Best Essential Oils for Travel (and How to Use Them)

From combating jet lag to easing the itch of bug bites, these three plant extracts are, um, essential for travel. Whether I’m exploring near home or traveling halfway around the world, these are the best essential oils for travel.

I have an MBA (and not an MD), so the advice in this article is based on my personal experience and how I use essential oils for travel. It should in no way be perceived as medical advice since I’m clearly lacking the letters required on my diploma to be a physician.

They hit without warning, and they don’t care if I’m at home, across town, or exploring the world. Maybe there is a slight ringing in my ears, or maybe I have trouble reading all of the letters on my phone screen. But within 30 minutes, I can’t move without feeling like my brain is slamming into my skull. And even the faintest ray of light causes a pain that feels like a spike being driven through my head.

If you’re a fellow migraine sufferer, the scenario above is likely familiar. And, if you’re like me, you’re willing to try just about anything that kicks your migraine to the curb and gets you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

That’s why I eagerly tried essential oils for migraines about ten years ago when they were recommended as an alternative to an emergency room visit for a shot of narcotics or 24 hours in bed in a pitch black room with prescription pills to get rid of a migraine.

They worked like magic!

A few drops of either lavender essential oil or peppermint essential oil at the onset of a migraine has worked wonders ever since, and essential oils are a welcome alternative to expensive prescriptions and painful injections.

From there, I started incorporating more and more essential oils into everyday life, from beauty regimens to cleaning supplies. And when on the road, these are my recommended essential oils for travel.

Sage Advice: Peppermint is a “hot” oil. This means it can only be applied to the skin when diluted in a carrier oil like jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. If not diluted properly, applying peppermint oil can cause skin irritation.

Related Article: The Best Essential Oil Carrying Case for Travel

What are Your Favorite Essential Oils for Travel?

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What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are plant extracts derived by distillation or cold pressing. The concentrated liquid possesses the same aroma and beneficial properties of the source plants. Essential oils are used for a range of wellness, beauty, and household purposes.

Choosing the Best Essential Oils

Before we jump into my favorite essential oils for travel, let’s talk about the top essential oil companies.

Like many people adding essential oils into their lives, I started with Young Living and doTerra essential oil brands. While I believe both companies sell quality oils, I quickly grew tired of the ordering process, shipping fees, and other hassles associated with these multi-level marketing companies.

That’s why I was so delighted to discover Rocky Mountain Oils, and why I’ve been a raving fan for several years. Rocky Mountain Oils offers the same high quality products at an affordable price with much lower shipping fees and zero MLM drama.

Here are a few reasons I’m a loyal customer:

  • Dedication to quality. Rocky Mountain Oils conducts a rigorous quality check every essential oil it sells, offering only therapeutic grade oils.
  • Commitment to sustainability. As a company focused on the healing properties of the earth’s flowers, grasses, fruits, roots, trees, and leaves, Rocky Mountain Oils is also dedicated to responsible sourcing and sustainable business practices.
  • Free shipping. Get free shipping on all US orders of $25 and up.
  • Rewards program. Called Club Oil’ty, the Rocky Mountain Oils rewards program allows you to collect points toward $5, $10, and $15 off coupons.
  • Satisfaction guarantee. If you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, Rocky Mountain Oils will refund your money without any hassle.
  • Anti-MLM. The founder of Rocky Mountain Oils hates multi-level marketing as much as I do!

So now let’s jump into the best essential oils for travel!

A bottle of lavender essential oil on a wood table with a dried lavender bouquet

1. Lavender, the Most Versatile Essential Oil for Travel

Distilled from the flowers of the lavender plantlavender oil is the queen of all essential oils. It’s been used for medicinal purposes for more than 2,500 years, and if you can only carry one essential oil when you travel, this is the best essential oil for travel!

Best Uses for Lavender Essential Oil

  • Reduce stress or anxiety. Flight canceled? Highway at a standstill?  Just inhale lavender essential oil or apply a couple of drops to your temples or wrists and immediately feel a calm wash over you.
  • Battle insomnia or jet lag. If you are too excited to sleep or are struggling to adjust to the local time zone, lavender essential oil can help. Simply inhale or apply to your temples or wrists as above. Or add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a travel diffuser at bedtime.
  • Heal minor burns. A drop of lavender essential oil on a minor burn minimizes pain, reduces redness, and helps the burn heal.
  • Clean and heal cuts. In addition to its healing properties, lavender has antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. Apply a drop of lavender essential oil to the cut to help stop the bleeding, clean and disinfect the wound, and speed up healing.
  • Battle nausea or motion sickness. New foods, different time zones, planes, trains, and automobiles — travel can bring nausea and motion sickness. Fight back with a drop of lavender essential oil behind the ears or by your navel.
  • Soothe aching muscles. Did you walk a marathon exploring your destination? Hike longer or higher than usual? Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a bath and soak the soreness away.
  • Strike back at headaches.  And, of course, lavender essential oil can help with headaches, from the garden variety to a debilitating migraine.

Sage Advice:  Provided you follow the current TSA rules regarding liquids, you are allowed to carry your essential oils on an airplane. Look for a padded carrier to safely store your most essential of essential oils in your purse, backpack, or another carry-on. I like this padded essential oil case, because it’s just the right size for my essential oils for travel.

Bottle of lemon essential oil by fresh lemons

2. Lemon, a Bright Essential Oil for Travel

Lemon essential oil is made from the rind of the fruit. I always travel with a bottle of lemon oil, because its fresh scent helps brighten spirits on a dreary day, soothes sore throats, fights allergies, and is my go-to remedy for insect bites.

