Traveling, whether for work or play, can be fun aaaaand incredibly taxing on the body and mind. The key to maintaining optimal health, vibrant energy, and regular digestion is to prepare the body for travel before your actual flight or driving day. I begin eating a Vata balancing diet the week before I travel. For many, the stress begins before you even have to deal with crowds at the airport or traffic on the highway. By the time your trip is over your body has tried to keep up with the stressful demands of travel and then it takes another week once you’ve returned to feel like you’re back in your “normal” home routine. No wonder so many people love the idea of travel but find it incredibly taxing on their body and mind. Follow these few simple tricks to make your travels less stressful and more fulfilling for body, mind, and spirit.
PREPARATION – the more you prepare, the less stress you have the day of travel.
- Begin eating a Vata balancing diet the week before you travel.
- Reduce pre-travel stress by planning ahead. Make a list of all the things you think you need 5 days before your departure date. Go shopping if you need anything. 2-3 days before, and lay everything out. See my Healthy Travel Essentials packing list below.
- Print the Vata balancing diet and put it with your carry-on bag.
- Try to get regular exercise, at least 30 min/day prior to leaving.
- Prepare your tech gadgets for travel: Download any software, movies, books you will want for your trip.
- If you love practicing yoga, do a google search of yoga studios in your destination. Print their schedule, bookmark, screenshot, or save their website to your favorite note taking app.
THE DAY BEFORE YOU LEAVE – again, it’s about planning and preparing.
- Pack your bags and/or suitcase (including carry-ons) the day before you leave.
- Double-check your checklist as you pack.
- Your carry-on should include: all the chargers you need, essential oil(s), chia seeds, book/reader, laptop/paper & pen, healthy quick snack(s) for the travel, scarf.
- Check-in to your flight. Screenshot your boarding pass.
- Empty out your purse or wallet and only take the ID and credit cards you’ll use. Nothing like losing your wallet while you’re traveling and coming home to replace ALL the cards, saving cards, ID’s, etc that you didn’t even need while you were traveling.
- Get cash (just in case someone doesn’t take a card). Better safe than sorry.
- Make yourself a healthy snack to take with you to the airport or car ride including your favorite calming tea, like chamomile, mint, Tazo “Passion,” or Yogi “relax”, or “Smooth move” if you get constipated. Examples: mixed nuts. 1 apple. 1 orange. protein powder in a shaker (do not fill with liquid). slices of swiss cheese and rice crackers.
DURING YOUR TRAVELS (planes, trains, and automobiles) – It is go with the flow time!
- Go with the flow. Now you’re in the flow and most of the travel details are out of your control. Avoid getting overly stressed, emotional or angry. Perfect time to practice “letting go” and “gratitude.” Check out my blog “Gratitude as an Act of Devotion” to hear how my mom turned her seemingly horrible flight experience into a wonderful trip with free upgrades.
- Drink WARM or HOT liquids as much as possible. Warm water and teas will help to calm the nerves and keep the digestion happy.
- Stay warm. Ever get chilled on the plane? This coupled with the stress of travel = a cold waiting to happen at your destination. Always travel in layers and avoid getting chilled.
- If you tend to get constipated when you travel, drink more warm water and tea and AVOID alcohol, caffeine and ice drinks/foods.
- Take all the seated time to meditate, practice breathing exercises/pranayama and even maybe get some gentle yoga stretches in at the terminal.
- Take the stairs! Avoid elevators and escalators if you can.
- During the flight or long car ride, take about 5-10 minutes, for every 2 hours of sitting to flex and relax different muscles of the body, especially the legs, hips, glutes, and abdominals. Again, another great time to meditate at 35,000 feet…talk about levitating!
AT YOUR DESTINATION – Time to enjoy!
- Continue eating a Vata Balancing diet as much as possible while you’re traveling.
- Go with the Flow. Refer to “During your travels”
- Exercise 20-30 minutes every day. A brisk walk around the hotel parking lot will make a huge difference regardless of how silly you look. Better yet, do yoga asana in your room. Check out my YouTube channel Yoga with Haunani for free classes. Use the hotel stairs/emergency stairs to get a quick cardio workout.
- Wake up 20-30 minutes earlier to get in a light stretch and meditation.
- Reduce stress by going to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier to meditate or get in some light exercise.
- An attitude of gratitude. Today, we take traveling, work and family for granted (most of the time). Recognize how lucky you are to be seeing a new part of the world, meeting new people (even if you don’t get along) and cherish the experience of discovering more about the world you live in.
- Again, dress in layers and keep your temperature comfortable. Especially if you’ll be sharing conference rooms with others, the temperature will always fluctuate to meet the needs of a variety of people. Be prepared to stay warm or remove layers.
So there you have it, my travel tips on how to stay healthy and happy while you travel. Life is full of unexpected turbulence (yes, pun intended), especially when we travel. Travel is the best time to practice patience, going with the flow and gratitude. May your next trip be filled with more smiles than grimaces and healthy digestion!
What’s in my bag every trip?
HAUNANI’S HEALTHY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS PACKING LIST
- Herbal tea (box or a few tea bags in a plastic bag)
- Here are some I love:
- Any tea that says “Relax,” “Calm”, “Meditate” in the name by Yogi or Traditional Medicinals.
- Green or white tea.
- Yogi “Smooth move” if you get constipated
- Here are some I love:
- Calming essential oil. I typically only travel with one. I choose the one that smells the best to me at the time: lavender, “clarity,” “calming,” bergamot, rose, gardenia, sandalwood.
- Chia seeds – a must have for keeping your digestion regular. I add 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds to hot water or tea during my flight and I’ll do the same that same night before I go to bed. I also take 1 tablespoon every day while traveling.
- Scarf/wrap or beanie/ski cap to stay warm on the plane.
- Journal/Paper & Pen or laptop. At 35,000 feet, I typically get incredibly creative. Rather than try to keep things in my head for later, I write them down immediately. I’ve written entire business plans on trips and have come up with many inventions. Now if I could only find someone to fund those ideas.
- A good book or reader with books you’ve been wanting to read but didn’t have the time for. Now you do.
Optional de-stress items:
- Incense (1-2 sticks) – careful if you get a non-smoking room
- 1 candle – careful if you’re traveling to hot weather, you don’t want your candle to melt on your stuff.
- yoga mat – there are several travel yoga mats on the market or even yogi toes. I no longer travel with a mat and choose to just use a hotel towel or find a grassy space where I can find one. In the end, mat or no mat, I don’t let it stop me from practicing.
Oceans of love and happy travels!
Aloha & Namaste