Traveling is no fun when you’re sick. I travelled a lot as a child, and I can hardly remember one trip where I was not ill. Luckily, I seem to have toughened up a little as an adult with a stronger immune system, but even the hardiest travelers still fall at risk of contracting a bug when exposed to so many unfamiliar germs and different climates.
Traveling abroad exposes you to a completely new environment, which often requires your body to adapt. The added strains of long travel hours, little sleep, and constant temperature changes as well as air conditioning means your immune system might not be as efficient in fighting off nasty bacteria and viruses. Stepping out of your familiar surroundings may cause your body to be a little more susceptible to a cough, a sneeze, and an unhappy stomach.
Staying hygienic and healthy is essential, regardless of the destination you are travelling to. Of course, some destinations carry a larger risk of contracting serious illness, and require a little more effort to make sure you return home healthy.
Below are 10 genius items to help keep you healthy, clean, and germ-free on your next journey.
1. Rolly – Toothbrush on the Go
Rolly’s are as much a benefit to those around you as they are to you. Long travel hours with nowhere to brush your teeth can leave a terrible taste in your mouth, loads of plaque buildup, and also make it uncomfortable to engage in conversation when all you can taste and smell is last night’s garlic beef airplane meal.
Rolly is a small round “chewable” toothbrush and is very discreet. Almost the size of a chewing gum, the round piece of non-toxic, soft polyamide has 276 mini-bristles working on your teeth with a mechanical action like your toothbrush
After swirling it between your teeth and tongue for a few minutes, you will feel as if you’d just brushed your teeth, fresh, minty, and clean. Although Rolly should not replace brushing your teeth entirely, it will be your oral hygiene savior on those long haul trips.
2. No Rinse Shampoo and Body Wash
If astronauts have brought us anything, it is the ability to use the products designed specifically for their space programs. And if they are good to use on the moon, they’re good to use anywhere.
Waterless washing products include shampoo, conditioner, and body-wash. Apply the product, lather up, and then towel dry. I do not recommend that you replace your bath or shower-time completely with these products, but they are a convenient way to stay clean and fresh when no showering facilities are available.
An alternative to carrying the liquid body wash is to use travel wipes. The large (8” x 5”) and extra-large (8″x 8″) sheets make for a perfect rinse-free bath, and leave you feeling clean and moisturized. I love these sheets, because they are also biodegradable. No more excuses for being the “dirty travel buddy.” Clean up, smell good, and be kind to the environment, all in one go.
3. Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets & Shaving sheets
Travelon provides a variety of soap sheets suitable for laundry washing, shaving, hand soap, and shampoo. As they come in a compact container of small sheets and not in a liquid form, this product is ideal for packing in hand luggage and won’t make a mess in your bag. The soap sheets are thin, and melt easily with just a palmful of water.
The laundry soap sheets are excellent for washing socks and underwear. Should you need to wash any larger items, it may work best to dissolve two or three sheets in the sink, and then put your clothes in the water. If you don’t have much luggage space, or are backpacking, this may just be the missing item in your bag.
4. Flight Spray
Flight Spray is a nasal spray designed to prevent viral infections by creating an unsuitable environment for inhaled germs to reproduce. It also alleviates nasal dryness caused by dry aircraft cabins and recycled air, and relieves cold symptoms easily contracted from other sneezing and coughing passengers.
What I love about Flight Spray is that it is a natural product using Hawaiian-grown Turmeric Root and Spearmint. These serve as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic agents. The spray moistens nasal passages, and enhances the body’s immune ability to fight against infection.
5. Antibacterial Wipes
Different to body wash wipes, antibacterial wipes are purposefully created to disinfect and kill germs. They are more effective than gel rubs, as gels only sanitize the hands but do not clean them completely. Good quality brands such as Clinell Antibacterial Hand Wipes moisturize, as well as killing 99.9% of germs. This means that your hands won’t dry out from harsh chemicals on the wipes, and you can disinfect your hands as much as you like without the need for soap or water.
We don’t often realize how many things we touch before we scratch our nose, put something in our mouth, or touch our face. So if you forget any of the other items on this list, do not forget your hand wipes. Available in small packets, they are very easy to carry around with you in your purse or backpack.
