What to pack for feeling your best on vacationMar 03, 2017
Every time our family travels, we get exposed to "fun" new germs, stray from our routines, regular foods and increase our susceptibility to colds and feeling run down.
Don't get me wrong, I love traveling, but I've found that packing a few extra things in my suitcase and keeping some basic principles top of mind can really help keep illness at bay.
Here are my top 6 tips to feeling your very best on vacation:
1. Probiotics. Seems like digestive balance is the first thing to go when we get out of our routines. If you have a regular time you go #2 each day, you might find that goes out the window as soon as you get on the road. This can be especially annoying to feel "bloated" and heavy throughout the day. Probiotics and probiotic-containing fermented foods are daily recommendations from me, but the need is even greater while traveling. It's best to start probiotics shortly before traveling so you can get accustomed to them and start populating immune central station (your gut) with good bacteria. I recommend Culturelle, especially for international travel. The strains inside are great for fighting traveler's diarrhea common in some countries and they don't require refrigeration. Always try to keep your probiotics out of extreme heat, though; it kills the beneficial bacteria.
2. Aim for a minimum of one meal per day that is heavy in fruits and vegetables (especially the latter). If you can get some raw fruits and vegetables (without compromising food safety, depending on the country or place you're visiting), that is even better for digestion and absorbing nutrients, which will make you feel better overall.
3. Eat a decent breakfast.
Travel often involves a full day of activities. But a typical hotel breakfast is full of refined carbs that don't keep you satisfied for very long, not to mention can spike your blood sugar early and leave you feeling sluggish in a couple hours (does this resonate with your caffeine consumption schedule??). Pack snacks, like Rx bars and mini Lara or Jimmy bars, or add some protein powder to your oatmeal for a little more staying power. There are several brands of shake or "greens" powders that travel well and could satisfy many of these items. I use Shakeology, because it satisfies my basic need for probiotics, whole food supplementation, one healthy meal that contains fruits and vegetables, provides a well-rounded breakfast and provides some immune boosting ingredients. (You can get a sampler pack here for short vacations. If you get to order some, shoot me an email to get access to my guide for being supplement savvy, so you'll never waste money on things you don't need).
4. Pack immune enhancements.
Even if you don't regularly take a whole food multi-vitamin, one could certainly be merited on vacation when you're eating less than your regular variety of colorful foods. I take along my shake powder for this, but I also pack other immune boosters to take throughout the trip or the moment I feel even a HAIR run down. Some of my go tos: Airborne (they make a chewable variety that is easier for travel; just check the serving size), Grapefruit seed extract (put 8-10 drops in water a couple times per day, especially to squash the first signs of a sore throat) or olive leaf extract (This one is my favorite). I also travel with food grade lemon oil to add to my water, especially because it helps me drink more and sometimes immune enhancing essential oils, like Thieves or OnGuard. There is a little learning curve (might need to be mixed with another oil before using topically), so be sure to check with your consultant. I know some people just put them on a cotton ball in a baggie and take them out to inhale on planes.
5. Get some rest.
When we're trying to squeeze every last minute out of our time with loved ones, staying up late on vacation or just struggling to share a room with the whole family, sleep can quickly get compromised. Try to make at least 6+ hours of sleep non-negotiable on your vacation if you don't want to get run down and have the energy to get through your day. Some tactics? Pack some melatonin (I use this kind, but always adhere to the directions. Less is more with melatonin), a sound machine or comfort aids, like a packable pillow or blanket, especially if you're traveling on a cramped plane. Are your health and comfort worth the spot in your luggage? Living in the country, I forget how hard it is to hear the city noises on vacation. A sound machine helps with that and also makes it easier to move about a shared room without waking little ones. iPhone also has a setting next to the alarm called "bedtime" that will prompt you with reminders for the amount of sleep you want to get.
6. Be careful what you share.
No list about preventing illness would be complete without paying homage to the importance of handwashing. It's the single most important thing you can do to stop sharing unwanted bugs. Traveling with some "handitizer", as my children call it, is a good save when you're out and about. When sickness sharing is at an all-time high, I'm on high alert of the illness indicators around me. Do my kiddos have a runny nose? No way am I sharing my water bottle with them. Sorry, kids, I'll get you your own. Some people might disagree and say that there is some benefit to community inoculation, but I've tested this theory enough to know I don't want the millions of germs that just came off my kiddos mouth on my bottle. I'll take my chances on everyone having their own forks, spoons, and cups.
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