5 things to pack to avoid ruining your vacation


Imagine this: you’re flying out of town for the holidays to somewhere exotic like India, Thailand or the Caribbean to spend some time under the sun. And then two days in, you start feeling a little queasy. By day three the hotel bathroom has become your best friend and you have to cancel all the excursions you had planned for the next day or two. There goes snorkeling, and there goes the sightseeing tour you had planned for the day.

It sucks to be sick when you’re abroad, and I think it’s safe to say it’s happened to most of us at least once before. So what are you supposed to do – just avoid eating everything that’s local? Kinda takes the fun out of travelling doesn’t it?

So here are my top five things to put on your travel checklist to make sure you don’t ruin your vacation (i.e. poop your pants) while travelling abroad.

1. Probiotic

A probiotic is essentially good bacteria that helps fight off unwanted microbes, pathogens and bad bacteria found in food and water. By ensuring you have enough good bacteria in your gut to fight off the bad to ward off infections, you’ll be able to handle foreign food much better while abroad.

When looking to buy a probiotic, get one that’s shelf-stable (can be stored at room temperature) and at the very minimum, is 10 billion strain or higher. Note: there’s one strain in particular that’s excellent for preventing travellers’ diarrhea, called Saccharomyces boulardii.

2. Activated Charcoal 

Let’s say you do end up getting food poisoning. One of the best ways to ensure the poisonous substance exits your body quickly is by taking activated charcoal; this is traditionally used by hospitals for acute poisoning and overdoses.

Activated charcoal is porous and therefore “traps” substances, or binds to them and helps them exit the body. Luckily for us, we can now buy this at any health food store. Simply follow the dosing on the bottle, and don’t take it for more than 3-4 days.

3. Citronella spray

If you’re going somewhere where mosquitos are a concern, get a citronella-based mosquito repellant from a health food store! I’ve personally used it during cottage trips and it’s extremely effective (and not harmful to the body like DEET). The only downside is having to spray it every hour or so, it wears off quickly!

4. Powdered greens

Now that it’s your holiday, you’re probably going to be eating large green salads for every meal right? RIGHT? Yep, didn’t think so. You’ll probably be enjoying every fried local delicacy out there or piling up the dessert plate in the buffet line. Because let’s face it, eating vegetables isn’t going to be a priority on your vacation!

Luckily, there are so many companies out there that offer nutrient-dense, easy to consume powdered greens in travel-size formats for us to take along with us. That way, even if you don’t eat any vegetables that day, you’ll still get a good dose of nutrients (from kale broccoli, wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella etc.) to keep your energy levels, immune system & digestion strong.

5. Immune support

For a lot of people, they find the moment they allow themselves to relax, they wind up getting sick. That’s because the immune system finally has a chance to catch up and recuperate. To put it this way, imagine that the immune system is a person holding up really heavy bricks for weeks and weeks. Of course, when that person finally does drop the bricks, they’re going to feel depleted and need time to recover…just like our immune system, operating under constant pressure all the time.

A good way to combat this is by taking a supplement to boost your immune system on a deep level, either using root herbs or medicinal mushrooms. Two favourites are “Immune 7” by Purica or “Deep Immune” by St. Francis.

Bonus: healthy snacks!

When I’m in transit for 24 hours, meals aside, I mostly survive on snacks that I’ve packed ahead of time like protein bars, trail mixes or fruit. If you don’t have any snacks on you, you’ll end up buying whatever is at the nearest café or airport stand: typically junk food, pastries…or extremely questionable sandwiches 🙂

About Alina

I'm a Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, Canada and my official title is Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP). I received my diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I'm a coach and an educator. Follow Alina on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
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