“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya. Bermuda, Bahama…” Summer is in full swing and you are probably feeling the vibes from distant summer sounds. If you’re like me, you have set aside some vacation time and are redeeming those hard earned 9 to 5’s for a well needed bon voyage. Perhaps you are visiting a favorite beach retreat, sightseeing with family & friends or visiting relatives in a distant city. And, why not? The season is ripe for taking some well needed R&R and enjoying some bonus Zzzz’s since it’s chock full of several three-day holiday weekends. Lisa and I are fond of Labor Day weekend since it falls between both of our Virgo birthdays and creates a perfect excuse to jet set somewhere tropical or enjoy a staycation locally. If, like us, you are getting ready to dust off that wheeled luggage, toss in your bathing suit and slather on the sunscreen, then be sure to read our first five healthy travel tips below. They are perfect for an exotic, or not so exotic grandma and grandpa-themed, trip this summer.
1. BYOP! Bring Your Own Pillow (or Barrier Cover)
Out of sight, out of mind? Not so fast. Those airline and hotel pillows and blankets are slept on, sneezed on and drooled on by numerous guests and passengers before they are washed! When you fly, bring your own organic travel size pillow or your own barrier cover. This will protect you from direct contact with the germs both on the plane, your hotel room and even Uncle Jack’s guest room. When looking for a travel pillow, opt for child size, certified organic pillow. They are the perfect size and are available in natural wool or rubber with organic covers and, because they are smaller, so is the price tag! A 100% organic pillow barrier cover for either an adult or children’s pillow will also help protect your hotel pillow from bacteria, dust and dust mites which can trigger asthma & allergic responses.
2. Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
Decreasing leg room on passenger airplanes is a minuscule problem compared to what might be lurking your cozy, home away from home, vacation mattress. After a long day of flying, the last thing you want joining you under the bedroom sheets are bed bugs. Bed bugs are a real problem and we are facing a global bed bug pandemic today. What is a concerned guest or traveler to do? Before reaching for a toxic remedy, be sure you have packed a travel size, healthy, natural bed bug repellent, like Stop Bugging Me! Make sure to protect yourself and your luggage, because the only thing worse than being bit by bed bugs while on vacation, is taking those same bed bugs home with you.
3. Healthy Hydration While Traveling!
What you can’t see, can hurt you! In 2008, the EPA stated that “airline passengers with compromised immune systems or others concerned may want to request canned or bottled beverages, and avoid drinking coffee, tea, and other drinks prepared with tap water.” In fact, in a study in 2004, the EPA also found that 15% of the 327 aircrafts’ water systems they tested were positive for coliform. Microorganisms that cause food poisoning and gastroenteritis diseases usually are spread by contamination of food or water. To be on the safe side, make sure to bring your own clean and healthy water. Look for a BPA-FREE, reusable, steel water bottle such as those by Ecousable.™ They have a built in filter to remove up to 99.9% of pollutants including chlorine, bacteria & heavy metals.
4. Clean Your Hands, Sans the Chemicals!
You may put your money where your mouth is, but you don’t want to put mouth (or hands) where your money’s been. Avoid touching your mouth or rubbing your eyes with unwashed hands. Your seatmate coughing or sneezing on you during flight is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to healthy air travel! With half of the air being recirculated, your exposure to germs & viruses, ozone, engine fumes, pesticides and flame retardants is enough to make you motion sick! Most traditional hand sanitizers contain over 60% of ethyl alcohol or isopropanol, synthetic fragrance, propylene glycol and parabens – YUCK! Chose a safer side of sanitizing; use natural and biodegradable product options that have the power to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria without synthetic chemicals. There are healthy hand sanitizerson the market that contain certified organic alcohol and certified organic essential oils for your hands. And, don’t forget your tray table!
5. Opt Out of the TSA Backscatter Full Body Scan During Airport Check-in!
The Backscatter X-ray scanner is now being utilized at certain airports to detect hidden weapons, tools, liquids, narcotics, currency, and other contraband on airline passengers. The machines emit ionizing radiation, which is considered carcinogenic. Even though TSA and the manufacturers of the backscatter machines claim the radiation exposure levels are minimal and safe, there is disagreement among experts as to how much radiation people are being exposed to during a full body scan. I, personally, opt out of being subjected to the test and choose the pat down procedure instead. Although this may not be the ideal experience, I would much rather take this alternative than subject myself to potentially excessive amounts of radiation from the full body scan. The good news is that a new bill may become law allowing easier airport security check-in for all of us in the future. It was announced by Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, and is called the “American Traveler Dignity Act” and was proposed just this past Independence Day. The bill strips TSA of immunity from laws regarding physical contact, imaging people, or physical harm through radiation emission.
Stay tuned for Toxic-Free Travel: 10 Tips to Healthier Trips – Part II, where we continue the journey towards happier trails and toxic-free travel for you and your family this summer.