Keeping yourself healthy should be one of our top priorities at all times, and especially when traveling! Don’t forget that jet lag, all the adjustments to the different time zones, walking everywhere from the airport to the train station, and the disruption of your typical diet and exercise routine can take a toll on your immune system.
Plus, when you’re traveling you’re likely getting exposed to many different bacteria both in the environment and in public places. Travel can also lower your defenses depending on your state of mind and body. Not to mention the elephant in the room here: there’s a pandemic going on!
So now more than ever is the perfect time to learn how to stay healthy while traveling! Doing this will allow you to enjoy your trip to the fullest and avoid any infectious disease and immune risks. The last thing you want to do is spend your entire trip worrying about getting sick, or have to take more time off because you end up getting sick. This is why you must have a plan to remain healthy while traveling, feel your best, and most of all ENJOY your travel experience!
If you are planning to travel but don’t know where to start when it comes to keeping yourself healthy on the go, this post is for you. I’m sharing all my tips and tricks for how to stay healthy when traveling. Keep reading to learn them all!
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How To Stay Healthy When Traveling
1. Stay hydrated
It’s quite simple: water boosts your immune system and keeps you healthy! Because water carries oxygen to your body cells, it stimulates proper bodily systems function, helps to get rid of any toxins, and keeps your body strong. Dehydration can also make you more at risk of catching someone else’s infectious disease. So keep a water bottle nearby and drink plenty!
I suggest traveling with a reusable water bottle so you can cut down on plastic waste and ensure you can stay hydrated 24/7. If I’m traveling by car, I like to have a large water jug so I always have fresh, filtered water on hand!
Here are the best reusable water bottles for traveling:
2. Spend lots of time washing your hands
Seriously, wash your hands as often as possible with generous amounts of soap and warm water. Especially if you’ve been in heavily populated, public, indoor spaces like airports, train stations, buses, etc. This is the best way to eliminate any germs or bacteria that might have come in contact with your skin. You should scrub the entire hand, even the fingernails, for about 20 seconds.
3. Maintain your beauty sleep
Exhaustion and tiredness can lower your defenses, and that is exactly what you want to avoid if you’re trying to stay healthy while traveling. Rest helps with acclimatization to the different time zones and recharges your systems. Sleep at least seven hours a day! Eight hours of rest would be ideal, though so aim for a nice sweet spot somewhere in there.
I highly suggest traveling with an eye mask and earplugs to help you get the best night’s sleep possible. I also like to take melatonin when adjusting to a new time zone as I feel like it helps me kick jet lag in the butt without feeling drowsy. Always speak to your doctor before starting supplements or medications.
Pack These Sleep Essentials For Your Next Trip:
4. Get all the necessary shots
Depending on where you’re traveling, you might be required to get a vaccine to protect you from common diseases in that area. So check to make sure you get everything you need before you head out. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that it takes around two weeks to fully carry the effects of some vaccines, so plan in advance.
In the age of COVID-19, many nations have started requiring a COVID vaccine for entry, for example, Canada & Europe to name just two. You should also check what travel medicines are necessary for the specific location you are traveling to.
5. Keep a hand sanitizer with you at all times
If washing your hands is not a doable option, hand sanitizer is your next best bet! If you’re walking everywhere or on a taxi perhaps, hand sanitizer can be a quick, efficient, and easy way to kill any harmful viruses or germs you might be picking up along the way. Always keep one in your bag so you can easily get rid of any germs or bacteria while on the road. I also recommend carrying some hand sanitizer travel wipes for things like chairs and tables. I like to use a small travel case that can clip on to my backpack, purse, or fanny pack so I always have some hand sanitizer with me.
Here are the best Hand Sanitizers & cases for traveling:
6. Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth
This is key for reducing the chances that you get sick. Try your best to avoid touching your face, nose, mouth, or your food without clean hands. The quickest path to your body for viruses is through your hands.
So you can even take extra precautions like opening bathroom doors with a paper tissue to avoid direct contact, use disinfecting wipes before sitting or resting your arms anywhere, and steer clear of anyone who appears to be ill.
But at the end of the day, even if there is something harmful on your hands, if you don’t touch your face you won’t be transferring those harmful viruses into your body. These actions will help you dodge any infectious disease.
7. Take immune boosting supplements
There is nothing wrong with giving your body a little extra support while traveling. I personally like to make sure I’m getting in all the key immune-boosting vitamins and minerals while traveling. And especially on actual travel or commuting days. Think vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, all the B vitamins, etc.
my favorite immune-boosting supplements:
8. Watch what you eat
A nutritious diet will keep your body energized and feeling its best, while a poor one might cause its defenses to lower. Watching what you eat doesn’t just require you to eat a nutritious diet, that is a given. While you’re traveling you should take it a step further and make sure the food you eat is clean and properly cooked.
Food poisoning is no fun while you’re on vacation. Plus, there is always a risk of getting a more severe illness from food than just a stomach bug. Parasites for one thing can cause long-term health issues as well. So definitely make sure the food you are consuming has met the basic hygiene and quality standards.
Try to avoid eating any raw meat unless you are certain it comes from a trustworthy source and send back anything that looks even the slightest bit suspicious.
9. KNOW WHEN TO DRINK TAP WATER
If you are unsure of the water systems in the country or place you are visiting, it is best to stick with bottled or self-filtered water. Contaminated drinking water is one of the common reasons travelers get sick ranging from gastrointestinal issues to severe bacterial diseases such as Typhoid Fever, Giardia, and E. Coli. Travelers get sick because the pathogens in the water are foreign to the traveler’s immune system.
If you are staying in a major hotel it is likely that the water is safe. But in rural areas, you may have to be more careful and boil or filter water to drink or stick with bottled water that is sealed and has not been tampered with. You should also be mindful of the water you brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with too.
The Best Water Filters for Travel:
10. Stay Active
A body in motion is ready for anything. Keeping good circulation and movement in your body will not only make you feel good in the moment, but it will also help your body fend off any immune system attacks. So try to stay active while on vacation!
I know it might sound annoying to recommend exercise when you probably just want to relax all day long, but your immune system will thank you for it. Exercise releases endorphins and bolsters your defenses. It can be as simple as walking everywhere if you’re exploring a new area, going hiking, or taking 30 minutes each morning for a few sun salutations in your bedroom. Any way you can get moving will benefit your immune system.
11. Plan Ahead
This one might seem a little obvious, but planning ahead can help eliminate stress during your trip! Adding unnecessary worries elevates your cortisol levels, a stress hormone, which can overwhelm your immune system. You can avoid a lot of these headaches by doing a little extra planning ahead of time! I also like to add small meditation and mindfulness practices into my daily routine. Especially when I’m traveling, this helps me stay present and enjoy every moment!
Here are some simple tasks you can do before you even leave to help yourself stay healthy:
- Make sure you have the right gear packed for your trip. Heading somewhere cold? Make sure to pack extra warm layers! This is my go-to packing list for hiking trips.
- Book activities in advance that you want to do! When I travel to a new destination, I love to use Get Your Guide and Viator to plan ahead and find new experiences. Don’t forget to leave time to relax!
- Brush up on some trip planning resources! Planning a National Park Trip? Read this blog on How To Plan the Perfect National Parks Trip
- Find free campsites for your next road trip or camping adventure!
What are your tips to stay healthy while traveling?
It’s always important to stay healthy on the go, especially these days! I hope these tips gave you insight into how to keep your defenses up and running while traveling. I would love to know how you stay healthy while traveling! Please share your best tips in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow the recommended travel guidelines and practice responsible vacationing. Stay safe and stay healthy!