When I was a musician, I traveled 200+ days a year. I’d return from these epic road trips hopped up on Starbucks, strung out on Pringles, and looking like Keith Richards.
Travel is hell on the human body.
And yeah, I know. It’s easy to just blow it off. People get overwhelmed just hearing about the impact airplanes, environmental toxins and crappy food have on the body. So they choose to do nothing. (This used to be my m.o.)
Now, I’m a bit of a diva when I travel. You should be too. After all, your energy level is everything if you run a business. You don’t have the option of phoning it in or crashing hard for a month or two. Taking care of yourself is non-negotiable.
How you plan and prepare in advance for travel can all make the difference. To help you travel for high performance, here are six items I never leave home without.
1. Uber App
I fly out of the Charlotte Airport, which is 2 hours from my home in Asheville. I take Uber. (Or Lyft.) Yes, it’s costly. But the savings on my brain is immeasurable. Not having to deal with the traffic. Not having to park at Business Valet. Not having to get on a shuttle. Door to door service. How much is that worth to your productivity, energy and sanity?
I’ve turned many of my clients – who used to drive themselves to the airport – into Uber junkies. They get work done while sitting in the back – and they brag about how much more energy they have now when they arrive at their destination.
2. Electrical Tape
T.S. Wiley, author of the book Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Health says “the light bulb is the ultimate endocrine disrupter.” What this means is that even if your eyes are closed, light disrupts your body’s ability to heal itself during sleep.
I sleep in a pitch-black room. I seek out hotels that use heavy window coverings. (Great hotels use light blocking curtains.)
But what about the issue of the lights IN your room?
You know what I mean, right? You turn out the lights, hit the mattress, and suddenly you’ve got C3PO in your room with you.
There’s the little red light blinking on the ceiling smoke detector. And the blue light glowing from the TV power switch. Plus, your clock is glowing its green numbers at you.
This is no good for sleep. Countless studies have proven that unnatural light patterns interfere with sleep, leaving you wired, tired and even depressed.
No mas! Now that you travel with your pack of handy-dandy electrical tape, you take back the control.
Before you climb into bed, take stock of your room. Cover up the blinks and glows. Fasten the drapes tight to the walls. (Yes, even if it means leaping to the ceiling with an umbrella to stick the tape onto the smoke detector!)
3. Activated Charcoal
I’m crazy allergic to MSG. (Once, I was literally curled up in a ball on the floor of my hotel room with an MSG headache.) When you travel, you’ll be eating out at restaurants or scrounging for whatever snack you can find in an airport or gas station. (Avoid this! See #5.)
Changes in your diet create chaos with your health and energy, especially if you generally eat clean. The sudden influx of processed food, oils, and drinks can zap you in ways you can’t imagine.
So, if you were to grab my purse and rifle through it, you would discover a mini-container these weird-ass little black dusty capsules in it…my trusty supply of activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal works through a process called adsorption. It actually binds to the toxins or other chemicals that you don’t want in your body – toxins from things like processed foods, alcohol and even environmental toxins – and moves them out of your system.
Emergency rooms have used activated charcoal for years to treat poisonings and overdoses. It works.
4. Heart Rate Variability Monitor
Heart-rate variability (HRV) defines the amount of time between your heartbeats. When you’re stressed out, your heartbeat becomes regular and robotic. Science shows that people with high variability – or varied lengths of time between beats – are less stressed out and healthier overall.
So why would I travel with my trusty little HRV monitor?
Well, it’s tiny. It plugs right into your phone. And it trains you to be aware of and control your stress levels through your breathing. Ten minutes a day is all it takes to gain control of your knee-jerk reactions to stressors. Life-changing.
5. My Uplevel Sigg Bottle
Plastic water bottles contain chemicals that disrupt your hormones. I never leave home without my Sigg bottle. Bottles made of stainless steel or glass won’t leach chemicals into the water you’re about to drink! There’s lots of studies out there, and medical doctors like best-selling author Sara Gottfried constantly warn us women that chemicals from plastic containers can increase our risk for infertility, miscarriage and other reproductive issues.
By using a safe bottle, not only will you protect your delicate hormone system from chemicals like BPA, you can Uplevel the planet by not adding more plastic to the nearly 50 billion plastic water bottles Americans use every year. (Only one in five of those is recycled!)
There are all kinds of folks who advocate skipping entire days of food while you travel in order to avoid the toxic airport offerings. A form of intermittent fasting. (IF)
Try as I may, I can’t IF. Skipping meals wrecks me. So I pack my go-to snacks for the plane. Low carb suggestions: Macadamia nuts, avocado, bacon, organic pork rinds. Other options: chicken breast, almonds, apples, protein bars, protein powder.
So why not just grab a pack of nuts at a kiosk or on the plane?
Most people don’t know that food manufacturers don’t have to list every ingredient. For instance, they only have to list MSG if it’s used to enhance the flavor of food, but not if it’s a processing agent. So those nuts that don’t include MSG on the label could actually still have a small amount of MSG! This means that if you have an MSG intolerance, you could end up with a massive migraine in a matter of minutes after consuming just trace amounts of it. (This is how I ended up on the floor of my hotel room.)
Got any travel tips to add? I’d love to hear about them… leave them in the comments below.