Best Uses for Lemon Essential Oil

  • Address acid indigestion and heartburn.  Add a drop of lemon oil to a glass of water and drink to help your tummy troubles disappear.
  • Comfort a sore throat. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to hot water and honey and sip to reduce sore throat pain.
  • Attack allergies and hayfever. Exciting, new destinations can also mean new plants, animals, and allergens. Inhaling lemon essential oil or applying it to the soles of the feet helps with seasonal allergies, asthma, and related respiratory issues.
  • Bid farewell to bugs and their bites.  Mosquitos, fleas, and other bugs hate the smell of lemon essential oil, but if you are bitten, one drop on the bite immediately removes the itchiness.
Sage Advice: Don’t apply lemon essential oil to open skin. If the bug bite has already been scratched raw or is bleeding, a drop of lemon essential oil will burn. Apply a drop of lavender essential oil instead.
Basket of sage leaves

3. Sage, an Essential Oil with Cleansing Properties

Beyond being my namesake herb, Sage has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Native Americans and Mediterraneans have used sage to treat ailments like coughs, asthma, inflammation, and digestive disorders.

Sage is a fresh-smelling essential oil with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This makes it the perfect essential oil for travel, especially when everyone is on heightened alert for germs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best Uses for Sage Essential Oil

  • Keep germs at bay. A medical study showed that sage essential oil was effective in preventing diseases caused by E. coli and other germs.
  • Soothe sore musclesIf you walked a marathon while sightseeing or tackled a hiking trail that was more than you imagined, soothe sore muscles by adding a few drops of sage essential oil to a carrier oil — like jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, or almond oil — or lotion and massaging it into your sore spots.
  • Sharpen your mind. Sage essential oil has been linked to improved memory and cognition. Plus, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of sage essential oil is believed to help prevent further progression of dementia. 
  • Prevent cavities. Using a mouthwash that includes a few drops of sage essential oil can kill the germs that cause cavities.

Sage Advice:  Unlike lavender and lemon essential oils, sage essential oil should not be applied directly to the skin. Always dilute sage essential oil by adding five or six drops to one ounce of a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil before applying to your skin.

4. Immune Strength, an Essential Oil Blend

A blend of clove bud, cinnamon bark, lemon, orange, oregano, mandarin, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, ginger root, and eucalyptus essential oils, Immune Strength has natural disinfecting and cleansing properties.

Sage Advice: Immune Strength is similar to the Thieves essential oil blend made by Young Living.

Best Uses for Immune Strength Essential Oil Blend

  • Boost your immunityApply Immune Strength roll-on to your neck, wrists, or inside of your elbows before boarding a plane, train, or entering another crowded area to help keep germs away.
  • Clean and disinfect. Sanitize surfaces like airplane tray tables, public tables and chairs, and other areas by combining 30 to 40 drops of Immune Strength in a 4-oz glass spray bottle with 2 Tbsp witch hazel and 1 tsp fractionated coconut oil.
Sage Advice: You can make your own Immune Strength roll-on by diluting Immune Strength essential oil in jojoba oil and pouring the mixture into roller bottles. I recommend 15 drops of Immune Strength per tablespoon of jojoba oil.

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling with Essential Oils

Can you take essential oils on a plane?

Yes, provided you follow the current TSA rules regarding liquids, you can take essential oils on an airplane. 

What are the best essential oils for jet lag?

My favorite essential oil for jet lag is lavender essential oil. Breathe in the oil directly from the amber glass bottle, apply a drop to your temples or wrists, or add a few drops of lavender oil to a travel diffuser just before you retire for the evening.

Other great essential oils for jet lag include:

  • cedarwood (inhale directly from the bottle or apply a drop of oil to your pressure points),
  • lemongrass (inhale or apply to pressure points), and
  • peppermint (apply diluted via a roll-on applicator when you feel your energy level drop).

What are the best essential oils for travel sickness?

Whether you’re battling nausea or motion sickness, lavender essential oil can bring fast relief. Simply apply a few drops of oil, like behind each ear or by your navel.

Other great essential oils for travel sickness include ginger root (add a drop to water or soda water) and peppermint or spearmint (add a drop to a cup of tea or mix with lotion and rub into the soles of your feet).

What are the best essential oils for flying anxiety?

My go-to essential oil for flying anxiety is lavender. Either inhale the fragrant oil or apply a few drops of lavender essential oil to your temples or wrists and feel its calming effect wash over you.

Do You Use Essential Oils for Travel?

What are your  go-to essential oils for travel? How do you use them when you’re on the road? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Collection of travel items including sunhat, passport, and shoes

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12 thoughts on “Best Essential Oils for Travel (and How to Use Them)”

  1. I heard how helpful essential oils are but I didn’t know a lot of this information. We use lavender on our son to help him sleep at night but I didn’t know all the other things. The tip for itching mosquitoe bites is great. I have sensitive skin so I cannot use a lot of products. I will be looking into these oils.

    1. I have sensitive skin, too, and just one drop of lemon oil mixed into my lotion does wonders to remove all kinds of itching, from bug bites to poison ivy. (And sadly, I’m on the tail end of a battle with poison ivy right now.)

  2. I’ve never heard of the World Traveler oil – but I use Lemon and Lavender all the time when I travel! I also have a balm from Badger Balm that’s full of lemon and orange and rosemary that I use to help with jetlag!

    1. World Traveler is what I call a blend that helps keeps germs at bay, so it’s not too surprising you haven’t heard of it! 🙂 Your balm sounds like good stuff!

  3. Love the recipe for the World Traveller! Since I hate to take pills or use some chemical medication, I really find this post very inspiring. Also since the bottles are so small you can fit them even in your purse. A trio of lifesavers, for sure!

  4. Looks like some great essential oil blends to try! I’m not travelling anytime soon but these will be useful, I love lavender and lemon.

  5. Awesome post, this is great information on my three favorite oils. I always have them in my purse especially Thieves since I work in a hospital.

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