What to Pack for Healthy Travel

by Dr. Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM

July 17, 2018

You’ve been planning this for a long time. And after long last, it’s finally here—your vacation. But after all that waiting, organizing, and saving, the last thing you want is to put a damper on your travels by getting sick. Never fear. Here’s a handy list of things you can use to help stay healthy and happy before, during, and after your dream vacation.

Melatonin

MelatoninTraveling to a different country is exciting, but jet lag sure can make things rough on your body. Getting used to a new time zone can interfere with your sleep cycle, causing foggy headedness and drowsiness, not to mention contribute to a compromised immune system. To catch up on those fundamental first nights of z’s, take some melatonin before bed. You’ll sleep better and be well rested for the next day’s fun and adventure.

Greens bars

Green barsThere are some places where getting your fill of veggies while on vacation can be tough. So, make sure to pack plenty of greens bars or supplements before you travel. They are a great to-go snack, providing vital vitamins, minerals, and fibre when nutritious food is scarce.

Saline nasal spray

Nasal sprayAirplane cabins get dry. And that can spell some trouble for your nose. Low-humidity environments can dry out the mucus membranes in your nose, upping your chances of getting sick. Using a saline nasal spray during your flight will keep your nose properly hydrated, helping you prevent germs and viruses from ruining your trip. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding diuretic beverages like coffee and alcohol while flying can also help in this regard.

Compression socks

Compression socksIf you are like most people, your legs and feet get sore during long flights. A quick and easy way to relieve the symptoms of leg pain and swollen feet and ankles during travel is to wear compression stockings. Wearing these handy socks is also recommended to minimize the risk of developing more serious conditions, including phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism. Many pilots and flight crew swear by them and wouldn’t dream about leaving the ground without sporting a pair. If this is an issue for you, do your legs a favour and wear some compression stockings before you take off.

Digestive support

Digestive supportOne of the best things about traveling is the chance to taste the local cuisine. However, trying new and different foods may also be the downfall of your trip if you get sick from it. Of course, there are the basics about being careful about the parasites and bacteria you can pick up from food and water in some areas of the world. You can bring along some heat-tolerant probiotics (or make sure to get them into a fridge soon after you arrive) to help replenish your good bacteria if your digestive system does take on an onslaught of unfriendly pathogens. Digestive enzymes taken before meals may help your body adjust to unfamiliar foods.

Insect repellent

Insect repellentWe all love summer vacation—but not the swarms of ravenous bugs that come with it. If you want to avoid bringing home nasty insect bites or harmful disease as souvenirs, pack plenty of insect repellent. Not a big fan of DEET? There are a wide variety of essential oils out there that pack a powerful pest pounding punch, including citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, and neem.

Red reishi

Mikei Reishi capsulesIf you’re starting to worry that your suitcase is getting awfully full, but you still want a healthy supplement option, pack Mikei’s Japanese red reishi capsules. Reishi mushrooms can help support your immune system and, as an adaptogen, they help your body adapt to the stressors that come along with travel—from crowded train stations or going through customs to learning a new language or getting lost. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes reishi mushrooms as “calm the mind” herbs, so they can also help you wind down at the end of a busy day, energizing you for your next day of adventures.

With just one capsule a day, traveling healthy couldn’t be much easier.

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others. www.activetcm.com

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