Holistic Health

Empower Your Journey: 11 Holistic Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

As a traveler/digital nomad, one thing you always want to make sure is to stay healthy while traveling. Correct?

That’s why you pay attention to food, get vaccinated if necessary, research on healthy cafes or restaurants, and have health insurance for safety reasons.

Of course, you don’t want to MISS OUT on experiences and eat “MUST-TRY” foods even though it’s not always healthy. Right?

But if you are looking for holistic ways to manage your health, then you are on the right page! I’m here to share with you some natural remedies I personally use and recommendations from Dr. Lady Tagulao and Mr. Jackson Tan on how to stay healthy while traveling!

What is Holistic Health Approach?

A holistic health approach means looking at / treating the person as a whole that is made up of interdependent parts. Any imbalances (mind, body, and spirit) can negatively impact our overall health.

There are ways to improve our overall wellbeing, especially when traveling. Eating healthy food is one of the elements of holistic health. It nourishes our mind and body. It is not always about popping pills.

This approach may use all forms of health care, from conventional (allopathic) to ancient healing practices.

Remedies to stay healthy while traveling

As a registered nurse, I used to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine and work with Integrative doctors back in the Philippines. Thanks to them! I gain in-depth health knowledge, especially when it comes to nutrition, and equip myself for any health problems I may encounter.

And so far, after a year of traveling around Asia and now living in Vietnam since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I can tell how to manage my health by applying these holistic health approaches with or without medicines.

Here are 11 remedies and healthy travel tips to help you stay well and still go with the flow, whether you’re road-tripping or globe-trotting! You definitely need to know this! Let’s start!

1. Digital detox

Ideas and reasons to do digital detox to stay healthy while traveling

As a digital nomad, you are glued to your laptop most of the time. Same as a traveler, who loves to post on social media her/his whereabouts and get notified all the time! That can be a form of addiction. That’s why unplugging yourself from the digital world kind of freaks you out! Right?

But sometimes, you have to do digital detox to restore the balance within you. To have quality time for yourself without any distractions from your phone or other devices created. It reduces your stress and anxiety caused by the overuse of technology and helps you to be more creative.

Interact with people in the real world, observe cultures while traveling, focus on the destination, and reflect on yourself.

I recommend you watch Social Dilemma on Netflix to give you more insights.

2. Eat Clean Foods

Preparing your food is the best way to eat clean food

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when the diet is correct, medicine is of no need.

Ayurvedic proverb

Most of the time, it’s really tempting to eat street foods or the “Must-try” foods even though it’s greasy, full of sugar, or with MSG. That’s what you called guilty pleasures! You don’t want to miss out on eating certain foods when visiting another country. I got you!

However, one way to stay healthy while traveling is to stick to eating clean foods. How?

1. In terms of accommodation – always make sure you can access the kitchen. Make your meal and shop for ingredients at a nearby grocery or the organic farmer’s market. I’m glad there’s one here in Dalat, Vietnam!

2. Always check cafe or restaurant reviews on Tripadvisor, Google map, or Happy cow. Check the menu if they have healthy options – mostly vegan/vegetarian foods.

3. As much as possible, eat hot or cooked food, especially on the street. Avoid salad or anything raw to avoid the risk of food poisoning unless you prepare it yourself.

4. Limit eating foods such as deep-fried, meat, junk food, sugar, processed food, soft drinks, salty foods, and dairy products. Instead, drink cold-press juice, eat more fruits, veggie wrap, oatmeal, yogurt, and other healthy foods.

5. Pay attention to food. Be aware of foods that can aggravate your health when you are feeling sick, and know alternative foods to eat (ex. instead of drinking cow’s milk, drink nut milk). I will discuss this on another blog in detail!

3. Essential oils for travel

I considered essential oils as an “atomic” medicine! With one drop, it has numerous health benefits that you can enjoy! One of my key secrets in staying healthy while traveling! It alleviates different physical ailments such as nausea, stomach ache, travel anxiety, bites, sting, insomnia, etc.

