How to stay comfortable and healthy while travelling – my travel essentials

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How to stay healthy and comfortable while travelling

Firstly, I am not an expert or doctor, but I am immune-compromised after a kidney transplant and have always been cautious when travelling. I thought it would be a timely point to share some of the things I carry whilst travelling to help me stay healthy and comfortable. This is no Coronavrius focussed, some of these points are especially important now. 

Anti-bacterial hand gel and wipes

Something that is anti-bacterial is not necessarily effective against viruses or coronavirus, but many are. If you google the particular brand, many such as Dettol are specific about which products protect against what.

Dettol say 

Specific Dettol products have demonstrated effectiveness (>99.9% inactivation) against coronavirus strains from the same family as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in third party laboratory testing, when used in accordance with the directions for use.  These products are: Dettol Antibacterial Surface Cleanser Spray, Dettol Antibacterial Surface Cleanser Wipes, Dettol All-In-One Disinfectant Spray, and Dettol Disinfectant Liquid.

Given the structural similarities of the COVID-19 virus to the coronavirus strains tested previously (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, Human Coronavirus), and based on the evidence available to us, we would expect our Dettol products (listed above) to be effective against the new strain. Definitive scientific confirmation of this, as with all other commercially available virucides, can only be provided once testing against COVID-19 Coronavirus has been conducted, following release of the strain by relevant health authorities. 

The CDC and World Health Organization specifically advises people to wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a key preventative measure against the spread Coronavirus COVID-19. A good quality disinfectant will help reduce risk to families. Our Dettol Hand Sanitizers use ethanol (alcohol) as the germ disinfection active ingredient in line with CDC and WHO recommendations.”

I use the wipes to clean surfaces around my seat on the aircraft such as the tray table, remote, touchscreen, armrests, vents etc. Also don’t forget the overhead locker handles. Toilet doors are another one to be careful of, I use a tissue to open them when I leave. I use the hand gel after touching anything that can’t be avoided but where possible I try to use a sleeve or tissue. Don’t forget to give your phone a regular clean too when you think how much you touch that!

I find after using the anti-bac wipes on things like TV screens and phones it can leave them a little sticky. I usually give them a wipe with an individual screen wipe.

It is better to wash your hands than use hand gel in terms of effectiveness and you may find all that hand gel leaves your hands very dry from all the alcohol in them. I always carry a small tube of hand cream to counteract the constant washing and hand gel. I like the mini Crabtree and Evelyn or Clarins ones. 


Beware of help yourself food

Buffets are a bit of a minefield with lots of people touching the utensils, and I have even seen people taking food with their hands such as berries. Yuck! I am currently again using a tissue for utensils that are help yourself and avoiding things like the fruit and bread baskets where people are using their hands. Overall I am trying to avoid buffets where I can.


Coughs and colds etc

I always carry a few products with me in my liquids bag that are nothing to do with coronavirus, but useful against other things. First is something called Coldzyme. This is similar to Vicks First Defence but more pleasant to use. It claims to stop colds from developing, prevents them or at least lessens the effect of one. It is a natural product made from cod enzymes but tastes of nothing. Though maybe not one for the vegetarians!

As the air on aircraft is much drier than the ground, I use a saline nasal spray to keep me comfortable. I have sinus issues/allergies and I find a dry environment makes it much worse and I often feel my nose is blocked. This definitely helps. 

If you are feeling a bit blocked up it can be excruciating when the pressure changes as well as potentially harmful. So I always have a pair of Earplanes with me which you put in at top of descent. You can still hear, although things are slightly quieter but no pain or blocked ears!

And of course, a mini pack or two of tissues is always a good idea.


Feeling comfortable

I carry a few extras in my hand luggage just to make the journey a little more comfortable and get some decent sleep which is important to staying healthy. 

I like to have a few aromatherapy products to pep me up or help me sleep as necessary. I like rollerballs for ease of use and a handy small size. 
To help me sleep I need quiet and dark so I carry some good earplugs and an eyemask as I don’t find airlines’ free ones very effective. I have two eyemasks depending on how dark the cabin is. 

The first, the Voluex 3D Contoured Sleep Eye Mask  is great for blocking all light and reasonably comfortable too.

I actually prefer a smaller lightweight mask in terms of comfort, but they are not as good on a day flight when lights may be on or blinds open. Otherwise, I find the lightweight moulded ones more comfortable.

What do you carry with you to make your journey better? Let us know in the comments below or on social media. 


11 Comments on "How to stay comfortable and healthy while travelling – my travel essentials"

  1. Excellent list of supplies for comfort and hygiene. I would add a shawl / pashmina or similar to cope better with fluctuating cabin temperatures.

    • Yes I do carry one of those too. Forgot to add that. I use it as a blanket if the duvet is too warm!

  2. We always carry hand gel and anti-bac wipes. We always wipe down everything thats been in the security trays as well as they are also massive petri dishes for some rather nasty germs!

  3. That’s a lot of stuff to carry. Easier just to.stay at home?

    • Now that would be very dull! This is how I travel anyway though I’m being particularly careful at the moment. Life is for living but being aware of the risks.

  4. Great article! I work in a hospital (in admin, not patient facing) and saw a poster in one of the wards explaining that using the liquid hand sanitizer provided can be more effective than hand washing when the hands are free from grime and visible dirt. Obviously we still need to wash our hands regularly, but that gave me some peace of mind.

  5. In Portugal there is no wipes or gels in any of the shops. We are advised that soap and hot water is still the best method, because it attacks the soft parts of the virus and basically means it implodes. I assume hand sanitizer is still better than nothing, albeit it does not have the same destructive ingredients. The biggest problem could be simply resolved if airlines allowed there customers to defer their flights, who bought tickets more than a few days ago. Thus hospitals would be less overwhelmed and more able to cope. Remember viruses work on the Herding principle that they stay active until at least 80% of the population is either infected or vaccinated.

    • The airlines are gradually becoming more flexible although you have to be patient as they are working on a rolling tone scale to allow cancellations and changes.

  6. Nicotine gum or patches for the longer haul flights… 😉

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