Travel Well: The Be Well Guide to Summer Travel
- Written By:Dr. Frank Lipman
- Photography:Sarah Elliot
Keeping up with healthy habits may feel more difficult when you’re traveling— you’re out of your routine, you don’t have access to your normal foods, and your sleep patterns may be off-kilter. Additionally, vacation is a time for many of us to completely let loose. Rest assured: You can certainly unwind and relax without veering completely off course and having to do damage control later!
Enjoy our expert advice for healthy summer travel, with tips ranging from food to sun to supplements.
HEALTHY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Planning ahead for restful sleep and adequate hydration is key to ensuring your vacation supports your overall health goals. Be sure to pack these healthy-living essentials.
- Getting good sleep when you’re traveling will keep your immune system strong. It’s important to sleep in a dark, quiet room—so pack a sleep mask and earplugs to ensure you’re getting enough quality rest. You can also use our Sleep Formula to help adjust to new time zones.
- Since you never know what kind of food you’ll be eating on the road, it’s always a good idea to pack herbal teas, such as ginger and peppermint, that support healthy digestion. Herbal tea is also fantastic for helping you relax and unwind at the end of a long travel day.
- Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Having a water bottle on hand makes it more likely that you’ll keep drinking water throughout the day. Opt for a glass bottle, which is easy to clean and reuse and won't leach harmful chemicals into your water.
Due to the stresses of traveling, our immune system can often be compromised, which is why it can be helpful to bring a mini travel kit of immune-boosting nutrients. Pack these essentials on your next trip to keep your energy levels high and your immune system strong!
- Our Daily Dose packets include an arsenal of tools to boost the immune system— probiotics, vitamin D, fish oil, and a high quality multivitamin— all conveniently wrapped in individual packs to make it easy to get the vital nutrients you need while on the road.
- To combat any potential GI issues, such as diarrhea, stomach aches, bloating and gas, we recommend our GI Herbal Formula to defend your gut against bad bacteria. It also helps your digestive system maintain balanced with a special blend of botanical extracts.
- Greens help nourish every system in your body—they enhance your immune system, provide good bacteria for your gut, aid in digestion, sustain energy, promote mental clarity and support overall well-being. However, while traveling, it can be tough to get your daily dose of veggies. Fortunately, you can pack our PhtytoGreens and simply mix with water.
- If you do end up getting sick, andrographis is one of our favorite herbs for healing. It has antiviral properties and can boost your immune system quickly.
Flying in a metal bird at 500 miles per hour is quite an unnatural state for our bodies to be in. We run into all sorts of problems at high altitude, like dehydration, lack of adequate air circulation, and lack of healthy food options. Here are some ways to combat these imbalances…
- Pack your snacks! Cheap airplane snacks like pretzels, peanuts, and party mixes, are loaded with sugars, additives, and artificial flavorings that wreak havoc on our digestion and body, so best to bring your own! We suggest packing along trail mix, low sugar fruits, good quality jerky, hard boiled eggs, avocados, cut up veggies, or anything else that is portable AND nourishing to the body.
- For long flights, packing a meal with a mix of protein, nutrient-dense vegetables and healthy fats is a much better plan than hoping to find something healthy at the airport. Also, since airplane travel is sedentary, remember to eat light—you don’t want a heavy, hard-to-digest meal.
- Airplane travel is incredibly dehydrating, so your glass water bottle is an essential. Bring it empty so you can fill it up at a water station after going through security. Stay away from alcohol or caffeine on the flight to avoid further dehydration.
- For a hydration and meal solution, pack a blender bottle with our Sustain or Recharge protein packets. The convenient individual packets offer a quick, healthy, and hydrating nutritional boost.
Jet lag is the traveler’s equivalent of a hangover, just without the booze. While jet lag is irritating, keep in mind it's simply our body's way of telling us that our rhythms are out of sync with the local time. Here are a few tips to tame jet lag's disruptive effects:
- A week or two before your trip, shift your body clock by adjusting your bedtime and rising times by a few hours. For example, if you’re headed east from NYC to Western Europe, try moving bedtime and rising times up by an hour or two over the course of several days prior to departure. If you’re headed west and hopping more than three time zones, you may want to try delaying bedtime and rising times.
- Here’s where the eye mask and earplugs (or noise-canceling headphones) come into play while traveling, blocking light and noise so you can doze or meditate more easily. Add a neck pillow to keep your head comfortable, and wrap yourself in a light blanket to stay cozy as your body temperature falls and rises.
- Melatonin is the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycle. In supplement form, as in the Be Well Sleep Formula, it can help travelers reset their body clocks and is a healthy alternative to pharmaceuticals. Do talk with your doctor first, since melatonin can interact with certain drugs, such as blood thinners and anti-seizure meds.
- When you return home, be patient with your body and expect at least one day of recovery for each time zone crossed. Expose yourself to as much morning light as you can, and get back to your normal exercise routine to help return your body clock to normal.
