By Austin Perlmutter
Our bodies and brains often have trouble dealing with the high intensity and unique stressors of the modern world. Chronic stress, highly processed and unhealthy foods, and daily sleep deprivation can easily combine to knock our cognitive and mental health out of whack. Yet we also know that simple steps can help protect us from these variables.
Travel can lead to incredible new experiences and connecting with friends, family, and new people. It can also represent the challenge of a long work trip. But however you slice it, travel is a time when our health is at risk. One contributor is limited access to quality foods and beverages.
The good news is that there’s a great way to care for yourself on the go, and it’s as simple as a bit of advance prep. One underutilized hack is incredibly straightforward: bring your quality nutrition with you. And a personal favorite of mine: traveling with excellent coffee!
Here's why carrying quality coffee is essential for me when I'm on the road.
1. You save money:
Let’s face it: travel is expensive, and it’s only getting worse. One of the best ways to cut costs without reducing the quality of the travel experience is to eliminate avoidable expenses. Specifically, bring your beverages with you so you don’t pay absurd prices for an inferior cup of coffee. Though you can’t get water through airport security, many fantastic drinks (including delicious coffee) are available in travel sachets. These pack down small and can be quickly turned into a hot and delicious drink on the go. Here’s an amazing hack: many restaurants will give out hot water for free, saving you both the financial and psychological cost of drinking second-rate coffee. For bonus points, bring a reusable mug or thermos for extra savings and waste reduction. The takeaway: packing your own healthy coffee can help you save money so you can use your travel budget for other experiences and activities.
2. You fight unhealthy instincts:
Research shows that when we are stressed or sleep-deprived, we tend to turn to the easiest options. When we travel, we’re more likely to experience both less sleep and higher stress. This, in addition to the lack of available healthy options, helps explain why we’re so vulnerable to poor food and beverage choices when we’re on the go. The best way to fight against the temptation to grab that artificially flavored, over-sweetened, burned-bean excuse for a coffee drink is to simply plan ahead. Additionally, if you supply your own coffee, you won’t be tempted to conceal the poor taste of store-bought options with unhealthy sugar and flavorings. So, either take the extra few minutes before you leave home to prep your brew for travel or bring coffee sachets with you.
3. You promote and protect your wellness
In addition to stress and sleep deprivation (both of which dampen immune system health), travel overall can increase our risk of becoming ill. This is one reason why choosing to bring your own high-quality travel food and beverages can have such an outsized benefit. Instead of relying on sugary, ultra-processed snacks in the airport or gas station, consider packing nutrient-rich nuts and blueberries to take with you. Instead of getting stuck with unhealthy soda or stale, low antioxidant coffee, consider high-quality coffee sachets and electrolyte stick packs. And if you need one extra reason, don’t forget that airplane coffee is notoriously poor quality (both in terms of taste and how it’s made).
4. You help remove unnecessary stress
Between making sure we didn’t forget anything, getting through security lines, long hours spent in uncomfortable chairs, and the costs, travel has more than enough stress built into the experience. One stressor that can be unnecessary is desperately looking for your food and beverage of choice. Bringing your favorite snacks and beverages with you lets you regain some autonomy over the travel experience. So, when it turns out that the food court is still under construction or the one coffee spot in a hundred miles is closed for repair, no disaster ensues. As a bonus, you’ve ensured that you’re able to get your daily dose of caffeine and/or polyphenols without worrying about the variability in quality that comes with having to buy from a random roadside or airport store.
Bottom line: if you’re drinking coffee regularly (and if you’re reading this far, that’s probably you!), you should care about the quality of your coffee choices. Travel can make it hard to access good (or even mediocre) coffee, and instead we’re often stuck with inferior or overtly unhealthy choices. Making your coffee to take with you and bringing portable coffee packets can optimize your travel experience, with potential benefits to your mind, body, and wallet.
Conclusion: Incorporating healthy coffee into your travel essentials can enhance your travel experience in numerous ways. It provides a sense of comfort and familiarity, ensures you have a reliable energy source, and allows you to enjoy your coffee exactly how you like it. Additionally, it can save you money, help you avoid low-quality coffee, and support your health and environmental goals. So, before your next adventure, consider packing your favorite healthy coffee to make your journey even more enjoyable.Have any coffee travel hacks or tips of your own? We'd love to hear them! Share your insights in the comments below and help your fellow travelers enjoy their coffee on the go.