As we head towards the season for planes, trains and heatwaves, Rosie Greenaway looks at how the Zika virus, Brexit, music festivals and ‘pointless plastics’ are affecting the products being packed into travellers’ bags
They’re perfectly good-natured when they first enter the store, full of smiley anticipation at the sunshine and good times ahead. But once the inevitable holiday ailments kick in it’ll be a story of self-pity. So, what is the industry providing to keep consumers’ spirits high from Staffordshire to Sardinia and back again?
On the defensive
Marie Longman, owner of Peak Health Food, Rugeley, says that travel ailments might trick customers once, but they won’t be tricked twice. “Generally, when customers have been somewhere before and encountered a problem, they’re on the defensive for next time. They’re quite switched on,” she says. “It could still ruin your holiday, but at least you’ve done everything you can,” she tells them when they’re in travel prep mode.
So, what are they guarding themselves against? Longman says it’s all about ‘gut feeling’. When travellers reach tropical climes and become adventurous with their diets, it’s the Saccharomyces boulardii she sells which they’ll rely on to ease their tummy troubles, joined by milk thistle – around which she says there is a common misconception. “What people don’t realize is that you’re not just being bombarded by alcohol – it’s foreign food … things you wouldn’t normally eat that put the liver under stress.” What consumers also don’t understand, says Longman, is that milk thistle has another important function – it relieves the unpleasant symptoms of prickly heat – and it’s her mission to educate them. “It’s our advice that leads them to that one.”
Spend or save?
Although many Brits have felt the pinch since the 2008 financial crash, Longman says it isn’t deterring them from taking foreign holidays. “As much as times are hard, people are still travelling to far-flung places.” And finding out a customer’s destination is important; it’s all part of her strategy to increase profit margin: “When people say where they’re going we suggest other things, like probiotics. It’s all about maximizing sales.” What shocks her, though, is a reluctance to spend: “The one thing we have difficulty with – and I can never understand this – is we get a certain cross-section of society balking at the prices. And you just think, for goodness sake, how many thousands have you spent on your holiday? They don’t want to spend £20 more on something that is proactive and would be useful anyway!”
Due to Peak’s proximity to the canal network, the store sees a significant trade from passing boats. “We’re a stopping point for barge holidays and people living on canal boats. Sometimes you won’t see them for a year, then they’re back for repellent against midges. We get one lady who is absolutely bitten to death unless she uses Viridian Vitamin B1.”
Dancing to a different tune
According to ABTA, despite confusion about how Brexit will affect foreign travel, ‘British holidaymakers appear to be committed to Europe as a holiday destination’. Figures show that 63% of respondents are planning European travel in the next 12 months, with millennials likely to spend the most – and the association says they’ve begun dancing to a different tune, with overseas music festivals now the fifth most popular reason for going abroad. The notoriously inadequate bathroom facilities at music events mean the ablutions of festival-goers get put on the backburner, presenting retailers with an opportunity to coax them into waterless washing.
With many compact natural products now on the market, retailers could cash in on a niche sector of the market by creating ‘festival kits’. A quick sweep of your shelves and you’re sure to find inspiration: Ben & Anna has launched mini deodorants housed in paper tubes; Pacifica produces biodegradable face wipes to gently cleanse the skin without water; Tabitha James Kraan’s Dry Shampoo comes in a travel size; there are long-life coconut water products to keep festival-goers hydrated; Greenfibre eco cloths make for excellent over-wraps; and Made for Life Organics (MFLO) offers miniature facial products in recyclable 10ml glass bottles and aluminium tins. “Our Discovery Set has been very popular at festivals where there’s limited water,” says managing director Amanda Barlow.
Despite the millennial commitment to spending foreign currency, the so-called ‘staycation’ has regained popularity, in echoes of the ‘bucket and spade’ holidays taken by our parents and grandparents.
In Cornwall, where MFLO is based, its products go down a storm with surfers, and Barlow thinks this has everything to do with the brand’s ‘less is more’ ethos. “Because we don’t add any water, a little goes a long way. That’s why we’ve been popular with surfers – they want to travel light. They love nature, they like the fact that the ingredients are biodegradable and that it’s in glass as opposed to plastic. The whole Surfers Against Sewage thing has become really big. Surfers are the main campaigners against plastic in the ocean,” she says.
For hikers, cyclists and general adventurers, the great outdoors presents what Barlow calls ‘a bit of a hammering’ from the sea, sun and wind, which MFLO tries to soothe. “We’ve heard that because of the way the oils and balms work, they create a natural barrier to both the hair and the face. Our Wellbeing Pack has arnica for bruising, rosemary for aching legs, propolis for cuts and scrapes, and skin salve with calendula which is fantastic for everything from vest rash for surfers to sunburn and insect bites.”
