Essential Oils and Travel: A Complete Guide - Plant Therapy Blog

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Essential Oils Blog

Essential Oils and Travel: A Complete Guide

Ahhh, the joys of travel. Whether it’s by plane, train, boat, automobile or any other mode, the need to get out there and go is strong. But as truly exhilarating as exploring new places can be, venturing outside of our normal routines can also take a toll on our well-being. And without the comforts of home, simple ailments like headaches, stomachaches, motion sickness, stress, jet lag, anxiety, sore muscles, and even bug bites can feel like a major imposition. Fortunately, with a little preparation and some smart packing, you can soothe those travel-related ills and get on with your trip.

Here are some of the most common ways essential oils are being used to help people feel their best when traveling:

Stress and Anxiety

Woman sitting at her desk stressed outNo matter where your trip takes you, there’s a good chance that unexpected circumstances–things like lost luggage, heavy traffic, delayed flights, and long security lines–will add worry to your itinerary. So, make sure you have the right essential oils for stress and anxiety There is a wide range of relaxation-promoting essential oils available. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from, including popular floral scents like lavender and bergamot, and lesser-known oils like basil. In addition, blended essential oils like Worry Free Synergy or Relax Synergy are a convenient way to get the benefits of multiple oils at once or our newest blend: No Worries. 

Immune support

Use Elemi Essential Oil to help boost your immune systemJet lag, changes in diet and activity level, altered sleeping patterns–all of these travel-related factors can put added stress on your immune system. Combine that with exposure to new foods, viruses, bugs and bacteria, and you could have a perfect storm for travel-related illness. However, having the right essential oils on hand may be able to help you avoid getting sick on your next trip.

Orange sweet essential oil, for example, is a popular, uplifting scent that’s often used to freshen a room, relieve nervous tension and support the immune system. There are also essential oil blends designed to boost the immune system. For easy use on the road, just dilute with your favorite carrier oil in a roller and apply topically to your chest and neck. And if you want to avoid the germs altogether, you can always make your own DIY hand sanitizer to bring with you.

Headaches

Woman crouching in stomach painWhether it’s a result of dehydration from flying or just from the stress of trying to get from one place to another, headaches are a common complaint when traveling. In addition to carrying a water bottle and drinking regularly, it’s a good idea to have headache remedies on hand.

Peppermint essential oil is a popular natural way to help with headache issues that have been used in aromatherapy for thousands of years. And modern science supports its use. According to a 2015 Review of Essential Oils, when peppermint essential oil is applied around the head and temple, it produces good results. Just make sure you dilute it with a carrier oil like almond or jojoba before applying. Straight peppermint essential oil can irritate the skin. Other popular options for headache relief include eucalyptus essential oil and blends like Tension Relief Synergy.

Insomnia

Not being able to sleep is never fun. But when you’re away from home, it can be especially problematic. Those racing thoughts–and the resulting fatigue—can put a serious damper on your work performance and/or your ability to enjoy yourself. Fortunately, traditional sleep medicines and all their side effects aren’t your only option.

According to a 2014 review, essential oils may be helpful for mild sleep disturbances and help support healthy sleep. And lavender essential oil, in particular, stands out. Often used in pillow sprays, lotions and Epsom salt baths, it has a sweet, dry scent that promotes calm and relaxation. Other essential oils known for their ability to help with insomnia include mandarin, vetiver and rose absolute. There are even special blends for kids that can safely help promote calmness and relaxation before bedtime, so everyone can wake up refreshed and ready to go.

Jet Lag

Lady walking through the airport with a suitcaseJust ask any experienced traveler: Jet lag can put a damper on even the most well-planned excursions. Fly across a couple of time zones and you might find yourself dealing with fatigue, irritability and maybe even gastrointestinal problems. It’s all due to your circadian rhythms. This internal “clock” tells your body when to stay awake and when to go to sleep.

