Holiday Travel Tips to Keep You Healthy

Holiday travel can be tough on your immune system. Don't plan your next trip without taking these helpful health tips into consideration

Stay hydrated, eat healthy foods, and support your immune system for healthy holiday travel

Making healthy food choices when travelling can be tricky, especially during the holidays. Staying hydrated, eating foods rich in fibre, and supporting your immune system are just a few excellent ways to keep your health in check over the busy travel season. Making fitness a priority and scheduling it into your travel itinerary is also just as important. With the coolest state-of-the-art gear and easy-to-pack travel essentials, you won’t have any excuse.

Click through for the most important nutritional tips for a great flight and the latest travel accessories as we gear up for the holiday travel season.

Stay hydrated

Some of the most common health problems that affect airplane passengers are often the result of a lack of humidity in the cabin air, which can lead to dehydration if you’re not careful. The air inside the cabin of a plane usually has a humidity level of 10 to 20 per cent—much lower than a comfortable typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 per cent. For this reason, it’s very important to take measures to keep yourself hydrated while you’re on a plane. Dehydration can cause problems with dry skin and scratchy eyes, respiratory issues, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. My Edible Advice Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Jennifer Trecartin Brott suggests having a few of these items in your carry-on at all times.

  • Bring your own high-quality tea bags with you as a special treat. Use ginseng to help adapt to high altitudes, peppermint if you are feeling like your immune and digestive systems need a little TLC, or lemon balm to soothe and relax any flight jitters.
  • Carry an empty water bottle through security. Getting and staying hydrated before and during your flight is the best way to protect yourself against getting sick. That’s because lack of humidity in the pressurized cabin dries out mucous membranes, making it harder for your system to flush out germs. Throw a Q Energy stick-pack into your bag to mix in with water during your flight for a natural energy drink to boost energy and support your immune system.
  • Chlorophyll counteracts radiation, reduces inflammation, and supplies the body with energy. This is best taken in liquid, capsule, or tablet form towards the end of your flight when you need a little boost to help you combat any jet lag.
  • Goji berries can be found in natural health stores and look similar to raisins. They are high in fibre to help boost the immune system as well as increasing blood circulation. Add them to your water bottle for an extra boost. My pick: Naked Snacks‘ 3pm Goji, is their most popular mix with Zimt’s 70 per cent dark chocolate pieces for a hearty holiday treat to satisfy everyone’s cravings and get you through the 3 p.m. slump!

Credit: Naked Snacks

Eat foods rich in fibre

Nobody wants to be dealing with digestive complaints during their travels. To ensure you keep heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion at bay, Brott suggests eating foods rich in fibre. Bonus: these foods will help keep your mood and blood sugar balanced. 

  • Deep green leafy vegetables are notoriously rich in beta-carotene, vitamins, and minerals, but their fibre content isn’t too shabby either. There are more than 1,000 species of plants with edible leaves, many with similar nutritional attributes, including high-fibre content. 
  • Whole grains contain the entire grain: the bran, germ and endosperm, making them an excellent source of fibre, iron, B vitamins, magnesium and selenium. They will help you feel full for the whole flight! Tip: pack your bag with the highest quality instant oats you can find and ask your flight attendant for some hot water. My pick: Qi’a™ Superfoods Hot Oatmeal Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed by Nature’s Path.
  • One ounce of nuts and seeds can provide a hearty contribution to the day’s fibre recommendation, along with a bonus of healthy fats, protein, and phytochemicals. My personal favourite is chia seeds, due to the fact that they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which helps to keep the body lubricated and hydrated. 

Support your immune system

Airports and airplanes are crowded places with a dry atmosphere and recycled air. Inevitably, they are full of germs, viruses and bacteria, which reproduce rapidly in the warmth. Brott notes that a healthy immune system is the best way to combat germs and sickness, particularly on a long-haul flight. 

  • Turmeric is one of the foods with the highest antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is anti-viral and anti-fungal.
  • Camu Camu is a miraculous little fruit that is jam-packed with vitamin C.
  • Ginger is antimicrobial and helps reduce nausea, aches and swelling in our bodies.
  • Some of the most potent immuno-supportive agents come from mushrooms, and science is just beginning to tap into this vast natural medicine warehouse. There are mushrooms that kill viruses, mushrooms that kill bacteria and even mushrooms that kill yeast—which may surprise you, given they’re both fungi. The 14 Mushroom Powder Steam Extract by Harmonic Arts is my go-to. 
  • Did you know that approximately 70 to 80 per cent of your immune tissue is located within your digestive system? Miso contains lactobacillus that aids in digestion and assimilation and neutralizes air pollution. Bring a little miso paste with you and make a quick and nutritious soup simply by adding hot water.

