Healthy Travel Essentials: Road Trips

by Grace McCalmon


Healthy Travel Essentials: Road Trips

by Grace McCalmon

SmartyPants vitamins and Kinsa have teamed up to create a series about our favorite summer vacations and the healthy essentials to take with you when you go. 

For many people, the thought of a family road trip brings to mind some sort of Griswold-esque trek of inconvenience, awkwardness and frustration, but times have changed! Road trips have become something to be cherished and celebrated, not mocked and avoided.

To be fair, a lot of the enjoyment depends on the personalities involved. Have you discussed the bigger conflicts of interest, or are you riding in a clown car filled with varying opinions? Chances are it’s closer to the latter, so allow for that and try to compromise, for instance: make the schedule but allow extra time for the unexpected.

And then there are other factors that can throw off even the most relaxed adventurer, like adverse weather, traffic and construction, and, of course, the assorted discomforts that can stem from all of the above combined with a diet of drive through. Nothing hampers a family vacation faster than someone getting sick—especially one of the kids.

Obviously, one cannot plan for illness, but there is hope of preventing it, or, at least, helping it to pass sooner, rather than later. That’s why we’ve made the list below to help you fit as many possibilities as you can into whatever trunk space your vehicle allows. We want your road trip to be full of fun, not worry.

Remember, whether your plans include national parks, theme parks, beaches or swimming pools, the world is your oyster. May the road rise to meet you, and all that.

The convenience offered by a road trip is that everything you brought with you is readily available at any point along the journey. The downside, of course, is that you may not have packed everything that you actually need. Fun fact: foresight isn’t nearly as keen as hindsight. Don’t worry, we can help.

Healthy Road Trip Essentials

  • Water Bottle – Staying hydrated is crucial. Failure to do so can result in cramps, fatigue, overheating, and general crankiness, to name a few. But bottled water is not exactly environmentally friendly, or wallet-friendly. Help save the planet and some $$ by keeping a filtered water bottle on hand for everyone on board. We like Hydros bottles because they’re BPA and phthalate-free, filtered, and a portion of all proceeds go towards bringing clean water to those in need.
  • Coconut Water Packets – For an added level of refreshment, consider coconut water packets. They’re easy to store and provide electrolytes that will keep you hydrated and can help with those pesky heat and motion headaches.
  • Peppermint essential oil – If you are on social media, chances are you know someone selling essential oils. Buy some. Peppermint oils claim to relieve tension headaches, which is nice when you’re trapped in a car for six hours with the license plate game going into overtime.
  • Ginger chews – ginger has been shown to help with nausea. And whether it’s the family sing-a-long, the aforementioned drive-through cuisine, getting stuck in the back middle seat, or, all of the above, nausea is a real road trip possibility. If you want to give chews a try, just make sure they contain actual ginger, like Chimes brand.
  • Sunscreen – You’ve got to get out of the car sometime, people. Our picks for the best sun protection with the fewest amount of ingredients and wacko-sounding chemicals are: Badger Balm and Babo Botanicals.
  • Kinsa Smart Thermometer – It’s the world’s #1 Smartest Digital Thermometer, and the fun smartphone app that comes along with it will help pass time on the planes, trains, and automobiles.
  • SmartyPants On-the-Go – A giant bottle of vitamins is not the first thing most people think to take to a theme park. Luckily, SmartyPants On-the-Go packs contain a full day’s serving of gummies in convenient, travel-size pouches that go anywhere.
  • Medication – Do members of your family have allergies, prescriptions, or any number of assorted ailments that require medication? Keep everything in the cab of the vehicle (not the trunk) where it can be reached as needed.
  • Battery bank and charging cord – You don’t want your phone to lose its juice when you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s just as important for safety reasons as social. Bring a cord and charger for the car and some back-up battery banks (keep them charged as well).
  • Books – Sure, the conversation is riveting, the scenery is beautiful, and the tablet is packed with distractions, but what’s better than losing yourself in a good book for hours at a time? Note: the driver should bring audio versions.

Helpful tip: If you pack a cooler of snacks and beverages, plus raingear, towels, perhaps a second pair of shoes, and any sort of medical and health accoutrements all within reach, you may not have enough room for the family, let alone luggage. Consider shipping destination specific items to your destination. A box of clothes sent ahead won’t cost very much. Please don’t ship the children.

More Kinsa + SmartyPants Healthy Summer Vacation Series:

Healthy Summer Camp Essentials

Healthy International Travel Essentials 

Healthy Theme Park Essentials

Know anyone planning to road trip this summer? Share this with them!

Do you have any healthy tricks or essentials when you’re out on the open highway? We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Posted on July 12, 2016

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Grace McCalmon

Grace is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and a graduate of Duke University. She received her nutrition certification from the Nutritional Therapy Association, and her training is based on the work of Dr. Weston A Price, as well as the latest peer-reviewed, scientific research.