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Family Travel Planning Made Easier

The 6 Must-Have Essential Oils for Travel

It never fails, I pack up the car or load up the travel bags and once we’re miles away from home, my son starts sneezing and coughing. And if it doesn’t happen on the trip, it happens soon after we arrive home, having “caught” something while away.

Paying the price for travel by getting sick once we’re home is no fun.

But not anymore.

And we’re no longer sick (for long) while traveling either.

This is all thanks to high-quality essential oils. Our family uses essential oils for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness. The oils we use are grown and extracted to have the highest possible chemical constituents necessary to bring about the desired health effects (also known as therapeutic grade essential oils). We use essential oil blends and single essential oils depending on the desired benefit.

When we travel now, I carry an arsenal of essential oils to combat germs, unwanted bacteria or pathogens, and stomach bugs. I also bring oils to help with sleep, relaxation and energy levels, which I highly recommend if you are traveling overseas or changing time zones. In addition, when trying new foods, oils can combat an upset stomach.

Essential Oils for Travel

Here are my favorite oils and blends that I carry with me while traveling — I “never leave home without” them! It’s great to come back at the end of a day traveling to a room that smells relaxing and welcoming.

Protective Blend: DoTERRA On Guard®

INGREDIENTS: Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils.

WHAT IT DOES: Protects against seasonal and environmental threats


DIFFUSE: During the night while sleeping for immune support; also helps purify the air.

INTERNAL: Be sure your oil blend says “supplement” on the side of the bottle; if not, do not ingest! I take a protective blend supplement when I first notice symptoms. I also take as a pre-emptive strike against environmental threats while traveling.

TOPICAL: Apply one to two drops of the oil to the bottoms of feet. Dilute with a carrier oil to minimize any skin sensitivity. You can also use the blend diluted with fractionated coconut oil in a roller bottle for easy application.

Lavender Essential Oil

WHAT IT DOES: Calms, relaxes, helps with sleep; great for owies when diluted. Lavender is a natural antibacterial agent and is great for insect bites and burns. No one wants to carry a groggy child at the museum to check out that Monet painting you flew 1000’s of miles to see! So getting a good night’s rest is important while traveling.


DIFFUSE: During the night while sleeping for restful sleep.

INTERNAL: Put a few drops in hot water for a lavender tea (or add to your evening tea). Please make sure the brand of oil you are using clearly states that it can be taken internally.

TOPICAL: Apply lavender onto the bottoms of feet at night. You can also put a few drops on the back of your neck, behind your ears and on your pillows and bedding. Massage onto your kids to help them relax before bedtime. A short 5-minute back rub can be an effective way to calm your kids down at the end of the day. Dilute with a carrier oil for skin sensitivity if necessary. You can also use lavender diluted with fractionated coconut oil in a roller bottle for easy application.

Digestive Blend: DoTERRA Digest Zen®

INGREDIENTS: Anise Seed, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Rhizome/Root, Caraway Seed, Coriander Seed, Tarragon Plant, and Fennel Seed essential oils.

WHAT IT DOES: A digestive blend is a wonderful companion to aid in the digestion of food, soothe occasional upset stomachs, and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating.* It is great to have on hand when stomach upset occurs. Internal use of a digestive blend is a healthy, natural, and gentle way to soothe an upset stomach or maintain a healthy digestive system.*


  • Add a few drops to water to take internally.*
  • Rub on the stomach before flying or taking a road trip for a calming aroma.
  • Take this blend internally when traveling or trying new foods to soothe occasional stomach upset.* The company I purchase my oils from also has a digestive blend supplement.
  • Add to water or tea to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract.*
    Take for car sickness.
  • You can take internally or rub on your belly and your throat to help with motion sickness.
  • You can also use a digestive blend roller bottle so you can roll it directly onto kids’ tummies.

Grounding Blend: DoTERRA Balance®

INGREDIENTS: Spruce Leaf, Ho Wood Leaf, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, Blue Chamomile Flower, and Osmanthus Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil.

WHAT IT DOES: A grounding blend creates a sense of calm and well-being. It’s a staple in my car at all times and is great for a road trip.


  • Diffuse in your hotel room or Airbnb as soon as you arrive. A grounding blend will help you and your family to feel at home and relaxed in a new environment.
  • Begin your day by putting this blend on the bottom of your feet to promote feelings of calmness and tranquility throughout the day.
  • A grounding blend is great to use on your hands, feel and back for a short body massage after traveling. Dilute with a carrier oil for massage.
  • Apply to your wrists or neck to help ease anxious feelings.
  • Diffuse in your car during road trips to create a calming, soothing environment.

Peppermint Essential Oil

WHAT IT DOES: Promotes healthy respiratory function and clear breathing*, promotes digestive health when taken internally* and repels bugs naturally. Can freshen breath and be used as a mid-day pick-me-up for tired travelers. This is also a great oil for road trips (see topical application below).


DIFFUSE: Add to your diffuser in the morning for a refreshing scent while getting ready for the day. Kids and hubby will love it! Sometimes I add a drop of Wild Orange oil for a refreshing morning boost. It smells lovely!

