How to Pack for a Healthy Vacation + 5 Tips for Wellness When Traveling

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

Suzy: Since January, I’ve been blessed to have Casey as one of my assistants. She and I go back quite a long way! (You can read more about Casey and the fun story of how we met in THIS post.) She’s the age of our kids and one of the warmest and most poised young women I’ve ever known. She is a true travel expert, having lived and worked in the cruising industry for several years before COVID shut things down.

Working in an industry where her health and wellness is of paramount importance, I couldn’t think about a better person to write a post about healthy vacations and wellness while traveling! I’m not sure how long I’ll be blessed to have her, but right now, cruising’s loss is our gain! You’re going to learn a lot today! Take it away, Casey!

I feel blessed to say that for the past few years I have been living my dream, dancing on cruise ships, and traveling the world. I’m so grateful for the beautiful places my job has allowed me to travel to, but I can vouch that living out of a suitcase, or two, isn’t always easy for the health-conscious! It can definitely be hard to find a routine that promotes wellness while traveling, but there are a few items I always pack that support a healthy vacation or work trip.

As travel begins to pick up again (yay!), I would love to share my tips for wellness while traveling and how to pack for a healthy vacation. At the bottom of this page, you can download my Healthy Travel Packing List!

How to Pack for a Healthy Vacation

Healthy Vacation Must-haves: Hydration Helpers

I never leave without my collapsible water bottle! They are lightweight, don’t take up a lot of space in a purse or carry-on, and are perfect for getting through airport security. Liquid IV is a great way to ensure hydration on long journeys. It enhances your absorption rate of water by 2-3 bottles, and sends vitamins and electrolytes to the bloodstream! If you’re headed somewhere where the drinking water is questionable, I would highly recommend taking a LifeStraw or LifeStraw bottle to confidently kill bacteria. With every purchase, the company also provides clean drinking water to a child in need for one year.

Healthy Vacation Must-haves: Wholesome Snacks and Stasher Bags

Pack your own filling snacks to avoid the airport or highway fast food temptations. Stasher Bags are a great investment because they’re cute, durable, and reusable. They also work perfectly as a “liquids” bag for airport security.

Healthy Vacation Must-haves: Magical Massage Ball

I carry this little spiky ball with me almost everywhere. It’s a lifesaver for massaging sore muscles while sitting on long flights or car rides! You can use it anywhere on the body to de-stress and help your muscles relax. I find it especially useful for rolling out painful knots in my back and neck. It’s also great for stimulating blood flow to the feet while up in the air!

Healthy Vacation Must-haves: Vital Vitamins & Supplements

Supplements help me continue a part of my daily routine, and I just feel better when I have them! A few important ones I’m sure to pack in my pill case are Zinc for immunity, Cortisol Manager to sleep well and de-stress, and Magnesium (Did you know most Americans don’t get enough?!). Collagen is essential to maintaining good health, and I love the travel-size packets. I’m not sharing medical advice, just supplements that I like and always pack!

Pro tip: Remember to pack medications in your carry-on luggage!

Healthy Vacation Must-haves: Sleep Superheroes

These sleep superheroes help adjust my body clock for a good nights’ sleep while traveling. It’s so worth it to bring a memory foam travel pillow, earplugs, and an eye mask, just for that extra comfort! I also like Ashwagandha capsules to help relax and resist stress. Another sleep aid I use often is a lavender roll-on. I find it relaxing, and it can mask other unpleasant airplane smells! Rosewater mist or Mineral Water facial spray are great tools to help you wake up feeling refreshed after long hours of traveling.

Healthy Vacation Must-haves: Germ Fighting Supplies

Germs are something we are all conscious of now more than ever! Something unusual you may find in my carry-on is an extra pair of socks…I slip them on after I take off my shoes for airport security, so I don’t have to step where thousands of people have already walked in their bare feet (gross!). Compression socks help circulation on long flights. EO Organic is my favorite hand sanitizer because it’s infused with essential oils and natural ingredients. If traveling by plane, this sanitary cover fits over the tray table and has pockets for your belongings. It’s lightweight and machine washable too! Lastly, I never leave home without a few packets of Emergen-C. It works wonders when I start to feel a little under the weather!

Fitbit Inspire 2 | Padded Yoga Tank (similar) | Lululemon Align High-Rise Leggings (photo below shows yellow, but will take you to any color) | Dock and Bay Quick Dry Travel Beach Towel

5 Tips for Wellness While Traveling for a Healthy Vacation

The older I get, the more I realize that health is not only about how active you are and how “healthy” you eat. The pandemic gave me time to learn more about what improves our overall well-being. I am happy to share these different aspects of health that contribute to wellness, aside from diet and exercise, and how to better maintain a healthy body and mind.

