There’s nothing quite like taking a vacation to get your mind and body back in shape. Being able to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life is a huge benefit of travel, but unfortunately, that also means exposure to new germs. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy while traveling, regardless of how packed your itinerary may be. When you’re on the road it’s easy to feel as though you have no control over your day-to-day life. However, setting some precautions before you leave home, keeping up hydration while you’re away, maintaining good hygiene habits and following general travel tips will make it much easier to keep sickness at bay.
Hydration is key to keeping your immune system healthy. Be sure to drink lots of water in the days leading up to your departure, and while you’re on the road. Carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it regularly. Enjoy yourself, but try not to go too hard on caffeine or alcohol, as both are dehydrating. And make sure to drink extra when you do have an adult beverage or go back for that extra cappuccino.
Already feeling run down? Before your trip, perhaps consider trying IV therapy to get fully hydrated with a vitamin boost.
I also recommend grabbing some electrolyte/rehydration tabs or powder, they can fit into your bag easily and are great for on the go. Here is one of my favs: LMNT salt rehydration
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial to staving off sickness and keeping your immune system strong. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Try to stick to your normal sleep patterns while you’re away from home.
If you are traveling to a different time zone, try to adjust to your new time as quickly as you can. Getting sunlight and fresh air can help reset your circadian rhythm. Avoid caffeine or stimulants too close to your new sleep time, and likewise use melatonin to help fall asleep when it is time.
For long-haul flights, upgrade your seat if it fits your budget. The extra room and comfort can help you arrive at your destination rested and ready to go.
Vitamins & supplements
Whether you’re traveling long-term or just heading out of town for a few days, it’s easy to put healthy eating on the back burner. While I do recommend eating well, it’s a good idea to add in some vitamins for a boost.
A daily multivitamin is always a good choice and maybe add in some vitamin C or zinc supplements as well. While they won’t prevent illness, they have been shown to reduce the length and severity of colds.
They work best when already in your system before you catch a bug, so start taking them in advance of your travel.
Since you’re likely to come into contact with more people while traveling, it’s important to maintain good hygiene practices to avoid spreading germs while striving to experience healthy traveling. Wash your hands often (especially after going to the bathroom and before eating) and use hand sanitizer when there’s no soap and water nearby.
Pack some alcohol-based sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces on the go (looking at you plane armrests and tray table). Avoid touching your face too often.
Allow for downtime during travel
It’s important to schedule some downtime on any trip, but it’s especially crucial when you’re traveling in a new place. Being in a new environment with new stresses and germs can put your body under stress. This can weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to getting sick.
Try to find time to relax when you can. It’s tempting to squeeze in everything possible when you have a big trip planned, but you’ll be better off if you spend a few hours a day doing something relaxing or even catching a quick nap.
Keep stress in check
Stress is a huge contributor to illness. It causes your body to produce excess cortisol, which is toxic to your body and immune system. It’s important to keep stress in check while you’re away from home in order to experience healthy traveling.
There are simple ways to reduce stress when you are on the road. First, always allow extra time for travel. Arrive earlier at the airport and give yourself extra time going from one site to the next while in destination.
Practice breathing exercises. One easy go-to is box breathing or 4×4 breathing. Here’s how:
- slowly breathe out, releasing all the air from your lungs
- breathe in slowly, counting to 4
- hold for a 4 count
- breathe out for a 4 count
- hold for a 4 count
- repeat a few times
Use supplements if they work for you. Things like CBD, L-theanine, and magnesium can help. Talk to your doctor to see what’s best for you.
Moving helps with your immune system, digestion and stress levels while you are on the go. All will make your vacay a little better. It’s easier than you think to work in some exercise on your trip.
No need to plan for intense workouts. Most vacations lend themselves to plenty of walking, so it’s easy to get steps in. If you need a bit more, add in some easy stretches in your room.
Want to make it more fun? Build in some activities you’ll enjoy during the trip. Yoga on the beach, a round of golf, a scenic hike, etc.
While you can’t control the people or places you’ll encounter on a vacation, you can do your best to prevent getting sick. Take care of your health before you go and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
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