Field Notes

Staying Healthy While Traveling

by Ash TallmadgeMay 27, 2020
A Badger Is Seen On Safari In Grand Teton National Park

Staying healthy while traveling actually starts weeks before you leave your house.  You don’t want to start your vacation off with illness, so staying healthy before you depart is key.  We’ve included a few tips and tricks to help prevent illness from ruining your fun.

Current Alerts >>> Covid-19

Start Healthy

Staying healthy while traveling can be easy.  Practice these helpful tips to make your vacation memorable for the right reasons.

Wash your hands.  Wash your hands. Wash your hands.  Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

Handwashing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.  Wash your hands with soap and water. Make sure to wash the backs of your hands as well as in between your fingers and underneath your fingernails.  You should lather with soap and scrub your hands for a minimum of 20-30 seconds for hand washing to be effective. Dry your hands with a paper towel and use the paper towel or your elbow to open the restroom door.  Wash your hands after being in a public place, using the restroom, before handling food, after touching your face, or after touching animals.

If you don’t have access to clean, running water, then hand sanitizer may do the trick.  Make sure it is 60-90% alcohol and make sure to rub your hands vigorously, using the same motions as hand washing.

Don’t Touch Your Face

We touch a lot of surfaces during the day that contain trace amounts of bacteria and viruses.  If you absentmindedly touch your face, you are transferring those germs to your mouth, your nose or your eyes, where it can easily make you sick.  After touching surfaces, it is important to … wash your hands.

Cover Your Cough

If you think you might have a cold or a virus, or even if you’re not sure, it is important to cover your cough.  Coughing spreads microscopic germ droplets up to six feet away, so every time you cough, you’re spreading your germs to every surface and person in your immediate vicinity.  Cough into a tissue or into your sleeve at the elbow instead.

Stay Home if You Have a Fever

When you have a fever, you’re actively spreading a virus.  Stay home until you have been fever-free, without fever-reducing medication, for at least 24 hours.  Encourage your colleagues to do the same. Don’t go to work when you’re sick. Don’t send your kids to school when they’re sick.  Don’t make your employees work when they’re sick.

Please don’t come on safari if you’re not feeling well!  Our guides depend on healthy guests so they can stay healthy too.  If you’re not feeling well, please contact us to reschedule your trip or to receive a refund.  Help us keep our guides and guests feeling their best!

A Coyote Stands In A Field Of Sage And Summer Flowers In Grand Teton National Park
A Badger Is Seen On Safari In Grand Teton National Park

Supplement Your Health

Ash Tallmadge is a professional naturalist guide with a background in neuropsychology and herbalism.  Normally, she combines these two disciplines to give her guests an extraordinary educational experience with local flora and fauna while on safari.  In order to help you stay healthy while traveling, she curated a list of immune boosters you should have on hand.

Ash has always felt connected to plants. As a child growing up in Jackson Hole, with Grand Teton National Park in her backyard, she learned to love local plants like sage, pine, balsamroot, arnica, hawthorn and aspen, and those grown at home like thyme, rosemary, mint and oregano.  Her mother used them for decoration, cooking, and aroma and it is from her mother that she learned to appreciate the local flora and fauna for medicinal purposes as well as for their natural beauty. As an adult, she pursued a degree in neuropsychology as an undergraduate, but that curriculum did not include discussion of wellness outside a western medical mindset.

Only after being offered several plant tinctures by herbalists in Santa Fe, and feeling the positive effects firsthand, did she choose to delve further into plant world.  She embarked on an in-depth course led by Brittany Nickerson at Thyme Herbal in Northampton, MA and took the knowledge and skills she learned back to the Southwest where a plethora of local plants offer support for our health. She practiced making medicine with fellow herbalists and took many botany courses to become a master gardener and landscaper.

In looking to share the wisdom she had gained with others, she began a business enterprise called “Hearts&Bones” to give first hand experience of wilderness and plants to people looking to learn. Ash led many outdoor experiences in New Mexico and in Arizona, where she was also hired as a hiking naturalist and educator for herbal wellness at Miraval Spa and Resort. While guiding wildlife tours in Wyoming she includes information on local plants and their medicinal value, from both a biological and personal point of view. She continues to make medicine for herself and her family.

Three Bighorn Sheep Rams Stand At Attention In The Winter Home In The National Elk Refuge
Cow Elk Cluster Together For The Winter On The National Elk Refuge In Jackson Hole

Herbal Supplements

Several herbs can benefit your immune system.  To stay healthy while traveling, you can combine all of them or pick and choose your favorites to feel your best.


Take this in capsule form, once a day.  Astragalus is an adaptogen and works best when it is taken every day.


Take this in either capsule form or as a tincture, one to three times each day.  Like astragalus, ashwagandha is an adaptogen and works best when it is taken every day.


Zinc can be a bit hard on the stomach, so take no more than 40mg at a time.  It is best to take zinc with food.  Zinc is a necessary mineral for the body in order to functionally prevent and remove invading virus.  If you prefer to eat your zinc, it can be found in foods like chickpeas, lentils, dark greens, eggs, nuts, or potatoes.


You can ingest garlic raw or gently cooked.  (Gently cooked is better).  Pills are the best and easiest way to take garlic daily.  Garlic has antimicrobial, antihistamine, anti inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral properties.  You can take a LOT of garlic, but it will affect your breath so take pills with a strong meal.


You can take goldenseal as a tincture one to three times a day, especially at the onset of illness.

Lemon Balm

Take lemon balm in capsule or tincture form twice a day.  Lemon balm is gentle, and has calming and immune-boosting effects.


Elderberry is mostly found as a syrup, but can also be purchased as a juice.  It tastes good, a little bit like blueberries, and you can take one or two doses a day.  You can increase your dosage to a high amount when you’re not feeling well.  It is a proven immune booster.


Try to avoid dairy if you can.  Dairy can be inflammatory and cause mucus production.

Healthy Fats

Eat healthy fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil.


Get your probiotics! It helps your digestive system integrate nutrition and flush waste


Drink water!  Hydration is vital to many systems in your body.

Vitamin D

Spend 30 minutes outside each day to get a daily dose of vitamin D.  Staying active outdoors, even for a quick walk daily is a boost for your physical and mental health.

Ash Tallmadge
Our Expert

Ash Tallmadge

Naturalist Guide
See Bio