When travel is essential, keep these essentials handy.

I love to travel. In fact, Last month I spent a week traveling to London and Paris.  I am already scheming for my next trip to somewhere with a warm sandy beach and calm blue waters. Not that I don’t love spending all winter in rainy, snowy, slushy New York City (can you sense the sarcasm in that statement?).

I wasn’t always so ready to roam, though. Chronic illness and my major digestive problems (including a not-so-functioning colon) got the best of me, and just thinking about traveling became a major anxiety provoker for me. For a while I just couldn’t even bring myself to contemplate getting on a plane to visit friends on the West Coast or hop across the pond for an adventure. Eventually I realized I was denying myself opportunity after opportunity to enjoy what had once been one of my greatest pleasures.

So, I put my thinking cap on and did some research. I figured out how to best support my body while traveling by air. Below are the things and strategies that have helped me, how I use them, and how they can benefit your body as well!

Travel Essentials

Air travel can do a number on the digestive well-being of even those with cast-iron stomachs. The stress of getting to and through the airport and leaving behind foods with which you are familiar can add up to a queasy feeling that can last for a day or two. Not the way you want to spend the first part of your trip! For others, like me, whose chronic condition means that we watch our diets on the best of days, the only way to avoid a grumpy gut during travel is to plan ahead and have a stash of tummy tamers in your carry-on.

If you’re like me, bloat and its ugly step-sister water retention can be your unwelcome travel companions. Send them packing with a cup of yogi detox tea or dandelion tea, both natural diuretics. Remember to bring a bag or two with you to have on hand and in preparation for the return flight. Much as I’d like to buy a new wardrobe when I arrive at my destination, I’d rather not have to size up—so I keep these go-to brews within easy reach to keep the puffies away.

Here’s what else is in my travel stash:

1. Peppermint Tea and Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint tea and peppermint essential oil are two things I always, and I mean ALWAYS, take with me on a plane. Do not underestimate the power of peppermint, people! Peppermint tea is known to aid digestion, relieve stomach pain, and naturally boost the immune system. It’s extremely refreshing, and will keep you hydrated throughout the flight.If you are simply not a tea drinker, then consider peppermint essential oil (I like the brands Young Living and DoTerra for all of my oils!). Like peppermint tea, the essential oil majorly soothes digestive aches and pains, and can also help in restoring digestive efficiency. Before I get on the plane I buy two one-liter bottles of water and put one drop of peppermint in each. I sip from these bottles during the flight. Not only do these sips keep my breath fresh, but they are very calming to the tummy and relieve the uncomfortable gas pressure that can build up on planes!

Important to know: Peppermint oil is very concentrated! One drop of peppermint essential oil is comparable to TEN CUPS of peppermint tea, so use sparingly.

2. Probiotics

Our colons are creatures of habit, and travel, unfortunately, is a sure-fire way to throw the colon out of whack. But forewarned is forearmed. Probiotics are the microscopic world’s gift to us, the “good” bacteria and yeasts that our bodies require for good digestive health. Fermented foods contain these bacteria naturally, but probiotics are also available supplemental capsules. By making probiotics a part of your nutritional routine, you will find that they improve digestion and intestinal function. Specifically, probiotics fight the “bad” bacteria that cause diarrhea and keep the lining of the intestine in top form. They also keep us avoiding constipation. Probiotics have also been found to improve our immune response. For all of these reasons, I pack my probiotics whenever I travel.

3. Vitamin supplements

I take along B-complex and Vitamin C supplements to boost my immune system. It is easy to catch something from the halitosis mouth-breather next to you on the plane, where there is no real air circulation, so supplement up!

4. Snacks

Let’s FACE IT: eating healthy is hard enough, and the poor choices available to us at airports or on the plane make it even harder, come prepared, wellness warriors. I recommend having a big ol’ green juice on your way to the airport, to hydrate the system and flood it with a ton of alkaline goodness. I also recommend keeping it light on the plane when you are choosing snacks. The higher altitude and drier air makes it harder for our bodies to digest. You might consider skipping snacks entirely—except for water or tea—on short flights of two hours or less. For longer flights, the best foods to eat are simple foods like fruits and raw vegetables that have high water content: oranges, apples, watermelon, pineapple, carrots, for example.

Tip: If you are a fan of green juice, pack some, frozen, in your checked bag. Just be sure to pack the frozen containers in spill-proof zip lock bags, just in case. I tried to bring some juice through airport security… once. Didn’t succeed. Don’t ask.

5. Water, water everywhere

Be sure to drink more than the drop they offer you on the plane. A thimble-sized glass is nice and all, but it is nowhere near what your bod needs to keep hydrated. Cabin air is terribly drying, so make sure that you have extra liquid—water, preferably, especially—to compensate. Try to drink at least one liter, with lemon, if possible, for better alkalinity while in the air.

6. A list of your medications and supplements

If you take prescription meds and supplements, make sure you have a list of them with you. Better to have it and not need it than to be in a foreign emergency room trying to communicate what you need. I always ask my doctor to give me a note with a list of my needed medications, supplements, tonics and potions—just in case. Having the list puts my mind at ease incase anyone at the airport gives you any troubles.

There you have it…you are ready to roll! My next post will talk about stay-healthy strategies while away from home. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Go out and plan your next trip. Happy travels, Warriors!