We get a lot of questions about what we eat and what products we use on a regular basis. So we decided to share our traveling tips, including tricks for eating and staying healthy on the go. This is not a complicated guide. In fact, it’s intended to simplify your routine and keep you happy and healthy while away!
Our Top 7 Healthy Travel Tips
Read more about each subject and our tips for sticking to The Healthy Travel Guide below!
- Bring Your Own Snacks
- Care For Your Skin
- Bag Your Shoes Separately
- Drink Quality Water
- Do Your Laundry at the Sink
Healthy Travel Tips for the Plane
If you are traveling by air, we’ve also shared some of the best reasons to:
- Stay Hydrated
- Stay Warm
- Get Some Rest
Bring Your Own Snacks
There are so many healthy travel snacks you can pack for a trip so you don’t have to worry about finding something you’ll like in the airport or at a gas station. A few of our favorites: sprouted nuts, trail mix, raw or dried fruit, Sun Krunch granola, energy bars from Bearded Brothers, Lydia’s Organics or Thunderbird Energetica. Look for snacks that are organic with no refined sugar, no preservatives, and no additives. If you are looking for dried fruit, check to make sure they are organic, unsulphured dried fruits. Any of these can fit easily into a purse or carry-on bag for traveling.
Care For Your Skin
Protect yourself from the sun by bringing a collapsible hat. Get a little sunshine when you can to build up some Vitamin D, but don’t overdo it. If you’re using a sunscreen, try Keys, Badger, or a DIY version like this one from Mommypotamus. Alternatively, you can just add a couple of tablespoons of non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide powder to your favorite lotion. Be careful to not pick a lotion with citrus oils, which will react with the sun. For dry lips we recommend Dr. Bronners lip balms. For a pick-me-up before or after your plane ride, carry a small face mist like this one from Fat and the Moon. For dry skin (face or body), this Fat Face Fat Stick fits nicely in a carry-on.
Bag Your Shoes Separately
Your shoes work hard when you’re traveling, protecting your feet from germs, toxins, and grime on the street. You should never pack them in your suitcase directly, since the dirt and germs will rub off on your clothes. Instead, carry a collapsible bag for your shoes. A grocery bag will work in a pinch, but a customer actually pointed out to us that the Branch Basics Starter Kit drawstring bag (which is 100% unbleached cotton) is actually perfect for this use!
Drink Quality Water
You may have heard that the safest way to drink water in other countries is to buy it in bottles. But did you know that U.S. tap water is actually heavily treated with chlorine or chloramines, which is what’s actually preventing you from getting a stomach bug at home? Neither option sounds good to us, so we always opt for purified water, whether at home or while traveling. Unfiltered tap water contains everything from pesticides to arsenic, as well as lead, barium, fluoride and other toxic chemicals.(1) Most tap water also contains a range of pharmaceuticals, although water treatment centers are not required to test for these drugs. Antibiotics, sex hormones, antidepressants, and seizure pills show up in samples of the tap water that is used and consumed by at least 41 million Americans.(2) We recommend spring or reverse osmosis water, which you can find virtually anywhere you go. A BB tip for drinking water on the go: buy spring water or kombucha in a glass bottle and reuse by re-filling with filtered or purified water. When you’re done using it, recycle it so you don’t have to pack or carry your own water bottle to your next destination.
Do Your Laundry at the Sink
You can keep your suitcase light by packing a few versatile items that you can wash and dry easily at the bathroom sink. There are many reasons we recommend wearing clothing made of natural fibers, but one of these reasons is they are ideal for travel! Natural fibers like cotton are lightweight, which means they’re ideal for layering for warmth or for keeping you cool in the sun. Unlike synthetic fibers (like polyester and blends), cotton doesn’t harbor bacteria and trap body odor in the clothing.(3) By wearing natural fibers, you’re more likely to smell fresher longer and get more use out of the same shirt. Sometimes you can get away with simply sunning your clothes after you wear them, without needing to wash them between wears. If you are in a hotel with a balcony, lay your clothes on the railing or on a piece of furniture where they will be exposed to the sun for a few hours.
