14 Travel Essentials to Stay Healthy on Your Next Vacation

Hit the road and skip the sniffles.

Everyday life has been a little unusual the past few years. But while there may be a lot to handle at home, the stir-craziness is finally kicking in, which means it’s time to plan a vacation (or several). But once you’ve actually booked your flights or mapped out your road trip route, you may be wondering what to pack to stay healthy throughout your trip—because nothing’s less fun than coughing up a storm in a hotel room when you’re supposed to be out exploring the world.

As public health remains an ongoing factor, it makes sense to add hygiene and wellness essentials to your packing list. No matter where you’re going, these 14 products will make your life a whole lot more pleasant when you’re traveling, so they’re definitely worth giving up a little space in your carry-on.

woman holding waterbottle
Photo courtesy of Berkey

Remember the days of using a random water fountain while traveling? No more. Save yourself from the ick factor and keep hydrated with this water bottle featuring a built-in micro filtration system, so you can enjoy safe drinking water whether you’re at an airport refilling station or camping by a stream or river.

person holding mask up to face
Photo courtesy of Pretty Connected

This chain is all about fashion, baby, or at least it looks that way. But the truth is it’s here to serve a function when you’re not just wearing it as a fun necklace. The limited-edition chain from a collaboration with pop star Kesha will prevent you from losing your face mask or vaccination card (or phone, or ID) when you’re moving between airports, train stations, bars, or museums. Just clip it to the important object you’re looking to safeguard and wear it around your neck, thread it through a belt loop, or attach it to your bag. The uses are basically infinite, and perfect for anyone who tends to lose stuff when they need it most.

bottle of cbd gummies
Photo courtesy of Sunday Scaries

Sometimes you need a little extra something to get you in the laid-back vacation spirit, especially if it’s been a while since you took some time off. These vegan-friendly gummies do the trick with 10 milligrams of CBD per gumdrop, and we dig the cherry, lemon, lime, and tangerine flavors (warning: the tangerine gummies may mysteriously disappear if you share a bottle with us). A one-time purchase sets you back $29 while a monthly subscription is $23.

small bottles of juice
Photo courtesy of Vive Organic

It's shots, shots, shots—except these ones won’t have you feeling sick the next morning. Flood your body with good-for-you nutrients while on vacation (or while gearing up for a vacation) with these organic wellness shots created with the help of holistic docs. Start your day (or attempt to revitalize yourself post-night-out) with the Immunity Boost Original, Immunity Boost Elderberry, Immunity Boost Cayenne, Immunity Boost Vitamin C, or Immunity Boost Vitamin D, K, and Zinc.
We’re also surprising fans of the least-appetizing-sounding shot in the Vive Organics lineup, the Wellness Rescue Garlic, said to be the first packaged garlic shot on the market. The shot has 300 milligrams of fresh, pressed garlic and 10% of your daily value of zinc, so we’ll pony up and say “cheers” to that.

Hydragun tool
Photo courtesy of Hydragun

Nothing (temporarily) wrecks your neck and shoulders like driving a car all day. Let this be the year you treat yourself to a personal massage gun to help you feel relaxed and restored after road tripping, carrying a heavy backpack, or falling asleep in an airplane aisle seat with no neck pillow (pro tip: get one!). The Hydragun is lightweight, quiet, and even works great as a recovery tool for when you’re back home with your regular gym routine.

woman pouring health powder into bottle
Photo courtesy of Aila

For those who want a little extra oomph from their water, along with a tasty peach flavor, these Aila energy mixes should do the trick. They’re made entirely from superfoods and vitamins (and organic caffeine from green tea) to give you a jolt of energy in the morning, help you work through jet lag, or perk you up between activities. Bonus: you can also add the mixes to coffee, smoothies, or your favorite kind of milk to enjoy your beverage of choice with an additional slew of antioxidants and three B vitamins.

covid tests
Photo courtesy of Walmart

Whether you need proof of a negative test in a jiffy or feel safer traveling knowing you can test and self-isolate as needed from the comfort of your hotel room or vacation rental, this rapid over-the-counter self-test detects the SARS-CoV-2 antigen in just 15 minutes. The results show up on a little card, and they’re easy to interpret. Before traveling, be sure to review the requirements of your destination so that you know their entry protocols. If nothing else, even if you’re not traveling, consider keeping an extra test kit or two at home for peace of mind.