1. Honor Your Body – Find the Balance!

I’m a huge believer in listening to your body and honoring what it needs with kind intentions, day by day. Traveling should be fun and enjoyable, so try to relax without worrying when you’ll get your next sweat in or if you should skip dessert! Your body naturally undergoes stress during travel, and forcing yourself into exercise can add more. When your body is telling you that you deserve chips and salsa by the pool, you do! Or, if you wake up feeling empowered to hike a mountain, go for it! It’s all about balance, right?!…

2. Continue a Routine

Traveling can totally throw your body off balance, especially when changing time zones. To help restore it, create a new routine or continue your everyday routine as much as possible. A few days off your schedule won’t hurt, but something as simple as bringing your nightly skincare with you, remembering to take your supplements, going to bed at the same time, or continuing your morning walks can keep the body balanced. If you make the effort to maintain a few daily habits, you’ll feel more grounded and prepared to handle any stress or exhaustion caused by travel. It will also help with the transition coming home. I like to bring my favorite chamomile tea with me, to unwind before bed!

3. Relax Your Mind

Another huge part of balance is keeping your mind healthy and calm, which can be a challenge while traveling. It’s easy to feel anxious before or during a big trip.  After the hustle and bustle of the airport, I like to get settled on the plane with a meditation or prayer app. My favorite is the “Mindful in Minutes” podcast on Spotify (I use the free version). Any type of travel can be hectic and tough on the body, so these apps remind me to breathe, get rid of apprehensions, and go with the flow. Flight canceled? Road detour? No problem…I’m calm! You are actually able to manage stress with your thoughts, which can regulate Cortisol production. An open mind while traveling leads to the best experiences and adventures, and allows you to fully appreciate the place you’re visiting. A healthy mind equals a healthy body….and a relaxed vacation!

4. Eat Well and Stay Active

This is a given, but it’s the best way to embrace the beauty and culture of your destination! Getting out and exploring a town, taking a long walk, yoga on the beach, and seeking out biking paths or hiking trails allows exercise to be part of the adventure, making it more enjoyable than the treadmill! I like to think of eating well and exercising during vacation as an opportunity instead of a chore. Eating local, fresh, and wholesome foods is the best way to experience all that a place has to offer. Food is medicine! For me, that means ordering an extra side of veggies when out to dinner, filling up on lean proteins, and enjoying the seasonal or exotic fruits of the area. I enjoy local treats, but am mindful of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol since they don’t make me feel my best.

5. Be Present

Full vacation mode can be tough with the temptations of technology, but avoiding it can make a huge difference in your health and overall travel experience. It’s helpful to step away from phones, news, work, and media as much as possible when traveling. Instead of scrolling before bed, I like to read or journal about the trip. It’s a great way to document my travels and helps me appreciate every second of that day. Truly being present allows you to immerse yourself in the culture around you and enjoy it to the fullest.

It was so fun to share my Packing List for Healthy Travel! Have you read about Suzy’s travel must-haves and beach beauty must-haves?! I hope this post has helped ease any worries you may feel about having a healthy vacation and gotten you excited for more adventures as restrictions lift! If you have a vacation planned, I would love to hear about it in the comments. If you’re an avid traveler these things may not be new to you, but hopefully, I’ve offered you a new way of looking at wellness or a few ideas of what to pack. To see more travel essentials, head to Empty Nest Blessed’s Amazon Page!

empty nest blessed page on amazon graphic

Suzy: Wasn’t that helpful? I know I learned a lot! Isn’t Casey awesome? If you appreciated this post, would you take a second to say a quick thank you to her in the comments? I know it would mean a lot to her! xoxo

Download, print, and personalize this Packing List for Healthy Travel!

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Suzy Mighell

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  1. Thank you so very much! What wonderful advice! Love your blog ! Thank you and god bless you for all you do! 😇

    1. Great tips, Casey! I, too, am grossed out thinking about walking through security barefoot!! Extra socks to the rescue! Good for on long flights, too!

  2. Dawn,
    Thank you so much for reading my post. I really appreciate your kind encouragement! I hope you enjoy your week! 🙂

  3. I’ve been traveling (ha!) and am catching up with posts! Casey – you are such a poised writer and the content is first class. Great job! I’m going to toss in Emergen-C packs next trip!

    1. Jeanell,

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment. It really means a lot to me, and made my day! I hope you enjoy your travels! – Casey

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