One of my favorites is Lavender oil from Young Living, also referred to as “the swiss army knife” of essential oils due to its healing effect.

It’s helpful in anxiety, enhances sleep, first aid for cuts, burns, and abrasion. You can use to diffuse, inhale, apply on the skin (back of the ear or neck part for relaxation), or drop oil to your pillow for a restful sleep or after jetlag! 😴

Other essential oils you can use for travel are peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, Thieves, Tea tree oil, and Digize oil. For diffusion, topical, and inhalation use only.

Be sure to buy therapeutic-grade oil, quality brands such as Young Living or Doterra are some of the well-known pure essential oils I know so far. You can do your research before buying them.


Dr. RuviFor digestive issues – I use DiGize essential oil blend and peppermint; For immunity – Thieves essential oil blend; For sleep and skincare – Lavender essential oil, Peace & Calming essential oil blend; For pain relief – deep relief blend essential oil, PanAway essential oil blend; For oral health – Thieves toothpaste & mouthwash, oil pulling with Thieves essential oil blend.

Note: The essential oils she is using are from Young Living.

4. Essential supplements you can take for travel

a. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal helps prevent poisons from being absorbed from the stomach into the body. It is also considered a traveler’s best friend when it comes to abdominal distress, gas, or diarrhea.

I remember I had food poisoning after eating at a bus stop in Myanmar. I had a fever, gastric pain, and diarrhea. When we arrived in Loikaw, I went to a nearby clinic, but it was closed. So I decided to eat less, rest, take activated charcoal, liposomal vitamin C, and some of my supplements with a time gap. I felt better the next day. On the 3rd day, we were able to visit nearby villages where tribe people live.

Make sure to take activated charcoal away from prescription medicines, as it can interfere with absorption. Drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

b. Extra virgin coconut oil

A must-have for travelers! You can use it for oil pulling, an ancient practice that involves swishing oil in the mouth. Some oral problems (such as toothache, gum inflammation, mouth sore, and bad breath) that I personally experienced, this coconut oil is my to-the-rescue! It really works well!

Coconut oil is nature’s anti-inflammatory. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It is also helpful for early signs of sore throat and oral thrush.

Not only that, it has many uses that benefit you in many ways: use as cooking oil, soothing cracked lips, add on your coffee for extra energy, moisturize your skin, vaginal itch, body massage, and use as a lubricant too! 😉


c. Liposomal Vitamin C

Taking Liposomal Vitamin C keeps you stay healthy while traveling

Traveling can be stressful and exhausting sometimes, especially when traveling long term by land. It requires proper planning and documentation, but it doesn’t go well as planned all the time. That’s why having a strong immunity is important as it also affects your health.

Vitamin C is the best immune booster you can have while traveling, either through food rich in vitamin C such as amla, citrus fruits, chili pepper, broccoli, or by taking supplements.

What is the best way to absorb Vitamin C in the body?
The best way to increase cellular Vitamin C levels is by taking Liposomal Vitamin C.

According to Dr. Thomas Levy, oral vitamin C supplements, whether in tablets, pills, and powder forms, are not efficiently processed and absorbed by your body. Moreover, much of the vitamin C taken this way is flushed out in the urine.

What is Liposomal Vitamin C?
By using patented technology, Vitamin C is wrapped in double-layered phospholipid spheres (liposomes) that protect the vitamin through the digestive system and transport it into the bloodstream for absorption in the cells. So, you get all the benefits of high-dose Vitamin C without gastric distress.

From my travel experience, whenever I feel low on immunity, I take LivOn liposomal vitamin C. I can tell its efficacy as I felt recharged after. But while living in Dalat, I prefer to eat foods high in Vitamin C!

d. Probiotics

Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of “friendly” bacteria in the gut. Probiotics can be consumed through supplements or eating fermented foods. Another supplement a traveler must-have in his/her kit!

