The sun is shining, the kids are almost out for summer, and you’ve got the family vacation all planned out.
You spent MONTHS researching and crafting the perfect trip…but it only takes one person getting a virus or coming down with a bout of food poising to turn that highly anticipated trip into a BIG DISSAPOINTMENT.
Fortunately, we’ve gotcha covered with 12 unconventional ways to keep your family healthy on vacation…so you can relax and actually enjoy some much deserved down-time.
Here’s what to do:
1. Pump up immunity a few days before and a few days after travel, with these herbs and supplements…
Any time you travel to a new place, unfamiliar germs challenge the body’s defenses. Overall this is a good thing for building a strong microbiome and immune system…but nobody wants to get the sniffles at the beach!
To keep our family healthy, we start taking at least one of these immune-supportive herbs at least three days before we travel and continue for three days after:
• Cat’s Claw
• Olive Leaf
We also use plenty of probiotics to build our digestive immunity.
For convenience, choose probiotics that don’t require refrigeration such as lactobacillus sporogenes.
2. If you’re driving, make the drive healthier by investing in a car ionizer.
Have you ever wondered why driving is so exhausting?
A holistic nurse once told me, that driving our cars is the most toxic thing we do.
Air on the road is filled with exhaust fumes, pollen, and other road pollutants, making a long drive less than healthy for everyone in the car.
A small investment in a quality car ionizer can make a huge difference to your car’s air quality…and may even prevent crankiness in young passengers!
3. If you’re flying, protect yourself from unwanted radiation.
Many people don’t realize that flying comes with a good dose of radiation. An average 7-hour flight packs as much punch as a chest X-Ray…eeps.
Not great for the adults or kiddies.
Natural health practitioners will tell you a good dose of liquid chlorophyll, organic spirulina, or kelp (look for clean Norwegian Fjord Kelp) can help negate the effects of radiation and keep you healthier in the sky.
4. Plan ahead for healthy snacking.
If you use vacation as an excuse to eat junk food all week you’ll be feeling run down and lethargic when the party’s over.
Yes, an ice cream or special dessert here or there is all part of the fun, but too much sugar and processed foods weaken our immunity, sap energy, and can contribute to illness.
Some of our favorite kid and travel-friendly snacks include almond butter pouches, Larabars (no affiliation), string cheese, ants on a log, trail mix, applesauce, yogurt, organic baby food pouches (these are great for a quick toddler or little kid snack), and Annie’s Bunnies.
5. Don’t leave home without digestive enzymes and activated charcoal for eating out.
Does your digestion usually get a little “off” when you travel? Mine too.
To help ease discomfort I always carry plant-based digestive enzymes. Taken 20 minutes before a meal, or even after, they help speed the digestive process and keep you regular.
I also never leave home without activated charcoal. This easy-to-find, natural, inexpensive remedy is a must-have if food poisoning or tummy trouble strikes.
It’s literally charcoal in a tablet or capsule, and acts like a sponge to absorb impurities in the digestive tract.
It’s safe for children and adults, and you can find it at your local health food store.
6. Watch sugar intake.
Studies have found that 1 teaspoon of sugar can paralyze the immune system for up to 6 hours. Ouch!
Refined sugar is a “vampire carbohydrate”.
Stripped of all its nutrients in the refining process, it weakens your entire body by leaching vitamins and minerals in order to be metabolized. Sugar is also very acidifying, and unwanted pathogens just LOVE and acidic environment.
Bad news if you’re already in a new place with new germs.
If sugar does make an appearance at cocktail or snack time, help your body manage by taking some extra B vitamins and a double dose of immune-boosting herbs.
For some cool tips on making happy hour healthier, check out this article by Haaper’s Bazaar.
7. Do a little restaurant research.
I’m all for spontaneity…especially when visiting a new place.
But before you make a bee line for that funky looking dive on the dunes, grab your smart phone and log onto The Healthy Dining Finder.
I’ve mentioned the site before. I use this all the time when I travel for work.
If the spot you’re craving isn’t listed at The Healthy Dining Finder, at the very least check out their health score. If they don’t have it displayed (and this varies state-to-state) log onto: foodsafetynews.com and click on your state.
8. Steer clear of salad bars.
You think you’d be doing yourself a favor by opting for a salad instead of a sandwich, right? Not exactly…
Raw foods, such as salads, are prime territory for cross contamination. Why? Because salads are never heated to kill bacteria, germs, or parasites.
Having worked in restaurants for years, I can attest that salad bars are the worst offenders. No matter how vigilant the restaurant staff is, any self-serve salad bar is vulnerable to double-dipping, put-backs, and grubby little (and big) unwashed hands.
You’re on vacation, just go for the sandwich or some grilled meat or fish with veggies.
9. Be prepare for the unexpected with a natural first aid kit
When you’re in an unfamiliar environment accidents happen…especially with kids and husbands!
Be prepared with my natural, travel-friendly, first aid kit:
• Arnica cream for bumps and bruises.
• Calendula or comfrey cream for minor scrapes and cuts.
• Pure aloe vera gel for sunburns.
• Rescue Remedy for shock and stress.
• Lavender essential oils for burns and bug bites.
• Tea tree essential oil for fungal infections and general disinfecting.
• Geranium essential oil for repelling mosquitos.
• Activated charcoal for food poisoning (had to mention this gem again).
• Belladonna homeopathic for fevers.
• Plenty of Band-Aids, and pre-packaged sanitary wipes.
• A cold pack (if freezer available).
10. Don’t forget non-toxic sunscreen and plenty of it.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but how many times have run out of natural sunscreen and had to resort to the synthetic stuff?
It may seem like a small thing, but everything we put onto our skin goes into our bloodstream and either strengthens or weakens our defenses.
It pays to use the good stuff.
I recently hopped on a natural sunscreen thread (via my holistic moms group on Facebook), and these get top points for being kid-friendly, all-natural, non-toxic, non-residue/non-whitening mineral sunscreens:
11. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Between the extra coffee needed to get the whole family out the door, the summer heat, sweating it to get to the airport (or just getting everyone loaded in the car), restrictions on taking your own water on the plane (or not drinking enough to avoid too many potty breaks), and the flight/trip itself, most of us end up dehydrated before we ever reach our destination.
According to one of my all-time favorite reads, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, dehydration can mask itself as a host of illnesses including:
• Depression/mood swings
• Joint pain
• Back pain
• Heart Burn
Make a water run your first order of business when you reach your destination. Chose spring water over purified, and encourage your whole family to drink LOTS of it.
Some foods that help hydrate include:
Coconut water is also a wonderful, natural, sugar-free hydrator and is readily available everywhere.
12. If you’re out in the woods be vigilant about mosquitos and ticks.
Lyme disease is an epidemic in this country, and experts believe it can be transmitted via ticks, fleas, mites, and mosquitos.
Geranium essential oil makes a great natural bug repellant. Though there are no known natural tick-repellants, stopticks.org offers some excellent preventative tips for keeping ticks at bay.
If your child comes down with a fever or displays any unexplained symptoms, do not hesitate to have them checked for Lyme disease. Early detection and prevention are key.
For more information about the myths and facts on Lyme, check out our previous post.
Follow these 12 tips and you’ll enjoy a memorable, stress-free, and healthy vacation.
What unconventional steps do you take to keep your family healthy while traveling? Is there a product or home remedy you don’t leave home without? Perhaps a cool travel app to share?
We’d love to hear your tips and comments!
just for the health of it!