While there are a multitude of items that you could consider adding to an essential oil travel kit, below are a few items to help get you started.
Sunburn - The best way to treat sunburn is to avoid getting it in the first place. If you plan on spending more than 15 minutes in the sun, wear appropriate clothing and/or an appropriate sunscreen.
If you do get sunburned, the Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide, by D. Gary Young, recommends applying 1-3 drops of neat or diluted (50-50) lavender or balsam fir oils on location for minor first-degree burns to help cool the tissue and reduce inflammation (pg. 298-299).
General Insect Repellants - According to Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, lemongrass and citronella are great oils to use to keep insects out of the room. She recommends either diffusing these oils, or placing ribbons or strings with the oils on them by windows, doorways, or other places that insects might like to enter. To keep insects from landing on you, she recommends using 30 drops lavender oil diluted in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
In the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, Connie and Alan Higley recommend using a blend of 5 drops lavender, 5 drops lemongrass, 3 drops peppermint, and 1 drop thyme blended with a cup of water and sprayed on to help keep bugs away (Valerie Ann Worwood also recommends a blend using these same oils, but with different proportions). The Higleys also recommend basil, bergamot, cedarwood, and a blend of clove, lemon and orange as other insect-repelling oils.
One suggestion Valerie Ann Worwood gives for keeping ants out of your house is to place peppermint oil at places where ants are coming into your house, or spraying peppermint oil where the ants walk. Other authors suggest that most mint oils are effective for repelling ants.
Mosquitoes - According to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Aromatherapy: Soothing - Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate, and Heal, basil, cedarwood, citronella, geranium, juniper, and rosemary can all be effective for keeping mosquitoes away. She mentions in her book that her son will soak strips of cloth in a blend of citronella and geranium essential oils mixed with a vegetable oil base. He then ties the strips to trees around his camping site to successfully keep mosquitoes away.
Poisonous Plants - Accidentally running into poison oak or poison ivy while outdoors is not very fun. In the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, Connie and Alan Higley recommend lavender, Roman chamomile, rose, rosewood, and palmarosa oils for helping to deal with the after-effects of poison ivy if you do run into it (pg. 476).
Car Travel - Taking Aromatherapy With You in the Car
Since space is limited, and things can easily become lost under a seat or in the clutter that inevitably happens during long car trips (especially on trips with small children), a little organization and planning can help keep your essential oil necessities accessible and ready to use the moment they are needed.
To keep them handy, you can:
Place a few essential oils you may use in the car in 5/8 dram vials. Put these small vials in a small zip-top bag or small padded case. Keep this bag or case in the glove-compartment or in a convenient dashboard tray, seat pocket, or cup-holder for quick and easy access.
Make several types of wipes or tissues and place them in small, zip-top bags, labeled with what they are. Place all of the smaller bags in a larger zip-top bag and place this in the glove-compartment, or a convenient seat pocket where they can be easily accessed.
Make a car diffuser, or use a commercially available car diffuser to diffuse different oils throughout your trip.
Keeping the constant vigilance needed to safely drive and arrive at your destination requires an alert mind. According to the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, by Connie and Alan Higley, basil, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils applied to the temples and bottoms of feet can help with alertness. Diffusing invigorating oils such as these in the car can also help. Carol Schiller and David Schiller also recommend in their book, 500 Formulas for Aromatherapy, using small 4 oz. spray bottles with an invigorating blend of essential oils (such as 110 drops peppermint, 35 drops cinnamon, 35 drops lime, and 20 drops patchouli in 4 oz. of water) to mist in the car to help keep the driver alert (being careful not to spray this mixture around the eyes) (pg. 86). If the driver is feeling very tired, they should stop driving and take a break.
In order to help alleviate the motion sickness that many people experience during car trips, Kurt Schnaubelt recommends using a drop of peppermint oil placed on a sugar cube and then eaten. He also recommends scenting the air in the car with a few drops of peppermint to lengthen the stomach-calming effect of the peppermint oil (Advanced Aromatherapy, pg. 104). It can also help to keep looking outside, to open a window to get fresh air into the car, or to close your eyes until the feelings of sickness subside.
Staying Cool and Refreshed
While traveling during the summer months, especially when the car has been parked in the hot sun for a while, even a good air conditioner in the car doesn?t always work fast enough to keep you cool. Several essential oils that have a cooling effect include angelica, citrus oils, eucalyptus, lavender, melaleuca, mountain savory, peppermint, Roman chamomile, and spruce (Reference Guide for Essential Oils, pg. 388). Diffuse these oils in the car, place a few drops in a small spray bottle filled with water to spray in the car (being careful not to spray close to people?s eyes), or create your own cooling wipes to use on the skin.