I take OMX Probiotic (12 strains of lactic acid bacteria, fermented over 3 years) while traveling, especially when I have gut issues such as bloating or stomach cramps. It helps reduce the symptoms. But when staying longer in one place, I eat fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, etc.

A yeast probiotic-containing Saccharomyces boulardii provides relief for traveler’s diarrhea or acute diarrhea, study shows that taking this can significantly lower diarrhea severity. Because it is yeast, it should be taken with caution in people who are immunocompromised.

It is best to take probiotics on an empty stomach or 30 minutes before a meal.

How to choose the right probiotic?

1. Brand quality – buy from a reputable retailer.
2. Multiple strains – Your gut is diverse, and it needs different strains of probiotics that have their own beneficial properties.
3. Prebiotic – Choose a probiotic with prebiotic. Prebiotics nourishes probiotics to create more good gut bacteria.
4. Low in sugar- Choose probiotic low in sugar as it reduces the benefit. It can even cause a yeast infection or decrease your immunity.
5. Read the label – Make sure to read the ingredients if you are sensitive to wheat, soy, or dairy. Some probiotics contain these ingredients, as well as fillers and binders.

Friendly reminder: As always, check with your doctor before taking new supplements to make sure they are appropriate for you. If you are ever unsure of what is going on, be sure to seek out medical care.



Dr. RuviI make sure to take digestive enzymes and activated charcoal wherever I go for gut issues. For my immunity, I take Inner defense supplement, Engystol, Gripp heel, Traumeel, vitamin C & D, zinc, echinacea herb

5. Herbs and spices as a remedy

Healing spices from India you can use for cooking, as condiment or as health remedy. Using spices is one way to stay healthy while traveling
My collection of Indian spices when in India

Herbs and spices are not just flavoring to your dishes, but also remedy to your health!

Before I left the Philippines, I brought basic spices such as rosemary, thyme, black pepper, Himalayan salt, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, even apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce as condiments. All packed in small containers I bought from the thrift shop!

When I went to India last year, I was stunned by the spices they have! It’s like spice heaven! That’s when I start collecting spices after learning its healing effect from the Ayurvedic perspective. I also learned how to make chai, cook biryani, and other Indian dishes using these spices!

Let FOOD be your medicine first, and KITCHEN be your first pharmacy.

-Verse from Taittiriya Upanishad

Adaptogens herbs

Have you heard of adaptogens? If no, these are selected herbs for strength, stamina, hormonal balance, and stress relief! One of my favorites is Ashwagandha for stress and insomnia! I add 1/2 tsp. of Ashwagandha powder to my hot milk (Pistacio milk is the best!) with turmeric and cinnamon before bedtime. You can also buy Ashwagandha in capsule form.

Other examples of adaptogens are maca root, licorice root, cordyceps, reishi mushroom, turmeric, holy basil (tulsi), and ginseng. Often available in teas, powder form, tincture, and capsules.

Think of those moments such as rushing through the airport, having anxiety while flying, or trouble sleeping after jet lag. These adaptogens help you during stressful situations.

So next time you plan to travel, pack some herbs and spices with you! You can use it for cooking, as a condiment, and as a remedy!

6. Keep yourself hydrated

Keep yourself hydrated is one way to stay healthy while traveling!
Keep yourself hydrated when doing outdoor activities!

One thing everyone preaches is to drink water above anything else. Checking your urine color is an indicator if you are well hydrated or not. If the color is orangish-yellow or darker, it means you are severely dehydrated. If it’s a pale yellow to clear, you are good to go!

Best ways to stay hydrated:

1. Carry a reusable water bottle anywhere you go!
2. You can download the refillmybottle app to show nearby locations where to refill water.
3. Eat fruits or vegetables high in water such as watermelon, coconut water, berries, pineapple, cucumbers, cantaloupe, cabbage, zucchini, iceberg lettuce, and tomato.
4. Limit consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks. These cause you to lose more water in the body.
5. Alternatives to water are herbal (caffeine-free) tea, nut milk, cold-pressed juice.
6. You can add chia to your water or food. Chia seeds absorb 9 to 12 times their weight in water. It also lubricates the skin and intestines.
7. Drink water at room temperature, not cold water. It’s more hydrating than cold ones.

