How to stay healthy when you travel

Jean Claude Reuille17-Aug-2020

Traveling is like a medicine for your soul as it rejuvenates you and de-stresses you. But sometimes it is not as overwhelming as it is planned or expected. Leaving the comfort of your home must be good to break the monotony and it is natural to be apprehensive at the same time.


While traveling, you must try to keep your mind, body and spirit in good working order. If you are a frequent traveler and most of the time on and off planes and constantly hitting the road, then the climate change can make it difficult to take care of yourself. So in the case of health, things tend to get a little difficult.


If you are traveling for a fun-filled leisure trip or you are embarking on a business trip, staying healthy is vital for you to enjoy the journey ahead of you. Traveling can be a thrilling and amazing experience but it can also be quite stressful and may take a toll on your health.

There are many travelers who manage to travel freely without falling sick. There are some who gets affected when exposed to new places due to change of routine or not taking care of health, etc. If you are from the unlucky few, then you can read the tips on how to alleviate the negative health effects of travel.

Here we are to guide you on how to stay healthy while you are traveling to your next planned getaway:


Research

Before embarking on a journey, it is important to do your research and analyze the risks beforehand. You may search online about the climate at the destination, is it too hot or cold and will there be a risk of sunburn or heatstroke, poisonous animals that you may find and how to safeguard yourself if you come in contact with them, etc. In addition to this, you may also browse through the warnings and advisories on the country’s government website and the blogs or customer reviews. Keep the emergency numbers of hospitals handy with you so that if you fall sick, you know whom to contact.


Vaccination 

Once you search online about potential danger, consult your doctor so that you can take vaccination to protect you from thes disease. If you are traveling to South America/Asia, then vaccination of Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid Fever, Yellow Fever, Cholera and Diarrhea are the common ones that you need to take. The doctor can also suggest the medicines to be carried in case of any emergency. Malaria medicines and other antibiotics are important to be packed.  Some vaccinations you may require more than once so we advise you to visit the doctor a couple of months ago.


Watch what you eat during travel

One of the most important things to stay healthy during travel is eating the right kind of food. We understand you want to explore new cuisines when you discover a new place but you need to be mindful of the meals you are having. 


Onboard, in-flight meals are not necessarily fresh. You can sip hot water or green tea. It is better you carry a small amount of snacks for satiating the in-flight craving. Don’t drink too much caffeine.

Start your day on a healthy note! Include a bowl of oatmeal and top it with nuts and fresh fruit, cereals, almond or soy milk, spinach salad, sprouts and eggs. Never skip your breakfast as it gives you energy at the start of your day.


You should always have fresh and cooked meals instead of junk street food. Try to have a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables. Prefer vegetables over meat.


You can pack healthy snacks like air-popped popcorn, unsalted nuts and seeds like pistachios, cashew nuts, pecan, pumpkin seeds, fruits like pears, plums and apples and low sugar bar. You can carry portable meals like whole-grain salad or some lettuce sandwich. As you cannot carry so much on a long vacation, so whenever you are hungry, you can order a grilled sandwich or a small size of fries. Keep lunch to be bit heavy and dinner to be light.


You can also buy Greek yogurt, packaged nuts, green leaf salads with chicken, etc. Try to avoid drinking from unclean hotel glasses. Always get it washed again if you notice any spots. Research the restaurants so that you can have a good dining experience at your destination. You can check the reviews and view menus in advance on TripAdvisor.


Keep a stock of First Aid Kit 

For a healthy travel lifestyle, a first aid kit is essential. You can make your own checklist for the travel-size health kit but we suggest the following can be packed:

  • Anti-motion sickness medicines
  • Pain relievers
  • Pain killer medicines
  • Antacid
  • Anti-bacterial ointment
  • Band-Aids
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Aloe Gel for sunburns
  • Oral Rehydration Salts
  • Sunscreen
  • Cold and Flu medicine
  • Fever medicine
  • Eye Drops
  • Nasal Spray
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Diarrhea medicine
  • Rehydration Tablets
  • Dettol
  • Wet wipes
  • Thermometer
  • Insect Repellent ointment

 You can also carry a mosquito net as they are portable and quite easy to use. You never know where your sleep may be disturbed by mosquitos.

 

Wear the right fabric and clothes

If you are in the scorching sun, then we suggest wearing a hat and full sleeves clothes. It helps you to be comfortable and protects you from sunburn.


Keep yourself hydrated

Hydrating yourself will save you from dehydration. Sometimes, you may feel dehydrated in the flight due to air-conditioning. When you step out of the hotel, carry sealed bottled water.


Jet Lag

It is quite common, especially on long haul flights. As you certainly want to avoid exhaustion during the trip, so we recommend sleeping on the flight. Carry a travel neck pillow, earplugs or noise-reducing headphones so that you can rest comfortably.


