Earlier this summer, when it seemed like we were finally starting to put the pandemic behind us, families all over the country began to book their big 2021 vacations. And then those plans were threatened by the arrival of the Delta variant — which is more dangerous and contagious than its previous counterpart.
While this is likely devastating news to those who were looking to get out and about again, all is not lost. By taking the proper precautions, doing informed research, and following COVID safety guidelines, you can still have that family vacation you’ve been anticipating. Let’s talk about the best questions to ask and ways to prepare for travel amidst the Delta variant.
Stay Healthy on Vacation with these 6 Healthy Travel Tips
Getting ready for our next family trip, we pack minimal essential clothing items, sun protection, and active shoes along with our essential oils and water bottles. There are many ways we help ourselves prepare to travel as well as stay healthy while we explore. Here are some Healthy Travel Tips.
1. Do Your Research
Before you get your family all excited about your travel plans, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research with an emphasis on the dangers of COVID-19 and the requirements that locality may have in place. The best idea is to look to the experts, or in this case, epidemiologists, who are experts in chronic illness and disease prevention. Check online for what the epidemiologists in the area you’re planning to visit have to say about the conditions there and heed their advice.
If you’re planning on traveling to a different country, you need to make sure that you aren’t going somewhere currently being ravaged by the variant. The Centers for Disease Control keeps a list of destinations and orders them according to the risk level. Be very cautious of destinations on that list that are considered “very high” risk, as the chance of contracting the virus is drastically increased. Unfortunately, some of the countries on the list are common vacation spots. (Keep in mind I wouldn’t hesitate to go to any of them.) Among those currently listed include:
Many countries have special guidelines in place regardless of the risk level, and you’ll want to be aware of them ahead of time. For instance, some countries may have a required quarantine time before you can go out and about. Some destinations may also require proof of vaccination, so make sure to bring your vaccination card and keep it in a safe place. Even if you have it, you may still need to be tested upon arrival, so keep that in consideration. To get back into the US you will have to pass a covid test. We had to do this when we were in Cozumel and it was no big deal. We did it right at the resort.
I will say, over the years we have traveled to many places deemed unsafe by the CDC and everything was perfectly fine. So factor that in.
2. Follow CDC Guidelines
To keep your family safe during these times, you’ll want to continue to follow the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control, even if you’re on vacation. Though your children may not yet be eligible, those who are old enough can consider being vaccinated before you leave for the trip.
It’s important to wear a mask as it’s still possible to catch and spread the Delta variant when you’re vaccinated. These extra precautions are crucial in the most crowded areas, especially the airport. Many people are coming and going and it only takes one cough or sneeze to send droplets into the air. Children should also wear their masks in crowded areas to avoid exposure.
When it comes to family activities, try to schedule as much outdoor fun as possible because the fresh and open air makes transmission of the virus less likely. Trips to the beach, amusement parks, and hiking trails are great fun during a family vacation.
3. Preventative Care to Avoid Sickness
In addition to COVID precautions, there are other steps you should take to avoid getting sick. Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom and before you eat or otherwise put your hands close to your face. Also, make sure to sanitize throughout the day. Finally, pack all necessary medications, including supplements to limit the effects of flying or motion sickness.
No one wants to be sick when away from home. A few days ahead of our travel, we take doTERRA On Guard® Protective Blend soft gels or doTERRA On Guard® Protective Blend beadlets to boost our immune system before we leave. The soft gels contain essential oils from Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaves and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils. This powerful combination protects against germy environments (planes, trains, airplanes).
We bring doTERRA On Guard® Protective Blend oil or spray to clean off trays and armrests or use as a hand sanitizer. If you feel that tickle in your throat and want an extra boost, try the On Guard® Protective Blend drops to soothe your throat. At a minimum, we use On Guard® Protective Blend toothpaste to give our systems a kick-start along with cinnamon fresh breath!
Getting enough sleep is paramount when taking a trip. When you don’t sleep, your immune system takes a hit and you can become more susceptible to illness. To avoid jet lag, try adjusting the family’s sleep schedule to be closer to the hours of your destination before you leave.
For some people, getting the seven to nine hours of sleep they need is easier said than done, and there can be many reasons why you might struggle in this regard. Too much caffeine, blue light, and even restless leg syndrome can all be culprits. If you’re suffering from insomnia, consult a doctor as soon as possible to give you the best chance to get the sleep you need on your trip.