Best time to drink water:

1. Upon waking up.
2. In between meals, not during meals.
3. After you pee, it is better to drink water.
4. Pre-hydrate at least 1-2 days before your flight. An average person loses 2.5 liters of water per day, and this rises significantly with air travel.
5. Before and after your workout or outdoor activities.

7. Protect your skin

Protect your skin from sun and insect bites when traveling

If you will be out the whole day trekking or do sunbathing at the beach, make sure to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun.

Sun protection kit – carry a kit for sun protection such as sunglasses with UV protection, arm sleeves with UV protection (optional), umbrella, and sun hat, sunscreen lotion SPF 30-50

a. Broad-spectrum zinc oxide sunscreen

1. When buying a sunscreen, consider checking the ingredients and avoid these PABA, Paraben, Phthalates, Fragrances, Dyes, Retinyl palmitate, Octinoxate, and Oxybenzone. It’s not only harmful to our skin, hormone, but aquatic life too!
2. Ingredients such as Titanium oxide and Zinc oxide are considered safe and reef-friendly.
3. Check SPF values (SPF 30-50 is safe). If greater than 50, it is misleading and can cause overexposure to UVA rays according to EWG
4. When to apply? Every day, 30 minutes before going outdoors. Then reapply every two hours.
5. You can check EWG for the best beach and sport sunscreen that meets their criteria.
6. Avoid using Combination Sunscreen-Insect Repellent Products. You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours, which overexpose your skin to chemicals in repellent.

b. DEET-free mosquito repellant

DEET is considered a gold standard for all repellents. According to the study, the protection can last for 360 minutes. However, it has an unpleasant smell and can cause neurotoxicity.

It’s important to use a repellent while traveling, doing outdoor activities, or camping, especially during the rainy season. Apply repellent on exposed skin, except on open wounds. Wash your hand after application and before drinking or eating.

DEET-free mosquito repellent that works best against Aedes mosquitoes, Culex mosquitoes, and Deer tick contains Picaridin 20% such as SAWYER brand or contains Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus 30% such as REPEL brand.

8. Stay connected with nature

Mental health is as important as our physical health. Do you know that connecting to nature can make us feel better in many ways? It’s an antidote to stress or depression. As an urban dweller, we lack many things such as forest or beach. But during vacation time, all we want to visit is nature.

For so many reasons, it just feels good to visit natural places! Do you know the science behind it? Let’s talk about it.

a. Grounding or Earthing

Grounding or earthing is one of the natural therapy that helps us reconnect to the earth. Not only that, but it also benefits our health by reducing body inflammation, pain, hormone imbalances, improves our blood circulation, sleeps, and mood. Take note: there are 20+ peer-reviewed research studies on the science behind grounding.

Think for a minute how our modern lifestyle disconnects us from the earth. We’ve been wearing shoes with insulated synthetic soles, sleep on a mattress, work inside a building, live in a condominium, and have been excessively using gadgets.

Our modern life has brought a host of medical conditions associated with chronic inflammation according to Dr. Sinatra. That’s why it’s good to do grounding, especially when we are traveling.

How does grounding works?

By standing barefoot on the grass/ soil/ beach sand for 15 minutes, you are electrically charging up with electrons. This is to keep your body’s energy field and electrical charges balanced.

Other ways to do grounding?

Pet a furry animal, walk barefoot on the beach or grass, explore a national park barefoot if possible, go to a spa retreat with a mudbath or mineral bath. There are many ways to do grounding by exposing your skin to nature.

Don’t go barefoot when you have an open wound. It’s self-explanatory!

