- I cant sleep well in an unfamiliar bed, because I hate most pillows (OK, Im a pillow diva) and because business trips stress me out.
- Germy, dry airplane air gives me sore throats and colds.
- Eating unwisely on the run and indulging in rich holiday treats at irregular hours challenges my digestion and makes it respond in unattractive ways.
- Then theres the unexpected: Though I never get carsick, on a recent trip a colleague drove maniacally through the back streets of a desert city on a really hot day (with no air conditioner), and I kicked myself for forgetting to carry my favorite nausea remedy. Thats a mistake I wont be repeating anytime soon.
Heres what I bring with me when I travel.
Pycnogenol, an extract made from the bark of French pine trees, lessened jet lag symptoms in a recent Italian study of 133 people. People whod taken Pycnogenol after flights lasting seven to nine hours had 56% fewer symptoms (insomnia or irregular sleep patterns, irritability, disorientation/grogginess, mental performance issues, headaches, and other common physical symptoms) than people who took a placebo. Whats more, jet lag symptoms for people who took Pycnogenol lasted for an average of 18.2 hours, compared to 39.3 hours in the placebo group. Full disclosure: This study is so new Ive just finished reading it and I havent tried it for jet lag. But I will next month, when Im headed to Denver and L.A. on business.
Because I tend to experience insomnia when away from home, I always pack a little bottle of lavender essential oil. Its a proven sleep enhancer; in a study of 31 people, psychologists at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., learned that inhaling lavender helps sedate and promote deep sleep. I shake a few drops on my hotel pillows and the lovely aroma immediately relaxes medont worry, its invisible and wont stain linens.
For motion sickness
Ginger works well to ease motion-induced nausea, plus it tastes great and is easy to takeand to take with you. I love Ginger Honey Tonic from New Chapter. Add a few spoonfuls to club soda before your long car ride and you should be able to ward off "the queasies." Bring along a bag of Reeds Crystallized Ginger Candy to nibble along the way. They're both available at health-food stores.
Echinacea, a virus and bacterial killer that also eases sore throat and minor wound pain, is my first-aid kit in a bottle. I generally spritz my throat two or three times during long flights to prevent cold viruses from catching me, and I also use it to zap bug bites or boo-boos to prevent infection. Get echinacea spray at VitalBotanicals.com.
Chamomile tea fights the post-dinner distress that occurs when I eat (and drink) too much of everything at Jakes house. (Whats a holiday for if you cant eat everything in sight?) Also, a strong brew acts as a gentle all-purpose tranquilizer. Its mild sedative action counters stress-related responses that tense your digestive musclesand it has compounds that ease stomach cramps, indigestion, diarrhea, gas, and colic. Use a good organic tea such as Traditional Medicinals or Celestial Seasonings, and use two tea bags per 8-ounce cup. Let it steep, covered, for 10 minutes to maximize the relaxation.