Healthy Travel Tip Essentials

Traveling by car or by plane is a LOT – routine, food, exercise, sleep, the whole rhythm of life gets thrown out of balance. As a Functional Medicine physician and working mother, there is always a lot on my plate, and the travel adds an extra layer of detail and a lot of back and forth. Travel and time change alone is a lot for the body, immune system, and daily circadian rhythm cycles to handle!

Travel can cause all kinds of various symptoms; from dehydration, to constipation[1], to jet lag, and catching a common cold.[2] None of which are easy, or fun to deal with, and many of which can ruin or greatly impact a trip. I thought it might be helpful to list some travel essentials that I take with me, to keep myself as healthy as I am able to:

Empty Metal Water Bottle:

Dehydration is pretty much a guarantee while traveling. Fill your empty water bottle up after you go through security at one of the airport’s filtered water hydration stations.

  • You will save money: buying a water bottle in the airport is expensive! Not to mention buying plastic water bottles adds to plastic toxin exposure, and is wasteful.
  • Metal is not breakable, nor is it filled with nasty chemicals that leach from plastic water bottles.
  • You won’t get dehydrated if you have a handy water bottle filled up!
    • Dehydration causes a whole host of symptoms: constipation, headaches, cracked lips. No thank you!

Emergency Food:

Unfortunately, not all airports have healthy food options available these days. Getting stuck in a random airport for a lengthy layover, or traveling across the country without a proper meal can be a bummer if you don’t have an emergency food stash in your carry on bag. I make it a habit to always fill my carry-on backpack with food for my family.

  • Bars: Bars don’t tend to spoil easily, and are super easy to transport! Here are a few I permanently have on hand in my home (and purse):
    • Munk Bars: Sugar free, low Net Carb yummy.
    • Go Macro: Organic bars, plant based.
    • Epic Bars: If jerky and a bar were to have a baby, this is what you would get. This is an easy and immediate meat protein source. (Paleo)
  • Fruit: Fresh, portable, healthy. Nature is so smart!
    Funny side note: On any given day – you can guarantee I’m carrying an apple – currently Honey crisps are my jam!
  • Jerky: Easy, doesn’t spoil, portable meat source. Loving our local North44 jerky for travel.
  • Meals: If you know your travel time overlaps a major meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), bring your meal with you!
    • LunchBots: These stainless steel lunch/meal containers make traveling with a meal super easy. They stack nicely, don’t break, and provide nice spacing between compartments to keep each meal item separate so nothing gets soggy.

Health + Immune Boosting Supplements:

I do not tend to bring all of my supplements if it is a shorter 3-4 day trip (unless of course, I need to). I highly recommend purchasing physician grade supplements versus OTC, through the Inspired Health Apothecary or a trusted practitioner. My usual supplement regime gets pared down to the bare bones essentials:

Magnesium: Magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxant.[3] Not only does it help relieve tense muscles from sitting awkwardly in a plane all day, it can also help you relax to sleep, and help get the bowels moving. That’s right, it can help you poop! A side effect of dehydration and plane travel is constipation. Nobody wants to be constipated on a trip.

Probiotics: The world of probiotics is brimming with new and exciting research on immune, bowel and cognitive benefits. I never leave home without my probiotics!

  • Finding a shelf stable, higher dose, physician grade probiotic is best.

Vitamin D3/K2: Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin![4] Keep your mood up, your hormones steady[5], and your immune system primed[6] with a steady dose of Vitamin D3/K2.

  • 5,000 IU/day
  • Caution: Pregnant ladies- avoid any supplements with >10,000 IU of Vitamin D3.

Immune Boosters: There are many different Immune System stimulating herbal formulas out there. I always travel with one “just in case” I start to feel a little tickle in my throat.

ImmuniT+ or Immucare – I personally love the advanced herbal immune-support formula products that we carry. These can be used interchangeably. Do note that ImmuniT+ does contain colostrum (milk) in case you are sensitive to dairy products (though I find that colostrum doesn’t generally affect dairy-sensitive patients in the same way).

Vitamin C 750

Vitamin C: So simple! Our bodies need Vitamin C as a building block for every structural component, and to help maintain optimal levels of Glutathione, our King anti-oxidant of the body.

  • 500-1000mg/day is a good place to start to help maintain healthy immunity.
  • Higher doses may be needed for chronic disease, or when fighting an infection. Space your doses out throughout the day to avoid diarrhea.

Wishing you Healthy Travels!

Be Well!

Dr. Meaghan Dishman

Inspired Health - Integrative + Functional Medicine Center Natural Fertility Bend Oregon

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[1] The Science Behind Vacation Constipation, 2015.
[2] Where Germs Lurk on Planes, 2011.
[3] Magnesium relaxes arterial smooth muscle by decreasing intracellular Ca2+ without changing intracellular Mg2+, 1992.

[4] Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin, 2012.
[5] The Benefits of Vitamin D – Why It’s the Sexiest Vitamin, 2014.
[6] Vitamin D and the Immune System, 2011.