Do you feel inspired to do grounding? I suggest you watch a documentary called The Earthing movie to give you more idea about it!

b. Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is immersing yourself with nature by using all your senses. This practice began in Japan back in the 1980s called Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. No actual bathing is required. It’s about spending mindful time in nature that is beneficial to your mind and body.

Take a walk in the forest. Listen to the chirping birds, sound of streams, swaying trees, whisper of air, smell the freshly bloomed flowers, and observe the colors and patterns of marvelous trees. Take it slow and breathe deeply. You can also do mindful meditation under a tree.

A chemical released by trees and plants into the air called phytoncides, when inhaled, can actually help boost your immune system.

We are constantly exposed to stressors around us, whether at home or work, but when we travel and do outdoor activities, it feels good right? It decreases cortisol (stress hormone) levels!

A simple way to do this if you are in an urban setting is to visit a nearby park. Sitting on the grass and removing your shoes for at least 20 minutes can help destress you out!

c. Sunshine vitamin

Sunshine vitamin is also known as Vitamin D and is essential to our health. It lowers the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders, autoimmune diseases, and even depression. Sun exposure tends to increase the brain’s release of serotonin (mood stabilizer). That’s why it’s good to expose yourself to the sun. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on!

When is the best time to expose yourself to the sun?
Before 10 am and after 2 pm for at least 10-15 minutes daily.

These natural therapies are simple and free! So next time you go outdoor, try these! It’s one way to stay healthy while traveling!

9. Sleep well

Tips to have a good sleep while traveling

In reality, when you are having a short vacay. You are so excited that you can’t even sleep well! Thinking you might miss your flight! And by the time you land, you experienced fatigue or exhaustion and can’t enjoy the first day of your trip. It’s all because of not having enough sleep.

From my experience, I have no problem sleeping in any public transportations such as a van, bus, train even on a plane. I think I master the art of sleeping as I commute in Manila, Philippines for almost of my life! Haha! I calculate the distance, and I sleep well throughout my journey.

Tips to have a good sleep while traveling

  1. Be sure to get enough sleep and rest before your vacation, especially if you are crossing time zones. It disrupts the circadian rhythm of the body.
  2. After taking a tour, take a nap to give you a quick boost.
  3. You can download Timeshifter – The Jet Lag app if you are a frequent flyer, this will help you schedule your caffeine intake, sleep, give pre-flight and post-flight recommendations.
  4. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep, which will make you more energy during the day.
  5. Avoid excess alcohol or caffeine at night. Alcohol can make you feel drowsy, but it also makes you feel tired when you wake up.
  6. Carry a sleeping kit – earplug, eye mask, neck pillow, lavender oil, and a blanket that can make you feel comfortable sleeping while traveling.
  7. Choose a hotel room wisely and review! Stay in a hotel room away from the elevator, vending machine, and ice dispenser. Make sure to check if there’s a thick and heavy curtain inside the room to keep the light out. Check the AC if working well, especially if you are in a hot place (Avoid staying at the highest level of the hotel, it’s hotter in there!)
  8. Silent your phone notification before you go to bed to avoid disturbances.
  9. Wear a blue/green blocker at night when using a phone or laptop. Use Kindle paperwhite for reading at night.
  10. Just in case you tried it all and you still can’t sleep. Take melatonin supplements to help reset the sleep-wake cycle. A general recommendation is 0.3 milligrams to 1 milligram taken several hours before bedtime.


Dr. RuviSleep as much as you can on the plane and set time to the final destination, even before leaving the country of origin. I use aromatherapy (Lavender essential oil, Peace & Calming essential oil blend) & energizing antioxidants to combat jet lag.

Mr. JacksonExposure to daylight is a must if possible, it helps your body to adjust.

10. Stay fit

When traveling, it is important to keep your body ready for any activities you plan to do whether going for a hike or city tour. Your body needs to be physically fit. Here’s some ways to make you stay fit while traveling:


There are basic yoga poses you can do while traveling. It helps you relax, alleviate those tensed muscles, reminds you to breathe, and boost your energy. You can do it inside your room, park or join yoga classes.

