Heading off on a big trip and want to give essential oils a go? No worries, follow this simple guide to using essential oils while you’re on the road, by the ocean or living out of a camper-van…
I have always been a fan of traveling and have been on the road for about a year now, having an incredible time. That said, I really don’t enjoy the actual travel part! Trains, buses, boats, planes, motorbike taxis on very narrow, very steep roads – all of it makes me super stressed! The panic sets in during the days before the trip, as well as while I’m actually traveling and it can take a while for me to feel back normal after big trips.
People have suggested Valium and Xanax to me to help calm me down, but I’ve always preferred to turn to nature before the medicine cabinet. I’m currently on a long trip involving every type of transport you can imagine, and I’ve managed to form a little care package of essential oils to suit the problems I face, as well as issues that a lot of other travellers have to deal with…
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are oils that have been extracted from plants and have natural, beneficial properties for our minds and bodies. There is a huge range of essential oils out there, all with different ways of making you feel both mentally and physically better. These oils are available online, in health-stores and drugstores at reasonable prices.
How to travel with essential oils
Essential oils are great for traveling! If you already have your own home-kit of essentials, it’s super easy to take them with you. If you’re new to this little world of wonder, follow my handy tips below on which oils you should take with you.
It’s easy to take a kit with you in your luggage – remember that most airlines only allow liquids of up to 100ml quantities if you’re only taking hand luggage. Either look for mini versions of your favorites, or decant the oils into smaller bottles for your trip.
It’s worth buying a little carry-case for your oils, too. At the airport, make sure your bottles fit in a sealable plastic bag when you go through security if you’re only taking a carry-on, and then keep them safely stashed in a cosmetics bag or something similar.
There are various ways to use essential oils, including ingesting, inhaling/diffusing, and applying to your skin. For travel purposes, it’s probably easiest to either inhale or apply the oil to your skin, unless you have plenty of room to take a room diffuser! For more tips on using oils, carry on reading…
What essential oil is best for me?
There are so many different oils, all with different benefits for our minds and bodies! I’m a nervous traveler, so the list below features oils to calm and soothe worried minds, as well as combating any physical ailments you may encounter on your journey.
Nervous flyer?Burglars is an essential essential oil for all travelers! For anyone unfamiliar with this little miracle, it’s a blend of lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove and rosemary. Sounds like a bit too much but, trust me, it’s exactly what you need.
Burglars is perfect for long trips as it helps you stay clean and healthy, no matter how sniffly the person next to you on the plane is! It has a lovely, comforting smell and boosts your immune system to help you stay safe while traveling.
Dilute with a carrier oil if you’re going to be applying this to your skin (nice to dab on your hands and cup over your nose and mouth for a quick refresh) or inhale when needed.
Need help drifting off?Forget the Xanax and opt for lavender oil instead! This oil is typically used to aid sleep and I find it such a soothing scent, so it really helps calm me down when I start getting stressed in the airport.
Either inhale this oil or dab a few drops on a cotton cloth to comfort you on your trip. You can splash a few drops on your pillow when you arrive at your hotel or hostel and it’ll really help you drift off to sleep, no matter how noisy the dorm room is!
Calm an upset stomach?For me, anything to do with my stomach calls for ginger! Ginger helps combat nausea so is great if you get a nervous stomach before flying or travelling, and is a lovely comfort to have with you on long trips.
You can ingest or simply breathe in this soothing, warm scent. Ginger root is perfect for this, too, but slightly harder to take on a plane! I normally inhale this oil in the morning before I take a trip as it helps calm my stomach as well as any nerves.
Restore peaceIf you’re short on space, lavender can be used here, too. If you fancy trying something else, opt for rose. Rose is one of my favorite scents, and is widely-cited as a great oil to use if you suffer from anxiety.
If you have time, and the facilities to do so, use this to wind down at the end of a long day by creating an inhalation bowl for yourself. Much like giving yourself a steam facial (lemon versions are amazing if you’re feeling under the weather, especially if you add some eucalyptus!), have a bowl or sink of hot water, add a few drops of oil and lean over it. Use a towel or shirt to cover your face and head so that all the lovely oil vapor can help you unwind. If not, inhaling from the bottle is much easier and still effective.
Need an energy boost?Anything citrusy is going to be great here as it really wakes up your senses and gets you ready to go! Lemon and sweet orange are fantastic for giving your body a nice, natural energy boost without the jitters you get with airport coffee.
Lemon actively increases the levels of serotonin (a natural mood-boosting chemical your body makes), so is perfect for using when you need a pick-me-up. Either rub on your hands and inhale or breathe in from the bottle. Lovely stuff.
Freshen up (great for airport layovers or after long trips!)Peppermint is a lovely option if you want to take an essential oil in your hand luggage with you. Our brains are kind of programmed to think that minty scents and tastes equal freshness, thanks to toothpaste ads, and they’re not wrong.
Dabbing some peppermint oil on your body, or putting a few drops in your hands and cupping around your nose and mouth, can make a massive difference to how you feel after a long flight or bus trip.
