6 Life-Saving Travel Items I Never Leave Home Without - Christine Kane

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.

stress-busting travel items

First order of business when I get to any hotel room is to put electrical tape on any glowing light I can find.

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.

This is what my stress levels look like right after I board a plane.

This is what my stress levels look like right after I board a plane.

This is what happens after five minutes of deep breathing.

This is what happens after five minutes of deep breathing.


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.

My Uplevel Sigg Bottle

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!)

6. Snacks

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?

Here’s why:

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.

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  • Natasha

    I never travel without a twin sheet. It’s a blanket on the airplane or it can be rolled into a neck rest. It’s a pareo if I’m staying in a hostel and need to walk down the hall to take a shower. It’s an extra layer in case the hotel is cold and I don’t have enough blankets. And it’s very easy to pack.

  • Cyndi

    Can you tell brand/link about Hrv?
    Sounds like you do breathing with it. Different from a fitness tracker with heart rate. Yes?

  • Katie

    I’m traveling through Eastern Europe as I write, adventuring for a month through Hungary & Romania.

    I’m staying only in Airbnb’s, choosing ones that have space to sit outside & windows to open for fresh air, rain, & bird song (really).

    I buy flowers for places where I’m staying longer than 2 nights.

    I always travel with a steel water bottle, Burt’s Bees face & hand wipes, Nasya oil by Banyan, an eye mask for sleep, and a soft shawl/scarf, and unsalted nuts.

  • amy edwards

    Which HRV monitor do you use or recommend?

  • Caryl Westmore

    Great ideas! I de-stress and delight myself with a) small box watercolours with miniature brush enclosed plus small watercolour painting book or b) adult colouring book and set of favourite colour pencils/ pens.

  • Joel

    Great post thanks, some useful tips. BE AWARE….Sigg bottles are mainly made from aluminum with a polypropylene coating on the inside…as per the one shown. If the bottle gets seriously dented, the coating can be damaged and then you are drinking water that has been contact with aluminium. I have also had Sigg bottles that have had a mould like discolouration on the coating. Sigg’s fuel bottles (made in China) are made from stainless I think. I’ve switched to full stainless, including the lid, then no plastic is touching the water…check out Klean Kanteen.

  • Lynne

    I sympathize with your migraines from MSG! I used to get migraines when I had something with sulfites in it — so any vegetables at a restaurant or even a salad bar. After I figured out what was causing it, I used EFT to not only stop my body from reacting that way, but to get rid of the sensitivity. There’s help for you!

  • Michelle Bailey

    Thanks for the great tips Christine. I travel often these days and have learned that prioritizing self-care is essential for my well being and optimal functioning. I pack a sleep mask and a white noise app called Relax Melodies (ocean sounds are my favorite) to ensure a good night’s sleep. I also carry raw nuts, blueberries, cubes of cheddar cheese, protein bars, popcorn and herbal teas. These usually tide me over until I can get a healthy meal.

    • Elaine Bailey

      Hi Michelle, As Christine’s on her Silent Retreat just now I thought I’d pop in and reply for her. I totally agree prioritizing self-care is an essential for travel. I love the idea of the white noise app – Thanks for sharing!

    • Angelique Dimmcik

      Thank you so very much for sharing about the white noise app! Sometimes my earplugs just aren’t sufficient.

  • Gincy

    Thanks for tips! Especially the electrical tape! I always travel in layers with a cami under a shirt under a soft cozy sweater for temperature fluctuations. I also have a thin pack of wipes, a small battery operated noise machine (I hate to feel of earplugs), small baggies of raw nuts, and melatonin for when the lavender isn’t enough. And I have finally started bringing a stainless water bottle instead of buying the plastic one for $5 after security clearance!

  • Jennifer

    Where do you get your activated charcoal?

    I also want to suggest gaffer tape along with the electrical and duct tape ideas. Sticky, can be conformed to whatever shape, and no residue when you remove it. Handy stuff.

    I always bring my own stevia packets, some decent tea bags (decaf and regular), and a supply of my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) cold remedies. Depending on where I’m going and for how long, I might throw in protein powder and trail mix packets.

  • Gina Bender


    I always pack a shaker cup and packets of dried greens mix, like Amazing Grass Green Superfood, and a packet of probiotics + prebiotics, like Go Live Probiotic and Prebiotic. Both can be purchased on Amazon.com. This way, when I’m rushed to catch my next flight and don’t have time to stop and eat a healthy salad, I can at least have a green drink.

    I also always pack Thieves essential oil-infused spray from YoungLiving.com. It’s the best hand sanitizer and I spray it on my armrests, seat buckle, and light/air vent controls when I get on the plane. It smells great.

  • Josina

    THe electrical tape is brilliant. I’m always trying to put cards or pillows or whatever I can find in the room to cover the blinking lights and alarm etc.

  • Juliette

    Thanks Christine.

