How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

While you can’t stop thinking of how amazing your trip will be, traveling may expose you to germs and viruses and interfere with your regular exercise and diet routine. This may throw your health off course and make you sick. However, I’m sure you definitely don’t plan on falling ill while traveling or on vacation. So let’s find out how to stay healthy while traveling!

This article gives you simple tips you can follow to ensure a smooth journey and that you get to your destination as healthy as before the journey began.

Also, check out, 11 Healthy Snacks To Carry When Traveling,  Gluten-Free Vegan Shopping List, and Vegan Pantry Staples

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

When you’re traveling, your body often isn’t exposed to the same healthy diet and exercise schedule that it’s used to at home. This can lead to weight gain and other issues that make you feel less than your best when you get back home. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself healthy while traveling so that when you get back home, your healthy habits are still in place.

Here are some of the best ways to stay healthy while traveling!

1. Avoid aisle seats on planes

Whether traveling by bus or plane, the seat you choose is a big deal. Always select a seat that’s away from where everyone else is passing. This will not only give you rest from a neighbor that makes you get up each time, but it will also minimize your exposure to germs.

According to a 2008 investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sitting on the aisle seats of a plane increases the risk of contracting an outbreak virus.

This is mainly because as people walk up and down the aisle from outside and others from the bathroom, they tend to hold onto the top of the aisle seats, potentially transmitting the germs.

2. Get plenty of sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential in promoting a strong immune system, boosting energy levels, and fighting fatigue, especially from a tiresome journey. 

One of the most common complaints of people traveling is that they can’t get a good night’s sleep. This is because when you’re traveling, your body clock (your natural sleep/wake rhythm) is thrown off. This can happen for a number of reasons: being in an unfamiliar time zone, the noise and light pollution of a new city or country, and the change in temperature all contribute. Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep when traveling.

Here are six:

  • To minimize the chances of being affected by the change in time zones, understand where you are traveling to and start shifting your bedtime and sleep time to match your destination, at least a week prior. If that’s impossible to do, ensure you are well hydrated throughout the journey and when you land, spend some time in the sun as it can help you adjust to the new time zone. Top 10 Benefits Of Getting Enough Sleep.
  • When traveling, make yourself comfortable and fall asleep whenever you feel like it throughout the journey.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule When you travel, it’s important to stick to as much of a regular sleep schedule as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even if that means getting up earlier or later than usual in order to do so. This will help your body adjust more easily to the new time zone and minimize disruption to your natural sleep rhythm.
  • Avoid caffeine & alcohol. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages contain stimulants that will make it difficult to fall asleep. Try drinking water, or herbal tea instead.
  • Reduce light exposure in your sleeping area. It’s important to dim your lights and keep the curtains drawn as much as possible during the night when you are in a new time zone. This will help reduce exposure to light that may induce melatonin suppression. Melatonin is a hormone that the brain releases in response to light to help you fall asleep. Melatonin also helps regulate your wake-sleep cycle.
  • Take steps to reduce cortisol secretion (the stress hormone). Cortisol is released in response to stress and is thought to suppress melatonin production, which may be why it’s so important to reduce stress during your travel. Alternatively, try using calming herbs like chamomile or valerian root (try lavender tea!) or simply take a walk outside at sunset.

3. Watch what you eat and drink

Always ensure you stay away from salads and any raw vegetables because they get easily contaminated, and you can’t be sure they were handled properly. Also, if you are not vegan, animal products such as meat may be a source of food born disease, and you may want to stay off until you reach your destination.

Additionally, consider drinking only bottled water as tap water may not be safe to drink. This includes ice cubes, which you are not sure which water went into them.

It’s always good to carry healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, packed celery or carrot sticks with hummus, homemade trail mix, etc. Always go for something high in fiber to enable you to feel satisfied longer, to help prevent snacking unnecessarily.

Besides, you don’t need to eat a heavy meal when traveling. Just something light to enable you to get to your destination. This will also prevent unnecessary trips to the bathroom, where you’re likely to be exposed to more germs. Best Low Carb Snacks

4. Use hand sanitizer and wet naps

Water and soap may not always be available when traveling. So, always be prepared to keep off any disease-causing pathogens you’re likely to be in contact with by regularly disinfecting your hands. Sometimes you may want to do it even after washing your hands, especially after using a washroom that requires you to manually close the door behind you.

You’ll also need to properly clean your hands before eating. Always ensure you have antibacterial wipes and a sanitizer with you.

