How to Stay Healthy When You Travel

How to Stay Healthy When You Travel

Learning how to stay healthy when you travel is more important than ever — especially after a time where vacations were not really possible! Between germ-infested airplanes, tempting poolside cocktails, and the stress of navigating an unfamiliar place, staying healthy on the road can be a struggle for any traveler.

But there are a few simple steps you can take to stay healthy when you travel. Here’s how to maintain your healthy habits on your next adventure — so you can do more exploring and not waste a single moment of your vacay feeling lousy or stressed. Bookmark this list before you book your next trip!

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How to Avoid Getting Sick When Traveling

avoid getting sick -- how to stay healthy when you travel

No one wants to spend their hard-earned PTO days stuck in a hotel room. Take these steps to stay germ-free on your next trip.

1. Pack your favorite supplies.

Shanon Sidell, ND, L.Ac., suggests creating a kit that includes all your preferred vitamins and supplements, along with anything you might need if you feel under the weather. Include some bandages, first aid cream, aloe gel in case of a sunburn, anti-itch cream to combat bug bites, etc. And if you take prescription medications, don’t forget them when you travel!

2. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces.

We’re all pretty vigilant about not touching surfaces in bathrooms, but Sidell cautions that other sneaky spots are also teeming with germs — like water fountain buttons, the bins at airport security, tray tables, arm rests, air vents, windows, and window shades. She recommends packing disinfecting wipes for those areas.

Give them a generous wipe before settling in. Then turn your air vent on full blast for optimal fresh air flow. And don’t forget the most important rule of all: Wash those hands and use hand sanitizer!

3. Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.

A sunburn will really take you out of the travel flow. Remember to wear enough sunscreen with adequate SPF so you don’t get unwanted burns! Reapply often throughout the day — and pack light layers, a hat, and sunglasses, too.

If you’re heading to a warm climate, don’t forget to stay hydrated (that means water, not cocktails) and consider packing some electrolytes if you’ll be active in the heat.

 

How to Stay Fit While Traveling

stay fit -- how to stay healthy when you travel

There’s something to be said for lounging in a hammock all day, but these tips can help you keep on track towards your fitness goals while traveling.

1. Opt for no-equipment workouts.

If your hotel doesn’t have a gym or you’re staying at an Airbnb, try an equipment-free workout from Openfit’s Just Bring Your Body program! No dumbbells? No resistance bands? No machines? No worries at all. Your body is your barbell.

2. Get a weekly pass.

If you do miss having access to equipment and you plan on staying in the same destination, many yoga studios and gyms offer day passes, weekly trials, or other deals. Local gyms “can be a great place to meet people from the area,” says Sidell, which is definitely an added bonus!

3. Walk with friends from afar.

There’s no better way to explore a new city than by taking long walks! To sightsee and burn calories, try Openfit’s Every Step live walking program. It incorporates music, themed content, and live trainers so you can visit landmarks and get your step count up!

4. Opt for active transportation.

“Walking or biking when safe instead of riding cabs or other forms of public transportation can keep you both active and help you avoid contagious diseases,” says Dr. Noha Polack, MD, FAAP, of Progressive Pediatrics. “I highly recommend this form of transportation whenever possible.” Plus, it’s a fun way to see the city!

 

How to Reduce Stress on the Road

reduce stress -- how to stay healthy when you travel

From lost luggage to communication issues, travel can be stressful! Here’s how to make sure your trip is (mostly) stress-relieving.

1. Travel lightly.

Sidell suggests packing as minimally as possible — that means less stuff to think about and less weight to lug around the airport. Only pack the essentials, and leave valuables at home so you don’t have to worry about losing your prized possessions.

2. Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep can impact your immune system and your mood, so resist the urge to stay out all night partying. And to help with jet lag when traveling long distances, Sidell suggests arriving “in the late afternoon, so you get a couple of hours of sunlight before sunset.” Then head to bed anytime after 7 P.M. Pack an eye mask and ear plugs for a better night’s sleep.

3. Pack healthy foods.

Hunger makes any stressful situation worse, so keep healthy foods close at hand. “I take a care package of some emergency protein powder, oats, nuts, and a relaxing tea to get me through in a pinch,” says Sidell. Try the LADDRER Plant-Based Nutrition Shake formula for easy, tasty protein on the go!

4. Relax before bed.

“Listening to an audiobook or relaxing podcast in addition to calming music can make a big difference in how you experience the trip,” says Dr. Polack.

If you’re feeling wound up or having trouble getting into the vacay mode, unwind after a hectic day running around with the soothing sounds and vibrations of Sound Meditation. Led by international sound meditation facilitator and musician Scarlett de la Torre, these sessions can help you feel more relaxed and peaceful — no matter what’s going on in your life.

 

How to Eat Healthy While Traveling

eat healthy -- how to stay healthy when you travel

Whether you’re grabbing fast food at the airport or indulging in all-inclusive desserts, it’s easy to overdo it while you’re away. Here’s how to avoid wreaking havoc on your healthy eating habits.

1. Watch your alcohol consumption.

A few drinks when you’re in vacation mode is normal, but try not to go overboard. “If you don’t down Mai Tais for breakfast at home, no need to start now,” Sidell says. Not only are those fancy cocktails loaded with extra calories, but too much alcohol may impact your immune system.

2. Find accommodations with a kitchen.

Staying in a villa or vacation rental with a kitchen can help you make healthier choices. Plus, it gives you an excuse to shop for fruits and veggies at local markets, which is a great way to experience the culture.

At the very least, stock up on healthy snacks. Pair local veggies with a favorite dip like guac or hummus, or snag some nuts and dried fruit for hikes and excursions. (Heads-up that nuts and dried fruit can be calorically dense, so keep portions in check.)

3. Try the once-a-day rule.

“Trying culturally appropriate foods while you travel is a big part of the experience, but you don’t have to try every fried food out there,” says Dr. Polack.

She suggests trying one food a day. By doing a little research beforehand, you can identify the foods you want to try so you’ll be prepared and won’t overdo it.

 

Healthy Travel Packing List

packing list -- how to stay healthy when you travel

  • healthy snacks
  • reusable water bottle
  • Ladder Plant-Based Nutrition Shake
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses and a hat
  • disinfecting wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • list of healthy restaurants
  • eye mask and ear plugs
  • vitamins and prescriptions
  • comfortable walking shoes
  • workout clothes
Chelsea Frank

About

Chelsea Frank was born and bullied in Los Angeles, CA. When she's not performing stand up comedy or crying while doing squats, Chelsea writes about all things health, beauty, and travel. Her work has been featured in Shape, Uproxx, TripSavvy, The Daily Beast, Thrillist, and Reductress, among others. Fun fact: she's traveled to over 50 countries and has gotten sick in pretty much all of them! Follow her on Twitter.

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