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 10 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
- Plan Ahead for Fragrance Free
- Do Your Laundry at the Sink
If you are traveling by air, we’ve also shared some of the best ways to:
- Avoid Unnecessary Radiation
- Stay Hydrated
- Stay Warm
- Get Some Rest
1. 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. Look for snacks that are organic with no refined sugar, no preservatives, and no additives. If you are looking for dried fruit, try to find organic, unsulphured dried fruits. A few of our favorites: Living Nutz, , Bearded Brothers and Lydia’s Organics bars, GoRaw Sprouted Seed Snacks, Epic Bars (ones with no added sugar) or Buddha Bowl Popcorn. And while you may get some looks from fellow passengers, hard-boiled eggs also keep well and are full of protein! Any of these can easily fit into a purse or carry-on bag for traveling. You can also pick up a healthy meal before you head to the airport that you can take with you in lieu of getting food at the airport.
2. 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 Adorable Baby, Keys, Badger, or a DIY version like Kelly gives here. You can also 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 Primally Pure. And of course, the Branch Basics mini All-Purpose and mini Foaming Wash for washing hands and removing make-up.
3. Bag Your Shoes Separately
Your shoes work hard when you’re traveling, protecting your feet from germs, toxins (think pesticides and gasoline), 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!
4. Drink Quality Water
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, ideally in glass bottles. A BB tip for drinking water on the go: buy spring water or kombucha in a glass bottle and reuse by filling with 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. If there is not a source of purified water available to refill, we buy big bottles or jugs of water (depending on length of trip) from the store to keep wherever we are staying.
5. Plan Ahead for Fragrance Free
One of our best travel tips is to call your hotel/destination ahead of time and request they clean your room with water only and do not spray air fresheners. Most places use conventional cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals and are heavily-fragranced. Air fresheners and germ-killers are typically sprayed liberally between guests as well. Even “green cleaners” should be avoided, as most contain ingredients that contribute to poor indoor air quality.
If given the choice of where to stay, it is best to call ahead and ask about any recent pesticide and bed-bug treatment. If the hotel/bed was just treated, it is worth finding another place to rest your head! Speaking of resting your head, we love throwing in our own sheets and maybe even a towel – or if bag space doesn’t permit, at least a pillowcase from home! That way the toxins found in detergents and dryer sheets commonly used in hotels are not directly up against your nose and skin. If you forget, just grab a t-shirt from your bag and place it over your pillow!
6. 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.
7. Avoid Unnecessary Radiation
A recent study found that flight attendants have a significant increased risk of a range of cancers, mainly due to consistent exposure to cosmic radiation. While it is impossible to avoid this type of radiation while flying (due to cosmic radiation and less atmospheric shielding), we feel strongly that prudently avoiding any excess, unnecessary radiation on travel days is the wisest choice. This includes full body scanners, as they aren’t necessary and can be easily swapped with a pat-down. If you are traveling with breastmilk, simply tell them you prefer it not to go through the X-ray belt. They have to open and test the vapors either way, so no need to expose it to the X-ray unnecessarily.
It is also ideal to keep direct EMF exposure to a minimum by avoiding unnecessary phone and laptop time while in air, as both add to overall radiation exposure. Also, grounding by walking barefoot on the earth as soon as possible after you arrive at your destination can help your body discharge. Finally, taking a relaxing radiation bath is one of our favorite ways to detox these harmful rays and also helps unwind from the stress of traveling!
8. Stay Hydrated
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.
9. Stay Warm
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.
10. 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 Rhythm Disruption and Flying by The Federal Aviation Administration