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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Image by Julius Silver from Pixabay

Written by Heather Newgen

Heather Newgen has more than twenty years of experience as a journalist, writing about entertainment,  fitness, health, and travel. Her work is regularly featured on Yahoo, InStyle, MSN, and more.  

 

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: Why it’s Important

Knowing how to stay healthy while traveling will help you get the most out of your vacation or business trip. Whether you’ve got family to see, you’re on a solo adventure, or you’re finally getting that dream vacation, getting sick on holiday isn’t part of the itinerary, but it commonly happens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “As many as 43%–79% of travelers to low and middle-income countries become ill with a travel-associated health problem. 

Although most of these illnesses are mild, some travelers become sick enough to seek care from a health care provider.” Luckily, by practicing healthy habits and taking a few precautions, you can lower the risk of getting sick while traveling.  

 

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: 7 Tips

1. Get Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is something we must get on a regular basis in order to function, but getting the right amount of sleep is also vital for our overall well-being and it can help ward off sickness.

“Sleep helps rejuvenation, growth, and development, and reduces the probability of chronic diseases,”  Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University tells us.

“Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, is linked to many leading causes of death (e.g. heart disease) and psychiatric disorders. Other problems are accidents, reduced productivity, etc.” Dr. Khubchandani, who has authored a 9-year study on the damaging health issues lack of sleep causes, adds “For an average adult, the healthy range is 6-8 hours, but ideally a minimum of 7 hours.

With teenagers, the number is 8-10 hours with 9 hours being an ideal number. Sadly, a third of the adult Americans do not sleep enough and those in most important jobs are sleeping the least (e.g. law enforcement and healthcare workers).” 

 

2. Practice Meditation

Chronic stress is unhealthy and can lead to an early death by triggering problems like heart disease, cancer, and more. Getting stress under control can help prevent long-term health issues, and meditation is one solution. 

Dr. Khubchandani explains, “Given that stress in America has increased exponentially as per the stress in America studies, the fact that adults are sleeping less, and mental illnesses are rising, meditation is a cost effective and low resource healer for minds in the society.

While practiced and defined in many ways, the fundamental idea is to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. This helps with stress reduction, body function stabilization, reduction in risk of chronic diseases, and ability to manage chronic diseases well.”


Blood Testing for your Healthy Well Being

 

3. Bring a First-Aid Kit

Having a first-aid kit on hand for non-emergencies is recommended by health care experts, and Sean Marchese, MS, RN, a registered nurse at The Mesothelioma Center with a background in oncology clinical trials and over 20 years of direct patient care experience tells us, “When traveling, it’s wise to have a first aid kit with you in case of emergencies.

Some things you might want to include are band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and tweezers.

It’s important to note that the specific contents of a first aid kit will vary depending on the destination and the activities planned during the trip. For example, if you’re going on a hiking trip, you may want to include items like blister pads and a snake bite kit.”

 

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is essential for good health and hydration is a must. “The amount of water a person needs to stay hydrated can vary depending on factors such as their body size, activity level, and climate,” Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and author of the Candida Diet explains. “However, a general guideline is to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day.

This can be achieved through drinking water directly or consuming other hydrating fluids such as herbal tea, fruit-infused water, and low-sugar electrolyte drinks.

Drinking water is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. It helps to regulate body temperature, cushion and lubricate joints, support healthy digestion, and flush out toxins and waste products from the body. It is also important for keeping the skin and hair healthy, and for supporting cognitive function and mood.”

 

4. Make Wise Food Choices

Traveling can throw off our routine of eating healthy, but Richards offers a few helpful tips. “Traveling can present challenges when it comes to making healthy food choices, as options may be limited and convenience foods may be more readily available,” the nutritionist says. “However, there are some strategies that can help individuals make healthier choices while on the go:

 

  • Plan ahead: Before traveling, research healthy food options and pack healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, and whole-grain crackers.
  • Choose wisely: When eating out, look for dishes that are grilled, roasted, or steamed, and opt for salads or vegetable-based dishes as side items.
  • Be mindful of portions: Portion sizes can be larger when eating out, so consider sharing meals or taking leftovers home.
  • Stay hydrated: Carry a refillable water bottle and drink water regularly throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  • Prioritize nutrient-dense foods: Focus on consuming foods that are high in nutrients such as fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and limit processed and sugary foods.

 

By making conscious food choices and planning ahead, individuals can maintain a healthy diet while traveling and support their overall health and well-being.”


 

5. Remain Active

Understandably so, most people don’t want to spend time on vacation working out and keeping up with their regime, but squeezing in physical actively can be done without taking away too much time from your holiday plan, and keep you in shape.

Spend a morning sightseeing by taking a light jog or power walk around the city, incorporating movement into your day by hiking, swimming or dancing the night away. You can also set aside a few minutes by practicing meditation, taking a yoga class or hitting the hotel gym.

In your room you can also do lunges, planks, push-ups, and crunches before getting the day started.

 

6. Take Care of Your Skin

Nobody wants to deal with a bad sunburn, especially while traveling. However, there’s an easy solution–wear sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a SPF of at least 30 and to reapply every two hours.

“Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen, which is why undesirable sunburns and tanning can occur despite sunscreen application.”

“To achieve the Sun Protection Factor (SPF, which protects against the sun’s UVB radiation) reflected on a bottle of sunscreen, you should use approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin.” 


 

7. Practice Good Hygiene

Practicing healthy habits and good hygiene reduces the spread of diseases and sickness. Marchese says, “Good hygiene practices are also important when traveling to prevent the spread of illness. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.” 

 

Summary

Exploring the world and enjoying new adventures are not times to be sick, so reduce the chance by taking care of yourself.

“It’s important to keep up with good health practices when traveling because you may be exposed to new and different pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that your body may not be used to,” Marchese explains. “This can increase your risk of getting sick. Additionally, being sick while traveling can ruin your trip and lead to missed opportunities.

You may also incur expenses related to medical treatment which may not be in your travel budget. By practicing good hygiene and packing a first aid kit, you can help reduce your risk of illness and be better prepared for any health-related issues that could occur during your travels.”

 

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.


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Hi, I'm Kent

As a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, and bodybuilder, I’ve dedicated my life to optimal nutrition, fitness and natural remedies. And putting it all into practice. Now I’m taking my experience and knowledge to the next level by helping others through blogging.

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