Travel Toothbrush Cup Case
Photo courtesy of KNRG

If the idea of leaving your comb, toothbrush and other necessities on the bathroom counter of your hotel sends you into a germophobic spiral—or if you just love to stay organized—we’re big fans of this compact toothbrush holder and rinse cup that keeps your items stashed securely away from new surfaces. It comes with two lotion and shampoo containers, as well as a hidden compartment for cash or other essentials. Pro tip: If you’re buying more than one, purchase 'em in different colors, so everyone in your vacation pod knows which is theirs.

phone sanitizer device
Photo courtesy of Sharper Image

While the risk of catching COVID from surfaces is low, there are lots of nasty germs circulating in all the spaces we encounter while we travel. If you’d like to reduce your risk of catching any sort of trip-ruining bug, you may want to take all the precautions you can, including sanitizing your phone or other small items that you’d rather not subject to soap and water or alcohol. This UV sanitizer kills 99.9% of germs, while also allowing you to charge your phone by inserting your charger cable into the device. You can also place your keys, credit cards, earbuds, and more in the vessel, which cleans whatever you put in it in 6 minutes flat.

purple supplement bottle
Photo courtesy of HUM

Look, guzzling orange juice or popping a vitamin aren’t magic bullets, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to bolster your health and immune system. Travel can make you feel run-down and tired, and taking a daily immunity-boosting supplement like these gummies can be a great way to really help your immune system weather any journey. The vegan gummies contain vitamin C, zinc, and elderberry, and HUM recommends taking two at a time. As always, consult with a trusted healthcare professional before adding any new supplement to your routine.

hand sanitizer bottle
Photo courtesy of Lehmann Design Haus

Get your spritz on with this convenient hand sanitizer spray that fits in your pocket or purse. It uses 70% alcohol in an FDA-compliant formula to halt bacteria, microbes, and microorganisms in their tracks. We’re fans of the unscented version made with soothing aloe, but if you prefer a light musk, go for the Green Mandarin version, made with certified organic green mandarin essential oil and aloe.

woman with ear buds in
Photo courtesy of Amazon

We’ll be the first to admit that earbuds aren’t exactly a health product, but the ability to listen to music (or drown out unwelcome noises) feels like a must for emotional wellbeing. These Beats wireless earbuds are equipped with flexible wingtips that create an essentially custom fit in your ear, so they stay super secure. They come with active noise canceling technology, so you can drown out the noise of your fellow passengers while trying to sleep on the plane, as well as a transparency listening mode that lets you hear what’s going on around you when you’re walking around a new city. An Apple H1 chip ensures a seamless listening experience for iPhone users, while Android users can download a companion app to access additional features.

Roku remotes
Photo courtesy of Roku

Much like earbuds, this isn’t strictly a health product. But over the past few years, being able to stream a show or few at the end of the day has felt like an important way to relax and take your mind off anything stressful. Use this portable gadget from Roku to plug into the back of the TV at your hotel or vacation rental so you can wind down with The Rings of Power or Abbott Elementary after a long day of exploring.

mountains behind backpack
Photo courtesy of REI

You could travel without any first-aid gear, but it’s probably not a very good idea. Aside from having the stuff you need to take care of any unexpected injuries, you also might just want moleskine if you’re walking a lot and are starting to get blisters, or medication in case some of the new marvels you encounter give you allergic reactions. This kit is designed for hiking, which makes it a great choice for a travel medical kit, since it’s lightweight, compact, and comes packed in a water-resistant bag. Stash it in your backpack, suitcase, or vehicle and know you’ll always have access to items like bandages and medical tape, elastic strips for ankle sprains, antiseptic wipes, pre-cut pieces of moleskine, tweezers, and meds including aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and antihistamines.

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Perri Ormont Blumberg is a New York City-born-and-based writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, Insider.com, Reader's Digest, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more. Follow her on Twitter.