I went to Marrakech in search of magic

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Best essential oils for flights and travel
Photo: Christin Hume/Unsplash
Air Travel

Essential oils will solve all your in-flight problems

Anxiety, headaches, the smell of feet....

by Amanda Batista | 02.08.2019

I once sat next to a woman on a plane who whipped out an entire and complete essential oil kit mid-flight and started dabbing herself with no less than six of her various potions. At first I thought she was nuts…but before long, I appreciated getting a whiff of something on an airplane that didn’t smell like hot dogs or feet.

After that encounter, I began filling my TSA-approved liquids bag with soothing scents, testing out different options for flying (and beyond). Fast forward to the present and I’m now that girl who fills up the cabin air with all-natural fragrances that help with everything from calming my nerves to relieving a throbbing headache.

Not only do studies back me up on the power of essential oils, but so do the pros. “The aromatics affect both the mind and the body,” explains Amy Anthony, a teacher at the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies. It’s not just spa vibes that are the main benefit of essential oils, she notes. “As a group, the aromatics are antibacterial—and some are also antifungal and antiviral. So overall, being with any kind of essential oil is helpful from an immune-supporting perspective.”

Not only do studies back me up on the power of essential oils, but so do the pros.

The biggest thing I’ve learned? A little goes a long way for your well-being, so don’t go overboard.

And don’t quickly stash away your essential oils when you land. “We often need grounding from all of that movement—being in the air and out of your normal routine. So turn to grounding oils to help settle the mind and body,” says Anthony, adding, “Be literal about it: Make a blend to put into a roller ball [bottle] and apply it to the bottoms of your feet once you settle into the place you’re staying.”

Staying grounded while traveling? That’s high on my wellness priority list (thanks to my former seatmate)—and possible with just a few carefully selected essential oil blends.

Here are my in-transit-tested favorites:

To chill out: Neal’s Yard Travel Remedies To Roll

This is the OG that’s been a part of my travel routine since I decided to move abroad six years ago. I use this as soon as I’ve sat down, stowed my carry-on, and fastened my seatbelt. It’s my signal to relax and enjoy the flight (thanks to the mostly organic blend of scents like rosemary, lavender, and frankincense). I roll it on my wrist and take a few little breaths to get in the flight zone.

To clear the mind: De Mamiel Altitude Oil

Although the entire range of de Mamiel products is honestly divine, this product’s name says it all: The blend of lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and more help me stay calm and clear-headed during the longest of flights. And even better, most of the ingredients are organic. The brand recommends adding a few drops on a tissue or dabbing a drop under each nostril for instant ahhhhh.

To ward off germs: Nectar Essences Breathe Me in Decongest, Immunity

Because airplanes are total germ tubes, I don’t do well when anyone within three rows of me is hacking, sneezing, coughing, blowing their nose, etc. (Look, I’ve been there—I flew from Bangkok to New York with a whammy of a head cold, and it was not fun.) Whether you’re trying to avoid getting sick or are battling something while you travel, this little baby is a strong solution.

The key ingredients? Eucalyptus, cypress, silver fir, and more, which Anthony notes are all respiratory system all-stars. (Bonus: They’re also mostly organically sourced.) My favorite thing to do is put a drop or two on my scarf, wrap the scarf around my face, and sit there in my very own decongestant aromatherapy spa in the sky.

To relieve a headache: Kanya Crown & Third Eye Chakra Essential Oil Blend

I learned about this new boutique brand while battling an epic travel headache. I had just landed and, with an afternoon to take care of myself, booked a massage in a spa that used this range exclusively. Between the crown chakra-focused massage and this magic bottle, I was completely cured afterwards. During a flight, lots of hot liquids and a self-massage using this blend (featuring frankincense, holy basil, myrrh, and lavender) is my antidote to even the hint of a headache.

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