10 Travel Health Essentials You Should Always Pack

If you’re not intentional about it, travel can truly wreak havoc on your health. The good habits you’ve worked hard to develop in your everyday routine—consistent sleeping patterns, regular workouts, summoning the strength to avoid ordering takeout—are easily upended on vacation.

Add to that the stress of long lines, tight connections, and close quarters with strangers, and it’s no wonder why you’re craving getaways designed to refresh and renew.

While a weeklong trip to a spiritual retreat or a digital detox can be fitting short-term solutions, you need to be more mindful about incorporating wellness on every trip we take. That’s easier said than done—as most habit changes are—but there are tools to help you make healthy choices and feel less likely to derail physically or mentally when traveling, no matter where you’re headed.

Below, we’re sharing our favorite tried and true products to help you have more energy and less stress on your next trip!

Travel Wraps

Travel wraps are an easy way to keep comfortable during chilly flights in dry-aired cabins; without warmth, you may wind up catching a cold. Lying upon one can also help prevent germs if you’re traveling by train or bus and forgot a pillow, and they can also be used as sarongs, scarves, or blankets. So, basically, they’re the perfect multitasking garments.

Neck Pillow

We, too, used to scoff at the inflatable neck devices some passengers designed to use, but they. are. worth it. The first time you fall soundly asleep and stir back to life just as it’s time to disembark, you’ll be hooked just like us. Some of our favorites include the Infinity pillow, the Trtl pillow, and the Cabeau Evolution S3 pillow.

Bathe + Mask

Every flight should end with a little R&R session, once you’ve checked into your hotel or Airbnb. The ultimate way to unwind (and get yourself back to feeling—and looking—your freshest) is a double duty bath and mask. Put on a deep purifying mask, like Tata Harper’s, which expels all the toxins acquired on your flight, then stir up a calming bath to soak in. Kneipp makes travel-friendly sachets of bath salts, which you can mix with the essential oil of your choice (eucalyptus is ultra relaxing, so we recommend going with that). This will help detoxify and re-hydrate your skin and leave you feeling ready for a day of exploring. Repeat the same process before bed (include a moisturizer) to help fall into a deep slumber.

Melatonin

While the sleep hormone melatonin hasn’t been proven as an effective long-term sleep aid, it’s exactly the chemical signal your body needs to re-adjust your internal clock to a new time zone. A few days before your trip, start taking the supplement at the time that’s about to become your new bedtime to trick your body into winding down. Just don’t wash it down with a glass of red wine, because combining the hormone with alcohol may actually have an adverse effect.


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Skin Hydration

The hydration rule applies both inside and out. Applying an in-flight sheet mask never hurt anybody, and don’t forget to bring a small thermal water mist for in-flight use! Post-flight (or post-bath), lather up with a calming, moisturizing lotion—we love This Works Sleep Plus Dream Body, especially for nighttime use—and apply something ultra nourishing on your face, like Pestle + Mortar’s Pure Hyaluronic Serum.

Vitamins

Vitamin C and ginger are both excellent for combating germs and illnesses acquired through travel. Our favorite product is Juice Press’ Ginger Fireball Blasts, as they combine high doses of the two ingredients; take one a day a few days before traveling, and continue to do so during your trip to help support immune health. Other great options are Airborne and Emergen-C.

Probiotics

Probiotics help keep your digestive system healthy, and that’s pretty important when traveling—especially to when you’re planning on scoping out the street food scene. No matter where you’re headed, we recommend taking probiotics daily for the two weeks prior to your trip. And thanks to handy travel-sized packaging like these new probiotic “pixy sticks” from SimplyBiotix, you can easily pack them with you to continue your regimen on the go.

Silk Pillow

Sleeping on an anti-aging pillow is a great way to prevent signs of aging. Combat the side sleeper’s worst nightmare—pillow face, which can have long-term effects on the skin—by resting your head against a silk pillowcase. For extra comfort, we love Nurse Jamie’s Beauty Bear, which caters to both back and side sleepers.

Sleep Mask

Some people get headaches when they travel, and guess what, there’s an eye mask for that. Morihata’s Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask uses activated charcoal, embedded within the mask, to ease tension and pressure around the eyes. If you have trouble sleeping or just want some relaxing shut-eye, try Aromatherapy Associates Relax Eye Mask, which is scented with calming lavender.

Carry-on Dopp Kit

One of the best ways to make your flight more enjoyable is knowing you have everything you might need on hand. Bring a small pouch, in your personal item, and fill it with all the in-flight essentials: hand sanitizer, eye drop, a toothbrush and toothpaste, cleansing wipes, earplugs, hand cream, and an ultra thick moisturizer to apply in the restroom before boarding. You’ll look and feel much fresher.

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