It is no secret that traveling can cause a disruption to your immune system. Never mind that you are flying through the air in a metal tube of recycled germs, and touching surfaces that have been touched by hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the earth; add jet lag to disturb your sleep cycle and a sense of adventure that makes you want to eat questionable exotic foods, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for all kinds of viruses and bacterias to take a vacation in your body and ruin your trip. Add a pandemic to the mix and now you may really be wondering how to stay healthy while traveling.
When I first started traveling regularly, I would get sick ALL. THE. TIME. Now that I’ve adopted this ritual to keep me healthy and protected from germs, it helps me not get sick while traveling, but also while at home. It may seem a bit excessive, but traveling with all these products have pretty much guaranteed me a healthy trip every time, and are excellent for warding off germs through cold and flu season as well as keeping me healthy in everyday life. If you’re a germaphobe like me, keep reading to learn about the products I can’t live without while traveling.
How to Stay Healthy While Traveling and Not Get Sick – The Items You Need!
1. Travel Size Zylast Hand Sanitizer – Better Than Purell
Forget Purell, and forget all those fun fruity hand sanitizers from bath & body. This is the only hand sanitizer you need or should be using. It is more powerful than Purell, it’s non-irritating/non-drying on the hands, and lasts up to 6 hours. I use this constantly while traveling when I don’t have access to warm water and soap. I apply it after using the plane lavatory (even after washing with soap and water), before eating, after using public transportation, etc. I can’t recommend this hand sanitizer enough — traveling or not.
2. Travel Pack of Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes – Your Best Friend on the Plane
Regular Clorox wipes are not powerful enough to protect against the plethora of germs you encounter while traveling. That’s why it’s important to use hydrogen peroxide wipes. These come individually wrapped so they are perfect for travel and to pack in your hygiene kit. The first thing I do when I get on an airplane is wipe down all the surfaces around me that I might touch. This includes my arm rests, seatbelt, the window shade, seat back pocket, the entertainment remotes/TV touchscreens, and especially the fold out tray table. If there’s a chance I will touch it, I’m going to wipe it. I also like to wipe down anything I would touch in my hotel room, such as door handles, light switches, TV remote, faucet handles, and toilet flushers. You can never be too sure how thoroughly your room was cleaned before you arrive, or who was staying there before you, so it’s always good to just take a minute and wipe everything down before you relax.
3. Mini Can of Lysol Spray – The Unlikely Use
Sometimes Clorox wipes just aren’t enough! I like to carry this tiny can of Lysol spray for extra protection. Oftentimes I’ll even spray the Lysol on a surface and then wipe it down with a wipe. Again, you can never be too sure or take any risks with your health when it comes to traveling. There’s also an added bonus to carrying around a little Lysol. This spray is also great for disinfection odors on fabrics/clothes. I once traveled with only one jacket that quickly took on a heavy smell of food from a restaurant with poor ventilation. I didn’t have access to laundry so I sprayed my jacket down with Lysol and let it air out over night and by the next day it smelled nice and fresh. I was so relieved to have this tiny spray with me.
4. Zicam Nose Swabs – Don’t Breathe Without Them
Something else I do as soon as I get on a plane (and every 4 hours during flight) is swab the inside of my nose with these Zicam nasal swabs. Not only does this product give you an immune boost and ward off any cold viruses that may be harboring in your body, but the gel also creates a coating in your nose to protect you from all the airborne germs that are in the recycled airplane air you are breathing. Additionally, the air and altitude while flying can be very drying, so keeping your mucous membranes lubricated with Zicam can also help to prevent sickness and irritation. Using this product at the first sign of a cold can also stop an illness in its tracks so it’s great to have on hand should you ever start feeling rundown at any point on your trip.
5. Dr. Shen’s Yin Chiao Pills – Super Immunity
This is another great product to ward off sickness at the first sign of a cold or flu, but I also like to take these supplements for a week or two before I travel and continue taking them throughout my trip to boost my immune system and prevent me from catching anything. It is made from powerful Chinese herbs and has been the best immune supplement I’ve ever taken. These have been a miracle for me through cold and flu season and every time I have taken it at the first sign of a scratchy throat or runny nose, I have been able to fight off the virus without ever actually getting sick.
