Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, nobody wants to arrive at their destination feeling under the weather. In this article, I’m going to share with you my favorite wellness practices to boost your immune system and support your nervous system before, during, and after travel!
Through all stages of travel, it’s important to remain hydrated by consuming plenty of beverages like water, coconut water, bone broth, and herbal teas. It’s also a great idea to snack on foods with a high-water content like cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, and pickles (1).
Your daily hydration goal should be roughly half your body weight in fluid ounces. For example, if you’re a 140-pound person you should consume around 70 fluid ounces of hydrating beverage per day.
If you can carry a reusable water bottle with you, ideally glass or stainless steel, adding a travel water filter like is helpful to maintain adequate hydration at every stage of your trip. If you're flying, wait to fill your water bottle until you get through security.
Overall, do your best to limit or remove diuretics like alcohol, soda, coffee, caffeinated tea, and juice as they’ll cause further dehydration. If you’re on vacation and plan on drinking plenty of alcohol (or know your body is dehydrated), boost your hydration with this quick and easy DIY electrolyte beverage!
Bonus electrolyte recipe: Add a pinch of unrefined mineral salt and a squeeze of organic lemon (or any citrus) to your glass of water. The Himalayan sea salt carries 84 trace minerals that act as sponges for our cells to absorb the water and the squeeze of lemon is a pop of fresh flavor with a boost of Vitamin C!
Before, during, and after travel, it is crucial to fuel your body with nutrient-dense, whole foods. Focus on high-quality protein, healthy fats, and vegetables in every color of the rainbow so you can nourish your body with the macronutrients and micronutrients needed to support and balance your immune system.
Packing travel snacks for both legs of your trip is key! Options like homemade trail mix with dark chocolate, jerky bars, turkey and crackers, nut butter on rice cakes, and as many fruits and vegetables as you can bring will ensure you’re nourishing your body with the vitamins and minerals you’ll need to stay healthy.
Another favorite travel practice is researching healthy food options ahead of time. Look for a local health-food co-op, farmers market, or a local eatery serving farm to table to have healthy good options available to you throughout your trip.
If you’re staying at a resort, call their food services department before you leave to give them a heads up about allergies or food preferences so they can prepare for you! Most
places are more than accommodating, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Proper rest is as important to our health as eating, drinking, and breathing (2). Times of high stress require restorative sleep to provide our bodies with the opportunity to repair and rebuild. Support your physical and mental health by getting 8 hours of sleep (or more) if possible per night. If you struggle to fall asleep in a new environment, avoid caffeine too late in the day, stay away from electronics one hour before bedtime, and dab some lavender essential oil on your pillow for a soothing and relaxing effect.
If you suffer from allergies, or even mold sensitivity, bringing a travel air filter like this one is incredibly useful to sanitize and cleanse your air, allowing your body to fall into a deeper sleep and reducing further stress and inflammation.
STRESS MANAGEMENT & SELF-CARE
While stress reduction and self-care may seem like an afterthought when it comes to travel, they should be at the forefront of your mind because these practices are vital to maintaining your health and well-being.
Stress has been shown to suppress the immune system, making it more likely that get sick while traveling or once you get home. There are many different practices and modalities that you can incorporate on your trip to boost immune function and reduce stress, including deep breathing, meditation(3), sauna, sunlight, and movement!
Maintaining hydration, nutrition, sleep, and self-care throughout your travel experience will boost your immune system, improve digestion, support detoxification, and reduce the overall stress on your body! In addition to these travel-friendly wellness tips, it’s a great idea to work with your healthcare practitioner for individualized supplement suggestions to further support your system as a whole during times of high stress. Happy travels!
1. Popkin, Barry M, et al. “Water, Hydration, and Health.” Nutrition Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/.
2. “Sleep Matters: The Impact Of Sleep On Health And Wellbeing.” Mental Health Foundation, 11 Feb. 2020, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/sleep-report.
3. “Why Mindfulness Can Help the Immune System.” David R. Vago, Ph.D., 26 June 2012, davidvago.bwh.harvard.edu/why-mindfulness-can-help-the-immune-system/.