INTERNAL: Use a drop of Peppermint with Lemon in water for a healthy, refreshing mouth rinse. Be careful though! A therapeutic grade oil is quite strong. One drop will explode with freshness in your mouth. Take one to two drops in a veggie capsule to alleviate occasional stomach upset.* Be sure whatever brand of oil you are using states clearly on the label that it is suitable for internal use. If not, do not take internally. You can also get Peppermint Beadlets for a tiny but powerful way to freshen breath after a long day of travel or a mid-day pick-me-up.

TOPICAL: A therapeutic grade oil is going to be quite strong. Place a drop in your palms, carefully avoiding your fingertips. Rub your palms together and rub your palms on the back of your neck for a cooling effect. Do not rub your eyes! Cup your hands together afterward and breath in. The fresh scent will awaken your senses. Great for car trips when drivers are getting tired. When you do this, the whole car will smell fresh!

Lemon or Lime Essential Oils

WHAT THEY DO: The cleansing, purifying, and invigorating properties of Lemon oil make it a travel staple. Lemon is a powerful cleansing agent that purifies the air, water, and surfaces. When added to water, Lemon provides a refreshing and healthy boost throughout the day, cleansing your digestive tract.* When diffused, Lemon is very uplifting and energizing and has been shown to help improve mood.


DIFFUSE: A few drops in your diffuser will uplift the mood of the room.

INTERNAL: Carry lemon or lime oil to every restaurant you visit during your travels and add a few drops to water (without ice is preferable). Start with 1-2 drops of oil, but you can add up to 7-8 drops if you like the flavor. You won’t need to add more when a server comes around to refill your glass! Children and adults alike tend to drink more water when flavored with lemon or lime oil. Just be sure to use glass containers, as the oil will pull the toxins out of plastic and into the water.


Traveling with Oils

When I travel, I tuck my oils into my carry on or purse. Remember, oils are a preventative measure as well as an option for when the symptoms first appear. I need them within reach for use at a moment’s notice.

My favorite travel case shown above holds more than enough oils for travel. I’ll squeeze in a few extra oils and roller bottles too.

However, you don’t have to travel with full-sized bottles which are normally 15ml and contain about 300 drops of oil. You can order smaller 2ml-sized bottles and fill them with your favorite oils for shorter trips or smaller families. This tiny case comes with eight 2ml bottles and travels light!

Diffusers are essential when I travel, even for just a night or two. This is my favorite, powerful and compact travel diffuser which fits into your car’s cup holder (making it perfect for road trips!). Traveling light is easy when you only need a USB port to get this puppy going! I’ve tried many portable diffusers over the years. This one is stellar and comes in black or white.



A 15-second Science Lesson

The molecules in essential oils are so small that it only takes 20 minutes for the essential oil to enter into every single cell in your body! This is because our body’s transportation system is ultra-effective. An oil molecule has one goal: to support and regulate our body’s functioning. The chemical composition of the essential oil is what determines if the oil is effective or not. If it’s unadulterated (not mixed or diluted with different or extra elements), it will have a restorative effect on our system.

Not all companies distill and bottle high-grade oils, so be sure to find a company who sells quality products.

Keep in mind, these high-quality, pure essential oils are potent. One drop goes a long way and can be very effective. Use sparingly and with caution, especially on children, and see your doctor first if you have concerns or are taking medications.


The Traveler’s Essential Oil Bracelet

The Family backpack has partnered with Jewelry brand Birdstail Designs to create The Traveler’s Essential Oil Bracelet, made of beautiful, multicolored Moonstone. Moonstone is known as the traveler’s stone and is said to guide travelers by the light of the moon. But it isn’t just about physical travel: Moonstone is said to illuminate the dark pathways in life. The stone possesses uplifting energy of hope and has long been worn by travelers as a talisman of protection and guidance.

This beautiful bracelet allows you to take advantage of the moonstone properties while also using essential oils to relax you during your travels. Add one or two drops of certified therapeutic grade essential oil to the black lava beads and enjoy the diffusing and aromatherapy benefits for up to three days to stay calm, relaxed and protected while traveling the world — or around your city — with your kids.

Purchase The Traveler’s Essential Oil Bracelet here.

Using on Babies and Children

Essential oils should not be given internally to children or used undiluted on children’s skin. Dilute with a carrier oil for skin sensitivity — I recommend fractionated coconut oil. Care should also be taken with any essential oils considered “hot” as they may cause damage to the skin. (Cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme for example.) In general, oils like lavender, chamomile, orange, lemon, and frankincense are considered safe for diluted use on children. Do a skin test first and talk to your doctor before using on children.

With all oils, avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.

Check with your Doctor

At The Family Backpack, we recommend that you check with your doctor first before using essential oils if you have any concerns about yourself or your family or you are taking medication, pregnant or nursing.

Oils are a great asset to a family trip. Not only do they help your room and your family smell amazing, but they physically connect you with your family after a long day of exploring the world.  High-quality essential oils have health benefits and allow us to travel with confidence.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The Family Backpack does not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this article, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. With all oils, avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.


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