6. Dr. Shen’s Zong Gan Ling – If You Do Get Sick
Say you’re already sick with a cold or flu and your dream vacation is soon approaching. You are desperate to get better in order not to ruin your trip and have the best time possible. Medications like DayQuil and NyQuil will only help to temporarily relieve symptoms, but this other powerful supplement by Dr. Shen will lessen the severity of your illness while knocking out your cold or flu FAST so you can enjoy every second of your trip.
7. Hyperbiotics Pro-15 Probiotics – Prep Your Stomach
While we are on the topic of supplements, do you take a probiotic? Probiotics are incredibly important for gut health but also for your immune system! Traveling can cause a multitude of gut issues and irregularities, so a good probiotic is a MUST. I’ve tried dozens of probiotics because I have a sensitive stomach, and this one is by far the best probiotic to take before traveling, and in general. What’s even better? It doesn’t need to be refrigerated like many others do so it is PERFECT for traveling.
8. Prescript-Assist Soil-based Probiotic and Prebiotic – Create a Steel Stomach
If you really want to optimize your gut health, add a PREbiotic to your supplement regimen. This soil-based prebiotic/probiotic combo colonizes your gut with tons of different healthy gut flora, so you will have less of a reaction when being introduced to new bacteria while traveling. This is especially important if you are traveling to less-developed countries where water and food sanitation issues are a problem (I’m looking at you Mexico, India, and Southeast Asia!)
9. Travelan – The Holy Grail Against Traveler’s Sickness
Sometimes pre and probiotics just aren’t enough to protect against the dreaded traveler’s sickness, also known as traveler’s diarrhea. Taking one of these natural supplements before every meal will greatly reduce your chances of getting sick and can possibly prevent diarrhea and vomiting. Even when sickness does occur, taking Travelan can ease and reduce symptoms. If you are traveling somewhere with poor water and food safety issues, you absolutely must take these with you. If there is ONE thing you should do to protect your stomach it would be this. Even more so than pre/probiotics, I recommend having Travelan on hand to take with food or use at the first sign of stomach distress.
10. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter – Sketchy Water No More
This portable water filter is made to purify water and removes 99.99% of bacteria. It is perfect for hiking, camping, or using as extra protection when drinking questionable tap water. The water on airplanes is also known to sometimes be problematic, so drinking with this special straw will come in handy.
11. Activated Charcoal Pills – 2 Great Uses
Say your adventurous palette got the best of you and you feel like you’ve eaten something that isn’t going to agree with your stomach. Take activated charcoal pills! These pills bind to toxins and are used to treat mild cases of food poisoning. They’re also great to take before bed if you’ve had one too many piña coladas and want to lessen your hangover in the morning. An added bonus? You can break open the capsule and brush your teeth with the charcoal powder for a natural way to whiten your teeth. (It really works!)
12. DrinkWell Anti-Hangover Supplements – Don’t Let a Hangover Ruin Your Plans
Speaking of hangovers, there is no better way to ruin a day of sightseeing than a really bad hangover. Many of us are guilty of overindulging while traveling whether it is on food or alcohol (or both), so for those who choose to imbibe a little too much, hangover prevention is key! Taking a couple of these before a night out (or day) drinking and before bed is the best way to prevent a hangover and ensure you don’t waste a day of your vacation in fetal position.
13. Benadryl – Not Just For Allergies
You may be wondering why I’m recommending Benadryl for those who aren’t even allergy sufferers. What many people don’t know, is that Benadryl actually has multiple uses. The active ingredient of Benadryl, Diphenhydramine HCI, is the same ingredient as over the counter sleep aids (like Zzzquil and Simply Sleep, or the thing that makes you drowsy in medicines like Tylenol PM). Not only that, Diphenhydramine HCI is also the same ingredient as anti-motion sickness medications such as Dramamine and Gravol. Getting good sleep is incredibly important for your immune system, and whenever I’m on an overnight flight or need to combat jet lag, Benadryl is my go-to sleep aid. It is super safe and non-habit forming; and not only does it put me to sleep, the antihistamine keep my sinuses clear to prevent sinus pressure/pain from flying, and keeps motion sickness at bay should any turbulence hit.
