How do you stay healthy when traveling?
Why did this have to happen? You’ve been really looking forward to your trip and then, a few days into it and you start feeling ill. Whether it is for the holidays or going on an awesome vacation, the last thing you want to be is sick! What can you do to prevent yourself from getting sick and take care of yourself if you are?
You’ve been planning your trip for months and within a few days, you’ll be leaving to go on your long awaited trip. So, in the meantime, you are staying at work late to get projects done and your desk cleared before you leave. When you get home, you stay up even later trying to get everything situated and are planning what to pack. Since you are short on time, you probably aren’t taking the time to cook, but picking up fast food on the way home from work to save time. All of this adds stress to your life that wouldn’t normally be there and leaves you sleep deprived and with poor nutrition. It is all going to be worth it because soon you are going to be relaxing and enjoying yourself, so what is the harm? While this mindset is understandable, it can hide what is really going on. Most likely your body is run-down and this put you at an increased risk of contracting an illness.
What can you do to stay healthy? The key to having an illness-free trip is prevention. By preparing beforehand and following a few simple tips, you will decrease your chance of becoming sick.
- The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands often. Be aware of your surroundings and try to stay away from people who are obviously sick (ex. coughing or sneezing). Also, using disinfecting wipes on frequently touched surfaces can be helpful.
- Eat a nutritiously balanced diet while you travel. Don’t skip any of the main food groups (people will often skip protein and this has important value in keeping your immune system in check). Make sure all of your food is thoroughly cooked. Bring vitamins and take them in order to supplement what you might be missing from your diet.
- Remain well hydrated. This is especially important on long flights. Try not to have any coffee or alcohol and only a minimal amount of sugar until the flight is almost over because these can actually dehydrate you. Also, remember when you drink bottled water that the cap should be sealed and ask for all other drinks without ice to help prevent having stomach upset.
- Continue to exercise while on the trip. This can be biking, running, walking or participating in activities that provide the opportunity to move your body (don’t try anything that you physically wouldn’t normally do). On long flights, make sure to get up and take short walks hourly in order to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot in your legs from sitting for too long.
- Get plenty of sleep. There is going to be so much that you want to see and do, but sleep is vital to providing your body the opportunity to rest and recover.
You want to have a fun-filled trip that you’ll be talking about for a long time and the best way to do that is by keeping these tips in mind when traveling. By being prepared, you decrease your chance of getting sick, which is well worth the effort.
You’ve done everything you could to prevent it, but illness/injuries happen while traveling. The best thing you can do is be prepared for as many as possible situations. If you take prescription medications, make sure to bring enough for the entire length of the trip plus a few days extra just in case you are stranded somewhere. It is always a good idea to bring a first aid kit with you. Not just for bandages, but put certain medications that you might need it as well. Sometimes, the medications you are accustomed to taking for a cold, muscle pain, fever, etc. aren’t available in other countries or you might not know where to go to get them when you need it. The last thing you want to do when you aren’t feeling well is to try and find somewhere to get medicine. For a list of things that you might want to pack in your own personal first aid kit, please see Fast Facts.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have a healthy, relaxing trip! If you have any questions about specific health concerns for the area you are traveling to, please talk your doctor and visit the Center for Disease Control Travel Health Notices page at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/