You've booked your flight and hotel, packed your bags, exchanged currency, checked in, put your passport in a safe place - you're now all set to go on your travel adventures. But before you leave, make sure you've packed these practical items with you, so you don't have to suffer when you're on holiday.
It seems a bit of a no brainer to pack sunscreen but many people still don't. Aside from having some long term side effects (from premature ageing of the skin to cancer) a bad sunburn can really ruin your holiday. There's always the temptation to buy an SPF lotion when you arrive at your destination, but it can be difficult enough to navigate the chemist's shelves in one's own country, let alone in foreign ones, if you don't know which brands are vegan and cruelty free and which aren't. Make sure you set off for your travels all stocked up. Jason does a great sunscreen, Jason Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30. It absorbs easily and being mineral based means it can be used by those with sensitive skin. Green People Sun Lotion SPF15 is also an excellent product which absorbs fast and protects well. Make sure you reapply every few hours and each time you've had a swim.
As lovely as it is to lounge on a beach, sun rays can be very harmful to the skin so remember to pack (and use!) an after sun lotion. BJOBJ does a brilliant one that soothes irritation and hydrates, and aloe vera is also fantastic at soothing and repairing. In my opinion little else works as well on sunburn and you can pick it up in most health shops. Holland and Barrett sell a great one that's helped me in many occasions (I'm prone to sunburns alas, even when wearing SPF factor 50!).
I can't stress enough how important is to have a mosquito repellent. These little guys can turn the holiday of a lifetime into a living hell, especially, if you, like me, are allergic to them (thanks Gods of DNA, by the way!). Sure, you can go natural and pack some citronella and lemongrass essential oils, which may help, but I'd suggest packing a spray too. Trust me you'll need it in hot countries. PROTECT does a good cruelty free one, as does Incognito.
If you've been bitten and are itching like hell, aloe vera works well on bites, but I really love Zap-It! - a tiny, easy to pack device that generates a harmless and mild low electrical impulse to 'zap' the itchiness and soothe the bite in minutes. A really handy gadget to have with you. It costs less than a fiver and it's widely available to buy from chemists, Asda, Amazon and Superdrug.
Going back to those gracious DNA Gods, who on top of a few allergies and intolerances here and there have also gifted me with the weakest stomach in the UK, I know how important is to pack a product to relieve symptoms of indigestion, vomiting or diarrhea. Stomach problems can really ruin a holiday. There's nothing worse than being sick and weak when you are away. In the last few months, after years of taking disgusting gloopy pink concoctions and tablets that didn't do much, I switched to Enterosgel, a taste and smell free gel which is diluted in a little bit of water to bring immediate relief. Because it's a semi-solid gel rather than a liquid, it's great to put in your suitcase without fear of spillage, it works in minutes, it's vegan-friendly and it's also beneficial to those who suffer from food intolerances, bloating and IBS. If you regularly suffer from stomach complaints or are travelling somewhere where the risk of tummy upset is high, make sure you pack some probiotics too, which will help you feel better in no time by repopulating the good bacteria.
Another really useful product to pack is vitamin C, which has natural antihistamine properties. Stinging nettle, which you can buy in capsules, is also good. Of course you could pack antihistamines, which really help with any adverse reactions, being that to the sun, mosquito bites or food, but of course as with all medicines, somewhere down the line they would have been tested on animals. Speak to your chemist, a naturopath or your GP for a natural solution.