Sleep deprivation, stressful situations, and junk food temptations galore: traveling isn’t always great for your health. You may already have your tissues and your “I have seasonal allergies” excuses ready for the latest Pixar movie on the plane. But before embarking on an epic adventure abroad this summer, be sure to pack these 10 healthy must-haves as well.
Probiotics to ease digestion
First up: “The number one supplement I recommend while traveling is a good probiotic,” says Tasreen Alibhai, ND. Find a probiotic that’s stable at room temperature, which is easier for travel. Take it for at least one to two weeks before you leave, as well as while you’re on your trip.
Melatonin for jet lag
Taking melatonin as a supplement may help “reset” your sleep-wake cycle, reducing symptoms of jet lag. To sleep soundly on your first night, Alibhai suggests basking in daytime bright light upon arriving at your destination and taking a melatonin supplement before bed.
A greens supplement for energy
Veggies can be a rare find on the road. Alibhai suggests bringing a greens supplement that tastes good, blends easily into water, contains all organic ingredients and delivers extras like probiotics, fiber and antioxidants.
Ashwagandha to soothe stress
Many studies suggest that ashwagandha, an adaptogen, may be useful as a stress reliever. It’s commonly available as a powder or in pill form. As with all new supplements, it’s smart to speak with your doctor or health care practitioner before trying it out.
Vitamin C for nourishment and hydration
The air in a plane is dry—it can range from about 10 to 20 percent humidity—and we’re also trapped in close quarters with others who may be sick. Stow a water bottle and vitamin C in effervescent powder form in your carry-on to rehydrate and give yourself a nutrient top-up in one sip. Bonus points if you choose a vitamin C powder with additional vitamins and minerals to really cover your bases.
Elderberry to boost immunity
Germs and viruses love crowded airports. Give your immune system a boost to them fight off with an elderberry supplement. This humble berry contains vitamins and antioxidants like quercetin and anthocyanins to support the immune system through their anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
Mineral sunscreen to avoid sunburn
No matter where you’re headed, pack (and use!) mineral sunscreen. In addition, new research suggests the polyphenols in green tea may help protect us against UV ray-induced skin damage, so it doesn’t hurt to pack some green tea bags while you’re at it.
Protein bars for satiety
Reach for a protein bar, but don’t just grab and go: some bars have as much sugar and saturated fat as a candy bar from a vending machine. Choose a bar with less than 5 g of fat, at least 3 g of fiber and 10 g or more of protein.
Natural hand sanitizer to keep things squeaky clean
Pack a travel-sized bottle of natural hand sanitizer to spruce up your digits before nomming on your airplane snack. Or, bring natural hand cleansing wipes that you can also run over that seat tray table. Products with bacteria-busting ingredients like essential oils (lavender is a good one) and sugar cane ethanol are smart choices.
Sugar-free gum to battle post-plane breath
Imagine stepping off the plane and being hit with the scent of exotic flowers and a whiff of the sea. You turn to your spouse/friend/the guy who sat next to you on the red-eye flight and say, “Now this is living!” Except that suddenly, it smells a lot more like dying. Specifically, like something died in your mouth. You’ve got to have gum after those long-haul flights. Not all gum is vegan (surprise!), so it pays to plan ahead and pack something naturally sweetened—xylitol is a popular choice—and plant based.