No matter what your life is like, you’re probably planning some kind of car trip soon. Whether it’s a short drive to the lake or visiting family out of state, taking a road trip can be challenging — especially when dealing with things like carsickness or public restrooms. Here are five all-natural tricks to help you stay healthy on your road trip — and reach your destination in top shape!
Boost focus by sniffing beans.
Put a tablespoon of coffee beans or grounds in a sachet and take three deep sniffs when you’re feeling tired on the road. Research in Consciousness and Cognition found that the scent of coffee boosts focus as effectively as drinking two cups, without triggering extra bathroom stops or jitters. It tricks the brain into thinking it’s just received a jolt of energy, kick-starting attention.
Sidestep germs by choosing this stall.
No one wants a summer cold or virus to dampen their fun! Luckily, it’s easy to avoid sick-causing germs at public bathrooms: The farthest stall from the entrance feels most private, which is why it gets the most use, University of California scientists say. Pick the first stall to cut down on germ exposure. Also smart: Hold your breath just before flushing, then slowly exhale as you quickly walk away. Toilets spew a “cloud” of microscopic germ droplets into the air, but you’ll be clear of it after stepping away.
Rev energy by ‘seasoning’ your H2O.
You have a fun day ahead, but suddenly feel fatigued. The fix: Sip 8 ounces of water supercharged with a pinch of salt. University of Connecticut scientists say being dehydrated throws your entire system off balance and can sap your energy. But salt helps rebalance fluids, helping cells lock on to hydration so you feel revitalized.
Block carsickness by scratching a lemon.
Before you hit the road, scrape the skin of a lemon to bring out its scent, then rest the fruit in your cup holder. Austrian scientists say lemon oil compounds block queasiness for 73 percent of folks by distracting the brain from focusing on fast-moving sights and sounds that disrupt your equilibrium.
Nix travel stress with tunes.
Sidestep on-the-road tension by queuing up a nostalgic playlist of upbeat hits you might have listened to on your first road trip years ago. Music can tamp down travel tension as effectively as prescription drugs, a Canadian trial found. Bonus: It makes the road trip a whole lot more fun!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.