Physical Activities

Spending time outdoor doesn’t only make us feel good mentally, boost our immunity, but keeps us physically fit too.

By doing outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, trekking, swimming, biking, or running on a trail can improve your cardiovascular system, flexibility, and muscular endurance. You also enjoy a goodnight’s sleep and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

If you are not a big fan of outdoor sports, check out your hotel if there’s a gym or nearby local gym so you can continue your routine even while traveling.

Walking tours

Explore the city by joining a walking tour whenever you go! You will not only learn about history, interact with other travelers, but it’s a great way to exercise, and it’s also sustainable.

After doing physical activities or walking tours, take a rest, and pamper yourself by having a full body massage. Oh so relaxing!

11. Carry a First aid kit with COVID protection

Carry a first aid kit with COVID protection while traveling

Always carry a first aid kit and over the counter medicines. You never know when accidents or injuries will happen.

Personal experience:

One time, I had paronychia (nailbed infection) after cleaning a window with a rusted nail. It was painful! I was advised to take antibiotics and get a tetanus shot. After 3 days of throbbing pain, I decided to slide the surgical blade laid flat on top of the nail under the cuticle to drain the pus. Clean it with antiseptic for 4 days until it fully recovered.

  1. Wound cleaning kit
    4 x 4 Gauze, micropore, clean gloves, betadine, hydrogen peroxide, band-aid, cotton balls, syringe, and cotton buds.
  2. Topical Ointment
    Triple antibiotic ointment, Hydrocortisone cream, anti-fungal ointment.
  3. COVID Protection – a Face mask, Face shield (optional), fragrance-free alcohol hand sanitizer.
  4. Digital thermometer – To check your temperature if you have a fever. 36.1oC – 37.5oC is the normal range of body temperature.
  5. Over the counter medicines
    Travelers should always carry a medicine kit. You never know when you get sick.
Over-the-counter medicines you can use for common travel ailments and stay healthy while traveling.
Over-the-counter medicines you can pack for travel

Meet Integrative Doctor and TCM mentor

It’s good to have mentors who you can call anytime you needed help. I’m glad to share their recommendations on how to stay healthy while traveling!

Lady Ruvi Tagulao, M.D.

Dr. Ruvi or Doktora Lady as some call her is an experienced physician in the field of Integrative Medicine. She has extensive knowledge of the holistic treatment of patients by integrating conventional medicine with naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, homotoxicology, orthomolecular medicine, and European Biological Medicine.
Dr. Ruvi is a well-regarded speaker on health and wellness, a regular health expert on TV and radio in the Philippines.
👉You can follow her Instagram account and email her via [email protected]

Mr. Jackson Tan

Mr. Jackson is an Acupuncturist and movement specialist. His practice mainly involves using acupuncture needles and movement to complement treatment received by patients suffering from movement deficits, especially those suffering from neurologic problems. He is a Lecturer/Trainer in INAM (Integrative Integrative Medicine for Alternative Healthcare Systems) Philippines. One of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer of the Philippine Academy of Acupuncture, Inc. in the Philippines.
👉 You can get in touch with him at INAM Philipines
#82 Malakas St., Pinyahan, Quezon City


As a traveler, it’s best to listen to our bodies as part of our self-care routine.

Most of these remedies are easy to follow, and it’s mostly natural to keep our immunity working!

I hope you learned something from this post!

Comment below if you have any other tips on how to stay healthy while traveling! Share it here! 😍

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Jonah Estanislao-Motati

Hey I’m Jonah, a nurse from the Philippines who has a unique passion for uncovering food origins while traveling. As a food enthusiast and eco-conscious traveler, I go deep into the culinary traditions of each destination, seeking out the stories behind the ingredients and dishes. Join me as I uncovers the rich tapestry of food origins, from local markets to sustainable farms, and share captivating discoveries. Be inspired to embark on a gastronomic adventure that connects you with the cultural heritage and sustainable practices of each place you visit.

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