How To Stay Healthy On Trips: Your Complete Packing List
Trains, planes, automobiles = germs, bugs, gross.
Buses, hotels, Airbnbs, = yuck, ewww, ick.
From May 2018 to May 2019, I took a trip around the world and came in contact with every germ under the sun. Even before I left, I had a weak immune system, so I knew I had to be careful on this trip. On this journey, I did a lot of trial and error about the best habits to stay healthy, and I'm giving them to you here, so you don't have to go through the same process I did.
Compression socks: I've been wearing compression socks on all flights over 4 hours for the past six months, and I've gotta say, I should have started this a long time ago. Compression socks help your legs from swelling, and some of them are just really cute. I used to have problems getting my feet back into my shoes after a long flight, but I don't have that problem when I wear compression socks.
Baby Aspirin: I take a baby aspirin before all long flights.
Travel Yoga Mat: I've had my travel mat for at least eight years, and I never go on a trip over 48 hours without it. The thing I love most about this one is that it folds easily, is very grippy on my hands, and slides minimally on carpets. Cons, it will glide on wood or tile floors, and there is no padding, so if you have sensitive joints like me, working out with this on a hard floor can cause some minor pain. I don't just use this for yoga; I use it for all workouts that require my body touching the floor. I'm a bit of a germaphobe (more on that later), and I'm not laying on anyone's gross floor if I can help it.
Exercise Bands: Lightweight, easy to carry, and a lifesaver when you can't get to a gym - I love traveling with exercise bands. They force me to get creative, and if I really get into it, I can get a real burn going.
Pills and Potions:
Airborne: I start taking Airborne or an equivalent a few days before any flight. And then I take double doses on the day of the flight. I don't play when it comes to getting all the protection I can on trips.
Daily Vitamins: Whatever your daily vitamins and medicines are (and you should be taking vitamins) make sure you pack those and take them with you. For vitamins, I like gummies or solid tablets. I find capsules more challenging to travel with because if you keep them in the jar, you're carrying the same size container from your first pill to your last pill, and if you take them out of the bottle and put them in a baggy, then some of the capsules will open up, and you'll have powder all over your hand whenever you try to get some. I did this with my charcoal pills, and it's pretty gross. I have to double bag them to make sure the powder doesn't get loose in my suitcase.
Shelf-stable probiotics: Y'all, listen here, probiotics are life but don't mess around and buy one that has to be refrigerated. If you do you'll just be wasting your money on pills that will go bad the second your suitcase hits the cargo hold. Even if you're carrying on, don't do it. These degrade during all time that they are not refrigerated, so I ONLY buy the type that doesn't need to be refrigerated. And check the expiration date to make sure that you get some good ones. Probiotics help keep your belly healthy, and a healthy belly is the way to a healthy immune system.
Charcoal Pills: Charcoal is perfect for absorbing anything you ate that your stomach doesn't like, and let's keep it real when you're on the road you're going to eat something your stomach doesn't like. If I have any kind of stomach upset before I travel I take them.
Vital Proteins: According to my nutritionist, "leaky gut syndrome" is the main reason for my collective food sensitivities. I try (and fail A LOT) to take collagen every morning to help with this issue. I'm hella inconsistent, so I don't know if it's helping overall, but I'm putting a little faith in it and trying anyway. I used to travel with the large jar, but just like I mentioned for pills, I hate packing anything that doesn't get smaller with use, so I'm moving on to the individual serving packs.
Sleep aids: Sleep is a challenge for me, so I like to bring melatonin and ZZZQuil with me. I try to take the melatonin every night before bed, and the ZZZQuil in sleep "emergencies," like planes, where my body naturally wants to flight sleep, but I know I need to get some to avoid jet-lag.
Sleep masks: Have I mentioned that I'm a light sleeper? Any light in a room will keep me up, so I travel with multiple masks. I like to keep them really clean, so if I wear one while I'm wearing makeup or my skin isn't freshly cleaned (say, on a plane), I have another one I can wear while I wash the dirty one and let it lay flat to dry. Don't put these in the dryer; there's too much stretchy material in most of them for them to survive a few rounds of that.
Germs Be Gone
Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer is a must. This shouldn’t require an explanation. It's a non-negotiable. And go ahead and share it with the person to your right and left.
Anti-Bacterial Wipes - Okay, so yeah, wiping down your seat on a plane with antibacterial wipes is getting increasingly popular. But I wipe down my hotel room too. Anything I touch that other people usually touch too - I'm wiping it down. Remote control, doorknobs, light switch - the entire bathroom. This doesn't take more than 5 minutes just to swipe a Lysol wipe over everything. Sometimes I pack the travel-sized spray too, but I don't like the scent of the spray, so I'm less likely to use it. I usually use it for spraying down my suitcase (think about where those wheels have been), if it's going to be in a small space with me.
Hotel Slippers: Sometimes I stay in AirBnB's sometimes I stay in hotels. Either way, I'm not walking around barefoot on someone else's floors. I typically bring a pair of hotel slippers from home (I have a stash) and exchange them for a new pair whenever I stay in a hotel.
Do you pack things to make sure you stay healthy while you travel? If so, what are they?