5. Protect your skin

If you are traveling for the summer, it’s important to take steps to protect your skin from the sun. Five easy steps that can help you stay safe and healthy while traveling include:

  • Wear sunscreen every day. Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by blocking out the sun’s UVA and UVB radiation. Apply sunscreen liberally, even if you are only going to be outside for a short time.
  • Avoid spending too much time in the sun during peak hours. The sun’s rays are strongest in the afternoon but mild in the morning.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water so that you don’t become dehydrated and suffer from sunburn more easily.
  • Seek shade when possible. Shades can help protect your skin from intense sunlight, especially if you want to take a break from the sun for a few minutes.
  • Wear a hat

Also, remember to protect yourself from too much wind. Some tips include wearing a scarf, sunglasses, and dressing in layers so you can adjust your clothing as the weather changes.

6. Avoid energy drinks, soda, and alcohol

These beverages are often high in calories, and you are more than likely to overconsume them. Besides, they are high in added sugar, which has been shown to cause inflammation, obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Added sugar has also been linked to depression,  anxiety, dementia, and certain types of cancer. See Dangers Of Energy Drinks.

Go for unsweetened lemonade or sparkling water if you feel like drinking something other than water.

7. Stay hydrated

One of the most important ways to stay healthy while traveling is to drink plenty of water. Not only will this help to keep you hydrated, but it will also help reduce the chances of getting sick. Drinking water while traveling helps caution your joints, such as the knees, which you are likely to keep in one position for long. In addition, the air-conditioning on the plane is often dry and dehydrating, especially for long trips.

Water is also essential for the transportation of oxygen and nutrients into the cells, it promotes bacterial elimination through urine, keeps your pressure within normal, regulates body temperature, maintains electrolyte balance, and aids digestion. Benefits Of Drinking Water.

If you are planning on traveling in a hot climate, be sure to drink plenty of fluids beforehand. This will help to keep you cool and hydrated during the journey. To stay hydrated while traveling, try drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. If you are traveling in a hot climate, be sure to drink more. Additionally, avoid drinking anything caffeinated or alcoholic, as these drinks will dehydrate you even more.

8. Don’t forget your first aid kit

It’s always important to carry basic first aid supplies in case of an emergency, especially when traveling with kids. Some essential things to bring include are ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain or fever, antibacterial wipes or gel, topical antibiotic ointment, insect repellant, anti-diarrheal medication like Imodium, and motion sickness remedy.

And in case you’re on any medication, pack them in your carry-on, just in case your checked luggage gets lost in transit.

9. Stay active

Another effective way to stay healthy while traveling is to stay active. There are many ways to stay active while on vacation, and you don’t have to be an athlete to participate. You can take part in activities that interest you, such as walking around town, hiking, visiting museums, or going for a bike ride.

Another way to stay active during your trip is to take advantage of the local attractions. Many cities have parks and other tourist destinations that you can visit without having to leave the city. Or you can take a bus tour or visit some of the landmarks in the city on foot.

If you don’t know where to start, look for travel health resources on the internet or the local library in the city you’re traveling to. They can provide tips on staying active and healthy while in the city, as well as information on the local health hazards that you may encounter while traveling in that region

10. Protect your ears

When you travel, the pressure in your ears drops, and the eardrums become more susceptible to damage from loud noises and bacteria. If you’re prone to ear infections, travel can be a real risk factor for getting one.

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your ears are properly protected while traveling:

  1. Avoid contact with water that’s standing in pools or streams. That standing water is teeming with bacteria that can make you sick.
  2. Always wear earplugs when you are in an environment that is loud. This will help to reduce the amount of noise that is coming into your ears and will allow you to enjoy your travel experience without feeling overwhelmed.
  3. It is important to choose earplugs that are specifically designed for noise reduction. This will ensure that the plugs will block out as much noise as possible and will provide you with a more comfortable experience.
  4. Make sure that you follow the instructions for properly fitting earplugs when you are traveling, to ensure they are performing their function while increasing comfort. 

Final Thoughts

Travel time is often when most people don’t pay much attention to their health; what they eat, whether they are getting enough sleep, hydrating enough, and generally taking good care of their health.

Unfortunately, this is one of those periods where you are likely to come into contact with numerous germs and diseases causing pathogens.

So, being extremely mindful of your health while traveling is essential.

Some things you can do to stay healthy when traveling include getting plenty of sleep, avoiding the aisle seat if traveling by plane. 

Be mindful of what you eat and drink, hydrate enough, protect your skin, use sanitizers or antibacterial wipes where necessary, and pack basic first aid supplies in case of an emergency.

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