Leave no trace
If there’s one element of tourism – domestic or foreign – that bothers Barlow it’s the amount of plastic waste generated by hotels guests due to limited access to recycling facilities. “How many hotels do you see with a sign saying: ‘This your recycling bin’? The other thing that really hacks me off is the towel thing – how many times have you hung yours up and still been given a fresh towel? It’s like paying lip service to something. If you’re going to talk the talk, walk the walk. I’m a former hotelier so it’s a bugbear of mine. We won a lot of awards for sustainability.”
But Barlow does see a way forward in reducing holiday waste: “My prediction is at some stage the Government will really have to tighten up on the whole plastics thing, and some sort of taxation will be brought into tourism – particularly the hotels which do the little bottles in your room.”
Barlow ends on a reflective note: “Professor Richard Thompson from Plymouth University – a marine biologist and Government advisor who we’ve worked closely with – uses a very simple sentence: We as human beings should think about the end of the journey at the beginning of the journey.”
Happily, the Zika virus outbreak which bite-prevention expert Howard Carter predicted would plague the UK in 2016 never happened. But cases of Zika were brought back from other countries, and a European outbreak still threatens. “It is just a question of time. Every year the probability increases,” Carter warns.
‘The odds are on’ for malaria’s comeback too, he says. By 2050 there’s an estimated 80% chance that the culex and anopheles species already present here will carry the disease – and it’s all thanks to good old global warming. “Mosquito numbers are increasing in the UK … even our cold winter will not substantially reduce their numbers. They shelter in
our warm homes.”
In the event of an outbreak, Carter says incognito’s dual-purpose vegan product Skin Suncream Insect Repellent is just as effective in preventing bites as any chemical-laden DEET product. Containing the active ingredient PMD, it provides ‘uncompromised SPF protection’ – a rarity in sunscreens. “Ordinarily you wouldn’t want to use sun cream with insect repellent. These substances reduce the SPF dramatically. There are only a handful of sunscreen repellent products that can do both – apart from incognito, these contain synthetic questionable chemicals.”
Assurances of the suncream’s efficacy on both fronts comes from its formulation; it relies on ‘specific technology which only incognito has,’ claims Carter.
Leaving on a jet plane
London’s hottest new fusion retailer and holistic wellness boutique Maître of Thyme understands the importance of in-flight wellness, offering customers tips from its in-house team of yoga and nutrition experts. Product-wise, the ‘Maîtres’ are big fans of PURE Vapour Balm – a eucalyptus, lemon myrtle and paw paw balm which clears the airways – and the store was the first UK retailer to stock the Aussie brand’s entire range.
Director Dalia Hashim says her philosophy is to retail products she has personally tried: “I had been using papaya balms until I found out that they use petroleum jelly. I was so attracted to the concept but I wanted an equivalent that was exactly what it said, that contained the really powerful healing properties of papaya. We attended Natural & Organic Products Europe some years back and still had the show guide; PURE Papaya was on there and it was like an answer to our prayers. We didn’t even give it a second thought as to whether or not to stock the entire range; we were sold immediately. We really want to up their identity and what they’re about. It’s just a simple consumer story. I’m a customer too, I fell in love with it and decided it was worth spreading the word. We couldn’t do without this product – we all have one in our handbags! It just makes sense, it’s a staple.”
Holiday Health Products
Comvita Medihoney Antibacterial Wound Gel
Medihoney Wound Gel – It’s the bees knees for burns, cuts, grazes and eczema wounds. A specialised wound gel containing sterilised medical grade Manuka honey; promotes wound healing and reduces the risk of infection. With over 18 years of research and safety data including over 130 case studies, laboratory studies and randomised control trials to support the product. ONE PRODUCT, THREE ACTIONS: Heals, cleans and protects. Supports healing of wounds and mosquito bites.
Award-winning sun lotions
Green People’s award-winning sun lotions with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection contain a blend of natural antioxidants, including Edelweiss, Green Tea and Rosemary, skin vitamins and anti-inflammatory actives to help support the skin’s immune system and protect against cell damage. Medium and high protection options for all the family that are suitable for sensitive skin and prickly heat sufferers. Water repellent and free from potential irritants like pore-blocking silicones and synthetic fragrances. An SPF30 when applied correctly, protects against 97% of UVB rays.
