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Top Ten Tips for Healthy Travel

by Alexa Gilmore, LAc, MAcOM

Top Ten Tips for Healthy Travel, ATX Acupuncture in Portland, ME

I’m currently sandwiched between two airplane trips.  It’s Wednesday.  I was on an airplane last weekend, and will be on one again tomorrow.  I’m coming to terms with the fact that I do this a lot—often in the service of learning more to serve you better!  

I’ve gotten good at packing my bag with items to keep me at my best, even under the inevitable stress of travel, and even when I’m faced with the disruption of the healthy routines I have in place at home.

Here’s what will be in my bag this this weekend:

1) Neti pot and sea salt: I shower and rinse my sinuses as soon as I can upon arrival at my destination.  Airplanes are full of recycled air, and I want to clear out any potential exposure before it has a chance to settle in to my system.  Also, airplane travel just makes me feel sticky and gross.

2) Fresh snacks: Sliced carrots and celery, apples, and a bag of nuts are a fresh, healthy alternative to the mostly terrible airport/airplane fare.  Having a bag on hand also means I’ll get at least *some* fresh food if I’m unsure what my dining options will be at my destination. 

3) Chia seeds: Soak these in water overnight and slurp them down in the morning for regularity; travel constipation in the worst, right? If you’re prone to this particular affliction, you may also consider backing off on food in general on the day you travel and into the next morning.  Lightening your digestive load during the stress and immobility of travel can help your body get back into the intestinal swing of things more quickly. Drink plenty of water while you wait to regulate.

4) A few bags of my favorite Jasmine Green tea: For an afternoon pick-me up and to promote digestion after lunch.

5) Melatonin: For sleep.  I think there are better ways to manage chronic insomnia, but for the occasional difficulty in getting to sleep when traveling, melatonin can be a great help.  It’s a no-brainer for me if jet-lag is involved.

6, 7, and maybe 8) Chinese herbs: In case I feel a cold coming on.  When I get sick it usually starts with a sore throat, so I always keep some Yin Qiao San on hand.  (If you’re more a cougher or tend to headaches at the onset of a cold, or if “colds” bypass your sinuses and land directly in your chest, your go-to travel formula may look quite different from mine.)  I also bring Gan Mao Ling, a more heavy hitting anti-viral formula.  I’ll take this preventively if I’m the lucky one next to the sneezy coughy guy on the airplane, or if my cold starts to transform into something more ominous.  If I’m worried about food quality at my destination, there are digestive support and anti-diarrheal herbs I also wouldn’t leave home without.

9) Portable yoga mat: I have a very thin one that folds up nice and tiny yet still creates the sticky traction I need to bring my Downward Dog and Warrior 1 to hotel rooms across the nation.  Sticking to my morning routine in this way helps keep my whole body regulated.

10) A good pair of walking shoes: When I travel for seminars—which is the primary reason for much of my travel—I refuse to let the all-day sitting and stale conference room air get the best of me.  I bring walking shoes and utilize at least part of the lunch break to get outside, breathe fresh air, and move and stretch my body.  If time allows, I walk at the beginning and end of the day, as well.  Good for me, and a great way to explore a new city.

Consider packing some of these items on your next adventure. Let me know what else you bring that keeps you on a healthful track.