Healthy Summer Travel Tips

Image: Ian Schneider With a beautiful summer now here, many of us are heading out camping or taking advantage of some time off and flying overseas or visiting family from out of town. Wherever your summer travels may take you it always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected!

The following tips will help you stay safe in the sun, avoid nasty stomach problems and keep you healthy while on vacation.

Probiotics for a Healthy Gut

There’s nothing like seeing the delicious variety of food and not being able to eat them because of a ‘stomach bug’. Taking probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidobacteria spp. before, during and after your trip can help build the good flora in your digestive system to help support possible encounters of foreign “bad” strains of bacteria. A healthy digestive system also supports a healthy immune system as 70-80% of your immune cells actually reside in your gut!


Protect your Skin!

The first line of defense is to dress appropriately. Wear a hat, breathable tops (that provide UV protection) and sunglasses. Use a good quality and natural sunscreen that limits the absorption of both UVA and UVB. Many of the commercial sunscreens contain chemicals that can cause allergic skin reactions or irritations as well as create a toxic burden on the body; however, some brands from your local health food stores will provide you with skin protection while minimizing those toxic chemicals. Check out the Environmental Working Group website for a list of the best and worse sunscreens:


Keep cool and hydrated! 

It’s important to drink water, dilute juices and herbal teas to beat the effects of high summer temperatures. Always remember to take plenty of water along for outdoor hiking, boating or sports. Cool soups like gazpacho and adding mint leaf to your meals/beverages helps keep your body cool.  For a twist, try making gazpacho with watermelon and cucumber instead of tomato.

There are also electrolyte-balancing products available at your local health food store that can be added to water to prevent dehydration during high impact outdoor activities.


Healthy Immunity!

Keeping your body healthy before travelling can help you from getting sick during your travels. Some of my favorite immune boosters include: Vitamin C, Zinc, Astragalus, CoQ10, Vitamin D, Omega 3s, plant sterols and Elderberry. It also wise to keep sweets at a minimum, increase your intake of greens and other colorful veggies and manage your stress levels!


Natural First Aid Kit

In addition to the basic medical components, a good mini travel kit of essential homeopathic and other herbal remedies always come in handy when travelling. From Arnica for bumps and bruises, Arsenicum album for traveler’s diarrhea, Apis for bug bites and Cantharis or Urtica Urens for sunburns, there’s a remedy to help you manage the various health concerns encountered when on holidays. Peppermint essential oil can also be helpful to keep you refreshed, rubbed on the belly or your temples, can help against tummy aches, headaches, and even nausea.

Calendula cream and Aloe Vera gel can soothe and repair all types of minor burns. Sunburns will heal quickly with topical applications of calendula and/or aloe and will prevent scarring.


Bug Off!

If you’re prone to insect bites, find out about essential oils such as Thyme, Lavender, Tea Tree, Lemongrass or Geranium and other natural alternatives that work best to support to keep the bugs off!


Protein Snacks

Having healthy protein snacks handy when travelling can help when you don’t have access to gourmet meals and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Some quick snack ideas include: Raw veggies and hummus, a hardboiled egg, a handful of nuts and dried blueberries or cranberries, a cut up apple dipped in almond butter and shredded coconut, kale chips or a green smoothie!

Enjoy a safe and healthy summer!