By contributing writer, Erin Long
Oh, the holidays. It’s the season of making merry and loving humanity and going the extra mile to show people we care. It’s the season that we share what we have with others and let our gifts multiply.
The only problem is that it’s not only the time for sharing gifts, but also sharing germs.
We know what to do when sickness strikes when we’re at home, but what about when we’re traveling or staying with family or friends? Some of our go-to natural methods aren’t especially portable, especially if you’re traveling on a plane.
I’ve adapted my natural medicine kit to make it travel-friendly. I’ve taken just what my family needs and made adjustments to make everything portable.
I put all the supplements in plastic baggies (these will soon be replaces with reusable cloth baggies) and it all easily fits into a medium-sized toiletries bag, which makes my minimalist heart happy.
While I do think that most of the items in my natural travel medicine kit will be helpful for you and your family, some of them might not be as necessary for you or there might be something else that’s more essential for your family than for mine. So think of this as a foundation that you can adjust and customize to meet your family’s needs. It might take some adjustment (I’m still refining mine!) but over time you’ll figure out exactly what you do and don’t need.
What’s in My Natural Travel Medicine Kit?
1. High-Quality Probiotic
What’s better than having everything you need in your natural travel medicine kit to deal with whatever illness comes your way? Not needing it at all!
My number one priority when gathering my medicine kit is a high-quality probiotic. Probiotics boost the immune system by fighting bad bacteria and supporting white blood cells – it’s the perfect first line of defence against illness.
Probiotics are my number one priority when it comes to keeping us healthy.
2. Immune System Boosters
There are so many options that fall under this category! But here are my favorites:
Anti-bacterial/protective essential oil blend
These blends of essential oils pack a mighty punch in a small amount of space. These blends fight bacteria, boost the immune system and support all around health and that’s is definitely what I’m looking for when I travel!
The oil (properly diluted) also works as a hand and surface sanitizer.
Though it’s not widely known for it’s immune system support abilities, D3 plays an integral role in fighting infections. I take a daily multivitamin that has D3 and my husband and kids take a D3 supplement every day.
It also promotes stable moods (low vitamin D3 levels is linked to depression) which is an added bonus when we face the challenges of travel!
3. Elderberry Supplement
When my immune boosters fall short and someone does get sick, I reach for the elderberry supplement first. At home I make a syrup but when we travel I have to compromise and bring the benefits of elderberry along with us in pill form.
Elderberries are nature’s cold and flu fighting super weapon. If it ails you, elderberries can probably handle it.
Since my kids are young I have gummies for them, and pills for us grown ups. Another easy and portable option is to buy it in tincture form.
4. Natural Chest Rub
Both my boys have mild asthma so keeping their lungs clear is vital to their health, and a natural chest rub is an easy way to do it. The essential oils in the rub penetrate into their lungs and help break up the mucus so they can get better quicker.
When buying a chest rub, be sure to follow essential oil safety recommendations. (This is an excellent, unbiased source. Note: I don’t find the MLM companies to be reliable sources of this information.)
You could also make your own rub if you’d like to customize the ingredients in it. See this R&H post for a simple tutorial/recipe.
But even if your family doesn’t have severe lung issues as asthma, chest rub is still a highly beneficial tool in your medicine kit. I use the rub whenever I feel a minor cough coming on and it gives me the relief I need. And it smells amazing. Win-win.
5. Essential Oils and Portable Diffuser
Essential oils are a part of our wellness routine that I don’t want to leave at home. I have a portable diffuser and I pack these oils to diffuse:
- Eucalyptus for coughs (There is some controversy about whether or not eucalyptus is safe for kids. Fir needle is a kid-safe alternative.)
- Lavender for calming and all-around well being (safe for all ages)
- Antibacterial/protective blend to purify the air (Kid-safe version here)
Bring whatever oils you and your family can’t live without. Most essential oil bottles are carry on size so they’re highly portable even if you’re packing minimally.
6. Sleep-Supporting Essential Oils
Good sleep is an essential part of fighting illness and overall health. But when you’re not sleeping in your own bed or if you’re dealing with jet lag, sleep can be illusive.
I’ve found essential oils to be the best way to promote great sleep. I have a sleep blend that I rub on our feet before bed and it helps us all sleep better.
Also check out 5 Ways to Sleep Better Naturally
7. Activated Charcoal
This is my cure-all for any stomach and digestive issue. Whether it’s from an over-indulgent meal or an illness, activated charcoal can handle it.
Activated charcoal adsorbs (yes, adsorbs… it’s not a typo. It means “to gather”) toxins and gas and moves them out of the body, thus quickly removing whatever is causing the aggravation.
My husband and I take the capsules but for my kids I gently open the capsule and put it in a cup of water and have them drink it.
8. Natural Hand Sanitizer
When we travel we’re in some of the most germ-infested areas: airplanes, public transit, museums, and popular tourist sites.
I’m no germaphobe, but when I travel I carry hand sanitizer on my person at all times. I make this DIY hand sanitizer before I leave home. I bring just enough to be able to carry it on the plane with me so I’m sure to have it as we fly and make our way through airports. You can also pack an extra in your checked luggage.
9. Neti Pot/Saline Rinse
Oh runny noses. It’s no fun to constantly blow your nose, especially if you’re in a museum, concert hall or somewhere conspicuous.
Using a neti pot or saline rinse clears the mucus out of your nose in one fell swoop and drastically cuts back on the number of tissues you’ll go through.
I use a ceramic neti pot and larger container of salts at home but when I travel I have a light weight plastic neti pot and prepared saline packets.
If sinus issues aren’t something that plague your family, a small bottle of saline rinse should suffice for a minor runny nose.
10. A Shopping List
So many natural remedies are made from ingredients you can buy almost anywhere. Lemons, garlic, onions, raw honey, apple cider vinegar, and others are available at almost every grocery store, even if you’re traveling abroad.
Before you leave home, find out if there’s a natural health store where you’re visiting so you can stock up on more specialized products there, like elderberry syrup or real bone broth.
So look at what remedies you use the most and plan on buying whatever ingredients you can once you arrive.
There are so many things you could include in your natural travel medicine kit that I haven’t mentioned here: a variety of tinctures, teas, other supplements. So find what works for you and your family and keep refining your kit as you see fit.
I’m still trying to find the most-natural supplements and will make adjustments as my kids get older and as I learn more about natural methods. It’s a work in progress but it’s definitely heading in the right direction.