The holiday season is upon us, and for many, that means travel is in our future. According to survey data, more than 80% of all Americans will travel by the end of the year. From visiting friends and family to jetsetting to a much-deserved vacation, there are so many reasons to hit the road. However, while fun and exciting, traveling can also take a toll on our health — especially during this busy time of year. Disruptions to our circadian rhythm, being out of our usual routines, exposure to cold weather, cold and flu season, dietary changes, and increased stress are just a few of the challenges that can impact our well-being. But, what if you could prep your mind and body for a healthy travel season? Good news, with a little mindfulness and planning, you can! Ahead, we’re sharing how to optimize your wellness while traveling, including how to build a DIY travel wellness kit that will help you survive and thrive through the holidays, with tips on supporting mental health too!
Build Your DIY Travel Wellness Kit: The Best Travel-Sized Items to Keep You Healthy on Your Trip
Based on the categories below, here’s how to build a travel-friendly wellness kit. Including:
- Diet essentials for travel
- Exercise must-haves
- Sleep support items
- Stress-reducing travel necessities
- Immune-boosting travel items
For Your Nutrition
FitOn Sustainable Water Bottle
Wondering why you get so dry when you travel by plane? While it can be due to a lack of fluid intake on travel days, the lower humidity in the air is mostly to blame. It can quickly instigate fluid loss and cause dehydration, which can take a toll on your immune system. Carrying a reusable water bottle — like the FitOn Hydrate Me Bottle — not only reduces the need for expensive bottled water while on the go, but also ensures you have a convenient and eco-friendly way to stay adequately hydrated.
Plus, there are so many single-serve beverage packets you can pack alongside your water bottle, including:
- Four Sigmatic Chai Latte with Reishi Mushroom
- Om Mushroom Superfood Coffee Latte Blend
- Vital Proteins Get Up and Glow Collagen & Vitamin C Packets
- Bare Bones Instant Bone Broth Packets
- Aiya Ceremonial-Grade Matcha Packets
- Primal Kitchen Vanilla Coconut Collagen Peptide Drink
Image Credit: LMNT
Beneficial for gut health, hydration, and overall cell functioning, electrolyte packs can be a traveler’s best friend, especially during long journeys. They play a crucial role in maintaining your body’s balance of essential minerals — such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium — helping you avoid electrolyte imbalances due to changes in diet, activity levels, or climates during your travels.
If you could only pack one supplement in your holiday travel kit, you’ll want to prioritize probiotics. They help to regulate digestion, strengthen the gut’s barrier against pathogens, and support the immune system, thereby boosting overall health. Plus, considering this time of year often involves indulgent foods and sweet treats, probiotics are particularly crucial for supporting the gut microbiome during holiday season travel!
However, while supplements are great, don’t forget about probiotic-rich foods! If you’re traveling to a new area, check out the local markets for probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and tempeh — you can often find small vendors for these staples.
Healthy Travel Snacks
Skip the airport food and drive-throughs. Instead, grab some travel-friendly snacks! Foods like nuts, seeds, whole food bars, and whole-grain crackers are among some of the items that can help boost your energy levels and curb cravings.
Here are some wellness-inspired grab-and-go snacks to pack:
- Raw honey sticks or pouches
- Grass-fed beef or turkey sticks
- Wild Planet wild-caught salmon or tuna to-go pouches
- Single-serve nut and seed butter packets
- Once Upon a Farm cold-pressed fruit and veggie smoothie pouches
- Second Nature raw nut and seed trail mix snack packs
- GimMe roasted seaweed snacks
- Wonderful pistachio packs
- EPIC keto protein bars
- RXBar protein bars
- Purely Elizabeth collagen or prebiotic fiber oat cups
For Your Immune System
Image Source: Beekeeper’s Naturals
Rich in properties that can help soothe a sore or irritated throat (like potent antioxidants and antimicrobials), Beekeepers Propolis throat relief spray is a travel must-have. Thanks to nutrients like zinc and vitamins B, C, and D, it’s a great travel hack to help bolster your defenses, especially in the colder months during peak cold and flu season.
Between crowded airports, public transport, and busy tourist areas, hand sanitizer is a non-negotiable travel item for a healthy immune system. It can significantly reduce the risk of infection and help maintain your health during this busy season. Plus, it slips perfectly into any purse or travel bag without notice.
Image Source: Plant Therapy
Made with fresh and invigorating essential oils like Frankincense, Lemon, Sweet Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary, the ingredients in this blend have been shown to modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. Make a DIY essential oil spray or mix a few drops with your favorite carrier oil or skin care lotion and massage it into your body.
Image Source: Beekeeper’s Naturals
The ultimate immune-boosting duo: 100mg of bee propolis and 1,000mg of vitamin C. Better absorbed by the body, liposomal vitamin C ensures maximum bioavailability, allowing your body to benefit from all of the immune-boosting qualities. Propolis, a natural powerhouse, provides antioxidants, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and over 300 other beneficial compounds, including flavonoids and polyphenols that combat oxidative stress and free radicals. Additionally, the presence of vitamin C further fortifies your immune system and contributes to muscle recovery and vibrant skin by supporting healthy collagen levels.
