6 Essential Steps To Stay Healthy While Traveling




Feb. 29 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Traveling is an exciting adventure that allows you to explore new places, experience different cultures and create beautiful memories. However, maintaining your health on the go can be a challenge. Traveling presents unique obstacles to your well-being, from changing time zones to unfamiliar foods. Here’s your ultimate guide to staying healthy while on the move. 

1. Research medical care in your destination.

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Before leaving for your trip, familiarize yourself with the local health care system. It’s crucial to understand the quality of medical facilities and the availability of essential services. Check if your destination requires specific vaccinations or if any health advisories are in place. Although the pandemic has come to an end, there are still new cases of COVID-19, and many countries require proof of vaccinations and boosters before entering. 

2. Get your vaccines.

You’ll likely find yourself in plenty of confined spaces on your journey. Whether on public transport or in busy cities, you’ll be in close proximity to thousands of people — and this is exactly how germs spread. Flu season typically lasts from October through March, and can even last as late as May. So even in the winter, it is not too late to get your flu shot. 

Being sick on holiday can make for an unpleasant trip, leaving you tired and frustrated. Fortunately, you can decrease your chances of catching influenza or a strain of COVID-19 before your vacation. This way, you can enjoy your getaway without worrying about catching a nasty illness.

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3. Wash your hands

Your hands carry thousands of microorganisms, mainly viruses and bacteria. Traveling exposes you to various environments and surfaces, so frequent hand-washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Make it a habit to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before meals and after using public transport. If you have limited access to soap and water, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol to disinfect your hands on the go. 

4. Drink plenty of water.

One of the simplest yet crucial aspects of staying healthy while traveling is to stay hydrated. Airplane cabins and new environments can dehydrate your body, leading to fatigue and potential health issues. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, and make a conscious effort to hydrate. Pack electrolyte drinks if you’re especially prone to dehydration.

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5. Keep moving.

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Staying active while traveling is a great way to maintain your fitness and well-being. Here’s how you can prioritize getting some daily movement in and counteract the effects of prolonged sitting:

  • Pack workout gear: Bring comfortable workout clothes and shoes so you can exercise wherever you are.
  • Explore on foot: Whenever possible, choose to walk or bike to explore your destination. Walking keeps you active and lets you experience the local culture up close. 
  • Use hotel amenities: Many hotels have fitness centers and swimming pools. Take advantage of these facilities to stay active during your trip.

6. Prioritize sleep.

Traveling across time zones can disrupt your usual sleep patterns, leading to exhaustion and a weakened immune system. Prioritize getting enough rest by establishing a bedtime routine, even while on the road — or in the air. Consider bringing sleep aids, like an eye mask or earplugs, to create a restful environment. Try to stick to your regular sleep schedule as much as possible. 

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Getting adequate sleep also boosts your mental health. Quality sleep helps regulate your mood, reduce tension and enhance cognition. Deprivation can lead to irritability and heightened stress levels, which can dampen the enjoyment of your vacation. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, even in unfamiliar surroundings, promotes better mental resilience and allows you to begin each travel day with a positive mindset. 

Travel Smart

Whether you’re exploring new cultures, trekking through landscapes or unwinding by the beach, you want to enjoy your trip as much as possible without a nasty sickness creeping up on you. Prioritizing your health while traveling is crucial for a memorable and enjoyable experience and helps you stay safe while on the go.

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By: Mia Barnes

Mia Barnes is a health journalist with over 3+ years of experience specializing in workplace wellness. Mia believes knowledge is power. As the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, Mia's goal is to cover relevant topics to empower women through information.

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