Are you getting excited about your next getaway? You’ve made all the necessary reservations, planned activities, shopped for a new swimsuit and started packing your bags. But have you thought about how to stay healthy while on the journey? Changes in routine can cause havoc with your digestive system. Eating new foods and not getting enough rest or exercise can quickly turn your vacation from fun to troublesome. To help combat some common issues and help you have an amazing trip, I’ve put together 10 tips to stay healthy while traveling. Follow these tips and hopefully you return home with stories of adventures.
Hydration is key:
I’ve noticed that one of the first things to fall by the wayside when we travel is water intake. It’s so easy to not drink regularly or to purposefully not drink enough because you’re worried about finding toilets. Not only can dehydration occur quickly with side effects such as headaches and lethargy, it can also increase your chances of occasional constipation. Since we know this is an issue, we always down an extra glass or two of water during mealtimes. And I said water, not soda.
Depending on where you are traveling, bring a quality filtered water bottle to fill up at taps. Or if you’re traveling to a destination where the water isn’t safe to drink, stock-up on water bottles or bring a quality filtered water bottle. It pays to research the safety of the water before you even reach your destination.
If you’re visiting a hotter climate than you’re used to, you’ll want to increase your daily intake of water as well.
Keep to a balanced diet:
I know, you’re on vacation. It’s time to splurge on dessert, try those fabulous pastries each morning for breakfast and sample local dishes. It’s also easy to overindulge and eat too much of those tempting morsels during meal times. Try to keep to a diet similar to the one you would have at home, and eat a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and high fiber foods. That’s not to say you have to avoid foods just because they aren’t the best nutritional choice, just go for moderation. Trying new dishes is all part of the experience, just strive for a balance of indulgence and healthy eating.
Get plenty of rest:
Try to keep to a similar routine as you would at home and get plenty of sleep. If you normally wake up at 6:30am and instead start waking at 10am, your body’s natural rhythm can get thrown off. The same thing happens if you decide to go from dawn until dusk, staying up late every evening then hitting the ground running each morning. Without the proper rest, you can more easily succumb to illness.
Give your body time adjust:
Just as with not getting enough rest, it’s important to give your body time to adjust to a new schedule. If you changed time zones, your body won’t know when it’s time to sleep, eat or potty. Another common issue for me iis not waking up early enough before a flight to go to the bathroom which sets me up for occasional constipation. Your body needs time to adjust to a trip. Attempt to follow a similar morning routine as you would at home to keep your body happy.
Avoid sitting for long periods and ensure you walk and stay active while traveling. Planning a long roadtrip? Make frequent stops to stretch your legs, have a drink or use the toilet. If you’re on a long flight, get up frequently and walk the aisles. It might be wise to set a timer on your phone as a reminder. Another tip is to avoid putting yourself in the window seat where you’ll have to ask 2 strangers to move each time you need to get up. Waiting for your flight? Don’t sit around the airport playing on your phone. Get up and walk around.
Traveling can be an ideal time for being more active as walking is particularly the best mode of transport to see new cities. Consider getting a Fitbit or downloading a step counter on your phone to ensure you’ve hit your activity goal for the day. Lounging around on a chair reading a book all day is great, but make sure you get up and take a long stroll on the beach as well. Other simple steps are taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to a restaurant down the block instead of jumping in a cab.
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize:
Wet-wipes and hand sanitizer are your friend whether you’re traveling to New York or Morocco. You’ll constantly touch door handles, money, cross walk buttons and escalator handrails. Additionally, depending on where you’re traveling, you might not have access to sinks to wash your hands after using the bathroom. And that means no-one else does either! Come prepared for all situations and sanitize frequently.
As the COVID-19 pandemic still looms over us, you really want to keep this a habit along with frequent hand washing. Wipe EVERYTHING down on the airplane. Don’t touch your face after holding the handle on the bus and consider using your shirt to push button on the crosswalk or use your knuckle to hit the buttons in the elevator.
Learn about food safety concerns:
Just like knowing if the water in your destination is safe to drink, it’s also important to learn about any food safety concerns. If the water isn’t safe, you’ll also want to avoid uncooked foods that are washed in the water. We were recently in Egypt and washed off apples with bottled water before consuming.
Parts of the world where food may be left outside or not handled properly are also concerns. Ensure you only consume completely cooked meats and it can also be beneficial to avoid seafood unless you’re close to the sea. A quick internet search will provide all the tips you need to safely consume foods (and foods to avoid) in the country you’re visiting.
Take your vitamins:
Take a good multivitamin during your travels since it can be difficult to keep a balanced diet while gallivanting from one destination to the next. Plus, let’s face it, as I mentioned above, you’re on vacation and may well over indulge. Or maybe you’re traveling to a destination that has limited meal options or somewhere like Germany where I could have killed for a huge salad after a week of meat, potatoes and sauerkraut.
Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best:
Sometimes, no matter how careful we are, illness strikes. Pack a kit with basic medications, so you’re prepared for anything that may arise. Hopefully, you won’t ever need to open that kit, but you’ll have it in a pinch. Yes, you can likely find what you need at the local pharmacy, but what if you need something at 2am? You don’t need to go overboard and pack an arsenal, just have enough to tide you over until you can get to the store. The extra pain relief pills we had stashed way were a lifesaver when Lucy broke her wrist in England! A small first aid kit is also handy, as you never know when someone will scrape a knee or twist an ankle.
UPDATED: Pack your Mask – You’ll need it for getting on an airplane and going out and about in some cities and countries. Virginia, for example, has a mandated mask policy when indoors. I know in Nice, France you need the mask on just for venturing outside.
Staying healthy while traveling takes a bit of advance preparation and sometimes a little luck. Follow our 10 tips above to reduce your chance of illness and occasional constipation on the road. No one wants to be stuck in the toilet or laid up in bed while the rest of the family is out creating memories. Strive to minimize your chance of illness then relax and enjoy your vacation.
Do you have other tips to stay healthy while traveling?