Wellness Tips for Holiday Traveling

thankful that i don't eat these cutie pies!


Happy Thanksgiving Week, readers! If you don’t know already, you will soon learn that I am simply over the moon about the holiday season. I may, in my day to day, be a radical queer feminist academic devoted to the revolution, but when it comes down to it, I am also a big old softie and a sucker for anything that makes me feel “warm n’ fuzzy.” The holidays do just that. From a little before Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas, I am neck deep in warm fuzzies, and I love every moment of it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t realize that Thanksgiving represents genocide, and that it was and continues to be a horrific part of American history. We should never forget that, and we should do work to fight racism and imperialism in the present. And, yes, a lot of turkeys die, and a lot of over-consumption occurs. We shouldn’t gloss over this either, and we should try to set an example by thriving as vegans who maintain more sustainable diets.

But Thanksgiving also means family. And practicing an intentional focus on gratitude. And delicious vegan food made thoughtfully and with care. And sharing our tables, and sharing our love…….

Oh, and traveling. Yeah, for many of us, the holidays also mean traveling. Talk about a buzz kill. All that warm fuzzy goodness being wrecked by busy airports, dry airplane skin, packing, not having all your shit that you’re used to having at your disposal, and maybe family-induced stress (which can happen even if you love your family to pieces, as I do; it’s still not always smooth to have between 10 and 20 people in a small space, ya know?). Not to mention, food issues: getting enough with a (check all that apply:) vegan [ ] gluten-free [ ] sugar-free [ ] soy-free [ ] nut-free[ ] diet. Eating too much of stuff you don’t usually like to eat. (Not having your juicer :( ).


So how can you prepare to survive a few days of stress and inconvenience? Here are some things I’ve learned after several poorly executed trips home. If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments!

  • BYOS (Bring Yr Own Snacks/Supplements)

When in doubt, pack things you can eat. No sides that weren’t cooked in meat stock? Dig in to your stash of almonds! Were you okay on Thanksgiving, but now you’re surrounded by vegan-unfriendly suburban restaurants? Power bar it up (I like: Kind Bars, Perfect Food, and Organic Food Active Green Bar; all are sugar free, soy free, and vegan)! If you’ll have access to a blender, bring some live/raw protein powder and make your own smoothies in the morning. Can’t get nutrients from a smoothie? Pop your supplements! Currently, my cocktail consists of: kelp, probiotics, magnesium, Ovega-3, and a multivitamin.

.the snacks/supplements i took to nola.

  • BYOW (Bring Yr Own Workouts)

Don’t stop moving your body just because you’re not near your gym or with your stash of home equipment. Tons of fitness gurus have made portable versions of great workouts, so you can sweat no matter where you are. As I’ve mentioned a million times, I love my workout dvds and Bodyrock.tv. I currently stay with my uncle when I go home for a visit, since mom is with the grandparents and there’s no place for Mike and I to sleep, and he has a treadmill, so that helps too. But if you don’t have a healthy uncle with a treadmill, bundle up for a run outside!

  • BYOM (Bring Yr Own Meditation)

I’m not good at meditation, but when I do it (which, if i’m being honest, is really only at yoga), I can tell it works. Consider repeating a positive affirmation first thing in the morning, or focusing on your breath during a stressful situation. Or, in honor of Thanksgiving, practice a guided meditation on gratitude. Here are a few that might work.

  • BYOBB (Bring Yr Own Body Brush)

Dry skin while traveling is basically inevitable. The air in the plane, mixed with the changes in climate you’re experiencing from one state to another turns skin into a desert. In addition, planes can mess up your circulation. As luck would have it, one handy, packable tool can take care of both: the dry body brush!!!!! Pack it in your suitcase and brush your skin (motion towards your heart) every morning.

  • BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)

Along with drying out your skin, airplanes dry out your entire body. It is imperative to hydrate in general, but especially during travel. I strongly recommend bringing your own water bottle–down the whole thing before going through security, since you can’t take liquid through, then refill it at the water fountain outside the bathrooms so you don’t have to pay for a wasteful plastic bottle. I’m sure it’s not the best, most purified water to be drinking, but it’ll do the job. And saving every penny possible while traveling is a good thing!

christmas colors! tee-hee. ; )

Other tips:

-avoid all the snacks offered on the plane: peanuts and pretzels are salty and will dehydrate and bloat you even more than the plane ride already is, and cookies are full of unrefined sugar. plus, peanuts from the airline will be susceptible to the fungus that grows on non-organic peanuts. munch on one of your healthier snacks instead.

