Offering hundreds of thousands of applications, and centuries of usage to prove their benefits, essential oils should be on your radar (if they aren't already). They have proven anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, beneficial in boosting one's physical health. And they're therapeutic in ways that positively impact your emotional, spiritual and environmental wellness.
With the ability to improve so many facets of health and well-being, it only makes sense that essential oils should be a must-have when traveling. Here are 10 tips from Bella Martinez, Lead Aromatherapist at Edens Garden, for traveling with essential oils – including the best oils for common travel situations.
An inhaler is a must-have when traveling — Photo courtesy of Edens Garden
1. Use an inhaler
An inhaler is the preferred usage of essential oils when on the go. "The reason being," Martinez explains, "you don’t know if the person next to you has an allergy, sensitivity or a distaste in the essential oils (EO) you’re using."
For those new to EO, an inhaler is a plastic or aluminum tube with a cotton wick inside which absorbs the essential oils. When you need to use it, remove the cap and inhale gently.
2. Check with your airline
The nature of essential oils is that they typically come in small packages, like 5, 10 or 30 ml bottles, so they typically fall within TSA guidelines. However, you should double-check with your airline before bringing them onboard.
3. Pack carefully
When packing fragile oil bottles, a travel bag intended specifically for holding essential oils is the safest bet. If you don't have one, Martinez suggests, "You can also put individual EO bottles in a plastic bag, then wrap them in your socks to ensure they’re not bumping around in your suitcase, and if they do break, they’ll be in a bag."
A dedicated bag for your oils will you breathe easier while traveling — Photo courtesy of Edens Garden
Which oils to use for...
4. Jet lag
"Citrus, minty and oils that contain cineole are energizing and ideal for jet lag," says Martinez. "Try Grapefruit, Lemon, Peppermint, Spearmint, Eucalyptus, Camphor or Cajeput."
5. Trouble sleeping
Sedative oils are ideal for encouraging a restful sleep. Some of the best include Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, and Vetiver.
6. Stale hotel odor
To help combat that hotel smell, Martinez says that, "For stale odors, there is no best oil, and you can use your favorite oils. Some of my favorite blends for ridding stale odors are Eucalyptus & Lavender, Spearmint & Geranium, Rose & Bergamot and Yuzu & Grapefruit."
7. Tummy trouble
"Spices and seasonings that you’d typically find in your pantry, in essential oil form, are great for digestion," advises Martinez. "These include Dill Weed, Cinnamon Leaf & Bark, Nutmeg, Coriander Seed, Cilantro, Allspice and Angelica Root."
Used carefully and thoughtfully, essential oils can greatly improve your physical and emotional health — Photo courtesy of Madeleine_Steinbach/iStock
8. Travel anxiety/stress
"Oils that help to reduce stress are generally floral or woody and grounding," states Martinez. "Some examples are Lavender, Rose, Geranium, Sandalwood, Amyris, Buddha Wood, Bergamot, Jasmine and Neroli."
9. Boosting your immune system
To keep from getting sick while traveling, Martinez says, "A blend of the following oils...is known as being one of the best for promoting immunity, but these oils can be used individually for immunity as well: Orange, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark, Cinnamon Leaf, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. Oregano is not included in this list, but is another great oil for boosting the immune system."
Many companies sell these oils in a convenient, already-blended form because they're so effective.
If you're an allergy sufferer or get triggered in unfamiliar environments, Martinez suggests "Fir Needle, Pine, Blue Tansy, Rosalina, Tea Tree, Lemon and Lavender are just a few oils with [antihistamine] properties, great for relieving and preventing allergies."
A few notes from the author on purchasing and using essential oils
When purchasing essential oils, be sure to do your research first. Though there is no certification system in place to enforce this classification, essential oils should be 100% therapeutic grade. Look for oils packaged in dark-colored glass, which protects the integrity of the bottle's ingredients. Also look for descriptions of the extraction method, country of origin and the botanical names of the plants used to create the oil. These are all signs of a quality product.
When using an essential oil for the first time, use it sparingly to test how your body will react. You don't want to find out that you're sensitive or allergic to a specific oil after you've inhaled a large amount or applied it topically. Speaking of topical application, be sure to dilute your essential oils using a carrier oil. And avoid applying citrus oils before exposing your skin to sunlight. These oils increase UV sensitivity and can cause a sunburn-like skin reaction.
If you plan to utilize essential oils for your kids, check that they're safe to use for the child's age. Certain oils can be dangerous to small children.