The ultimate guide to healthy travel is broken down into four sections: how to keep from getting sick while traveling, how to eat healthy while traveling (and what kind of healthy travel snacks to buy, and how to incorporate exercise into your travel or at your hotel.
Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling
No one likes to think about it — you’re finally enjoying your vacation, but suddenly sickness strikes. Couple that with being in a foreign place, and your trip could turn stressful fast.
Don’t panic! Illness doesn’t have to ruin a great time. Here are some tips for staying healthy while traveling.
- Research Your Destination
Depending on your upcoming locale, you might need to take certain precautions. Check the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State Travel to learn more about international medical care, as well as helpful health-related dos and don’ts. Stay informed about current outbreaks or water contamination issues at your destination. Sure, no one likes needles, but you might need immunizations before you jet. See your primary-care physician before your travels. You’ll be happy you did.
- Pack Medications
Sure, you’ll need to figure out which dresses and pairs of shoes you’ll want to pack, but you have to worry about some other suitcase essentials. Namely, don’t skimp on the medications. Bring a healthy stash of your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to combat everything from cuts and allergies to motion sickness or heartburn. Some medicines considered commonplace in the U.S. aren’t as easily accessible abroad. Take in the scenery … and don’t worry about the ragweed.
- Imbibe and Indulge Modestly
Of course, a little more vino sounds like a marvelous idea! You’re on vacation, after all. But don’t overdo it — and guzzle some water while you’re at it. Drinking plenty of liquids is one of the most basic ways to stave away illness. Besides, overindulgence can have some nasty effects. No one wants to deal with an angry stomach, poor sleep or mood swings while they’re trying to catch up on some much-needed R&R. Unwind – don’t unravel.
- Get Some Shut-Eye
The excitement of getting to a new place can be difficult to sleep. But as much as you might want to take in all the historic sites and shopping hotspots, you can’t allow the stress of traveling to take its toll. Give your body a break and let it rest. Fight that jet lag with some good, old-fashioned sleep the first night of your trip. Your body and your mind will thank you.
- Protect Yourself On Flights There’s nothing worse than being sick on vacation – especially if you were fine before you got on the plane! From sneezy seatmates to germy surfaces, here are some important tips to help you protect yourself in-flight:
- Seat pockets, tray tables, pillow and blankets, the airplane bathroom, even the air are all dirtier than you want to know. So pack hand sanitizer – 3 oz. or less – in your carry-on bag to avoid spreading the ick.
- Flying makes you 20% more likely to catch the common cold. Beat the odds by loading up on Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins before, during, and after your flight with oranges, grapefruit, and leafy greens – and add vitamin-boosting drink packets like EmergenC to your water.
- Speaking of water, avoid what comes out of the plane’s water dispenser. Ask for bottled water, or bring your own filtration bottle.
- But don’t just avoid water… Dehydration is one of the biggest health concerns when flying. On the ground, normal humidity is between 20 and 50%, but in flight, it can be as low as 1%, leading to rapid dehydration which often goes unnoticed before it’s too late. To combat it, avoid alcohol, soda, and caffeine in the hours before your flight, drink 8 ounces of water every hour you’re in the air, and choose fruits and veggies over salty snacks.
- Do lots of stretching and walking in the aisle (when the seatbelt sign is off) to keep your circulation flowing. You may feel silly, but it’s better than a blood clot!
A little planning and prevention will go a long way toward ensuring you’re in tip-top shape to take advantage of every precious day of your trip! Got any healthy travel tips we missed? Share them in the comments!
Finding Healthy Food While Traveling
On the Road/Flight
One of the most important things to keep in mind while eating in restaurants, whether on the road, or once you’ve reached your destination, is portion control. Many establishments offer smaller portion options for both entrees and desserts. If you’re going to add a salad to your meal, or have a salad as your meal, use oil and vinegar based dressings instead of cream based dressings as oil and vinegar dressings are lower in fat and calories. If you just need your ranch dressing, ask for it on the side and dress each bite as opposed to pouring the serving over the entire salad.
You Have Reached Your Destination
Once you’ve reached your destination all bets are off, right? They don’t have to be. After you’ve checked into your accommodations, make your first stop the local grocery store where you can purchase things like fruits, veggies, nuts and non-sugary drinks to have on hand so you can avoid the snack machines.
Don’t tell yourself you’re not allowed to have any of the “fun” things. Instead, be resolved to take the smaller portions. Getting ice cream? Make it one scoop instead of two. Visiting a local chocolate shop? Set a limit on how much you’re going to buy before going in, and buy individual pieces. Going out for drinks later? Set a limit before getting there and drink water after you finish each alcoholic beverage.
Making small changes usually have longer lasting success rather than trying to change everything at once. Developing healthy eating habits while traveling can be the first small change that puts you on the road to a healthier life.
8) Trader Joe’s Sesame Honey Almonds
7) Sugar Snap Peas
6) GoMacro Organic Granola Bars
4) Nuts.com Organic Trail Mix
3) Republic of Tea Green Tea
1) Nature’s Path Organic Oatmeal
How To Incorporate Exercise Into Your Travel
- Use the Stairs
- Anytime you encounter an elevator or escalator try to find the stairs and use that instead.
- Walk As Often as You Can
- If you need to get somewhere and can get there reasonably safe and timely then consider walking. If you absolutely need a lift to get to places then at least walk for a bit towards your destination before getting picked up.
- Stretch In the Morning
- Staying active doesn’t mean you have to do strenuous physical activities. Something as simple as stretching your body for a good 30 minutes when you wake up will provide you the natural energy to begin your day.
- Workout Videos
- If you have access to the Internet you will find an abundance of workout videos you could follow along to in your living space. Whether it’s yoga or some intense workouts, you can be certain to find a workout video that suits your needs.
- Body Workouts
- Not having Internet access for exercise videos shouldn’t be an excuse for not staying active. Your own body can easily be used to keep active whenever and wherever you are. Create a simple workout consisting of jumping jacks, pushups, squats, or any workout you’d prefer. Body workouts are intense and effective, which means less than 30 minutes is all you need to get your heart rate up and calories down.
- The Great Outdoors
- Load up your phone with your favorite podcasts and go to the nearest park for a light jog. If you are strapped on time then at least go for a brisk walk while doing light work on your phone.
It’s easy to find excuses for not staying active while traveling, but as you can see from this list it doesn’t take much time or resources to do something physically good for your body. Just set goals for yourself to do 30 minutes of daily stretching, cardio, or body workouts. By following your regimen you can enjoy eating all the great good traveling offers without too much guilt.
Do you have any tips to share on how to stay active while traveling?