Limit Alcohol Consumption

Onboard, avoid alcohol as much as you can. Try not to party till the wee hours of the morning. You need to settle down anyway due to the change in time zones. Try cutting down on drinks. 

If you have a hangover the other day, try to take more fluids. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatories such as naproxen and ibuprofen may relieve you from headaches and muscle pain. It is better when you consult a doctor before travel, ask for general hangover medicines that suit you. You can also have food with antioxidants to eliminate the negative effects of alcohol like cherries, grapes, berries, pomegranates, carrots, spinach, ginger, dark chocolate, green and black teas, nuts and seeds 


Altitude

When you are traveling at a high altitude, do not over-exert and have plenty of water. Carry the medicines for altitude sickness.


Boost your immune system 

Traveling with health supplements is a good idea as it helps maintain our health. In order to balance, take your multi-vitamins to supplement your meals as it is difficult to eat a healthy balanced meal. When you pack essentials for your vacation, keep multivitamins and supplements. Vitamin C tablets increase your body’s resistance to combat airborne germs.


Take probiotics when you travel as the healthy bacteria in it reduces bloating and gastric issues.  


Exercise

As we are recommending ways to stay healthy, so exercise is the most important way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Although we understand, it is difficult to stick to a routine when you travel. But try to walk as much as you can to explore a new place. Fresh air is the best air for you. It is more fun to discover a new place on foot. Try to take the stairs at the hotel you are staying in instead of the lift. You can also enjoy a morning jog. You can carry a jump rope which is easy to carry as its lightweight.  Do some planks in your room as it will give you an energetic start.


Embrace Yoga as it is a great way to stay healthy and flexible.  Incorporate 10 minutes of yoga into your routine before you leave your hotel room. Meditate as it will calm you and bring positive energy. Alternatively, apps like Lululemon’s Om Finder can guide you to a fitness studio wherever you are in the world. 


Public gyms and parks are also a great way to workout. Hit the local gyms offering guest passes or seek for a park with outdoor gym machines. Check with your hotel if they have an in-house gym. You can also try a basketball/soccer match with the locals if you like meeting new people.


Stretching exercises can effectively relieve you from pains and aches caused due to sitting in the same position for hours in the car or plane. Stretch your arms, legs, neck and back after every one hour to increase the blood flow. Walk a bit to stretch your legs and back.


Try breathing exercises anywhere and anytime. Take a deep breath, hold for a few seconds, and exhale. It helps you to fight the stress of traveling.


Wash your hands

It is essential to stop the spread of infection and reduces the chances of getting ill. If soap and water are not readily available, then use sanitizer. Use the disinfectant wipes after touching surfaces of planes/trains like armrests, digital screens, tray tables and seatbelts.


Back & Neck Pain

In case you have back or neck pain due to wrong sleeping posture, then check with the hotel if they have orthopaedic pillows as that will help you to relax and sleep at ease.  


Sleep

Try not to skimp on sleep as partying too hard and compromising with sleep can take a toll on your health. Ensure to have plenty of rest so that you have the energy to follow your itinerary. Sleeping will boost your immunity. While sleeping, try to create a dark space as light in your sleep space can disrupt the good night’s sleep.


Choose a routine

Every individual will have a different routine in terms of eating and exercising habits, so choose a routine that fits your trip and also the preferences on how to stay healthy.


Carry a travel humidifier

If your travel is to dry locations, your throat can turn sore. A small humidifier can be carried or check with the hotel if they have. It treats the dryness of the skin, nose, throat and lips. Sometimes, flu/common cold symptoms can be eased by it.


Wake up early

Get up early and see how a city wakes up and see it coming alive. Starting your day early will invigorate you.


Embrace light

When natural sunlight hits your skin, the body triggers the production of Vitamin D. Try to be surrounded by natural light as it will revive you and energize your soul.


Brush teeth

After your dinner and waking up, brush your teeth as it washes any bacteria building in your mouth, keeping it clean from germs. It anyways gives you a fresh breath.


Stay calm  

High-stress levels can cause anxiety and have a negative impact on your health. Try to stay calm during travel.


Wear socks

This tip is for someone who is traveling by plane. At the airport, sometimes you are requested to remove your shoes at the security gate. The floor is full of bacteria so cover your feet with socks to prevent any infection. 


Travel is a wonderful experience for wanderlusts as they get to experience new cultures, places, people and also witness how the rest of the world lives. Staying healthy is imperative during traveling. We understand that with holidays, it is easy to slip into unhealthy living. But do not let health put a damper on your travel plans. Long term travel has inevitable changes in our bodies. When you are on the go, your lifestyle usually becomes detrimental to your health. It throws out the natural rhythm in and out of balance. 


You will not miss out on the good times if you are informed and prepared. Hope the travel hacks recommended acts as the ultimate survival guide for you and you are ready to face any situation. 

All you Globetrotters, thrive and stay safe!

Written by "Jean Claude Reuille" on 17-Aug-2020

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