Our bodies are designed to be in motion, making it essential to make time to move your body in any way you can! Developing and maintaining an exercise habit can take anywhere from three to six weeks of consistent effort, so don’t let your vacation derail your exercise routine. The more regularly you exercise, the more the body will crave it and the more benefits you’ll enjoy—so don’t give up this life-enhancing habit just because you’re away from home.
- It’s great to lie on the beach, but it’s also important to move your body, so schedule time to take a walk along the ocean or to explore the town.
- Even just a 10-minute vinyasa flow or stretching session in your hotel room will get things going, so don’t feel discouraged if a small amount of time is all you have.
- Use your app of choice to take your favorite workout with you. Some of our favorites include the (free) Nike app, Yoga Glo, Sweat with Kayla, but do what works for you and your body!
A vacation often entails overindulging at meals, eating lots of desserts, and drinking a few too many cocktails. Part of the adventure of travel is sampling the local cuisine, even foods that aren’t very healthy, but do your best not to overdo it. If you treat vacation meals the same way you’d treat going out to a restaurant in your regular routine—focusing on the healthiest and most nourishing options possible— you’ll feel your best and have more energy to really enjoy your entire trip.
- No matter what kind of restaurant you go to, you can choose protein, lots of veggies, and healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil) and avoid the bread basket, pasta and desserts. You can’t always control whether or not everything is organic or what kind of oil it’s cooked in, but you can certainly do your best with the choices you’re given!
- Large meals can be hard on your digestion. Too much food at once can leave you feeling bloated and tired and take away the energy you need to get the most out of your travels. Go smaller and slower—your tummy will thank you later!
- While planning your itinerary, especially the dining-out portion, research the favorite local organic and farm-to-table hot spots. Once you decide on the restaurant, check out the menu and decide what you’re going to order before you arrive. Feel free to call a restaurant to make a special request.
- Start your day off right with a breakfast shake. A morning smoothie is easy for your body to digest and a quick way to make sure you get protein and nutrients, especially when you've planned indulgent meals for later in the day. Our Sustain or Recharge protein packets with a blender bottle that you bring for airplane travel can also guarantee a healthy start.
When we travel, our natural rhythms can get off schedule, and it’s common to experience constipation. Some of us can tolerate the changes, but many of us struggle. The closer we stick to our normal routine, the more regular our bowels will be.
- It’s important to keep your intestines hydrated. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables with a high water content in addition to drinking a lot of water.
- Let magnesium citrate be your secret weapon. Anywhere from 200-400 mg before bed can help if you are feeling backed up. It works while you sleep and gives you the fresh start you need the next day.
- A daily probiotic is a wonderful way to add more healthy bacteria to your gut and support your digestive health while you travel. They also come in handy when fighting potential parasites, and they can help protect your body from bacteria on planes and in foreign foods that your gut may not be used to.
- Another reason to skip the alcohol and caffeine on the ight: The dehydration effect can plug you up. Staying hydrated = staying regular!
NON-TOXIC SUN PROTECTION
Your body needs sunlight to thrive, but it also needs some protection from UV rays. Enjoyed wisely, strategic bouts of sunshine help the skin produce the vitamin D it requires to build bones, tamp down in ammation, and boost the immune system. But you don’t want to risk a sunburn either.
- Many sunscreens contain dangerous ingredients. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens for the healthiest options. Among its top-rated sunscreens based on safety is Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen. We also recommend Badger Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Cream, Keys Solar Rx Broad Spectrum Sunblock, California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, and Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense.
- Avoid ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), sunscreens with added insect repellent, and anything above SPF 50, which can give a false sense of security (and has not been proven to add sun protection).
- Wear clothing with SPF, like rash guards, hats, and sunglasses.
- Make sure you’re not using sunscreen as a way to prolong your hours in the sun. Children should be especially vigilant; sunburns are a significant risk factor in developing skin cancer later in life.
With the Zika virus circulating, the prospect of getting bitten by a mosquito is more unappealing than ever. While there’s no one perfect path to a bite-free summer vacation, you can ght back in a variety of ways without having to poison yourself in the process.
- The more scent you’ve got, the easier it is for mosquitoes to find you and take a bite. They’re attracted to all sorts of fragrances, from the ones we spray on ourselves to the ones we emit after intense exercise. So, lay off the perfume and hit the showers after a workout or a long, hot day at the beach.
- The ying nuisances rely on vision as well as scent to locate tasty morsels like us, so make it a little harder for them by dressing in white or light colors instead of city-chic black and navy. Long sleeves and long pants will provide additional camou age and coverage— making you even less appealing.
- To help consumers make the most informed buying decisions possible, the EWG recently published its Guide to Bug Repellents in the Age of Zika, a tip-packed must-read, which ranks a wide range of repellents for toxicity and ef cacy, and offers recommendations for both adults and children.