With my recent chronic illness diagnoses, I’m working on taking my health more seriously. Almost every time I travel, I end up getting sick, no matter what. I’ve traveled masked and unmasked, by car, by train, and by plane, for work and for leisure. I always end up sick. Sometimes it’s just the sniffles, sometimes it’s more serious. It’s not that I’m an irresponsible traveler, it’s just putting my already struggling immune system through the stress of planning a trip, the stress of traveling, and for work travel, dealing with the general exhaustion of long days with little breaks. On this last trip for work, I was determined to get through it without so much as a sniffle. One of my many strategies was exploring IV Hydration at a local hydration bar.
What is an IV hydration bar?
IV Hydration and IV Bars got really trendy a few years ago as a one-stop shop to cure hangovers, help weight loss, reduce signs of aging, etc. It’s still popular for bachelorettes or weddings, celebs, and in my area it’s especially bougie vacationers. Some IV Bars are mobile, some are in clinics.
There are some articles out there from physicians that say that IV Bars aren’t effective, some warn of the dangers of frequent use. Based on my research, it seems like there’s not much danger in taking advantage occasionally, so long as it’s a high-quality service. It’s not a miracle cure, but you’ll feel some benefits.
Why did I try IV hydration?
For all those body-is-a-temple people, I was a body-is-a-dumpster person before this. It has taken a lot of very real effort to course correct and treat my body well, and it takes a lot more for me to get to and stay at baseline health. Adding traveling into that mix makes it even tougher, it’s one of the hardest things on my body.
Each trip I took, I was struggling more and more with my body. It was getting harder and harder to get through the weeks I was away, then taking longer and longer to recover. It all came to a head last spring, I was gone for 5 days, and had a chest cold for 2 weeks. I’m not usually a rush-to-the-doctor kind of girlie, but there were a couple of instances when I very seriously considered going to the ER. A few months after that with my diagnosis, I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring what my body was telling me anymore.
As I was coming up on my last work trip to Dallas, I was doing a lot of research into ways I could keep my body strong while traveling. Among the many, the best advice was hydration, electrolytes, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B. I do a good job staying hydrated, frequently using Nuun tablets, and taking a vitamin before during, and after travel. But it wasn’t enough on previous trips, and my current meds were causing a serious B12 deficiency. I decided to experiment with our local IV bar, Well Hydration, with treatments before and after my travel to see if it helped me stay healthy and function well at work.
My Experience at Well Hydration
I spent about a week researching IV Hydration bars in my area. There was one locally, and then a couple others that would require a longer drive. I was on a time crunch, so I opted for the local place, Well Hydration, which is built into a family medical and urgent care office. I’m super afraid of needles and have terrible medical anxiety, so I wanted to give myself a buffer of a few days before and after my trip just in case something crazy happened.
Fair warning, I include photos from the appointment with needles! If you want to avoid this, jump here to the wrap-up.
I booked my pre-travel appointment three days before my flight. When I arrived, the staff were super friendly and brought me into a room with reclining chairs and only super warm lamplight. Within a few minutes, I was hooked up to the IV and all squared away, offered me a blanket, and even brought me a warm cup of tea. It was truly the coziest experience
I chose the Myers’ Cocktail for my pre-trip IV, which Well Hydration describes as:
The perfect blend: A powerful combination of Magnesium, Calcium, B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin C Alleviate stress, tension, and muscle soreness
The most important elements for me were the vitamins B and C, and general hydration. The Myers’ Cocktail itself has been shown to be effective against many things including migraines, fatigue/chronic fatigue, reducing inflammation, and muscle soreness, all things that are frequently an issue for me on these trips. It’s a pretty large bag and it does take some time to get through. They estimate 45 minutes, it was definitely closer to an hour for me though. My mom stopped by and hung out with me for most of the appointment, so it was easy to pass the time!
Effects on my Trip
I didn’t really feel too much of an effect right after my pre-travel Myers Cocktail, but looking back I can see differences in this trip over previous ones that could be attributed to having the IV hydration. The biggest sign was that I didn’t get sick, not even a little cough! A huge win right there, two long flights with many hours in the airport, and being around 5,000 people my immune system stayed strong.
I wasn’t as exhausted by the flight either. I was able to get to my hotel room, unpack, have dinner, and do some self-care before bed. Usually, I’m powering crackers and tums with an upset stomach right off the bat.
My body also felt stronger. I had less joint pain across the whole trip, I was able to walk 10-ish miles in a day with only a little stiffness and soreness. I stayed strong through the end of Day 4 of my six-day trip, and the last few days I was able to get by with some joint support
I landed at midnight, Wednesday night, so I bumped my appointment out five days to the Monday after. First and foremost, when I got stuck at another doctor’s appointment on the other side of the state that day, the team at Well Hydration was super helpful and let me reschedule my appointment for the following day.
This appointment was in the middle of my first real workday back, so it was a pretty chaotic day. I was able to pop open my laptop and get a little bit of work done while I was hooked up to the IV. Again the super calm experience, warm lighting, and quiet space made for a really nice change to my working space for an hour.
This time, I went for the Quick Fix IV, which is a hydration and electrolyte infusion. I was feeling pretty good and figured the opt-down was a good fit for how my body was doing. It was a little under an hour session, and then I was back to my day and feeling great.
Effects on Post-Travel Recovery
For the first time after any trip, I can honestly tell you, I felt good. Don’t get me wrong I was exhausted after a midnight flight. But the time it took for me to go from puffy ankles, exhausted, too tired to think back to able to work, function, and exist was only about a day. By the time Friday morning rolled around, I felt pretty good. And after my post-travel IV, I felt like I had a fresh pep in my step. It really felt like it doubled my recovery, and it changed that whole post-travel week for the better.
How Much Did IV Hydration Cost?
I want to definitely be clear about the cost because it wasn’t cheap. My pre-travel appointment was $225 for the Myers’ Cocktail. My post-travel appointment was $155 for the Quick Fix Hydration. Beyond that, those appointments were about an hour long each. I’m lucky enough to be able to work during these appointments and not use up my PTO.
Would I do it Again?
All that leaves the question, would I do it again? Absolutely! While pre- and post-travel appointments are must-haves for week-long business trips, it’s probably overkill for shorter ones or weekend road trips. I have another work trip coming up at the end of September so I’ll probably do another Quick Fix before or after. Whereas in the spring for another week in Toronto, I’ll definitely be looking into a solid pre- and post-travel drip again. IV Hydration in some form is definitely about to become an essential part of my trip prep and recovery routines.
I’m lucky to live in an area where the cost wasn’t exorbitant, but it wasn’t cheap by a long shot. I felt it really helped, especially for recovery after the event, but it wasn’t necessary. I wouldn’t go all the time just for funsies, but definitely worth it for a specific purpose. If you have similar travel experiences to me, getting sick, struggling with chronic health issues, or generally feeling crappy after long trips or work travel, I would definitely recommend exploring an IV before or after your trip for your travel self care!
*If you want to try IV Hydration, please consult with your doctor and do research to find a reputable location. I can only vouch for my singular experience!