Relieve tension headachesPeppermint doubles up here as a headache-reliever, so is well worth taking with you on your trip. I tend to get pretty anxious about traveling and end up with a headache from all the frowning and worrying!
Obviously, staying hydrated is really important, especially if you’re flying or staying in a place with air-con (why are airports so cold all the time?!), but sometimes you need a little something extra.
Apply a couple of drops to your temples, lightly massage and let it work its magic. Alternatively, apply a couple of drops to your hands and cup around your nose and mouth to revive yourself.
Dingy hostel?It might not be a sixty-minute-makeover, but adding a few drops of essential oil around the room can make a huge difference to how comfortable you feel there.
Lemon oil works really well to cleanse the air of any nasty odors – there’s a reason your cleaning cupboard is full of lemon-scented sprays and bleaches.
Either dab it on fabrics such as comforters, cushions and any curtains, or apply to a damp towel and allow it to soak up some oil before leaving it near a vent/ fan/ open window in the room. Check with anyone else you’re sharing a room with, of course!
Being bitten to death?Garden stores sell citronella outdoor candles for a reason! This essential oil helps ward off any mozzies. It is a pretty strong scent but it’s one that I’ve come to love – it reminds me of beach BBQs and summer holidays.
Either buy as a natural spray or mix your own. You can also dab it around any fabrics that you’re using outdoors, like your shawl, cushions or beach blanket. This is a great alternative to chemical sprays, and you’ll be able to take the oil on the plane with you, whereas aerosols are forbidden.
How do I use essential oils?
Essential oils can be used differently, depending on the oil itself as well as what you’re able to do in terms of space/ resources. Inhalation, application to skin and ingestion are all options, but make sure you know what’s safe before you start glugging from the bottle!
I’ve listed my preferred methods with my favorite oils above, but there’s always other options. I love doing steam inhalations as the ritual itself calms me down, too. See above for guidance!
You can also inhale from the bottle itself, which can be much easier when you’re travelling and don’t want to draw attention to yourself while subtly attempting to diffuse the entire airport lounge. This is a good option for oils whose effects you love but don’t like the scent of, as you don’t have to walk around smelling of a strong, very particular scent.
You can diffuse oils using an oil diffuser, which are widely-available online and normally fairly cheap. Follow the instructions on the bottle to check your ratios, especially if you choose to create your own blends, which can be so fun.
These are best for home use, and aren’t that practical for travelling – worth a mention though if you choose to adopt essential oils long-term!
Some oils can be applied directly to the skin; some need to be blended with carrier oils before it’s safe to do so. As always, do a patch-test if you have sensitive skin and check with your doctor before using or ingesting oils if you have any medical conditions.
You can use old spray bottles (great for citronella), or buy new empties from drugstores, as well as buying empty roller-ball bottles for easy application to your skin. Alternatively, apply directly to your skin if there’s no need to dilute.
Some essential oils need to mixed with a carrier oil before they can be applied to the skin, as they’re too strong in their natural form. Again, check the label for details on ratios to mix!
Carrier oils are essentially oils that don’t usually have any major benefits themselves, but are great for any oils that are applied topically, as well as for mixing and blending your own oils.
Almond oil is a beautiful option that smells, unsurprising, sweet and nutty. It’s also packed with Vitamin E so it’s a good oil to use on your skin, and is absorbed more quickly than some other natural oils.
If you don’t want to splurge, you can use olive oil from your kitchen – admittedly, it does feel a little strange! It’s quite a thick oil in comparison to other carrier oils and can feel a bit gloopy but is a good option if you’re on a budget.
Of course, coconut oil will always be my favorite thing in the universe, and it makes a great carrier oil. It’s so good for you skin and is a really fab little multitasker. I tend to buy a new coconut oil in each country I visit (or several, as I go through it pretty fast), and end up using it for everything.
Coconut oil is great to travel with in general, as it can be used as a moisturizer, body-wash, can be added to coffee for a nice boost, can be used as a makeup-remover and so on.
Create Your Own Care Package
So, there we have it. Hopefully, this helps make things clearer for you, as the world of essential oils can be a little bit overwhelming at first! The oils I have listed are ones I love, but that’s not to say you’re limited to them.
Some of the oils that I’ve mentioned above have a main purpose, but end up having more than one benefit for me personally. Find what works, and look for oils that have several benefits to you personally so that you can get away with packing less for your trip!
Scent is the most evocative sense, so if I smell an oil that’s aimed at relieving stomach problems but actually reminds me of a really happy time, I use it as a relaxing oil, too.
Find time to experiment and see which oils jump out at you, and which ones make you feel good. You’ll quickly learn which ones you like and which ones you would never want rubbed on your skin!
Traveling, along with many things in life, can be so much easier and less stressful with the use of essential oils. All it takes is a little research. And an open mind…
Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m currently traveling around South-East Asia with my trusty yoga mat and a constant craving for the ocean. I love finding healthy, Eco-friendly ways to improve my well-being, even more of a challenge whilst on the road, and sharing them with the readers at SleepHealthEnergy.com (https://www.sleephealthenergy.com/), a one-stop shop for everything to do with getting a good night’s sleep, achieving optimum health and having buckets of energy.