With everything in the news about viruses and with colds and flu running rampant at my kid’s schools I wanted to share some tried and true tips to staying healthy while traveling going into this travel season.
Tips For Staying Healthy While Traveling
I hate being sick and luckily thanks to my OCD tendencies I stay pretty healthy most of the time thanks to these tricks. (Knock on wood.)
We all know to wash our hands when we use the restroom but what about all of the other times? Airplanes are breeding grounds for all kind of germs. Did you remember to wash your hands during that layover before grabbing lunch? Yuck. You have no idea what you picked up while browsing through those 50% off deals at Macy’s, and now you are going to pick up that bread and dip it into your soup? Gross. What about when you get home from the grocery store/farmers market/park with the kids or grand-kids? Whenever you walk back into the house stop at the sink and give your hands a good washing. It will keep the germs outside and it will help keep the inside of the house clean.
Staying hydrated helps with jet lag. Dehydration is really common when flying. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your flight. Both caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you so try and avoid them. Stay away from those salty snacks that the airlines provide. You can pack your own healthy snacks or buy some in the airport before boarding your flight. Every cell, and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. If you get dehydrated you are more likely to get sick.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep leads to bad decisions around food, such as reaching for caffeine and sugar for pick-me-ups. It also keeps us from being alert enough to make the right choices at meal time. If you find it hard to sleep when traveling try melatonin. If you are looking for natural sources try pineapple, bananas, and oranges before bed. Being tired doesn’t make you sick but it makes you more at risk. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system takes a hit and has a harder time protecting against illness. Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep when traveling just as you would at home.
I know it is vacation but you have to keep moving and exercising. Exercise stimulates the immune system, releases endorphins, and keeps your brain sharp. Use the hotel fitness center and pool daily. If you are on trip to visit family for the holidays go on a daily outing somewhere where you will get a couple of miles in (zoo, historic district, mall, beach, etc.). If you are in a city, walk to the restaurant and movies and skip the cab ride (that cab is a breeding ground for germs anyway!).
Don’t stop and get junk just because it is the most convenient thing to do. Seek out independent cafes and local restaurants. You will you eat better, and you will also meet locals and get a better flavor of the town that you are visiting. Pack snacks and meals in your bag for long flights. You can also find healthy options at the airport. Bypass the greasy fast food and head for the real restaurants and order food to-go. Go to the grocery store too. Whether you are staying with friends, relatives or in a hotel you can go shop for fresh food and make it where you are staying.
Take Your Vitamins
This one is an ongoing process that you need to remember before, during, and after a trip. A healthy diet provides nearly all of the nutrients you need, but many people don’t eat the healthiest of diets all of the time – especially when we travel. That’s why a multivitamin can help fill in the gaps. A daily multivitamin is an inexpensive way to fill the holes.
I am not saying that you have to go crazy and do things that I do (like holding it for 20 hours of flying plus an hour cab ride to avoid a public restroom) but when you are out and about watch what you are doing so that you have a great trip, whether it is for work or play.
Follow these simple rules during your travels and you will be healthy and happy.