Staying healthy while traveling is important for all sorts of things, including cost savings, general safety, productivity, and even long-term health. Perhaps more relevant to the present, however, it’s essential for making the very most of your trip. Here are some useful tips for staying healthy wherever your travels take you.
Staying hydrated helps you maintain energy at home or on the road. It’s not all that hard to do either; it simply requires that you make it a priority. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Carry a refillable water bottle wherever you go.
2. Drink water during meals to improve digestion.
3. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol as much as possible.
Nurture your body
Plan ahead to include healthy foods in your trip. The healthier you eat, the more energy you will have for all the things you want to do. And the better you will feel about it.
4. Pack nutritious snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Choose snacks that are easy to eat on the go, such as fruits and vegetables, granola bars, or trail mix.
5. Avoid fast food and opt for local restaurants that offer healthier options.
6. Research local farmers' markets or grocery stores to buy fresh produce.
7. Choose grilled or roasted options instead of fried foods.
8. To control portions and calories, Ask for sauces or dressings on the side.
9. Eat slowly and mindfully to prevent overeating.
10. Consider coffee shops for a good sandwich instead of an oversized meal.
11. Practice enjoying all foods in moderation.
Nurture your mindset
Getting a good night’s sleep while traveling can be a challenge, but it makes an enormous difference in your attitude and energy for the day ahead.
12. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
13. Create a comfortable sleeping environment wherever you go.
14. Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out noise.
15. Use an eye mask to create a dark sleep environment.
16. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep.
17. Use relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to help you fall asleep.
18. If you have trouble falling asleep, try going through the alphabet letter by letter, listing one thing you’re thankful for, for each letter.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal when traveling is another way of nurturing your mindset. It allows you to capture your experiences, reflect on your journey, and gain insights into yourself and the world around you. Here are some things you can include in your travel journal.
19. Details of your itinerary, including dates, places you visited, and activities you did. Descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells that you experienced during your travels.
20. Your impressions of the local culture, customs, and people you met. Highlights of your trip, such as memorable experiences, encounters, or challenges you faced.
21. Reflections on your personal growth, including what you learned about yourself and your values while traveling.
Practicing safe habits helps you avoid getting sick and ruining your trip. Here are a few to keep in mind.
22. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially before eating.
23. Avoid touching your face as much as possible.
24. Bring a mask in case you feel you should be wearing one.
25. Drink only bottled or boiled water.
26. Bring a small first aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, nail clippers, and tweezers.
27. Bring any necessary prescription or over-the-counter medications and any medical equipment you may need.
28. Make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations before you travel.
Protect yourself from the sun.
Preventing sun damage to your skin is another aspect of practicing safe habits, one that’s important enough to highlight here. Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Here’s how you can help yourself.
29. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on all exposed skin areas 30 minutes before stepping out into the sun. Preferably a reef-safe sunscreen if you’ll be in the ocean. Reapply every two hours or so.
30. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing can also help shield your skin from the sun.
31. Seek shade during peak hours of sunlight, usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Staying active while traveling is an excellent way to maintain your health and energy levels and even enhance your travel experience. Here are a few ways to move more.
32. Plan ahead to include physical activity in your holiday. Be specific.
33. Pack active wear and comfortable walking shoes for every trip.
34. Resistance bands are lightweight and easy to pack, making them perfect for working out in your hotel room.
35. Go for a walk before getting on the plane instead of sitting and waiting.
36. Take regular breaks to stretch your legs and move your body, especially on long flights or car rides.
37. Research your destination before you go and look for any outdoor activities, hiking trails, paddling, or swimming you might enjoy.
38. Walking tours are a great way to explore new places, meet new people, and exercise simultaneously.
39. Many hotels have fitness centers that are free for guests to use. Look at this as a gift and take advantage of them.
40. If you can walk to your destination, do so.
41. Plan to spend time outside. Spending time outside has numerous health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and promoting physical activity.
42. Rather than forcing yourself to exercise in a way you don't enjoy, find physical activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good. This could be anything from dancing to hiking to yoga.
Can you follow these suggestions, or should you even try them? The best approach is to experiment with the easier ones first. Easier for you. Then add another, or two, and build them into your life and into your travels until you find what works best for you.
Dr. Tammi Kaeberlein is a scientist working in the field of aging biology. She’s also the owner and author of Wander Healthy, a travel and lifestyle blog that provides practical tips, inspiration, and motivation to move more. To learn, grow and make simple choices in the direction of a healthier lifestyle, so that you can adventure as far and as long as you want to.
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