TravelProbio – Before, During and After Travel – Tummy upsets on holiday are usually caused by unfriendly types of intestinal bacteria (bugs) getting into your system through contaminated water or food. TravelProbio™ contains a probiotic blend of Lactobacillus, acidophilus,Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus; fortified with a prebiotic (FOS). It is designed to help build the body’s resistance before and during travel by maintaining the balance of a healthy intestinal flora. HealthAid uses special acid & bile resistant strains, which prevent the stomach juices destroying the ingredients before they reach the intestines, ensuring their purity and potency. TravelProbio retails at £6.99 for 15 capsules. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 020 8426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit healthaid.co.uk.
Supporting the health of the gut
Holidays are generally associated with feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. However, whether travelling abroad or taking a staycation, getting ill has the potential to turn any trip into a holiday nightmare. Luckily, research indicates that many holiday health concerns may be alleviated by supporting the health of the gut.
Approximately 25% of travelers develop travelers’ diarrhea in the first 2 weeks abroad,* most likely caused by exposure to foreign micro-organisms from water, food and the environment, to which the immune system has not yet developed defences. A 2010 meta-analysis indicated that probiotics significantly reduce the risk of travelers’ diarrhea, with a mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium shown to be particularly effiective.*
Many people who are rarely sick report coming down with headaches, colds, sickness or fevers whilst on holiday. This is known as “leisure sickness”,* which some theorise may be caused by the immune system also taking a break following a period of stress.* In addition, colds are more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life,* and many people’s alcohol intake (which is known to depress the immune system)* also increases whilst on holiday. Probiotics are well known for their ability to support the immune system, helping protect against infections.*
Most people are keen to get a tan whilst on holiday, and topping up on much needed Vitamin D is important. It is however important to stay sun safe whilst doing so to avoid burning. Probiotics are showing great promise for their ability to help protect the skin against UV radiation.* In addition, studies indicate supplementation may be able to increase serum vitamin D levels by over 25%.*
Bio-Kult is a unique, multi-strain probiotic, with 14 strains of beneficial bacteria, expertly formulated to help maintain healthy digestive and immune systems. Bio-Kult is an ideal supplement to take on holiday as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will be stable even at high temperatures for a number of weeks. It’s recommended to start supplementing at least two weeks before, during and two weeks after your trip for optimal holiday support.
Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Fragrance Free Spray SPF 35
A mineral sunscreen spray with SPF 35 formulated especially for sensitive skin. Broad spectrum mineral sunscreen protection is easily applied with this air-powered, earth-friendly spray. Fragrance free formula helps protect against sunburn, skin cancer and premature signs of ageing. Can conveniently be sprayed on at any angle and rubs in fast. Formula free of active ingredients that may harm coral reefs. Free from oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, nano-sunscreens and Vitamin A. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes, and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Also available Kids SPF 50, Sensitive SPF 50, Refreshing SPF 35 and Cooling Aloe Burn Relief Spray.
JASON Family Sunscreen SPF45
A non-greasy, tear-free, water-resistant formula provides the broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection necessary for the whole family. JASON Family Sunscreen SPF 45 helps protect skin from sun burn and reduces harmful free radical damage caused by the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Enriched with vitamin E, shea butter and antioxidant green tea extract to nurture and moisturise the skin. Aloe Vera and gentle cucumber extract hydrates and replenish lost moisture. Hypoallergenic, suitable for most skin types including sensitive and for use from 6 months upwards. Water resistant up to 80 minutes. Vegan and cruelty free.
Nature’s Answer Oil of Oregano
Nature’s Answer oil of Oregano is made with wildcrafted Mediterranean oregano, and offers a super concentrated equivalent of 13mg, and 7mg carvacrol, per serving. Suspended in extra virgin olive oil, the formula is both alcohol and gluten free. Using carefully-controlled extraction techniques, Nature’s Answer captures the holistic balance of each herb and the value is passed on in the products, ensuring that the product in your hand is authentic, safe, effective and holistically balanced. Natures Answer extracts are produced using their Bio-Chelated proprietary extraction process, yielding a Holistically Balanced Advanced Botanical Fingerprint extract in the same synergistic ratios as in the plant.
For those travelling, or following a course of antibiotics – Probioguard® contains four carefully selected strains of friendly bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp bulgaricus, which have been widely used in clinical studies. These species of bacteria are specially selected for use when travelling, as local cuisine can expose the gut to new challenges where different bacteria strains may be present and this can unsettle digestion.