    A few additions to all the other great suggestions…. I always travel with:
    – organic high potency supplements to keep my energy high and keep my immune system strong because good quality food and Beverage can get so compromised when travelling:
    The American Nutrlite brand is world renown as the no 1 organic /concentrated brand on the planet…..I love em!
    – top quality fish oil (unclog those cellular membrains of any processed food I have to endure)
    – concentrated fruit and veg ( to supplement my diet when travelling)
    -high potency vitamin C, (strengthen against colds and flu)
    -magnesium (for stopping long distance cramping in legs ), Nurophen( can’t stand headaches)
    A great book
    My Straight leg blue denim jeans .
    Black leather jacket
    Earphones and my phone with My favourite music, and educational PD podcasts
    A great attitude

    • Elaine Bailey

      A great list Juliette! Thanks for sharing these with us!

  • Sharri Harmel

    I have a question for everyone who travels outside of the USA but continues to coach clients in US. For the first time, I have coaching calls scheduled for when I’m out of the country- Amsterdam & Paris. I’m trying out my fantasy of a thriving USA career coaching business while living part-time in Paris. I was very disappointed with the service on zoom (bad internet) whatsapp, (dropped call) freeconferencecall.com (dropped call) and even googlehangout, which had a virus alert come in because my hotel’s wifi isn’t protected via password.
    Anyone have any suggestions that really work? Thank you!

    • Elaine Bailey

      Hi Sharri, I used to run my International Business from other countries. You are reliant on the quality of the WIFI in hotels, which sometimes can be a challenge. For one on one calls I found Skype to be reliable. Most bigger chain hotels have reliable internet services

  • Mary Anne

    A 6-foot extension cord. It takes up no room, weighs nearly nothing, and can be invaluable in hotel rooms with awkwardly-placed electrical outlets. Also, It gives you extra places to plug things into when a room has a shortage of outlets since most extension cords can accommodate 3 devices.

    Duct tape. Not a whole roll, but a couple of feet wrapped around the end of a plastic straw. I have often needed it for one thing or another.

    A night-light for the bathroom so that I don’t have to turn on the light in the middle of the night – much gentler on the eyes and does not disrupt your ability to get back to sleep like the bathroom light can.

    A small supply of safety pins of different sizes, for repairs on the go or other uses.

    My own pillow! I use a feather one, which compacts into a very small space in the suitcase and doesn’t weigh much, but allows me to get a good night’s sleep, which as has been already noted, is critical. So many hotel pillows are awful! But be sure to take a colored pillow case, not a white one, so that you don’t overlook it when packing to leave the room.

    • Cyndi

      I like your list — I’m allergic to feathers and sometimes the cleaning detergent — so will wake up with my face all red and itchy. So I bring a neck pillow and extra pillow case.

      My “alarm” before my phone was a mini sound machine alarm. I found using the same sound on the road had me feel “at home” when I was trying to convince my brain it was “home for now”.

      a couple small packets (pill portion baggies work great) of low/no sodium herb stuff like Mrs. Fields I like in case bland stuff needs a kick (or the avodado).

      EAR PLUGS… boy they come in handy as I’m noise sensitive too.

  • Yarrow Summers

    Thank you for sharing these tips today. I am not a whiner but I have started travelling for my business and every time I stay in a hotel for a few days I come home and am sick for a whole day. It feels just like I have been poisoned. Then I am fine. I am going to definitely add a few of these items to my travel must have list.

    • Elaine Bailey

      Yarrow I’m sorry to hear this. Travel is hard on the body. Try a few of the items mentioned, you’ll be surprised the difference that they can make!

  • Tami

    I always pack at least one outfit and my toiletries in a carry on bag just in case something happens to the luggage that I check.

    • Elaine Bailey

      Yes! Tami, I do this too. Especially for those moments when your stood at Baggage Reclaim and your bag doesn’t appear! 🙂

  • Tami

    I always have at least 1 outfit & my toiletries in my carry on luggage just in case my checked bags have issues along the way.

  • Pagnia

    An essential oil like peppermint! I can’t count how many times I’ve felt nausea with plane exhaust creeping into the main cabin. I dab a drop on my cupid’s bow and I’m all set for the rest of the flight.

  • Virginia

    If the alarm clock is offensive, I turn it to face the wall and/or cover it with a washcloth. I use the decorative pillows, extra towels, or that piece of bedding that’s usually at the foot of the bed, to block the light from under the door.
    I did NOT know about MSG labeling and packaged nuts, so I will be adding that to my take-along snack list. No MSG for me.
    My travel must have is the sachet of lavender I always leave packed in my luggage. As I’m out during the day, I leave it tucked between my pillows, and right before I go to bed, I rub the sachet across my pillows, and the top end of the sheet and blanket. It’s an easy way to calm down after a busy day and it’s a comforting scent of home as I nestle in for the night. Plus, it’s an added bonus that my luggage always smells so good too! 🙂