Problems arise when this internal clock remains synched to your original time zone. However, having a few key essential oils for travel on hand can help your body adjust to time changes faster and minimize the effects of jet lag. Peppermint essential oil, for instance, is known for its revitalizing and energizing properties. Inhaling this strong, fresh scent is a great way to wake up a foggy mind. A few drops of lemon and eucalyptus globulus essential oil sprinkled on the shower floor can also help shake off grogginess. Chamomile essential oil, on the other hand, is a calming and relaxing scent that can help circadian rhythms adjust more quickly at bedtime so you can get to sleep.

Motion Sickness/Nausea

Girls smiling on a road tripWhen queasiness hits, once again, it’s peppermint essential oil to the rescue. Inhaled straight from the bottle or diluted and applied to the temples or back of the neck, this fresh, cooling scent is the most popular home remedy for motion sickness and nausea. Another tried and true option is ginger. It’s common knowledge that sipping ginger tea or drinking ginger ale can help with a queasy stomach. So, it makes sense that ginger essential oil is often used in essential oil blends for stomach upset. Just dilute with your favorite carrier oil and massage directly on the stomach. It can also be helpful to make a personal inhaler that can be used on the go for long car and plane rides.

Digestion issues

Mom comforting child feeling sickThat essential oil blend you packed for nausea? Turns out it may do double-duty for digestion issues as well. When diluted with a carrier oil and rolled or massaged onto the abdomen, stomach relief blends may help calm nausea, encourage smooth digestion, ease gas and bloating and promote regularity. Other essential oils that are helpful for tummy troubles include ginger root and dill weed. For children, sweet-smelling spearmint essential oil and blends like Tummy All Better are a safe and convenient way to keep everyone feeling their best on long trips.

Bug Bites

Girl itching bug bite on her armTraveling for vacation often means more time outdoors or in tropical climates, and that can mean more bugs–and possibly bites. Luckily, essential oils can help in several ways. First, fragrances like citronella and lemon eucalyptus may be helpful in repelling insects. For those who want the power of many oils at once, pre-made blends can also be used in the same way to help keep pesky critters at bay.  

But what if the bugs find their way to you and you end up with a bunch of itchy, inflamed bites?  It turns out there are several essential oils that have antimicrobial properties that may help reduce the risk of infection. Of these, peppermint essential oil is a favorite due to its fresh scent and cooling sensation on the skin. Tea tree essential oil is another popular choice for bug bites. Not only does it have the potential to reduce the risk of infection, but research in a study in the British Journal of Dermatology also suggests that it may reduce histamine (and therefore itching) when applied topically.

4 Essential Travel Tips

Couple walking in the airport with bagsWhen it comes to traveling with essential oils, the most important thing to know is this: it’s easier than you think. Thanks to a whole array of innovative solutions like balms, creams, pre-made rollers, portable aromatherapy inhalers, travel-sized essential oil diffusers and carrying cases for bottles, you can transport your favorite essential oils safely to your final destination without worrying about spilling or leakage.

Tip #1: Take time to plan ahead

Women's feet soaking up the beach sunNo matter where you’re going or why planning ahead is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you have all the essential oils and accessories you need to make your trip as comfortable and relaxing as possible. Start by considering what kind of issues/ailments you’re likely to encounter. If you’re traveling to a remote tropical location, bug bites and digestive issues may be a concern. Headed off on a stressful work trip? You may want remedies for things like headache and insomnia.

Also, think about the modes of transportation you’ll be using. Airplane travel may require extra careful packing to ensure your essential oils don’t leak in transit. And certain items, like mini USB diffusers, might be better suited for car trips where you’re not seated near strangers. The bottom line is, by taking the time to consider the unique circumstances of your trip, you’re more likely to have the essential oils you need at-the-ready.

Tip #2: On planes, make packing a priority

diaper bagWhen navigating airline travel with essential oils, packing is key. And whether you’re checking luggage or putting all your liquids in the quart-sized Ziploc bag that’s allowed for carry-ons, preventing leaks should be your primary concern. Be sure to double-check all lids because many oils can eat through plastic bags. By using a carrying case designed especially for essential oils AND then placing it in a plastic bag, you can minimize your chances of a leak onto your clothes or belongings.  Spray bottles tend to leak, so pack them empty if you need them for pillow or room sprays, and then add water and essential oils at your destination.