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Keeping Children Busy and Calm
Those who have traveled with young children know that it can be challenging keeping their attention focused on things other than how long and boring it is sitting in the same position for so long. Books, travel games, and portable video players are often used to help alleviate this boredom, but activities such as these that keep eyes focused on one spot inside the car can often lead to feelings of car sickness in many people. Some activities that can help keep young eyes focused outside the car and thinking about other things include:
When traveling through areas where animals are likely to be seen, offer small rewards for the first person to see a certain type of animal. You can also offer a reward to the person who sees the most varieties of animals.
When traveling through areas where there are many signs, try to find each letter of the alphabet in order. You can let children work together to see how fast they can complete the alphabet, or compete against each other to see who can complete their alphabet first.
This classic game works great when traveling through areas where there are many different things to see, but doesn't work so well when traveling through areas where everything is the same (like through a forest or through wheat fields). To play this game, have one player choose an object they see outside the car, then give a clue such as, "I spy something that is red." The other players then try to guess what the object is. The player who first correctly guesses the object gets to choose the next object.
This variation of a classic memory game works well when there are a variety of objects to see outside the car. To play, the first player chooses an object outside the car (such as a tree), then says, "On the way to (wherever you are going), I saw a tree (or whatever object they saw)". The next player then adds a different object that they see by saying, "On the way to Kalamazoo, I saw a tree, and a rock". Players continue to add to the list, saying each object on the list in the correct order, until one person makes a mistake. That person is out, and play continues until all players have been eliminated (or you can choose to start over as soon as one person makes a mistake).
Make simple bingo cards using objects likely to be seen on a car trip (such as a telephone pole, semi-truck, police car, tree, house, train tracks, etc.) in each of the squares. Have the children mark off each item when they see it. Offer small rewards to those who get bingo, or complete their entire card.Other activities to divert young minds can include singing favorite songs, talking about what their favorite things are (favorite animal, food, movie, etc.), counting objects outside the car (such as trucks, cows, trees, etc.), or taking a nap.
If children are having a hard time calming down in the car, some essential oils that can help include lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, myrrh, onycha (benzoin), tangerine, western red cedar, and ylang ylang. These oils can be used in a massage oil, a wipe, or in a personal inhaler.
Air Travel - Taking Aromatherapy With You on the Plane
Taking your essential oils with you on a plane is not as simple as it once was. Since 2006, when liquids on-board a flight first became known as a possible threat to passenger safety, government agencies at first banned all liquids to be carried on board planes, and then relaxed their restrictions slightly to allow for small amounts of liquids to be carried on a flight (there are still no restrictions on carrying previously permitted liquids in checked baggage, just in items carried on-board a plane).
The easiest way to take aromatherapy with you on-board a flight currently is to avoid these restrictions altogether and to just take essential oils that have already been absorbed into a tissue, wipe, handkerchief, cotton ball, wick, or a decorative clay or terra-cotta pendant, where they can be taken out and inhaled or used to wipe down a surface as needed. If you still do want to carry the essential oils or other liquids on the flight with you, it is best if you know the rules.
Carrying Liquids on U.S. Flights (3-1-1 Rule)
In the United States, the TSA has currently imposed what it calls the 3-1-1 rule for carrying liquids on board an airplane with you. Simply put, this rule states that all liquids must be in containers that hold 3 liquid ounces or less, all containers with liquids being carried on must be contained in 1 closed zip-top plastic bag that is 1-quart (or less) in size. That zip-top bag must also be pulled out of carry-on bags to be screened separately when going through security. This rule covers any type of liquid, lotion, paste, cream, or gel. This rule does make a few exceptions for baby and medical supplies (see www.tsa.gov for more details on exemptions to this rule), but pretty much covers any type of essential oil, massage oil, liquid soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, beverage, liquid or gelled food (such as jams and cake frosting), and even gel shoe inserts.
If you dont want to check your baggage, or desire to keep your essential oils or other liquids with you on board the plane, you may wish to condense these liquids into smaller glass or plastic containers in order to maximize the variety of liquid items you can carry with you. A few ways for doing this include:
Place essential oils in smaller 5 ml, or 5/8 dram glass vials, using larger containers for oils you will use more often.
Place lotions, soaps, shampoo, conditioners, and other personal care liquids, creams, and gels in smaller 1 oz. or 2 oz. containers.
