As a meditation teacher who teaches people how to quietly sit in a chair for a living, I travel a lot more than one might think. We could all go on and on about the stresses of travel, right? From the dryness of the air in the plane (drier than the Sahara desert- literally!) to early morning flights that massacre our sleep schedules, all the way to the basic truth that airplanes move way faster than our bodies were ever intended to.
And what about that moment when we wake up from the bit of sleep we were able to grab on the plane with a tickle in our throat, or within a few hours of landing find ourselves sneezing uncontrollably? When we are going on a carefully planned wellness retreat designed to help us feel amazing, we rather go without a cold we picked up on the way there.
Now, let’s dive into my absolute favorite essentials I pack every time I head to the airport. They move your body out of ‘survival mode’ and into actually enjoying the travel experience so you can begin your rejuvenation from the moment you get to the airport.
Below in radom order are my Top 10 Health Travel Must-Have’s. Read on, or watch my video here:
1. Saline Spray
One of the main reasons people get sick when they travel is that the nose’s mucus membranes dry out and then are unable to filter viruses and bacteria. Seeing as the average plane has 10% humidity (the Sahara desert has 23%), air travel becomes an uphill battle to stay hydrated. Saline spray is a super handy weapon to combat dehydration and keep your nasal passages functioning as they are meant— and it’s only two bucks! I recommend spraying in each nostril 3-4 times during a 5-6 hour flight.
2. Empty Travel Thermos
Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, you can bring a thermos through security and simply refill at a water fountain. Even better, ask the terminal coffee shop to fill it with hot water, which is more easily absorbed into the body and will keep you hydrated throughout the flight.
If you ever notice your nose hurting a bit towards the end of the flight, it is due to the incredibly dry air. To combat this spray rosewater on your face to moisturize skin and breathe it in for a little extra humidity. Plus, this superfluid smells fantastic —without disturbing your neighbors!
4. Cocoa Butter Stick
When you need to pack light, it is important that your products can multitask. A small stick of cocoa butter can be your all-purpose chapstick, eye cream, hand cream and face moisturizer. I have one with a bit of mint and lavender that I got at a farmer’s market, but the classic Palmer’s Cocoa Butter stick can be found in almost any drug store for just a few dollars.
5. Earplugs & Eyemask
All earplugs and eye masks are not created equal, so it’s important to test out a few pairs and see what works best for you. When it comes to earplugs, I love ‘Hearos’ because they are soft and block out lots of sound. As for eye masks, any washable comfy one will do the trick— and will help if you like to fall into a nap after you meditate.
6. Giant Scarf
A giant scarf/ shawl is another multi-purpose gem. You can wrap yourself in it to keep warm, ball it up to serve as a travel pillow, or even use as a towel if you are roughing it. You can also use it as a shawl to drape over your head for a little cocoon if you forgot your eyemask.
7. Lavender Oil
Lavender is one of the most soothing scents in aromatherapy, plus it has natural antibacterial properties. If you’re a nervous traveller, put a bit of this on your pulse points to help bring you back into your body and into the right now. I also find that the smell goes away quickly, making this a better option than perfume if you’re trying to be considerate to those around you who may not share your same tastes in fragrance.
8. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
While I don’t recommend using these for meditation (they actually stimulate the brain because they create ‘silence’ by countering external sound waves), they are fantastic for listening to music or watching in-flight entertainment. The biggest downside of these is the size…but if there are screaming babies on your plane, you will be thrilled you gave up the precious space in your travel bag.
9. External Phone Charger
You never know what’s going to happen on your journey or how long you will be en route. I love having an extended battery pack/ charger (like a Mophie) with me so I have power when I arrive even if my phone dies and there are no outlets around.
While this is not a physical item, it is hands-down the most valuable travel tool I have ever used. Most of my students report a 80-90% reduction in jet lag. I recommend doing 15- 20 minutes of meditation on takeoff and landing (in addition to your regular program)!
If you don’t yet know how to meditate on your own and having a practice to take with you through your days sounds charming, you can join me for a free Intro to Meditation talk in NYC or LA, or learn from anywhere in the world at ZivaMIND