I rarely, if ever (knock on wood), get sick when I travel. I’d like to think that it’s because I’m one of those weird people that wipes down my entire armrest/screen/tray table/window/etc with antibacterial wipes when I’m on a flight. I also wash my hands incessantly during travel days (and I invest in some luxurious hand cream because of it). But I think it really boils down to a couple of things I always pack that help me nip colds in the butt before they take hold.
However, I am human. Last month I traveled to six different countries in four weeks, and I admit, I thought for sure I was going to come down with something. Eleven flights, late nights, running through airports, changing time zones constantly, jet lag, and eating rich unhealthy foods had taken their toll. My body was stressed, my immune system weakened, and and did not feel well. Right before I left for Great Britain, my throat became sore.
The first thought that came through my mind wasn’t, “am I sick?” It was, “with all these Ebola scares, will they let me on the plane if I’ve got the sniffles and smell like a cough drop and Vic’s vapor rub?” I whipped out my travel medicine bag, my arsenal of healing tricks and medicine, and got to work fighting this bug. My regimen including never having an empty up of hot chamomile tea (I must have drank a cup ever half hour) and I took cold medicine and Zicam every three to four hours on the dot. It worked. I woke up the next day feeling like a million bucks.
During cold & flu season especially, these are the 5 things I won’t leave the house without:
1. Vitamin C – I take this once in the morning and once at night on days that I fly. And then just once a day when I’m at my destination.
2. Antibacterial Wipes – The wipes seem way more effective than the gel to me since you can really sanitize your space on a plane with them. Also, I feel like it really wipes my hands clean rather than just spreading around some alcohol infused goo. Perfect for on-the-go hand washing.
3. Zicam – If I take this at the first little symptom of feeling run down or having a scratchy throat, and it seems to keep it from turning into a full blown cold. I get the tablets that melt in your mouth rather than a spray so I don’t have to pack it in my clear plastic bag with other liquids while going through security. This isn’t some paid advert or endorsement, it is just what works for me.
4 . Tea – Tea is just a comforting snuggly blanket in a cup. If I’m feeling down, it makes me feel better. I usually pack two or three individually wrapped sachets in my carry on or purse, but I have a whole box worth in my big luggage so that it will last throughout the trip. I think it works three fold since it not only comforts me, but keeps me hydrated in cold weather, and I feel like the steam from sipping a cup and cradling it in my hands provides just enough humidity to help me breathe. That happens to also be one of my in-flight-breathing-dry-cabin-air tricks.
5. Alka-seltzer Plus – This is my cold medicine of choice. I like it because it also seems to help me breathe if what I’m feeling is more allergy related than cold related. What ever medicine seems to work best for you when you start getting a cold, pack that.
So, those are my five must-pack items that I always have with me, but I do have a bigger pouch in my checked luggage that is sort of my traveling medicine cabinet. To make it convenient for you, here’s a link to download my complete Travel Medicine Packing List.
What’s your go-to medicine or home remedy for colds and staying well? Share with us below!
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