It’s every traveler’s nightmare. You’ve been planning a trip abroad for six months, but the day before take off, you start feeling that scratch in your throat. Or you make it to your destination only to notice your stomach is feeling kind of funny after eating some local cuisine.
Whether it’s a car trip upstate or a flight overseas, traveling takes a toll on all of us, both mentally and physically. Though travel is something that most of us aspire to, sometimes life gets in the way. Unforeseen events can put a damper on—or even ruin—the experience.
With so many uncertainties to consider, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst. Should you happen to fall ill, you’ll still want to make the best out of your trip. Many people rely on cold medicines and the like, but these can be harsh remedies with side effects that just make you feel drowsy, or even worse, make you sleep through your whole vacation.
For those who suffer from chronic illness, traveling without medication isn’t an option. But the rest of us would probably benefit by replacing our over-the-counter medications with natural ones. The following easy-to-find natural ingredients can help you fight off common traveling illnesses and still help you make the most out of your trip—without feeling groggy or sleepy.
Ginger has long been known to treat gastrointestinal difficulties. It’s also great for the digestive tract, soothing everything from upset stomach to full-blown nausea. Ginger is also prized for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-soothing properties. You can consume this versatile remedy raw, as an oil, and in both tea or powder form. All of this makes ginger a great option for traveling ailments such as motion sickness and food poisoning. Ginger can even cure headaches.
Aloe vera has fantastic antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Known for its multiple uses as a treatment for skin rash, irritation, and burns, it’s mostly applied topically in a lotion or oil. Aloe vera makes a great travel companion to any destination where you may need help easing the itchiness of bug bites or soothing sunburns.
Vitamin C is recognized for its ability to boost immune system functions. It’s a great preventive measure against colds and the flu, and it especially helps when ingested at the first sign of sickness. You can get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, and it can also be taken in powdered form or mixed with water. But make sure that your C supplement is truly a whole C complex—not just ascorbic acid. A great whole C complex is Standard Process Cataplex C.
Echinacea is another way to fight off colds and the flu, but from an inflammatory front. Echinacea reduces bronchial pain and is mostly taken as an extract, tincture, or tea. Echinacea can also help the body fight off infections. You can find echinacea and other herbal tinctures and tablets at the Standard Process partner company MediHerb.
Probiotics support intestinal flora, which can alleviate symptoms associated with diarrhea and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Probiotics are available as a supplement, but you can also consume them more easily with cultured milk products such as yogurt, buttermilk, and kefir, as well as lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Standard Process makes Lactic Acid Yeast Wafers, a probiotic yeast grown on specialized yeast cultures that contain the rare vitamin B12.
Traveling with a Chronic Illness
It’s understandable that traveling with a chronic illness is more difficult to manage than traveling with more common ailments. For your travel kit, you’ll need to carefully plan out the medications that help you accommodate your chronic illness. You’ll need to consult with your doctor and also consider travel insurance. However, none of this should keep you from your dream vacation, as long as you monitor your symptoms correctly. As the experts at Arizona State University advise, “A few minutes a day tracking simple vital signs could make a big difference of a lifetime.”
Nothing should hinder your travel plans. And once you’ve reached your destination, nothing should keep you from having a great time. Natural remedies work better, cost less, and are very easy to find. Of course, there may be times when you’re required to take medication, but with these ideas for a natural travel kit, you may be able to scale back a bit.
Image from iStock/tommaso79.