Healthy Travel Tips for the Plane
Flying can be dehydrating, which means that you may not only feel thirsty, but you’ll likely notice your skin is a little dryer as well. The best way to avoid this problem is to drink plenty of water. Another big culprit of dehydration on the plane is actually the drink service. Always ask for water rather than soda, coffee, or alcohol. These beverages can further dehydrate you and you’ll arrive feeling less than your best. Besides, because coffee is always served in styrofoam cups, you are also exposing yourselves to toxins in the cup itself as you drink a hot beverage.(4) If you want something warm to sip, we suggest you BYOB. You can pack your own DIY travel tea kit: a thermos with a lemon slice, honey, and an herbal tea. We usually look for Traditional Medicinals organic herbal tea, which comes in a variety of flavors that you can find at many grocery retailers or natural health stores. Opt for a caffeine-free tea and you’ll have a better chance of dozing off on the flight.
A well-known travel tip is to wear a large scarf that can double as a wrap or blanket on the plane. This is tried and true – we love this trick for staying comfortable as you fly. It’s also a good idea to wear socks to keep your feet warm. We’re fans of the company Pact, which sells organic cotton socks, underwear, and other basics. Because you are sitting for an extended period of time, your circulation will naturally be compressed, leading to colder hands and feet. For some people, you may also experience swelling in your limbs. If you wear socks, you will maintain a more comfortable body temperature and may also improve circulation. Even if you’re flying to a warm climate, consider keeping a knit hat in your carry-on bag to keep your head warm on the flight.
Get Some Rest
Once you’re cozy and hydrated, take advantage of the opportunity to get some rest! Stow a small eye mask in your bag to block out light and help you sleep. Whether you use this on the plane or not, you’ll be thankful you have it when you arrive at your destination. Even if you don’t have to worry about jet lag, keeping your sleeping space dark will help maintain normal circadian rhythms and ensure you get your best sleep. Your brain depends on certain cues from the environment to regulate its sleeping and waking cycles. These cues, called “zeitgebers”, include daylight, temperature, social contact, and physical activity.(5) The more you can maintain a “normal” schedule while traveling, the more likely you will be to get a good night’s rest. When selecting an eye mask, look for 100% natural fibers, like this silk one from Brookthere.
When you do arrive at your destination, try to keep your blue screen (phones, tablets, laptops) time to a minimum, particularly after dark. The blue light from the screens will disrupt your circadian rhythms, which may already be confused from jet lag. Katie, of Wellness Mama, has written more about this topic and her everyday trick for avoiding blue light exposure in the evenings. Another great tip for maintaining a good sleep cycle while traveling is to put your cell phone on airplane mode while you sleep. You can still use your phone as an alarm clock if you need to wake up at a certain time, but that way you will not wake to sounds or lights from your phone.
- The Hidden Dangers of Drinking Water by Susanne Bennett
- The Not So Refreshing Truth About Your Water by Alex Totterman for Medium
- Stinky T-shirt? Bacteria Love Polyester in a Special Way by Nancy Shute for NPR
- Is Styrofoam Safe? by Dr. Weil
- Circadian Rythym Disruption and Flying by The Federal Aviation Administration
We’ve got some suggestions for healthier drinking water, whether you’re at home or on the go. Want to know more about what’s in your tap water (hint: fluoride) and other sources of this toxin? Find out why the US just decided to Lower Levels of Fluoride in Drinking Water.
Want an easy trick for improving indoor air quality? Find out why we’re loving Himalayan Pink Salt Lamps! Another easy way to improve your air quality and remove toxins from your indoor air is to introduce plants. We’ve recommend 8 NASA-Approved plants that specifically remove formaldehyde (and other toxins).
Ready to streamline your routine? Read Clare’s tricks in Safe + Simple: Tips from a Minimalist Mama.
Keep reading about harmful chemicals to avoid in your home: Common Chemicals to Avoid – A Branch Basics Series.