These Holiday Travel Hacks Will Keep You Stress-Free (and They’re All Under $90)
From the best probiotics to the silkiest sleep masks, we’ve got you covered.
It’s taken a lifetime of travel to get my routine dialed in, but I finally feel like I’ve gotten things (mostly) down to a science. From mastering the art of sleeping in strange, loud places to managing my microbiome, it’s been a real journey. Here are the things I use to keep me sane while I travel, especially during the particularly stressful holiday season.
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1. Carry-On Luggage
There are so many reasons why I literally never check a bag, no matter how long the trip. You save hours not waiting for your baggage, plus the threat of losing it is practically eliminated. Our editor in chief swears by this Mystery Ranch duffel, or if you’re more into the ease of hard-side rollers like I am, the Monos Carry-On Plus, made in Vancouver, is an awesome option. While I could easily make the case for splurging on these brands, if you’re after something great and more affordable, American Tourister is a U.S.-made brand that we can stand behind, and their carry on options are under $70 on Amazon.
I’m admittedly a bit of a skeptic of the supplements space, but AG1 is the real deal. One daily serving delivers a potent blend of nine health products—a multivitamin, minerals, probiotics, adaptogens, and more—working together to help you feel like your healthiest self even when on the road. If you purchase their travel packets, they round out to about $2.82 a serving. I love knowing that I’ve gotten my greens in for the day first thing in the morning, especially considering how indulgent my holiday diet can get.
My digestion is definitely not my strong suit, and it tends to be ultra fragile when on the road, where my diet is constantly being disrupted by all sorts of exciting and delicious treats. I’ve tried pretty much every probiotic there is on the market, and this one from Seed, which combines both pre- and probiotic strains, is the only one that does the trick.
4. Silk Sleep Mask
I’m such a light sleeper that the slightest disruption to my surroundings will throw off my nighttime mojo, and blocking out the light really helps get my circadian rhythm on track, especially when time zone changes are in play. I like this one because it’s silk and comes with a matching scrunchie to tie up your hair for less breakage while you sleep.
5. Face Mask
Considering we are facing a trifecta of pandemics right now, I wouldn’t think of stepping on a plane without a face mask. Having traveled professionally the past few years, I know that masking up isn’t always the most comfortable, which is why I love this style of KN95s that I found at Portland’s Woonwinkel. They feature an ergonomic style that’s three-dimensional and has an adjustable ear band, making it a much more comfortable experience, especially on long-haul flights.
6. Ear Plugs
While I’m sure there are fancier newfangled brands of earplugs out there, I sleep with an affordable, reusable pair specifically designed to cancel out airplane noise procured from my local CVS. I somehow always manage to lose one along the way, so at least it doesn’t break the bank if they need to be replaced.
While there is emerging science that relying on melatonin for a prolonged basis isn’t the best for your brain, when it comes to getting acclimated to a new time zone, it can be real help. I always stick below 5 mg to get myself adjusted, and personally like the Trader Joe’s option which clocks in at 3 mg. If you’re looking to splurge, Beam makes an appropriately named Dream Powder that has the most delicious, cozy combo of CBD and melatonin in a holiday salted caramel flavor that sends me off to nod in no time.
8. Essential Oils
I’m a huge fan of the healing, calming powers of lavender. Aside from putting it on pulse points to relieve stress, I love putting a few drops on the inside of my mask when traveling so that each inhale is a small self care moment. One of my favorite brands is Saje, whose pocket pharmacy also makes a great gift.
Calm is an app designed to support resilience and mental fitness, and I use it almost nightly to drone myself to sleep. Their sleep soundscapes evoke the outdoors, two of my favorites being High Sierra Lake and Coniferous Forest. As far as the guided meditations go, I’m a huge fan of Tamara Levitt, but there are voices for everyone. And the best part is, many health insurance plans include membership in their monthly fees.