A novice’s guide to traveling with essential oils

A novice’s guide to traveling with essential oils

Have you ever tried traveling with essential oils? Perhaps you have read about them and their many health benefits, but are not sure where to start. Or perhaps you know someone who swears their latest vacation would not have been the same without their essential oils and you want that same experience. I have only recently begun to dip my toe into the vast ocean that is essential oils. But so far, the water feels nice. There is a lot I still have to learn but one thing I can say for sure, traveling with essentials oils is more pleasant than traveling without them.

I feel like I should go ahead and caveat this post and state that I do not think essentials oils will cure or fix every ailment you may experience out there on the road. But I do think they can make your experience more enjoyable. At least they have for me. If you are new to traveling with essential oils, check out the following five steps I took to become an old pro. Just kidding. I am nowhere near pro status. But I do feel comfortable packing a few oils and using them on my trips and my hope is for you to be able to do the same.

Getting ready for trip? Don’t forget to pack your essential oils.

Step one: do your homework

I am not an expert on essential oils. Luckily, there are plenty of people who are. Of course, beware the internet and do not believe everything you read. But if you dig deep enough, you can usually find some legitimate information on essential oils and their uses. I strongly recommend you head down to your natural health food or beauty store and talk to someone who works there and knows a thing or two about essential oils. If you do not live near any such stores, see if you can find someone local whom you can trust. There is a lot of misinformation out there about essential oils and you will want to do as much homework as you can.

I also recommend you experiment a bit at home before traveling with a bunch of essential oils. What if you have a reaction? What if you end up hating a particular scent? Some hands-on learning before you leave the country is always a good idea.

Step two:decide which oils to take

I am not going to tell you what oils to pack for your next trip. There are plenty of people out there with strong opinions about that. I am not one of them. I just pack what I like. If it happens to have health benefits beyond smelling good, great! This is where your homework from step 1 comes in. By now you should have an idea about which essentials oils you like as well as some of their health benefits.

If it is too intimidating to pack a case full of essential oils, just pack one to start with. Baby steps are never a bad idea. If you have a good experience or wish you had had more oils, then you can always pack more on your next trip.

I often just pack one blend in a rollerball bottle. The blend I gravitate to the most smells amazing and is good for both a queasy stomach and rejuvenation. If I am feeling a bit more adventurous or I am traveling on a long, overnight flight (like this recent trip to Bucharest, Romania), I will pack two or three essential oils. So far, I have not felt the need to pack more than three on my journey. But who knows, maybe that will change someday.

Rollerball bottles make great travel companions.

When I pack three essentials oils, I go for at least one pick-me-up scent and one relaxing scent. I particularly like peppermint for the pick-me-up. One deep breath and I feel rejuvenated. Peppermint is also supposed to be good for headaches, joint pain, sinus, nausea and more.

My go-to oil for relaxation is the Balance grounding blend by DoTERRA. I like this blend because it is good for nighttime and does not contain any lavender. (I cannot stand the smell of lavender so it makes a poor choice for me to pack anything with it.) Balance is also supposed to help with anxiety. I do not tend to get anxious when I travel, but I know a lot of people do. This blend could be good for that.

If I feel like packing a third oil, I usually grab sweet orange. I grab this simply because it smells good and is really helpful in foul-smelling situations (people who pass gas on airplanes are the worst!). Sweet orange is also supposed to be a mood lifter, so it is a win-win on an airplane.

I realize my choices are not too adventurous. But given that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of oils and oil blends to choose from, it is not a bad idea to start simple and branch out as you become more comfortable.

Note: I do not recommend one brand over another. The only thing I will say is to make sure you purchase oils that are not synthetic. I had an unfortunate incident last year with a synthetic oil that resulted in an appointment with my eye doctor and a prescription cream to clear the itchy redness. It was no good. Buy a trusted brand from a trusted source.

1 oz may not seem like a lot, but in the world of essential oils it is huge and not easy to pack.

Step three: pack your essential oils

When it comes to traveling with essential oils, you will be dealing with glass and oil. Neither are good travel companions. You will want to either buy essential oils in small containers or purchase containers that can handle oil. I have traveled with both options.

First, decide if you are going to travel with straight essential oils or if you would rather take essentials oils that have been blended with a carrier oil. Both have pros and cons. To be honest, I find blended oils easier to travel with. However, their use is more limited.

To pack my essential oils, I ordered an adorable essential oil sleeve on Etsy. It holds three smaller-sized bottles. I am able to slip the sleeve into my carry-on or checked luggage. To be safe, I did put my sleeve in a ziploc bag before packing it in my suitcase. But it held up well and I did not have any spillage.

Traveling with essential oils is made easier (and cuter) with a sleeve like this one from Etsy.

If you are just not ready to travel with a bottle of pure essential oil, I recommend packing a rollerball bottle. You could make your own blend by adding a carrier oil or pick up a blend. Rollerball bottles are small and shouldn’t leak. Plus, they are easy to use. And speaking of usage, that brings us to step 4.

Step four: use your essential oils

Now comes the fun part: using the essential oils that you meticulously picked out and safely packed for your trip. If you went with an essential oil blend in a rollerball bottle, there are two ways to use it. One, roll the oil directly onto your pulse points. Two, hold the bottle up to your nose and breath deeply.

If you decided to pack pure essential oils in a bottle, you have got a few more options for using those oils. The most simple option is to open up the bottle and take a deep breath. You can also buy or make a wearable diffuser. Basically, wearable diffusers are jewelry with some sort of component that you put the oil on. I have two necklaces (one in gold and one in silver) that both have a little lava bead. I just add a drop of essential oil to the bead and enjoy hours of whatever scent I decided to use. Lastly, you could purchase a small, travel diffuser and diffuse away. They even have ones for your car.

silver necklace lava bead traveling with essential oils
This simple necklace has a lava bead that acts as a natural diffuser for the essential oil.

It may take some experimentation before you find the right method for you. Or perhaps you will love everything you try. But you will not know for sure until you start traveling with essential oils and figure out how best you like to use them.

Step five: do it all over again

Practice makes perfect. Each trip, I learn a little more about essential oils and how I like to travel with them. I realize they are not for everyone. But in my opinion, they do make certain parts of travel a little more enjoyable and I will certainly be carrying some on my next trip.


If you are new to traveling with essential oils, do not worry. It may be a little intimidating at first. But once you take the first step and dip your toe in, I think you will find it to be a pleasant experience. So, do a little research, pick out a favorite scent and give it a try on your next trip. You may well end up being one of those people who claim their trip would not have been the same without their essential oils.

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