Traveling for leisure or for work can complicate our healthy habits and wellness routines for a myriad of reasons – our sleep schedule is different, planes are germy, we don’t have our normal “stuff” quite as accessible, and it feels like our daily routine has gone out the window.
However, if you are traveling for work regularly, you can’t afford to miss out on feeling like your best self every time you travel. Likewise, you can’t afford to not show up on the job as your best, most healthy self.
Below are easy-to-implement wellness habits for pre-trip, in-flight, hotel living, and homeward bound life that you can start practicing TODAY for a healthier and all around happier you. These principles apply to your mind, body, and soul on all levels for a holistic approach to your wellbeing.
#1 Be prepared
Part of the art of packing includes bringing pieces of home that will help you to maintain routines and habits that you enjoy. For me, that means bringing a small makeup bag with crystals, essential oils, hand sanitizer, and a snack. I also bring my own to-go packets of foods that play an integral roll in my health and nutrition. These include single servings of chia seeds, nut butters, crackers, collagen protein, protein bars, and home made energy balls. Additionally, you’ll want to bring any supplements and medications that you usually take, as well as preventative care. I always pack enough of my regular medications, as well as others like Advil, Benadryl, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol, activated charcoal (for food sensitivity or food poisoning), oil of oregano (for immune support), cold medicine, etc. Even if you’re traveling somewhere that allows you access to grocery and drug stores, it always feels nice to be prepared beforehand.
#2 Make your plans
The stress of traveling can take a large toll on your physical, mental, and emotional body. Unnecessary worries about transportation and reservations should be ameliorated before you depart to ensure that your cortisol levels are in check for travel day. Arrange for your transportation to and from the airport (you can even schedule your Uber or taxi for pickup the night before). Ensure that your boarding pass is properly downloaded or printed. Have a folder with copies of your passport and insurance if need be. Make your reservations for dinners or activities while you’re still home. All of these plans will come in handy when you’re busy at the office and don’t have the time or energy to figure out a plan that could have been taken care of back at home.
#3 Sleep well
If you’re traveling early in the morning, get to bed earlier the night before. Take extra care to create a relaxing bed time experience – think lavender oil, candles, less phone time, reading for pleasure, a hot shower – to ensure a restful night of sleep. A sleep deprived you is not going to be a happy camper when the flight is delayed or there’s traffic when you land. On the other hand, a night of good rest will prepare you for a positive, stress-free day ahead.
#4 First thing’s first
As soon as you get to your seat, wipe down your area with a wet-wipe. These extra germy areas include: arm rests, seat buckle, tray table, TV screen, overhead reading light, air vent knob. You may be sitting for a while, and a clean environment is key to landing free of new illnesses or fatigue.
#5 Hydration nation
Flying is known to make your skin dry and dehydrate your body. Getting small cups of water from the flight attendants is not going to cut it! Bring a large reusable water bottle to fill up post-security (I recommend 1L) and pick up an extra bottle or two (depending on the length of your flight) at the gate. Drinking plenty of water can help with digestion, get-lag, skin, and energy levels so that you’re feeling good when you land.
#6 Choose comfort
Get yourself a good neck pillow and get comfy on board. If you have a longer flight, wearing compression socks can help with stiff muscles and blood circulation. If you can, wear comfy clothes that aren’t too tight. If you must wear business clothes, choose an outfit that’s easier to move around in and doesn’t feel too stiff. And don’t forget to bring a jacket in case the plane is cold!
#7 Snacks & digestion
Many people experience bloating or discomfort when eating on planes. If this is you, I recommend trying to not eat on your flights. Bring a few small, easy to digest snacks in case you get really hungry (think fruit, cooked veggies, nuts and seeds), but try to avoid full meals or airplane food. Drinking plenty of water and herbal tea like ginger or peppermint tea will also help to keep your digestion in check.
#8 Adopt my favorite holistic wellness hacks
Aside from those essential steps above, I also do a few extra things to make sure I feel good in-flight and even better when I land. Firstly, I dab lavender essential oil on my clothes once I get settled in my seat. This is an aromatherapy technique to promote calmness and relaxation. Next, I take CBD oil to help with anxiety and stress – it can also help with sleep for long haul flights. Lastly, I try to focus on mindful breathing to also help me get in a state of calm and relaxation for a pleasant flying experience.
