Getting sick is never fun, but it’s especially awful to come down with something while you’re traveling. You don’t want to end up stuck in your room, knowing that you’ve spent lots of money on a trip you aren’t actually getting to experience. It’s especially stressful and inconvenient if you end up having to be hospitalized in a different city or country, where you aren’t as familiar with local doctors and the general healthcare system.
Taking concrete steps to look after your health while you’re on vacation is a must if you’d like to minimize travel-related stress and make the most of every trip. Try the following tips to significantly reduce your chances of getting sick while traveling:
If you’ll be traveling to a highly urbanized or densely populated area, you may want to consider wearing a face mask when you’re out and about. Masking up will protect you from airborne diseases that the people around you may be carrying, as well as from irritating and potentially harmful particles in the air, such as dust, pollen, and air pollution. It’s especially advisable to wear a mask if you have sensitive lungs or are prone to respiratory allergies.
Travelers who want to ensure that their masks are extra sanitary may benefit from buying antimicrobial face masks with neck loop or other masks made of microbe-resistant materials. These masks are made of a special fabric that inhibits the survival of viruses and bacteria on their surface. Hence, your antimicrobial face masks will stay clean for longer than normal cloth masks will.
Drink Plenty of Water
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling. Dehydration can lead to unpleasant feelings of fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness, which will definitely hamper your enjoyment. Hence, it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the requisite 8 glasses of water a day or more, even when traveling.
The air in airplane cabins is only half as humid as the air on the ground at most, which is why you should up your fluid intake on long flights. Drinking about 8 ounces of water an hour is healthy, but you’ll need to increase this amount if you intend to also drink alcohol during your flight. To avoid dehydration while you’re in the air, drink alcohol only in moderation or abstain entirely.
Some travelers also worry about limiting how much water they drink while on organized tours, as they may not have a lot of control over the stops they make and won’t know when they’ll get to use the restroom next. However, it’s especially important to stay hydrated if you’re going to be on your feet and moving from place to place all day, and doubly so if you’re visiting a location with a hot climate. Consider carrying a refillable water bottle with you to make taking regular drinks easier.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s impossible to overstate the value of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, whether you’re at home or on the go. There are plenty of scientific studies documenting the detrimental effects sleep deprivation can have on your body, which include increased risks for heart disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
However, traveling often does a number on your sleep schedule, especially if you’re going to a place in a different timezone from where you live. If you’ll be arriving at your destination in the middle of the day, you’ll want to sleep as much as you can on the plane, so you’re not tempted to crash the moment you check into your hotel. Shift your circadian rhythms further by exposing yourself to light during the day, which can help your body clock adjust more easily to your destination’s timezone. Some travelers may also benefit from taking melatonin, a natural sleep aid that you can purchase over the counter.
Good nutrition is a vital component of good health no matter where you are. You may end up letting your diet slide while you’re on vacation, however, as it can be tempting to simply grab some fast food or highly processed snacks and consume these on the go. If you visit a place that’s known for its nightlife or active drinking culture, you may also end up drinking more alcohol than you normally would at home.
Make time to eat proper meals thrice a day on your travels instead of subsisting mostly on junk food. You especially want to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which form the foundation of any good diet. Don’t skip breakfast in particular, as a substantial and healthy morning meal will give you plenty of energy to get through the rest of the day.
At the end of the day, keeping healthy while you travel is simpler to do than you think. For the most part, it comes down to diligently practicing many of the same healthy habits that you would at home. And the better you feel physically, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the wonderful sights and activities lined up for you at your destination.