14. No Jet Lag Homeopathic Jet Lag Supplement – Never Suffer Again
Jet lag can be a real problem and impede on your plans while traveling, and the sleep disturbance can also really hurt your immune system. I can’t tell you why or how, but this is the best jet lag remedy and it seriously works. Just follow the directions for taking the supplement on the plane, and by the time you reach your destination you will be jet lag-free.
15. Wellness Fizz Immune Support Wafers – Much Healthier than the others
This is another amazing immunity support supplement made with a powerful combination of herbs, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. I like to drop one of these wafers in my water on the plane before landing for a quick and powerful immunity boost. These are a better alternative to similar products such as Emergen-C or Airborne because Wellness Fizz is not high in sugar and doesn’t contain chemicals or problematic sugar-substitutes like the others do.
16. Mer Sea Cotton Cashmere Travel Wrap – Keep Warm With a Multi-Use Wrap
If you’re like me and naturally run cold, you know how absolutely freezing airplanes can be. Even for the not-cold-all-the-time-people, the airplane can feel like an ice box. Keeping warm and comfortable on long-haul flights is essential for your health! But avoid airplane blankets at all costs – they never get washed and are filled with germs. Pack your own travel wrap instead. I especially love this soft and cozy wrap because it comes in a small packable pouch, and can double as blanket, scarf, or poncho in a pinch. Plus it’s cute and fashionable and comes in several different colors.
17. Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow – The Best Travel Pillow on the Market
As mentioned earlier in this article, getting good sleep is a must for a healthy immune system – especially while traveling; and just like the unsanitary plane blankets, you’re going to want to ditch the plane pillow for something that is both more sanitary and more comfortable. This is THE best travel pillow on the market. I’ve done my research to find out what the most comfortable, most functional, most recommended airplane pillow is, and this one by Cabeau is undoubtedly it.
18. N95 Masks – The Best One
We know that N95 masks are the best kinds to use and the US standard to prevent contracting and spreading germs. There are many illigitimate brands on the market, however these are true N95s made in the USA, latex free, and NIOSH approved.
19. KN95 Masks – What’s the Difference?
Many people are confused regarding what is the difference between N95 and KN95 masks. While N95 are considered the standard in the US, KN95 masks are essentially the China equivalent. The protection is pretty similar with a few small differences in the masks themselves, however KN95s are typically less expensive. My choice for KN95 masks are these:
20. Surgical Masks – My Favorites Ones
While it may be wasteful to use individual, disposable surgical face masks, unfortunately cloth face masks are not recommended for preventing or not spreading disease. Luckily, I have a simple hack that cuts down on mask waste (See next item.) Furthermore, when not on a plane or in a crowded area, but when a mask is mandatory, I often opt for a regular surgical face mask instead of an N95/KN95. Through trying many different brands of these types of face masks I have narrowed down a criteria for which masks are best. This criteria includes: mask bands/straps not snapping and breaking, no weird chemical smell, adjustable nose clip, and no irritation (hello, mascne!) This is the best brand I’ve found to meet these needs:
21. DIY Disinfectant for Masks & Other
When possible, I like to disinfect my mask between uses instead of reaching for a new one every time. For example, when removing it to eat at a restaurant and then putting it back on. To disinfect on the go, I use a small travel size spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol that I keep with me in my bag or backpack. The alcohol is evaporates and dries quickly within a matter of minutes, and does not leave behind any smell. This hack is especially great for those who suffer from mask acne as it kills all the bacteria on your mask before putting it back on your face. As a bonus, you can use this alcohol spray to disinfect just about anything else which is especially convenient for hotel rooms and planes.
It may seem a little excessive to use all these products when traveling, but it is the price I pay to stay healthy and thoroughly enjoy my trip (as well as the time after a trip!) These are my tried and true products for travel health and now that I have them, I can’t imagine traveling without them. If there are any items that keep you healthy while traveling please let me know if the comments below!