healthy fruitFirst off, what I’m writing about is not commissioned. These are products that I travel with and they’ve made a real difference in helping me stay pain free and comfortable when traveling.

No one likes to suffer and it’s especially difficult when you’re away from home – perhaps in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. Carrying a few essentials with you can  save the trip or at least help you get to more extended care.

Avoid getting sick by being well rested. Don’t leave home or embark on the next leg of your journey unless you are well rested. Take a night flight to sleep or an overnight train but know your own sleep needs and consider where you’ll get the best rest. Your immune system has a harder time fighting off infection if it’s already struggling just to get through the day.

H2O – I’ve said it before and will again because I also need to remember. Drink lots of water when you travel, especially when flying, where the humidity is kept artificially low. If you don’t want to keep buying plastic water bottles ask for refills, carry your own PCB-free travel bottle or even a water filter bottle. Coffee, tea, juice and especially alcohol wont’ help.

Bring some immune boosting supplements. I use the Wellness Herbal Formula by Source Naturals in capsule form on the road and in liquid at home. The huge capsules travel well and help to knock impending infections out of my system fast. They work best when taken as soon as you feel an infection coming on. Carry them in the original bottle to preserve them best (and help avoid questions in case your luggage is checked by overzealous baggage or customs minions).

In flight immune boost: On longer flights I enjoy the Airborne Formula tablets. Drop one in a cup of water, watch it fizz and swallow. They’re delicious and work well to help fend off airborne illness on planes.

Muscle pain patches: Find one that works for you. There are Chinese packets that smell strongly and heat up when applied. They work well for certain cramps but I find the fragrance bothersome. They’re easy to carry though and more than once I’ve been glad they were in my toiletry kit.

Topical pain creams: Still in the muscle strain theme – there are several which are homeopathic and work well. I’ve used Traumeel gel for years on the advice of my chiropractor. It’s an ‘anti-inflammatory analgesic’ and you need to follow the directions for the best results. Usually that means applying it several times over the course of a day. Homeopathic medicines never interfere with other medications.

Another set of creams that are also Homeopathic are from Topricin. They have one for children, Topricin Junior, a pain relief and healing cream; an arthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel and work/sports related trauma cream – the main Topricin product. My favorite is the Foot Cream.

Ever end up with screaming toes, heels or instep after a day exploring ruins or urban landscapes? It can throw a trip off. To help I bring more than one pair of walking/hiking shoes – they wear different areas of the foot and can be rotated to avoid blisters, etc. With the Topricin Foot cream I get a little boost from the threat of Plantar Facitis that dogs my journeys. How to deal with that will fill another post.

What do you do or carry to help stay healthy and avoid muscle pain while traveling?

Elaine J. Masters

Travel writer, co-host Travel Massive San Diego.

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