Staying healthy should be a priority no matter where you are, but when traveling it can be a bit of a challenge. Avoiding catching a cold on an airplane might seem like enough of a trick, but the truth is there are many things you can do before you even take off to keep yourself healthy while traveling.
Simple ideas like packing nutritious snacks and staying hydrated might seem obvious, but they are important. After all, who likes to be hungry and thirsty? Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or you are about to embark on your first journey, you need a few good ideas to keep your health at its peak until you’ve made it safely home. Take a look at what follows for inspiration.
Build Your Immune System Prior to Your Trip
A healthy immune system is your best defense against catching a nasty virus while abroad. Starting several weeks before your trip, pack your diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and yogurt. Eat a wide variety, so that you get the full spectrum of vitamins. Including foods which contain a high level of sulfur, such as garlic, onions, and honey, is a great way to strengthen your system. Also, stop using tobacco products and cut back on alcohol consumption.
Starting a simple exercise routine is another way to get healthy. Choose something easy to do anywhere, like walking, swimming, yoga, and calisthenics so that you can continue it while on your trip.
For travelers who are venturing abroad, a visit with your doctor well in advance is warranted. Ask him or her if there are any vaccinations you should get, or any other health precautions you should take that are specific to your destination. In some countries, the water may be unfit for drinking, and in others there may be a high incidence of food-borne illnesses.
Stick With Your Routine
Granted, vacation should be a time when you can cut lose and shake things up, but doing so can send your digestive tract into a tizzy. For the sake of your GI system, eat normal meals at regular times, and shy away from foods which you know can make you feel poorly. For example, if spicy food gives you the runs at home, you can bet it will do the same while you’re traveling.
Sleeping well in an unfamiliar bed may seem like an impossible challenge. However, there are a few tricks you can employ to make sleepy time more successful:
- Bring your own pillow
- Select white noise from an app on your phone
- Set the thermostat to your favorite nighttime temperature
- Get rid of the alarm clock
- Stay in the same hotel or room for at least three nights in a row
Getting enough rest is key to staying healthy. Studies show that a lack of sleep can contribute to the decrease of immune function, which can make you more vulnerable to illness.
Be a Clean Freak
Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are your friends while traveling. Even if you don’t use such products at home, carrying them on a trip is a wise precaution against nasty germs. On public transportation, including airplanes, wipe down your headrest, seat, armrests and tray. Don’t be shy about offering a wipe or two to your neighbor as well. Taxis are akin to petri dishes, with substances of unknown origins hosting germs of unknown capabilities, so take a moment after disembarking to sanitize your hands as well as the outside of your purse, backpack, or briefcase.
Don’t be Lazy
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can lay around all day. Pack comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes so that you can explore your destination on foot. Sure, you’ll want to use transportation to get from one end of a city to the other, but nothing beats hoofing it if you really want to experience a new place.
By spending a large part of your vacation on foot (or bicycle, if you prefer), you can return home more fit than when you left. Plus, if you decide to indulge in a package of cookies, such as the healthy ones, the calories you burned on the sidewalk will alleviate any guilt associated with it.
Traveling should be a joyous experience. By preparing well beforehand, and following a few simple rules during your trip, you can arrive home fully rested, healthy, and happy.