Flying? Don't Board Without These 9 Germ-Fighting Essentials
Ted O’Donnell for Tuula Vintage
While there’s plenty of excitement to be had about jetting off to a far-away destination, boarding a plane can bring its fair share of woes. Who knows when those seats were last sanitized, and sitting in a closed cabin while inhaling recycled air is a veritable germ cocktail. It’s also no mystery that traveling above 30,000 feet can cause several side effects. Since we don’t want you to get sick or, worse, compromise your wanderlust, we’ve compiled a complete survival kit chock-full of healthy and effective essentials that will keep you well en route. From an invigorating oil dedicated to aiding your body with the altitude adjustment (which can be comparable to sitting on the top of a mountain for the duration of your flight) to TSA-approved, plant-based products devised specifically to kill germs without altering the air quality of the cabin, these travel companions promise a smooth landing. Shop the best germ-killing, health-promoting products for airplane travel—just in time for your Memorial Day getaway!
Studies have concluded that the higher-altitude environment combined with the extra-dry cabin conditions can make for an easier spread of viruses and illnesses among passengers. That and the fatigue associated with air travel leave your body at odds with fighting off infections. You’ll give yourself the best chance at staying germ-free by frequently washing your hands and avoiding contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth. But it also helps to sanitize your immediate surroundings with natural, chemical-free solutions that will kill off any lingering germs.
Murchison-Hume Travel Essentials Kit ($32)
Remove germs and the stench of stale air with Murchison-Hume’s convenient carry-on travel kit, which comes with four travel-size bottles that will become your new best friends. Use the Travel Surface Spray to wipe down your tray table, seat belt buckle, and anything else you’ll come in contact with. Then take the Everything Soap to the bathroom to wash your hands (or socks, or hair). Spray down your handbag after its time spent on the stained carpet with the Bag Butler Leather Spray, and combat spills on the spot with the Garment Groom Spray. Each product is made from all-natural, plant-based ingredients that work to keep you safe from harm and will also have you smelling deliciously fresh thanks to the Australian white grapefruit scent.
CleanWell Natural Hand Sanitizer ($3)
Keep a natural, nontoxic hand sanitizer in your bag at all times to give yourself a spritz before eating a snack or touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. It’s also nice to have in your pocket when a nearby traveler is coughing or sneezing, and it will save you from making several trips to the germ-filled lavatory to wash your hands.
Stall Mates Portable, Flushable Hypoallergenic Travel Wipes ($10)
Flights turn around pretty quickly and are usually packed, so you can imagine how many passengers have occupied your seat before you. Take extra precaution by wiping down the leather cushion, headrest, armrests, and any other surfaces you’ll be using midair with Stall Mates wet wipes. They come wrapped in individual packets, which make them perfect for travel. Plus, they’re eco-friendly and hypoallergenic, so you can also wipe down your face or body as well as the bathroom faucet.
Dr. Bronner Lavender Pure Castile Liquid Soap ($3)
Research suggests that an average of 50 people use the lavatory each flight, making the bathroom—especially doorknob—a breeding ground for bacteria. You can’t always be sure airline soap will suffice, so BYO travel bottle, like Dr. Bronner’s natural castile soap, which kills germs and guarantees a proper handwashing when you need it. To keep yourself germ-free after you wash, use a paper towel to open the bathroom door when you exit.
Why does flying dehydrate you? Airplane filtration systems drop the humidity down to 10% to 20% (we’re used to a comfortable 30% and 65% on the ground), which sucks the moisture out of your body. Help yourself out with fluids and moisturizers during the flight, and as tempting as it is, avoid alcohol, which will dehydrate you even more than the flight itself.
de Mamiel Altitude Oil ($28)
Inhaling just a few whiffs of this elixir (we think of it more like a magic potion) will help clear your air passage and protect you from bacteria and bugs floating around you on the flight. The oil also works to calm your mind, soothe your nerves, and naturally boost your immune system so you’ll feel your best when touching down at your final destination.
One Love Organics Multi-Tasking Skin Savior Balm ($49)
One of the key indicators of just how dehydrating a plane flight can be is what happens to your skin in the sky. Parched, chapped lips and a dry, itchy sensation all over your face are par for the flight course. Don’t let the poor air quality affect you; rather, plan ahead by lathering your skin with a healthy coat of moisturizer to keep your outer layer protected and hydrated. One Love Organics Skin Savior is especially nurturing for dry skin and is made with all-natural ingredients that work to hydrate and heal in even the harshest conditions.
Bkr Wren Water Bottle 500 mL ($35)
The best way to stay hydrated and healthy during your flight is by drinking more than enough water. It’s easy to accomplish when traveling with a water bottle that you can refill over and over again and that also affords you constant access to fluids during the flight. Don’t wait on a tiny cup from the beverage cart—instead, refill and drink as much as you can from the airport water station. We suggest carrying Bkr’s glass bottles, which are protected by a rubber coat, making them safe for travel.
A less publicized peril of air travel is how much the time change plus hours in a cramped seated position can throw your body out of whack. Fortunately, there are natural supplements that can help your body function properly despite the less-than-desirable conditions during a long-haul flight. Just be sure to check with your doctor before making any changes to your regular diet.
Natural Vitality Natural Calm The Anti-Stress Drink Travel Packets ($25)
Natural Calm’s magnesium travel packets are a must-have in your carry-on, as the mineral works to naturally relieve stress by ensuring your muscles and nerves function properly. Magnesium is also a natural sleep aid, which makes it the perfect companion for overnight flights, and can help relieve the tension of muscle spasms and cramps, which are inevitable after hours in a stationary position. As we know, it’s harder to go on the go, which is why you can also rely on magnesium to help keep things regular as you travel to unfamiliar territory. Mix a teaspoon with your water or juice and let Natural Calm work its magic during the flight.
Urban Moonshine Travel Size Original Bitters ($8)
Flying also interrupts your meal schedule during a travel day, potentially throwing off your digestive system. Keep Original Bitters on hand to curb sugar cravings, help soothe digestion, and balance your appetite as you adjust to the meal-time changes and even the unsettling cuisine offered in the air.
What are your go-to travel essentials?