I love to sleep. At home or away, using doTERRA essential oils helps me unwind enough to fall asleep in a new bed and then stay sleeping through the night (coupled with good sleeping earplugs!). I grab the doTERRA Lavender Touch rollerball and rub it on the bottom of my feet to start unwinding. A few drops of doTERRA Serenity oil blend in a portable diffuser, adds moisture to dry hotel rooms and provides restful support. The Serenity® Restful Blend is a proprietary blend from doTERRA and includes Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood.
If you do get a little sick be prepared as well. Stuffiness from new, unknown allergens or any cold/virus make traveling uncomfortable. A doTERRA Breathe® Respiratory Blend drop can open up a stuffy head almost instantly (and has the side benefit as a breath mint). For kids or chest congestion, the Breathe® Vapor Stick is a portable option that is used directly on the skin. To open airways while sleeping (helping you stay asleep!), add a few drops of the Breathe® essential oil to a portable car diffuser, and everyone benefits.
Last summer we explored the mountains in New Mexico and the combination of new plants and dust plus the altitude made me gasp for air. I was able to help open my airways when I used a few drops of the Breathe® oil on my chest and a drop under my nose.
4. Sun Protection
With a history of fair skin and a general dislike of being sunburned, we use long sleeve SPF shirts and hats to protect our skin against the sun. We also apply mineral-based sunscreen on any exposed areas and have found a non-greasy organic spray that actually rubs or soaks into the skin versus leaving a thick white film like some of the alternatives. With our preference for mineral-based sun protection, we learned that the expiration date moves more quickly due to the natural ingredients so keep that in mind when buying your next bottle.
Sunglasses with UV protection are also a must-have to keep the harmful rays out of your eyes. Have you ever sunburned your eyeballs? I have and it is something I highly recommend avoiding. Get ready to spend a little bit extra for the protection and make sure you check the labels before you buy to ensure that you are getting full coverage.
5. First Aid
Minor bumps and bruises are to be expected, even if you are not an adventure traveler. A small carrying case with 1-2 ml bottles is an easy way to bring your favorite collection of first aid items. We hike in our local forests and have been bitten by various bugs, walked through unknown greenery that sometimes hides itchy surprises and tripped on roots causing minor bruising and scratches. In these moments, our family reaches for the travel oils and pulls out the most relevant oils for the moment. Lavender essential oil is our first go-to for anything itchy as we just apply a few drops to the exact location on our skin. Frankincense essential oil brings the inflammation down quickly when you have bumps along your path. Our case includes a variety of oils, doTERRA CorrectX ointment and bandages. doTERRA CorrectX ointment has a blend of essential oils and using it consistently for scratches has helped our family heal more quickly and have less visible scarring than when we do not use it.
Finally, take steps to remain hydrated throughout your vacation. Even though we may not always feel thirsty, water is necessary to fuel the cells in our bodies to keep us energized. Hydration is particularly important during your flight because the air inside the cabin is typically dry.
Hydration is important every day and airplane cabins act like sponges. Climate-controlled air in the cabin is less than 20% humidity and when compared to normal homes (30-65%) or the Sahara Desert (25%), it is no surprise that you feel dehydrated on an airplane. You can take an empty reusable water bottle in your bag and fill it after going through security or rely on your flight attendant to keep the water glass full.
This summer we visited Crater Lake in central Oregon. The boat tour dropped us off at Wizard Island, which is the volcanic cinder cone forming an island near the west end of the lake. We packed our collapsible water bottles and had refreshing water to drink after climbing and clambering over the volcanic rocks.
We try to stay healthy so we can enjoy our family vacations to the fullest. Having healthy options is an easy, economical and safe way to help our body support itself through the healing process, regardless of our location in the world. Staying hydrated, sleeping well, and protecting against unwanted germs and sun damage are choices we make to improve our travel experience. Hopefully, your next trip goes smoothly and uses some of these Healthy Travel Tips.
Though many epidemiologists will recommend that you avoid travel until the Delta variant is under control, you can still make an effort to be safe if you follow the tips discussed here. If we all practice safe travel and are cautious in our everyday lives, we all will be able to travel freely again soon.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.