To bring a small amount of toothpaste with you, squeeze the desired amount of toothpaste into the corner of a small sandwich bag, and then twist the bag closed just above the toothpaste, and use a twist-tie or tie the bag in a knot to secure. Cut or tear the tip of the corner where the toothpaste is to squeeze the toothpaste out when needed.
Dealing With Pressurized Cabin Air
The pressurized air that is re-cycled through an airplane cabin can often feel stale and dry, and can intensify any feelings of airsickness that may arise. To help counteract these effects, try bringing either a small spray bottle with water and a few drops of peppermint oil to mist the air around you, or make your own moisturizing wipes to wipe down your face, neck, and arms.
According to the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, by Connie and Alan Higley, ginger, nutmeg, peppermint, and spearmint essential oils applied to the feet, temples, and wrists can all be effective at counteracting the feelings of motion sickness that can arise on flights. Inhaling the scent of peppermint oil from a tissue, inhaler, or aromatic pendant can also help calm feelings of nausea.
Disinfecting/Sanitizing (seats, luggage handles, etc.)
As with any situation where many people share a confined space, there is always a much higher probability of coming in contact with other people?s germs while you are flying. The most likely places you will come in contact with these germs will be places other?s hands have touched, such as on armrests, trays, in-flight literature, lavatory handles, seatbelts, call buttons, and luggage handles. For a quick disinfecting, wipes that have been pre-prepared with an anti-microbial oil or oil blend can be used to wipe down areas you will likely be touching constantly, or to wipe off and disinfect your hands before eating or touching your face.
Sitting in a confined place for a long time can often be trying for young children. To help them calm down, Valerie Worwood recommends in her book, The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, using a massage oil made with 15 drops of chamomile in 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil. Massage a small amount on the child's legs and feet. Other oils that are good for calming include lavender, cedarwood, jasmine, onycha (benzoin), and ylang ylang.
Traveling Internationally - Taking Aromatherapy With You Abroad
While most countries will allow you to bring essential oils with you into the country, there may be some countries that restrict or impose duties on items you bring into the country with you (especially if you plan on selling them). For tips and information for those in the U.S. on traveling to specific countries, visit http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html . To learn more about what you can and can't bring into the U.S., you may also want to read the following brochure (pdf format): http://www.customs.gov/linkhandler/cgov/toolbox/publications/travel/knowbeforeyougo.ctt/knowbeforeyougo.pdf . Many other countries also have international travel information specific for their country posted on the internet.
As anyone who has ever caught a nasty intestinal bug during a trip abroad can tell you, you should always be aware that a sanitary water supply may not be readily available in many countries you may visit. Most experienced international travelers make it a habit to only drink bottled water and beverages any time they are visiting a country with a water supply that hasn't been purified (and many make it a habit even in countries where it has been purified). Less obvious sources of contaminated water can be ice or foods that have been washed or prepared using regular water (including fresh fruits or vegetables).
Any time you suddenly switch your diet, such as when you travel to a different country, it can take the body a while to adjust to the new foods. It is common to feel feelings of indigestion during this time of adjustment. Some essential oils that can help with minor indigestion include peppermint, ginger, cumin, angelica, lavender, nutmeg, and valerian.
It is also usually wise to avoid eating foods from street vendors or restaurants where the foods may not have been kept or prepared in sanitary conditions.
At the Hotel - Sanitizing/Disinfecting
No matter how clean the toilet looks at the hotel you are staying at, there is no guarantee that it isn?t really hiding some germ determined to ruin your trip. To be safe, you may wish to spray the seat with a spray, or wipe it off with a wipe containing an anti-microbial essential oil or blend before using it.
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Peppermint (cooling, indigestion, motion sickness)
Lavender (sunburn, calming, insect repellant, the "all-purpose" oil)
Lemon (disinfecting, purifying, uplifting)
Citronella (Purification) or Lemongrass (bug repellant)
Eucalyptus (cooling, good for respiratory problems)
Thieves or a similar anti-microbial oil or blend (for disinfecting surfaces or the air)
Carrier Oil (a vegetable or nut oil for diluting essential oils, or for making massage oils)
Wipes (use commercially available or make your own natural essential oil wipes for disinfecting surfaces, cleaning messes, or to cool and refresh the skin)
Tissues, Inhalers or Pendants (for carrying different scents of oils with you to inhale)
Small Spray Bottles (containing water mixed with essential oils for disinfecting, air freshening, or insect repellants)
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