Probioguard® is suitable for:
• People considering travelling abroad
• People who have used a course of antibiotics
• People with regular bloating problems or on-going digestive disturbances.
Our special pot contains an innovative inbuilt desiccant to ‘lock in’ any moisture.
Bee Prepared immune formulas & Bee Energised
Winners of 10 industry awards, Unbeelievable Health’s supplements combine highest quality plant based nutrients with proven benefits which aren’t usually found in a regular diet or multivitamin- making them an ideal way to enhance any health regime. Bee Prepared immune formulas are great for colds, flu, hay fever & travel & Bee Energised helps improve energy & focus, and benefits build with time- great when run down, jet lagged, for exams & more. Made in The UK. 5% donated to bee causes. Available via Tree of Life, The Health Store, CLF, Wholefoods Ireland & Jumla. Special offers in April!
Travel Biotic provides a unique type of good bacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii, that has a long and very well established scientific use as a dietary supplement in a convenient, professional-strength, vegan one-a-day capsule. In a base of sustainably-grown ginger root powder, each capsule contains Saccharomyces boulardii (500mg.) It is heat-resistant so no need to refrigerate. The perfect digestive companion for work and holiday travel. Part of the 200+ range from the ethical vitamin company, Viridian Nutrition, founded on the principles of Purity, the Environment and Charity. Dedicated to the continued success of the specialist health food store.
Ben & Anna Natural Soda Deodorants
The stylish Ben & Anna Natural Soda Deodorants are certified vegan, fun and made using only certified organic, natural and cruelty-free ingredients. The innovative formula is free from aluminium and has been specially crafted to keep you feeling dry and smelling fresh throughout the day. Arrowroot works to keep sweat at bay, Shea Butter has been added to care for the sensitive underarm area and Bicarbonate Soda has been included for its anti-bacterial properties which aid in keeping you whiff-free. The range currently includes 7 tantalising aromas which are suitable for both men and women, including a new “Pure” scent.
Helios Stress Relief
The build up to going on holiday and for many the fear and anxiety about flying can lead to stress. Helios Stress Relief combines three homeopathic remedies with a long history of traditional use for mild stress and anxiety including fear of flying. This award winning remedy forms part of a range of homeopathic combination remedies covering Childhood teething, fevers and earache; Injuries; Hay Fever and Sleep. Each product comes in lactose free, sucrose pills in our easy to use single dose dispenser.
Enjoy being outside during the pollen season the natural way. Lifeplan’s Wild Hayflower (Flores Graminis) provides a collection of natural pollen rich flowers and grasses found amongst the growing hay in the meadows of Germany. It works on the basis of immunotherapy; taking a small amount of pollen to help ease symptoms, offering help during the spring and summer season.
Lifeplan Wild Hayflower provides 100mg of this popular botanical supplement and is registered with the Vegan Society. £4.99 for 90 tablets
Hope’s Relief Spray
Hope’s Relief Topical Spray is a breakthrough formula for itchy skin and eczema. The “no touch – no ouch” application makes it ideal for hard to reach areas, convenient to use on the go and popular with babies and children. The instantly cooling spray is fast acting and packed with 10 natural actives including calendula, aloe vera, evening primrose and borage oils to soothe itchy and irritated skin. Clinically proven to increase hydration in the skin for up to 24 hours after just 1 single application! The 90 ml pump is perfect for travelling too, and can soothe prickly heat, rashes and insect bites for the whole family.
Suntribe SPF 30 Reef Safe Eco Body & Face Sunscreen
The Swedish company Suntribe AB offers a new generation of sunscreens safe for human health and the environment. Suntribe Body & Face is a non-whitening sunscreen based on the mineral UV-filter Zinc Oxide, the safest and most powerful UV-filter currently available. All other ingredients are from organic origin. The new Body & Face sunscreen has been developed at Lund University. It blocks 97% of UVB rays (SPF 30) and provides broad spectrum protection. The gentle formula based on seven all natural ingredients makes it suitable for nature lovers, children as well as people with sensitive skin or allergies.
Natural Summer Holiday Must Haves!
Absolute Aromas have been Aromatherapy experts since 1994, offering a wide range of the highest quality Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, Organic Oils, Body care, Aromatherapy products and Spa products. Offering some great natural alternatives to your usual Summer holiday products! From nourishing Organic Coconut oil ideal for hydrating the hair and skin, to Lavender Roller-balls for soothing insect bites and burns, to our Breatheasy Aroma-Inhalers for soothing allergy irritated noses, and our Goodnight Essential blend to ease the effects of Jetlag. Go natural this Summer with Absolute Aromas!