Traveling is tough on the body. The atmosphere in planes is drier than the Sahara Desert, getting to the airport in the early morning often means sacrificing sleep, and changing time zones in one day forces the body to adapt very quickly. Throw in the demands of handling family, and you have a perfect recipe for getting sick.
Want to know a secret? I haven’t been sick in more than eight years and I travel a ton.
I attribute this 99 percent to meditation, but there are also some essentials I make sure to pack every time I travel. These tools will help you not only survive this holiday season but actually enjoy yourself. Here are 10 things you'll need for your next trip, and a video below of techniques that will help you beat travel anxiety and jet lag:
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 percent humidity (the Sahara Desert has 23 percent), air travel becomes an uphill battle to stay hydrated. I've found that saline spray helps me combat dehydration. It keeps my nasal passages functioning as they are meant to — and it’s only $2! I recommend spraying in each nostril three to four times during a five- to six-hour flight.
2. Empty travel thermos
Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, you can bring a thermos through security and simply refill it at a water fountain.
If you ever notice your nose hurting a bit toward the end of the flight, it is due to the incredibly dry air. To combat this, you can spray rosewater on your face to moisturize skin and breathe it in for a little extra humidity.
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 lip balm, eye cream, hand cream, and face moisturizer. I have one with a bit of mint and lavender that I got at a farmers market, but the classic Palmer’s Cocoa Butter stick can be found in almost any drug store (and is very affordable).
5. Earplugs and eye mask
All earplugs and eye masks are not created equal, so it’s important to test out a few kinds to 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 your meditation.
6. Giant scarf
A giant scarf/shawl is another multipurpose gem. You can wrap yourself in it to keep warm, ball it up to serve as a travel pillow, or even use it as a towel if you are roughing it/have a spill. You can also drape it over your head for a little meditation cocoon if you forgot your eye mask.
7. Lavender oil
8. Noise-canceling 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. Yet if there are screaming babies on your plane, you will be SO glad 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 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 meditation students report an 80 to 90 percent reduction in jet lag. I recommend doing 15 to 20 minutes of meditation on takeoff and landing (in addition to your regular program)!
Once you arrive at your destination, get your feet on the earth as soon as possible to re-polarize you to the new location. Watch the sunrise or the sunset to help reset your body clock. As you take in your new surroundings under the sky, be grateful for the opportunity to travel and celebrate with loved ones. Happy holidays!
For more tips, check out my course, Guided Visualizations: How to Overcome Your Fears, Excel at Work, and Have Mind-Blowing Sex.
Photo courtesy of iStock