-ask for hot water with lemon from the drink cart. lemons are a wonderful addition to water (esp. hot water) because it has an alkaline effect. alkalinity balances out acidity, which means adding more lemon juice to your diet during cold and flu season is a good move. read more about the benefits here.

-bring health-related magazines to read on the plane to inspire you to maintain a healthy approach to your holiday festivities. i really love Whole Living, Natural Health, and Yoga Journal.

-smile. be grateful. be patient. spread love……(OR: laugh. at me. for being a nerdy warm n’ fuzzy dork ;) ).

happy holiday season and safe travels!


7 thoughts on “Wellness Tips for Holiday Traveling

  1. dartangnonmusical says:

    What a wonderful and fun article to read as a practicing Vegan but those cute little furry chicks take the cake. I was just talking with my Mom today over the phone about the true spirit of Thanksgiving and that it is about family and giving thanks for the beauty we have in our lives. We were discussing the date on which we should get together do to my work travel schedule and the nasty cold both my parents are recovering from. I loved that you included meditation as a tip because there are some wonderful meditation CD’s that tap into your mind and do all the work through music. It is unique and you come out of the meditation feeling refreshed and revitalized. There are different ones for different results to pick from as well and I have found them at Barnes & Noble. One additional note I’d like to leave along the same creative line is opening up your mind to some brain food. There is nothing like escaping from the chaos of travel by leaping into a hobby or some entertainment on your iPad. An escape pod that captures your senses and takes you away for a little while when you need a break. I have a film blog I research simply due to not having the time to do it at home. Now don’t get me wrong I love the research it’s a passion of mine and without it, I don’t think my articles would be nearly as good. I got my hands on some awesome technology called the Sling Adapter available through Dish Network free thru a rebate to qualifying new and existing customers, which has changed an important part of my life. The Dish Remote Access app is free and downloads to iPads, laptops, and Smartphones plus there are no additional monthly charges and it is really that simple. It has given me the ability to have unlimited access to all my subscription programming and I need those movies. With the online content I can get tons of more movies and thousands of TV episodes but I can also schedule my DVR events remotely if need be and utilize the recordings. I found it strange that other companies restrict programming to their customers then charge for the app and the Sling technology. This technology is important because it challenges my creative side to blossom. My work for Dish Network will always require travel, which will take me away from my blog, but I can research everything I need while I am away. Then when I get home, I am prepared to write.

  2. absolutely ayurveda says:

    Great ideas! It can get pretty tough for a health nut during the traveling season :(

    I would also recommend:

    BYOH: Bring Your Own Herbs

    If you are traveling to places that might not have as much clean food as you would like, herbs for digestion, bloating and headache (for starters) can help prevent and/or remedy the holiday body troubles!

    For digestion: chewing on some whole fennel seeds after a heavy dinner can help prevent bloating + indigestion.

    For stomach pains/tummy troubles: either sliced ginger in hot water or (1 tsp ginger powder if you can’t access the fresh kind) with the juice of half a lemon can help ease the discomfort.

    For headaches: dropping some coriander seeds in a large bowl of boiling water (or a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil) and inhaling the steam can help relieve sinus-related head issues. For stress-induced headaches, I would recommend massaging thyme or rosemary oil on your temples and sipping chamomile tea while you relax and breathe deeply for at least 10-15 minutes.

    It always helps to have a little herbal kit handy to feel your best during chaotic times!

    • rebelgrrlacademy says:

      Brilliant advice, Binya. I had an upset tummy and felt super bloated and gassy my first night in, and I went straight to Whole Foods to get some ginger tea…Then I found the Yogi brand Detox tea, and the back said it had an Ayruvedic blend, so I gave it a shot. Calmed my tummy pretty well! But bringing my own ginger makes even more sense. I notice such a difference the days I juice it in my morning green juice vs. the days I don’t have any on hand.


  3. Arv says:

    I had an upset stomach last night and the new man friend in my life came over and made me lemon-ginger tea. It also just so happens that he is vegan, due to my influence, which is funny, because I’m not. At any rate it is nudging my diet in that direction as well. Is it weird that I’m talking about him on the internet even though we’ve only been dating a few weeks? I’m gonna say no.

    Also, my holiday traveling BYO would be BYOYB…bring you own yoga book…I have found a good yoga pocket book to be incredibly useful for pulling out and guiding you through a quick pose sequence to start your day, esp if you don’t have time or resources to hit up a class. I like Tara Stiles’ Slim Calm Sexy Yoga. Also BYOYB is totally a palindrome. Which rules. :) Merry warm fuzzies!

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