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Traveling is hard on the body, but road-tripping with a stash of essential oils can keep you alert and feeling your best.

Logging endless miles on asphalt and eating less-than-ideal food, can make us queasy and cranky. For most of us, being away from the comforts of home (unless your van is your home) causes the most stress.

Traveling, whether by van or plane, can leave the most intrepid adventurer frazzled. And If you’re committed to a healthful lifestyle, honoring this can be difficult while trotting around the nation or the globe.

To keep your mind and body alert, you need to travel with a team of tiny helpers. Fortunately, Mother Nature offers the perfect additions for the natural traveler’s first aid kit. Essential oils, available at your natural grocer or online, are portable and easy to use for a variety of travel ills.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are not actually oils; they are the plant’s distilled aromatic properties. These botanical extracts can bring fast relief for headaches, tummy discomfort, and insomnia—without the nasty side effects of pharmaceuticals.

With their distinct fragrances, essential oils work on a cellular level, and, because our olfactory sense is most associated with memory, on an emotional level, too. This makes essential oils a holistic option for common complaints that afflict the human body and psyche.

So, what essential oils should you pack when packing space is limited?

I take an arsenal of oils on my journeys, but three of the most useful essential oils for travelers are lavender, peppermint, and tea tree. Pack these three along with a small bottle of sweet almond oil or grape seed oil—the perfect blending, or carrier, oils for self-massage, and you have a potent plant pharmacy ready when you need it.

The following is general information for using essential oils. These guidelines are not intended to replace a physician’s or health practitioner’s advice, so seek a professional’s counsel for any and all medical issues. [As an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.]

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Traditionally used in perfume, lavender essential oil is useful in a variety of applications. Lavender is considered by most to be the only essential oil safe to apply directly to skin. With its calming scent, lavender is often used as an inhalant for anxiety, stress, migraines, and insomnia. Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, lavender can be applied to insect bites and mild burns. Mix with oil as a massage balm for sore muscles and joints.

Traveler’s bonus tip: Soak cotton balls or reusable cotton pads with lavender essential oil. Store lavender-scented cotton in a sealed plastic bag and use to de-stink smelly hotel rooms and walking shoes!

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Peppermint essential oil has a strong clean aroma. Regarded for its digestion-soothing properties, peppermint is my go-to tummy-tamer. Sip a few drops of pure organic peppermint essential oil in a glass of  water to calm the effects of spicy food.

Peppermint essential oil is also purported to increase mental clarity and concentration.

Traveler’s bonus tip: Rise and shine! Add several drops to your shower for an uplifting start to your day.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia): Aromatic tea tree oil is highly regarded for its wide range of uses. While tea tree oil is reputed to support the immune system, it’s mostly used for skin ailments. According to Young Living Essential Oils, tea tree oil can be applied directly, but they caution those with sensitive skin to dilute before using. Use tea tree oil as an inhalant for migraines and sinus stuffiness.

Traveler’s bonus tip: Tea tree is the zit zapper! Be sure your skin doesn’t have an adverse reaction (try a drop on your inner arm). If you can handle it, use a clean cotton swab and apply to the outbreak. If tea tree is too harsh, lavender oil can be applied to blemishes.

Essential oils for travelers are the natural choice for everyday ailments. Ditch the chemicals and stock your travel bag with nature’s remedies. Your skin and the environment will thank you.

( is a great resource for additional information about essential oils and their uses).