Several years ago I started incorporating self-care practices into my pre-departure travel routine and what a difference these practices have made to the overall travel experience.
Interestingly, as I continue to deepen my knowledge of Ayurveda, the ancient mind-body health system developed in India over five thousand years ago, I’m discovering that not only are some of these practices recommended in Ayurveda, but also exactly why they are so effective as ways to keep the body in balance and healthy.
Interested? Here are the three travel necessities I never leave home without – as well as several additional Ayurvedic essentials I’ll be adding to my travel toolkit on future trips:
1. Ginger Tea & Lemon:
I always carry Yogi Tea ginger tea packets and a lemon with me when traveling. Ginger tea is known to be beneficial for digestion, and both ginger and lemon are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For thousands of years, ginger has been used as a treatment for sore throats, colds and motion sickness. These tea bags are easy to carry and I always bring extra to share with those I’m traveling with.
2. Tea Tree & Lavender Cleansing Hand Lotion
I was introduced to this wonderful cleansing hand lotion by Saje Wellness when I was looking for an essential oil diffuser in Venice Beach, California. A mix of lavender oil, tea tree oil, fresh pine and thyme, this hand lotion moisturizes the skin while also serving as an anti-bacterial cleansing lotion.
Most of us know that washing hands is key to protecting ourselves from getting sick. When traveling it’s sometimes a challenge to find a washroom though which is why I bring this lotion with me wherever I go. An essential oil lotion made with tea tree oil is a much better alternative to the usual “hand sanitizers” that are made of chemicals and dry out the skin.
This Tea Tree/Lavender essential oil lotion has an invigorating “wake up” natural scent and soothes the skin. As mentioned, I use the lotion by Saje Wellness (which you can order online) but any all-natural hand lotion made from quality tea tree and lavender essential oil can also be used.
3. Sleep Mask
Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of aligning with the cycles and rhythms of nature to create optimal health and well-being – and this includes maintaining a consistent sleep schedule in tune with the order of the day and night.
When traveling on transcontinental or overnight flights, however, it’s often challenging to get any sleep (let alone restful sleep for that matter). The best we can do, therefore, is try to mimic the conditions of nighttime by shutting out all light during the destination’s nighttime hours (10pm to 6am).
An eye mask helps to fully block out light, making it a travel essential for supporting the body clock’s natural circadian rhythm and optimizing in-flight rest and sleep.
In addition to the above-mentioned self-care travel hacks, I’ve recently learned about two additional Ayurvedic practices that are super easy to incorporate into one’s travel routine and which specifically help to keep Vata dosha in balance.
It’s always a good idea to bring nourishing food with you when traveling since airport food is not usually very nutritious. For short trips, I usually bring a small bag of almonds with me to curb my appetite until I arrive at my destination. However, for longer flights I need something a bit more hearty than almonds alone.
An easy, simple and nutritious food option on-the-go is oatmeal with a banana. Oatmeal is easy to pack – just fill a small container or ziplock bag with oats. Add hot water and slices of the banana when you’re at the airport or on the plane. Ayurveda teaches that those with a dominant Vata dosha may also benefit from adding warming spices like cardmon, nutmeg and cinnamon to the mix.
5. Abhyanga Oil Massage
Traveling by plane is known to dry out the skin which is bad for sinuses and can break down mucous barriers making it easier to catch whatever bugs are present. In fact, the humidity level of most airplane cabins is so low at 20% that it’s been compared to the humidity levels found in a desert. If you’ve wondered why your skin is exceptionally more dry than usual after a flight, here may lie the answer.
How Can You Calm Vata Dosha & Keep Skin Moisturized?
In Ayurveda, three basic energies (or doshas) in life are recognized: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata, which means “wind” in Sanskrit, is characterized by sensory qualities much like those of the wind – coolness, dryness, lightness, and roughness. Ayurveda teaches that when Vata is aggravated, balance must be restored by increasing exposure to substances that are the opposite of Vata.
In the case of dryness of the skin, for example, one of the best ways to calm Vata is with warm sesame seed oil applied to the skin as part of a self-massage practice known as Abhyanga. For Pitta dosha or those with sensitive skin, coconut oil can also be used.
For airplane travel, this traditional self-care practice is a great way to nourish your skin and nervous system the day before a flight. For extra nurturing and self-care, consider bringing a small 1-ounce bottle of sesame seed oil or coconut oil (or preferred essential oil, based on your dosha) with you on your travels to use when you arrive at your destination.
Extra travel essentials I don’t leave home without:
6. Beats Headset:
For noise reduction and to listen to my meditation playlist or favorite tunes, bringing my Beats headset along for the trip is a small luxury worthy of the limited space in a small carry-on.
7. Organic Cotton Scarf:
Super cozy and keeps me warm during flights.
8. Essential Oil Diffuser For Travel:
I absolutely love my Aromaom essential oil diffuser by Saje Wellness. I use it every day at home – it’s divine. On my wishlist for a future long-term trip is this travel size version called Aromaroam.
Do you have a special self-care practice you’d add? Let’s connect, I’d love to hear from you.
Wishing you fabulous adventures and healthy travels!