#9 Create your ideal environment
Your hotel room is your home for a few days, so you may as well make it feel like one! Unpack a few of your things, get fresh light in through the window, and spritz some room spray or essential oils to create an ideal living space.
#10 Get moving
Flying can make you feel tired and lethargic, even though you’re only sitting! Sometimes a quick nap is the best way to recharge, but in most cases, a quick trip to the gym or a walk around the block will make you feel even better. Also, if you go to the gym on the first day of your stay, you’ll be more likely to make a habit of going every day. Daily movement has been proven to boost your mood, increase your immune system function, relieve stress, and improve focus – along while making your physical body stronger and healthier! These are all qualities that will make you an even better teammate in your workspace, so it’s definitely worth the effort to move every day. If you don’t have time for the gym, take a walk around your hotel, or even up and down the hallways at work. Any movement counts and will make a difference.
#11 Make your own mini bar
Your room’s minibar is probably not the best place to look for nourishment and energy. While it can be tempting to grab some candy and alcohol after a long day at work, your body will thank you for more nutritious snacks that you stocked yourself. Preparation is key here – if you know that you won’t be able to find the time for a grocery run, bring some snacks from home to keep in your hotel room and work bag. Fresh fruit and veggies are also great if you can pick some up on your way to work.
#12 Kitchen-less morning cooking hacks
If you’re looking for a quick meal to eat in your room when you wake up, think about playing with oatmeal! I always bring single serving oatmeal packets with me in case there’s a microwave in the room that I can use to make a quick meal. If there isn’t a microwave, you can make overnight oats! Use a coffee cup or mug to combine oats, chia seeds, and water. Maybe add in some chia seeds or anything else you have on hand. Stick it in the mini fridge, stir it up in the morning, add some nuts, seeds, or fruit, and you’re good to go! Not into oatmeal? Try rice cakes with avocado or nut butter!
#13 Make smart restaurant choices
Traveling generally includes eating out for most of your meals, which may be different from how you’re used to eating at home. When choosing what to order, aim to fill up on nutritious options with plenty of vegetables, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Think about how you can create a meal that resembles something similar to a plate you would make yourself at home. Maybe that means choosing a few side dishes to combine into a meal (I’m a big fan of ordering a side salad + steamed veggies + rice + avocado if I’m in the mood for something simple) or splitting a veggie appetizer with someone if the burger + fries entree is really calling your name. At the end of the day, the food that you put into your body is the fuel that you’re going to be running on and relying on during your work day. Listen to your cravings, choose the food that will make you feel the best, and have fun exploring the restaurants in a new city.
#14 Rest & reflect
At the end of your trip, think about how well you were able to maintain your healthy habits. Assess what worked, and think about how you can tweak what didn’t work. Do you need to bring more snacks? Do you need to go to sleep earlier the night before your flights? Do you need to pack less in your suitcase? No trip will be perfect, but if you take the time to reflect, you can keep improving for future ventures!
#15 Let go of work at the baggage claim
When you travel for work, you’re likely thinking about work most of the time that you’re there. That’s why it’s important to make a conscious mental and energetic shift once you get back home. Whether you have friends waiting to hang out with you, a partner waiting to have dinner, or kids excited for the weekend of adventures, try to bring yourself back to the reality of “home” and leave work where it belongs.
#16 Share stories
Traveling for work can make communicating with your loved ones a bit harder while you’re away. Be sure to include them in your life away from home by sharing stories about your travels, reflecting on how you can keep your relationships strong and thriving, and focusing on the people around you when you are with them. Put the emails away, listen and share, and re-center in your health & wellness habits.
I hope this post has given you some valuable and easy-to-implement steps on how to prioritize your health and wellness while traveling for work!
For more inspiration and discussions on health, self love, and living a holistically beautiful life, visit @kaleandkravings on Instagram or www.kaleandkravings.com. Click here to sign-up for my newsletter.
Kale & Kravings is a health and wellness brand based in Los Angeles. Created by the 22-year-old fit foodie, Sloane Elizabeth, this platform is the ultimate guide helping you unapologetically love yourself so that you can feel like a magical goddess in your own skin! K&K is home to healthy and delicious recipes, relaxing spirituality practices, athlete-level workouts, nourishing self care rituals, and MORE!