Planes use recirculated air. So, it’s best not to use essential oils when flying, and definitely, don’t open a bottle and risk having it spill on a plane full of people who may not love the scent as much as you do. However, if there’s an oil that you really want to use, apply it to your body or a piece of jewelry designed for essential oils before boarding.

Tip #3: Put the brakes on car spills

Cars are a great place to use essential oils. However, once again, spillage is a major concern. Drop an open bottle between your seats and it could be filling your car with fragrance for a very long time! In order to prevent spills, go for options like rollers, sprays and mini USB diffusers that you can prepare before getting into your vehicle. Packing pre-made rollers for kids is another great way to be prepared for minor ailments and boo-boos along the way.

Tip #4: Don’t forget your hotel room essentials

Plant Therapy Evoke natural scentIt’s a fact: No matter how much you paid for your accommodations, a strange or musty odor in the room can make it feel less than luxurious. Fortunately, having the right essential oils on hand can help you freshen things up and make you feel good about where you’re staying.

Popular room-freshening scents include staples like Lemon and Orange, as well as lesser-known options like Kumquat. Just take an empty spray bottle and make a DIY room or linen spray. Spray in the air, on pillows and bed linens or use to wipe down bathroom counters and fixtures. You can even pour a few drops near the drain in the shower for a spa-like shower experience. For an even stronger scent, pack a small diffuser that you can leave running. This can be especially good for those who use lavender essential oil to help promote sleep.

Bottom line? Bring the scents that soothe you.

Spa scalp massage essential oilNo matter where you’re going, essential oils may be able to help make your trip more enjoyable. All it takes is a little bit of planning, smart packing, and preparation and you’ll be ready to breathe in all the new adventures life has for you.

58 thoughts on “Essential Oils and Travel: A Complete Guide”

  1. We usually travel by car and i always bring my oils with. Last time we took the whole family on a road trip and 3/4 of the kids got the stomach flu. Thank goodness i had lots of great oils to make them comfortable fast so we could go back to enjoying the beach!

  2. love all this information love to travel with my oils but sometimes overwhelmed by what to take thanks for all the info

  3. Good information! Thanks!! I will certainly add Tea Tree to go-to oils for bug bites. There is so much info here that I am going to have to go back and review this again and save all the links to the lists of oils for __________ #somanythings.

  4. Great article on traveling with essential oils! I frequently travel long distances by car and I always bring essential oils with me. I store them in a small cooler because temperatures can soar in a vehicle. I do not use the cooler I keep food in because EOs are so pungent and can get into and overwhelm mild foods.

  5. Great tips! I didn’t know tea tree was good for bug bites. Definitely will be trying it for all the bug bites my kids complain about itching. This is a great article. Thanks

  6. Personal inhalers are fantastic for travel or when around other people. Roller bottles for topical use usually travel well. If packing undiluted oils, I tighten the lids, wrap in a paper towel, then into plastic zipper bag. The paper towel will help absorb any oil that might leak.

  7. Great article I will read it again when I go on the trip at the end of the month. I wasn’t going to pack orange but I will now. Also going to bring my aromapod

  8. Great ideas in this post. I carry a spray bottle of my own blend in my purse at all times. It’s wonderful as an air freshener or mood booster whenever I want. I got some great new ideas for blending scents for particular situations in this article. Thanks!

  9. This is perfecting timing for me, as I am hitting the road on Monday, and will make sure, I have Relax in the car with me. Driving through big cities, is very stressful for me. Thank you PT, for always being on top of things, to help us get through out days and nights!

