need a little germ-fighting and/or cleaning help. These natural sanitizing wipes from EO are made with alcohol and naturally antimicrobial essential oils, and are perfect for wiping down doorknobs and remote controls in hotel rooms or airplane seats and armrests. This tiny bottle of natural sanitizing hand spray from EO also contains alcohol and essential oils and can be used in a pinch when you are somewhere where you need to but are unable to wash your hands. If you want to wipe your hands without a sanitizing effect, these gentle wipes from the Honest Company (made for babies and kids) come in a travel size pack and perfect for when you’re on-the-go.
7. Essential Oil Rollers
You guys know how much I’ve come to love my essential oils. So having them pre-diluted in roller form is the perfect way to use them while traveling. I love this lavender essential oil roller for stress relief and relaxation, and this germ-fighting essential oil roller blend is great for added immune support.
What are your favorite healthy travel essentials?
Always be sure to consult your functional medicine doctor or healthcare professional before starting any supplement, especially if you have a medical condition.