21 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Whether you are traveling for business, vacationing, or visiting friends and family, keep these health tips in mind to remain healthy and avoid injury.
Staying healthy is especially important while on the road, far away from your local doctors and the comforts of home. Headaches, indigestion, and back pain can make your trip miserable. So can catching the flu. Learn what you can do to minimize your chances of getting hurt or becoming sick while away from home.
Pack light. Try to plan what you will wear ahead of time. Pick 2 or 3 colors and coordinate your clothing around those colors. This allows you to mix and match outfits. Keep things light by limiting how many pairs of shoes you bring.
Use proper ergonomics when placing luggage into the car and removing it from the car. Try not to bend your spine when you lift. Don’t twist from side to side as you lift. Avoid quick movements that can cause injury. Keep the luggage as close to your body as possible as you lift. Try to have your legs do most of the work. Stand as close to the car as possible when transferring luggage.
Protect yourself from injury while transporting luggage into and out of an airport. Use luggage with a handle and wheels. Don’t drag rolling luggage when you’re climbing stairs or escalators. During those times you will need to carry the luggage instead. Some airlines provide an option to check baggage curb-side, so you won’t need to carry it. When using a luggage carousel, wait until the luggage is directly in front of you before removing it. Make sure that you are standing close to the carousel and use slow, deliberate movements.
Use good lifting techniques when transporting luggage into and out of your hotel. Complete your hotel check-in prior to unloading luggage. If your hotel or resort provides a luggage cart, be sure to use it. Use elevators when provided. When preparing to leave your hotel, place your suitcase onto the bed or luggage stand while packing to prevent excessive bending.
Keep your hands clean. Be mindful when touching germ-filled objects such as counter tops, door handles, parking meters, elevator buttons, ATMs, stair rails, credit card touch pads, and vending machines. Refrain from touching your face (especially eyes, nose, and mouth) after contacting objects that many other people have touched. Avoid the transfer of germs by washing your hands. Use warm water and soap. Make sure to apply soap to the back of your hands, the spaces between your fingers, and the area beneath your fingernails.
Dress appropriately for the weather. Plan ahead by finding out the expected temperatures in the locations where you will be traveling. Wear layers of clothing that can be removed as the temperature increases. Pack appropriate gloves, scarves, coats, and hats when visiting a location with a cold climate.
Don’t remain seated for too long while traveling. Stand up, walk around and stretch your legs approximately every hour. This will ease tired muscles, improve circulation, and keep your joints flexible. Moving and stretching can also lower your chance of getting back pain, sciatica, and muscle soreness.
Schedule some healthy meals. It’s not easy to maintain a healthy diet while traveling, but it’s important not to overdo the eating and drinking. Making good food choices will increase energy and help you to digest food more efficiently. Eat multiple smaller meals rather than one or two large meals. Smaller meals are more easily eaten while in the car. Bring healthy snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, or carrot sticks.
Drink the right amount of water. Staying hydrated has many health benefits. You will experience less cramping, more energy, and fewer headaches if you remain hydrated.
Be mindful of what you drink. Because water quality varies from location to location, consider buying bottled water. Be wary of ice from restaurants and ice machines.
Eat an early dinner. Make a point of eating dinner early. Eating too late can disturb your body’s natural rhythms. It can affect blood sugar, digestion, and sleep patterns. Eating late can also cause you to gain weight.
Bring a travel pillow. Find a pillow that fits your body correctly and makes you comfortable. Bring it with you while you travel. Many travel pillows are easy to compress and store. A pillow that supports your neck and head correctly can help you relax better and reduce muscle aches and neck pain.
Disinfect your hotel room. Bring a small travel sized can of disinfectant or travel sized container of antibacterial wipes to remove unwanted viruses and bacteria from surfaces that are prone to harbor germs. Consider sanitizing the following items: remote control, phone, tub, toilet seat, sink, light switch, and door handle.
Avoid using refillable water glasses in hotel rooms. Instead, opt for disposable cups or fresh water bottles.
Develop a brief stretching routine and stick with it. Learn a basic stretch routine that increases flexibility and helps you to feel more relaxed. Because each person’s anatomy is different, try to discern which stretches benefit you the most. If you spend hours with your neck and shoulders angled forward while on a laptop or mobile device, do stretches that relax the neck, upper back, and shoulder muscles.
Use the hotel gym and pool. Many hotels and resorts have a pool and fitness equipment. Take advantage of these amenities.
Pack a small first aid kit. Purchase a travel sized first aid kit. Alternatively, you can create one yourself. Include bandages, small scissors, tweezers, antibacterial cream, and antiseptic wipes.
Don’t walk barefoot on hotel floors. Wear slippers, socks, or flip-flops when walking inside your hotel room to protect yourself against communicable foot ailments such as plantar warts and athlete’s foot.
Request non-allergenic pillows. If you suffer from hay fever or other allergies, consider requesting non-allergenic pillows. Feather pillows can trap dust mites and other allergens. So can older pillows. Some hotel chains can provide non-allergenic pillows for you. If not, consider bringing a pillow from home. Sleeping on a pillow that you are allergic to may cause puffy eyes, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and headaches.
Get adequate rest. The human body requires a certain number of hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. Without enough rest, the body’s immune system is unable to function properly. Place a towel at the bottom of the hotel room door to block light entering your room. Close the curtains to keep the room dark. Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. If necessary, use white noise to filter out noise outside the room.
Try to maintain a routine. If you usually have oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, walk for 20 minutes a day, and read before you go to sleep, try to stick to this same routine. Throwing off your routine can negatively affect your sleep cycle and your digestion. Create a schedule in the back of your mind and keep as many of your healthy habits as possible when you travel.
Your objectives are to take care of your body, get enough rest, and keep your immune system strong. Any trip will be much more enjoyable when you stay healthy.