For Your Sleep
Practical and portable self-care. Considering adequate shuteye is a necessity for both immune support and overall well-being, our FitOn silk sleep mask is an integral travel necessity. It will help enhance your sleep quality and duration during travel, which will, in turn, help to bolster your defenses and help your body fend off pathogens and travel-related stressors.
Earplugs & Headphones
Want some peace and quiet during a long flight or while traveling in congested areas? You’ll want to pack earplugs or noise-canceling headphones when building your travel wellness kit. Research suggests that exposure to loud noises can increase stress levels and disturb sleep, which may weaken your immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses. So, by creating a tranquil environment, earplugs and headphones can help reduce stress, promote better sleep, and enhance your overall travel wellness.
Weighted Travel Blanket
Offering comfort, relaxation, and stress relief, packing a weighted blanket can come in handy during travel. Thought to help reduce stress and anxiety, weighted blankets can help enhance your well-being leading to increased resilience and a stronger immune system.
For Your Body
No matter if you’re commuting by plane or car, a compact foam roller can be a game-changing tool for releasing muscle tension and improving circulation after long hours of sitting. It’s lightweight, compact, and can encourage you to stay moving and mobile throughout the busy holiday season.
Prone to edema or fluid retention while traveling? Research has shown that wearing compression socks can help improve blood circulation and alleviate the discomfort of swollen legs during long periods of sitting, such as during flights or car rides. By aiding in blood flow and supporting circulation, you can indirectly support the immune system, ensuring nutrients and oxygen reach the body’s tissues.
An essential companion for travelers, particularly during the cold and dry months, hand cream can lock in hydration and moisture and prevent dry, cracked skin. Aside from the physical comfort (no one likes flaky, dry skin), well-moisturized skin is important for maintaining a strong immune system which provides a strong external barrier against pathogens.
A simple yet crucial item for your DIY wellness travel kit. By protecting your lips from environmental stressors — especially in dry or cold conditions — you can prevent chapping, discomfort, and potential infections. Opt for a multi-use Chapstick like Cocokind MyMatcha stick — it can be used for chapped lips, dark undereye circles, and areas of dry skin!
Under-eye gels can be a soothing addition to your travel self-care routine. Not only do they work wonders in diminishing puffiness and banishing those dark under-eye circles, but the mere act of dedicating a few minutes to self-care serves as a gentle reminder to pause, reconnect with your inner self, and take a moment for mindfulness. Their cool, refreshing application makes them perfect for planes, long car rides, or when you have a few minutes to lay down and rest.
RELATED: 14-Day Self-Care Challenge
For Your Mental Health
To support your mind and mental health while traveling, pack a journal and pen! It will give you a place to jot down your thoughts, release any pent-up emotions (that are bound to surface during extended time with friends or family), and clear your head. Plus, it’s a great way to document and reflect upon your travel experiences in a mindful way. A healthy mind supports a healthy body!
No matter if you’re carrying physical or emotional tension, a travel stress ball is a simple and compact tool that can help support you during your holiday travels. Think of it as a hand exercise for stress — by gripping it, you can help melt built-up physical tension and stress in your muscles and joints while also dissipating mental tension by stimulating blood flow and increasing endorphins. Plus, it’s easy to slip into large pockets, your purse, or a carry-on bag.
FitOn App for Meditation & Mindfulness
Before you hit the road, sign up for FitOn PRO to gain access to our library full of stress-busting meditations and breathwork exercises. From sleep-supporting Yoga Nidra meditations to simple breathing exercises to meditations and tools designed to bust stress and support your mental health, meditation is one of the best travel tools shown to support your overall health. Plus, considering it’s virtual, it won’t take up any valuable room in your bag or suitcase!
Forgot to Pack a Wellness Kit? The Best Airport Alternatives to Keep You Healthy
If you forget to assemble your DIY travel wellness kit — don’t worry! Many airports offer a slew of wellness-inspired products for health and comfort while on the go.
Look for the following options:
- Healthy airport vending machines, such as Farmer’s Fridge
- Healthier food chains, such as Starbucks, where you can grab a protein bento snack box
- Nutrient-dense snacks at the Newstand, such as fresh fruit, raw nuts, or whole foods-based protein bars
- Immune-supportive products like honey drops or herbal teas
- Dairy-free milk alternatives when ordering coffee or lattes off the menu
- Compression socks or neck pillows
- Hand cream, lip balm, or body lotion to prevent dry, cracked skin
- Essential oil sprays or fragrance-free hand sanitizer
Prioritize Your Wellness While Packing!
While travel stress isn’t always avoidable, building a proactive tool kit can help alleviate certain stressors before they arise. From sleep masks to nutrient-dense snacks to recovery tools, we’ve got you covered with all the necessities to support your mental, physical, and emotional well-being on the go. Of course, this isn’t a cure-all solution. However, by staying healthy and building your defenses, you can make the most of your travel experiences and end the year on a strong note!