When it comes to seasons of travel or busy on-the-go moments, sticking to habits, routines, and intentional decisions can be challenging. Like all things health related, the difference in outcomes begins with preparation. If we take the extra 10 minutes to back some snacks we reduce the odds of grabbing a candy bar between connecting flights. If we bring a book or game to play during boredom we reduce mindless and overeating. I’m currently in this season of busy travel and have put together tips and essential packing items that can help anyone feel their best during long flights or car rides. Remember perfection is never attained, but small efforts can have large impacts.
If your travel mode is on a plane, the cabin humidity level is roughly 10 – 20% compared to the 35-65% in your average room. This is why you may feel dehydrated during a long flight or day of travel. Being in a low humidity for too long may not seem disastrous, and for many it’s not, but low humidity levels can increase your risk for catching a cold, becoming quickly fatigued, getting itchy eyes, dry skin, and exacerbating breathing problems in those with asthma. (1) To avoid these potential issues, I always being my Hydroflask reusable water bottle attached HERE. Because you can’t bring liquids through security, I recommend grabbing your favorite bottle and filling it up at a hydration station once you pass through to maintain optimal hydration!
Let’s be honest…travel can be stressful. Delayed flights, lost luggage, traffic, crying babies, exhaustion…you name it. I’m not always roses and sunshines after 12 hours of traveling, and my guess is that you wouldn’t be either. For this reason, I bring roll on essential oils with me on long days to help with jet lag, staying calm, stress-free, boosting my immune system, and reducing nausea. Find more benefits HERE. Additionally, most essential oils bottles are under 4oz, so there should be no issue with throwing them in your carry on.
There is not a flight, bus, or car ride anymore where I don’t end up packing snacks. With all of the incredible reusable containers on the market these days I find prepping extremely easy! My first go-to is filling up my Thermos with oats, cinnamon, nut butter, honey, and a sliced banana. This way all I have to do is ask the flight attendant for hot water, and I have an instant balanced breakfast that can go through security! My next favorite are Stasher Bags for fresh cut fruit such as apples, oranges, grapes, mangoes, etc. These foods are also high in vitamin C which helps with immunity support. Glass or metal containers are additionally good options for storing roasted chickpeas, energy bites, dried fruit, trail mix, sliced veggies (also high in vitamin C), and granola. By having easy snacks on hand, energy levels stay consistent, cravings are reduced, and wallets aren’t dented.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, it can be hard to always meet your nutritional needs through food and especially while traveling. For this, I recommend taking a multivitamin daily to ensure your basic micronutrients are being met. I personally focus less on my intake while traveling vs. when i’m home (hello being human), so I like to have a safety net to make sure my body is getting all that it needs!
Staying active and mobile during travel days is extremely important, and I wouldn’t be enticed to move unless I had comfortable footwear. Getting up and moving regularly on long flights, at gas stations, or in an airport helps encourage blood flow and allow oxygen to reach muscles, tissues, and the brain. Not to mention it helps maintain normal bowel movements. Next time you have a rest station break or you arrive early to your gate, try taking a short stroll, do a few lunges, or stretch out your limbs to increase blood flow to the body.
Excessive caffeine intake while traveling can make sticking to your routine or getting enough sleep extremely difficult. It may seem smart to indulge in a few cups of coffee to help with jet lag or adjust to the coming time change, but if you’re wired right before bed it likely isn’t a working strategy. We should still aim for 7-9 hours of rest during travel seasons if not more! I like to bring my own tea bags to help reduce the ease of standing in line for another cup of coffee, and honor my body when it tells me I’m tired. Look for caffeine free options such as herbal or decaffeinated teas.
Depending on length of travel I will bring a full meal that doesn’t need refrigeration. If travel is of shorter duration, then i’ll just stick with the snacks listed above. This becomes extremely helpful when connections are tight and I don’t have time to stop and grab dinner between flights. Many plant-based foods don’t need to be kept in a specific temperature ranges and therefore make great affordable options! A few favorite options are tabbouleh salad, bean salads, peanut butter & jellies or wraps, and Thai noodles. Listed HERE are 15 more ideas perfect for the road!
Boredom during traveling often leads to mindless eating. To combat this, bring a new book you’ve wanted to dive into, download a new app like Sudoku, Words With Friends, crossword puzzles, or plan out work that needs to get done. When trying to decide if you’re hungry or bored, drink several sips of water and wait 20 minutes. This allows enough time for our hunger hormone leptin to be recognized and communicate the bodies needs.