Circulatory support

Blood moves through the heart, lungs, arteries, veins and capillaries, providing the cells with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients while removing carbon dioxide and other waste products. But if blood flow is obstructed or if blood vessels are constricted, every cell in the body is affected. Symptoms of poor circulation Brott says include fatigue, brain fog, numbness and tingling sensations in your toes, along with cold extremities. None of these make for a comfortable flight, so it is important that we do our best to support our circulatory system. 

  • Citrus peel: the bioflavonoid activity of the peel in conjunction with its vitamin C improves circulation. I like to use the peel to infuse my water or tea. 
  • Studies show cocoa contains flavonoids that have been well-linked to improving blood circulation.
  • Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is shown to help keep blood clots from forming. They are great at helping improve circulation. Likewise so are foods such as olives, nuts and pumpkin seeds.
  • For a boost of energy, try Bonk Breaker Almond Butter and Honey bar to help you make it out for that run in the morning or hit the ground running after a long flight.
  • You can’t eat this one, but be certain to get up and move, or a do a little in chair yoga stretch!

Credit: Austin House

Workout Travel Gear

Once your flights and accommodations are booked, the last thing stopping you from hitting the dusty trail and having a fantastic trip is your luggage. I’m always trying to find new ways to make travelling and packing easier, especially when trying to include workout gear. So here are some of the latest and greatest must-haves that are fun, ultra cool, and will make your life easier no matter where you go.

  • The perfect tool for travel is the Trigger Point Grid Roller. It keeps your muscles rolled out and loose for those on the go runs and workouts and it’s got a hollow core to stuff your clothes in, maximizing valuable suitcase space. $55
  • Another great item is the fully functional lightly insulated Women’s Adistar Jacket with breathable fabric, reflective stripes and stretch that can be worn out on the town. $150
  • Carry the bare essentials on your next run with the compact and sleek Nathan Trail Mix Pack. Takes up less space in your suitcase than a pair of socks! $60
  • Speaking of socks, throw in a pair of Instance Fusion Run socks that are made from moisture-wicking fibres, keeping things cool while specifically cradling the contours of your feet. With exceptional durability you can embrace performance with designs made for both men and women. $20 to $48
  • I always seem to get so chilled in-flight and love wrapping myself up in a world of snuggly warmth with Kombi’s thick hand knit The Big Scarf also doubles as a hoodie. No matter where you travel to, it’s always nice to have a little extra warmth when you need it. $35
  • Instantly up your cool factor and become the envy of the aisle with one of my fave travel items, Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless headphone. I love listening to music hands-free while either working out or on the plane. I can take calls on the go and utilize the ZoundPlug feature for instant music sharing. The collapsible structure and 14-hour solid playtime before recharging makes it a must-have while travelling, making even the worst elbow buddy bearable. My colour pick: Jam! $125
  • Austin House has a cool foldable tote bag that’s perfect to bring in your suitcase without taking up too much room yet perfect to have once you’ve arrived. Sturdy yet stylish, this will become your go-to accessory for a fitness-related trip. $35
  • The biggest problem if you’ve traveled outside Canada this time of year is missing your favourite hockey game. In my case, it is watching the Canadian juniors play in the World Championship. With Surfeasy, you can pretend that you are still in Canada and log on to CANADIAN Streams to watch hockey. Also use it to access to Netflix anywhere in the world. $70

Credit: Aveda

Carry-on travel essentials

  • Definitely a nice stocking stuffer and a perfect travel accessory for when you’re on the go, is Aveda Dry Shampoo. It instantly revives hair and rejuvenates style with a non-aerosol powder mist. Since it’s in a non-aerosol container, you can toss it in your carry-on bag and save time for stuff that matters this Christmas, like spending time with friends and family rather than washing your hair. Because who has time to wash their hair this holiday season, am I right? $39.00
  • Celebrity makeup artist Victoria Radford just released a new 24k Gold Bio Cellulose Mask, perfect for travelling. The hydrating mask rescues dry skin in a pinch, stimulates the production of collagen and makes the perfect in-flight mask selfie. The 24K nano gold leaf vitalizes an instant radiant glow so you look fresh and youthful when you step off the plane. $17 for one or $45 for three
  • For the business male traveler, Austin House’s unique USB-rechargeable travel electric shaver is not only sleek, but also practical. $30