  10. What a great article! The information is not just good for vacation travel, but every day on-the-go life as well.

  11. Thanks for the idea about using Tea Tree on bug bites. My son got a few red ant bites on his foot that are starting to itch, so I will be trying this

  12. I agree with this whole blog post. I recently traveled for 3 weeks at a time with my two small kids. I thought for months beforehand about how to travel with and utilize my oils (and what oils to even bring!). My small diffuser ended up breaking the week before we left, and I decided to just take a pre-made roller with us (Sweet Dreams), Melissa hydrosol (for anxiety and helping the kids fall to sleep), and 4 of my portable aromatherapy plastic inhalers from Plant Therapy. I am very pleased with what I brought! I did miss being able to diffuse for those 3 weeks, but we were fine. 🙂

  13. There is very good information in this article. I saved it for future refrence. I always have oils for stress, headaches and digestion with me. They help so much.

  14. I have wanted Ginger for sometime, but now I know it helps with motion sickness, it has moved to the top of my list!

  15. I put peppermint and cherry cordial in my diffuser necklace before flying. It was great to have it to sniff when the air circulating through the plane smelled a bit off. It also helped perk me up when the trip got a bit stressful!

  16. This couldn’t have come at a better time!! My daughter lives in Canada but is traveling to California and she deals with severe anxiety issues when flying. I’ll be traveling to Canada in July and will bring these oils and the necessary things to make her some inhalers and roll-IBS for her next trip. Thanks PT for such great information!!

  17. I have a small diffuser that I take with us when we travel. I like to diffuse Germ Fighter when we are out and about and Lavender at night for sleep.

  18. Great post! When I first started using oils, I didn’t bring them with me on a work trip and I really missed having them. I’ve had a couple leakage issues with bottles (make sure lids are REALLY tight), but on the whole, it’s always worth it to bring them.

  19. Great article! We travel a lot and our daughter gets carsick easily so we have been very fortunate to find the Tummy all better roll on and spearmint and Lemon in an inhaler!

  20. Great ideas and we will be going on vacation in the next couple weeks so I will definitely be using some of theses tips! Thank you for a wonderful blog post! Again!

  21. So many useful tips!! I’m traveling way too much this summer and I will definitely use these ideas!

  22. Excellent tips. Had no issues flying with my rollers last trip back in January. My diffuser bracelet really helped with airport anxiety as well!

  23. I will definitely bring my oils on vacation. Can’t live without them anymore. But will have to remind myself not to use it in the plane. I wouldn’t want to bother anyone on the plane.

  24. I brought my oils with me on vaca… I only brought three, no room, but I brought my favs. Western peppermint, May Chang, and Germ Figher… I did also bring a few roll-ons for my kid:)

  25. Wonderful tips and reminders! I recently got one of the mini soft travel cases which makes it so much easier to organize my oils and roller bottles for traveling. I have a small diffuser that fits perfectly in my luggage. The last few times we have traveled I carried the oils and diffuser with us and it felt more like home. I use Defender in the diffuser as soon as we get settled into the hotel room to cleanse the air. 🙂

  26. I’m ordering a travel case today to prepare for our summer trips. Thanks for making it easier to select which oils to bring!

  27. I will be travelling quite a bunch the rest of this year. This will be a go to blog for me to make sure I have everything covered whether it’s business or fun. As always, PT is right on time with great information!!!

  28. Such an amazing blog post as I have to deal with the daily with almost all of these! Definitely saved this for future references

  29. Excellent tips! Many great suggestions for things I hadn’t thought of! Thank you. Looking forward to our summer trip with our oily toolbox!

  30. I just gave up on repellents and concentrated on dealing with mosquito bites: roller bottles with diluted lavender or tea tree for the win. Both work in under 10 minutes!

  31. Love the part about fighting germs!! And second was sleep! Those are the two main components to a successful travel and vacation. Sleep and health make the trip!!! Defender and Ho Wood all the way!!!

  32. I am getting ready to take a trip in a few weeks so this is very helpful information to figure out what I should consider to take.

  33. Getting ready to head south and camp for a few weeks…great refresher on what oils might be helpful

    1. great advice, especially we will drive with kids. I need to find some ways to keep us out of sickness, as I would like to enjoy the time than to take care of sick.

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