6. Water Purification Tablets
One of the biggest factors that may cause serious illness on your travels is drinking the tap water at your travel destination. Few countries have great quality water, but even when water is not of bad quality, your immune system may still need to adjust to different bacteria than what it is used to. Even just the added stress from travel may cause your immune system to be a little on the weaker side and more susceptible to foreign bacteria.
I have not tried these myself, but friends I have travelled with have used them successfully. I would recommend these for emergency use only when you have no access to filtered, bottled water. Keep in mind that the water purification tablets require four hours to be effective, so you need to plan ahead. When added to water, the tablets release chlorine dioxide, which kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
These tablets are incredibly handy when you are hiking or camping. When travelling in a foreign country, it is always wise to close your mouth when showering to make sure you don’t accidentally swallow the water. Do not order drinks with ice, and even go as far as brushing your teeth with bottled water. Rather safe than sorry, otherwise you may risk spending your entire trip in your hotel room.
Shooz are an innovative way to travel light without compromising on your style or your comfort. You can now wear a comfortable shoe for hiking all day and simply swap out the detachable, interchangeable sole and skin to create a new style for an evening on the town.
You no longer have to pack five pairs of shoes for your next trip. Shooz are made up of two different, interchangeable parts: a Shooz Skin and a Shooz Sole. Connect the ends of the skin and the sole special waterproof zipper, just as you would with a jacket. Once the zippers are linked, close the snap fastener on the heel, and your Shooz are ready to go. You can mix-and-match your favorite designs, customizing your shoes for any occasion or activity.
8. Pee Safe
One thing that often causes some nervous tension when travelling is having to use a public restroom. If you are used to a western toilet, anything else seems a little unhygienic and challenging to get used to. But whether it’s the kind you are used to or not, there is still the thought in the back of your mind of looming germs, and if you’re roughing it in a less-traveled destination, it may almost feel like you can see them.
Pee Safe is an anti-bacterial disinfectant spray which you can spray on the toilet seat, or any other area you wish to sanitize. After five seconds, the spray will evaporate, leaving the seat 99% germ free.
For those who are not entirely convinced by merely spraying the toilet seat, you can always use a disposable paper seat cover. These are available on Amazon, and come in a compact travel pack size easy to fit into backpacks, purses, or even pockets. They fit over a universal toilet seat, and provide a little more peace of mind, as you can avoid skin contact with the seat. The best part is that they are flushable and 100% degradable.
9. Fabric Spray – Bed Bug Protection
A hostel, backpackers inn, or luxury resort, bed bugs aren’t fussy about where to make their home. They are found all over the world, and are easy for travelers to pick up in clothing, luggage, and rucksacks.
Fabric sprays comes in a 100 milliliter (3.38 ounce) size bottle, making it the ideal travel size. Spray your bedding & luggage with an insecticide treatment to kill bed bugs on contact. Sleeping in a sleeping bag liner (even if sleeping in a bed) will give you a layer of protection against getting bitten.
There are a few different brands of bed bug sprays. Some are also helpful in treating room fabrics to help prevent malaria. A strong, long-lasting spray is ideal for use on backpacks and tents. It is recommended that you do not use the spray on clothing that is in direct contact with the skin. One treatment should be effective for two to three days.
10. Immune Booster
With all the added stress of changing time-zones, climates, and introducing your body to a whole new world of bacteria, taking an immune booster can really help give your body that extra bit of “fight” needed to stay healthy. Echinacea is a natural immune booster. The plant is a purple daisy look-alike, and its extract is beneficial in preventing infections, boosting the immune system, and alleviating pain. It is available over the counter at pharmacies, health shops, and supermarkets in a tablet form, liquid drops, or even as a tea. Make sure to start taking it a few days before your travel commences to boost your immunity before it’s too late.
Another product I would highly recommend, especially when travelling to places where you are not familiar with the food is a probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria that help you digest nutrients, boost the detoxification of your colon, and support your immune system. They also offer protection from harmful bacteria. Having some yogurt every morning for breakfast will help you get some natural probiotics, but taking a supplement, especially when traveling, is always a good idea.
Whether you are hiking, camping, or cruising, be prepared to encounter a few new germs and bacteria. A healthy traveler is a happy traveler. Plus, I guarantee your travel mates will love you a little more for it.