  • Deborah

    Go to travel bar comes from a nut roasting company in NC – you’d probably appreciate their story and it looks like there are places in Asheville that sell the bars singly – I buy by the case. They are expensive but so is clean-up from not taking care of myself. I have the MSG thing and have not had a problem with these. https://shop.bigspoonroasters.com/collections/bars Thanks for posting your tips! I also love their Hot Peanut Butter – mix it into any soup that has red lentils, sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

  • Linda Lindsey

    I travel constantly, and international as well. I never leave home without ( among Devotionals and bible)
    1) Eye Hydro-Gel Moisture Boost Gel packs. — reduces tired eye , long flights, late nights, lack of moisture on the plane
    2) Youth Factor – natural energy boost!!! Helps me naturally obtain better sleep
    ( Complete Vitality Complex and Superfood & Antioxidant Boost Powder Drink).

    Amazing how I feel!!!

  • Chrissie D

    18 months ago I wound up sick with a stomach bug at a conference as I was trying to get home to see my father-in-law who was then on hospice. It was sudden and I was unprepared. I’m not a very practical person by nature so it’s more important that I pack the heels and jewelry and multiple outfits. I got through with the help of my roommie and good friend who is far more practical than I am!

    However, lesson learned. A few months later at the next conference I made sure I had a whole separate Vera bag packed with meds, tea, oatmeal packs and more. In a way though I went from one extreme to another because I was so worried about being without TUMS the second time around that all my energy was focused on those items and not the items that make me, me. (Like the flat iron I forgot).

    So now I keep this one little Vera bag stocked with basics and it gets moved around from bag to bag as needed, and on every trip and doesn’t require much upkeep.

    I bring my own water bottle, my own cooler too now and try to hit a local grocery store once I arrive. If I’m staying at an AIrbnb, it’s easier to make food and pack it, although it can be done with a little creativity in a hotel room and the mini fridge and the ice machine.

  • Nelu Mbingu

    Hi Christine!

    Though I’m not a frequent traveler myself, I can see that these are very convenient items to have. And I’m sure many of us wouldn’t even think of them when we pack our bags. So thanks for the reminder (I’ll be saving the list for later 🙂 )


  • Dawn Durocher

    I always bring a small sewing kit you have no idea how many times I have used it LOL! Love the tips and so glad I stumbled across your website today!

  • David Tifft

    Thank You for The List, I like it. I would add a 7th thing, your Bible.

    • Kim

      And some good worship music!

  • Marsha Stopa

    Having suffered from seasonal affective disorder, I’m highly conscious of needing a totally dark room to sleep in and usually take a sleep mask with me when I travel. The electrical tape is brilliant, as is the charcoal.

    But avocado? It can be one of the messiest foods for me to cut and eat. Do you have a trick, Christine? Please tell! 🙂


    • Christine Kane

      Marsha – haha! I always select the ones that aren’t too ripe – and i put them in a paper bag – and pack in my suitcase. (I can definitely recall a lowly avocado that was in my purse and ended up all over everything when my keys punctured it.) When i eat it, i cut it in half lengthwise, and then slice horizontally – and scoop out. salt, lemon – and a fork 🙂 It’s not something i can do “on the run” – but it’s great in hotel rooms when i’m just unpacking and have to head out quickly.

      • Marsha Stopa

        Got it! Will try that next time.

        Thanks for clearing the weird image I had of you biting into a ripe avocado…

  • Susan

    Through a recent hormone test I learned that I don’t go into a deep enough REM sleep. My doc suggested I start taking 1 of these Pro-Cortisol Balance tablets 1 hour before going to sleep (http://amzn.to/1mHDHOG). I’ve been sleeping deeper than ever and have tons more energy for the day. I sleep less and am more rested and alert. It’s in my travel bag as I’m on my way out the door.

    • Natasha

      Am going to try these — they sound brilliant! We’re going on a big trip this summer with a major time shift and anything that will help me sleep is appreciated!

  • Gloria

    I’m not keen on traveling but when I do I try to keep to my core practices which keep me healthy. I bring organic apple cider vinegar with me and have a tablespoon in warm water each morning. I practice Kapalbhati pranayama every morning, it’s the most powerful de-stressing tool ever cleansing both the mind and body. My latest favorite gadget is a Beastie ball. It’s portable self myofacial release tool. It goes with me everywhere. http://betterfitnessproducts.com/rumbleroller.html#13h

  • whitney bishop

    Noise cancelling headphones and earplugs. Noise pollution during travel is intense. Being able to control the input I receive helps me to stay calm, cool, collected and happy. Favorite playlists of music that soothes my soul to go with the headphones. Earplugs for when I want to eliminate all the noise!

    Meditation app – being on a plane or in a hotel room, or waiting for my nails to dry at the salon is a great time to fit in a meditation session

    Bulletproof – Unfair Advantage

    Journal & a Pen…. letting my imagination fly and capturing the magic.