How to Go on Vacations While Avoiding Toxins

For anyone who’s concerned about toxins and the effect that they have on the body, traveling involves an extra layer of stress. In your home, you can control exactly what products you use and how you eat. But when you’re in an airport, on a plane or a train or staying at a resort, your health is in the hands of those preparing your food and taking care of the space you inhabit. This doesn’t mean that your health is totally out of your hands, however. It is possible to take a few precautionary steps to avoid toxins.

Are you planning a family vacation this spring or summer? If so, you should be well aware of these methods to avoid toxins while you’re traveling and enjoying your vacation. Keep reading to learn how to keep toxins out of the air you breathe, out of the food you eat and out of the water you drink, even when you’re trapped in an airport waiting for a connecting flight or weaving through the streets of an international city. It’ll make getting to your destination a little less stressful.

1) Know Your Destination’s Air Quality

If you’re traveling to a major city, in particular, you should take note of the destination’s air quality. Use resources like the WHO Public Health and Environment Outdoor Air Pollution Map or the AIRNow website to determine what the air is like in the location where you’ll be staying. If you still can’t quite put a finger on exactly the pollutants and toxins you may encounter, keep an eye out for signs of breathing distress when you arrive, like wheezing, coughing or headaches and seek medical treatment if necessary.

If you have preexisting conditions that could make it difficult for you to breathe elsewhere in the world, consult with your physician before you plan any travel to a characteristically polluted place. For instance, folks with asthma should make sure that they always have their inhaler on-hand.

Anyone with a pulmonary or respiratory disease should ensure that their doctor is comfortable with them traveling to a place with high levels of pollution. And small children and newborns should avoid these areas altogether.

2) …And Pack Accordingly

More likely than not, you will be able to determine the quality of the air before you leave for vacation. This should provide you with ample time to come up with a game plan. Poor air quality doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to avoid a certain destination (unless you’re afflicted with a breathing condition), just arm yourself against anything that could contaminate your airways. Don a mask that filters the air anytime you step into the smoggy streets, and also wear it on the plane to avoid germs.

3) Skip Plastic Food Containers


Whether you’re planning on grabbing lunch at the airport or packing something from home, make sure you’re thinking about the toxins that could leach into food via the container. Plastic containers are probably the biggest culprits.

Avoid putting your food in plastic containers that could contain problematic components, like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These plastics are made from toxic chemicals that you should never consume. Some even contain lead! Try paper instead.

4) And Aluminum, Too

You might think that you’re safe if you use metal containers as opposed to plastic, but even these can cause issues, depending on the type of metal. If you pack your meals in stainless steel, you shouldn’t encounter any problems, but avoid any aluminum, especially if it bears a #7.

This means it contains bisphenol A (BPA), an element that, in recent years, has been discovered to have potential carcinogenic effects. Avoid aluminum cans when you purchase drinks at the airport, too, in order to steer clear.

5) Buy a BPA-Free Water Bottle

BPA isn’t solely found in metal containers. You might also find that your reusable water bottle contains BPA, as well. Although most companies have long since removed BPA from their water bottles due to the health concerns, double-check that yours is BPA-free.

Even BPA-free water bottles can still contaminate your water with other harmful plastic toxins, so if at all possible, opt for glass water bottles instead. This way, you’ll know you and your family is only drinking pure, toxin-free water while you travel. And given how hard it is to travel with children, you’ll be glad to have one less thing to consider when planning a family vacation

6) Get Some Fresh Air, Go Glamping

If you’re worried about encountering potentially toxic elements while you’re on vacation, there’s one place where they can’t reach you: out in the fresh, open air. So instead of staying in a hotel in the middle of a major city, head outside and try glamping.

What is glamping, exactly? It’s basically a watered-down version of camping for those who love nature, but hate roughing it. There’s no digging of latrines, fishing for food or sleeping in a mosquito-infested tent involved.

When you glamp, you skip the tent and stay in a fully equipped cabin, RV or even a tiny house. It usually involves running water and electricity, including a hot shower and maybe even a full kitchen. With these modern elements, you’ll have a much easier time kicking back and relaxing in Mother Nature. Since sprawling forests and open meadows are right at your door, you can hang outside as much as you like without sacrificing the comforts of home. Plus, toxins won’t be able to reach you deep in the woods!

 Do Your Due Diligence And You’ll Be Much Better Off!

With so many ways to combat toxins even when you’re on vacation, there’s no need to fret about the health effects of getting away for a week. As long as you think ahead and plan well, you’ll have no trouble avoiding the unhealthy aspects of travel. Simply do your due diligence when researching a destination, including air quality, and be as proactive as you can about packing food and drink for your day in the airport. The rest is up to the people who care for you over the course of your travels!


Emily is a sustainability and eco-friendly living blogger. You can see her work on her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter.

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