Quick easy tips for travel health


Sometimes travelers get home from a trip feeling like they need a few days to physically recover from their travels. A wise traveler should cultivate a lifestyle that translates seamlessly between their time on and off the road. Here are a few health conscious habits that will help keep you in top form while traveling or at home.

Wash your hands before eating anything. Carry hand wipes or a small tube of hand sanitizer. This is especially useful when you are traveling through places that don’t have clean safe water, or if you are roughing it and likely not to find bathroom facilities for days. Make sure to sanitize hands before touching your eyes to remove contacts.

• Always carry a bottle of water. Stay hydrated! Not only is it important to your overall health, slight dehydration can cause mild depression, mental fatigue, and headaches – all things that you don’t want to have dampen your experiences while on the road. Avoid sugary soft drinks that will add to your misery if you come down with a bought of traveler’s stomach, and stick with lots of clean water.

• Use that 14-hour flight to arrive well rested. Take some melatonin and beat jetlag to arrive ready for the day in a new place, even if that place is several time zones ahead.

• Bring along a supply of Echinacea capsules. Echinacea is a good immune system supporter and one easy way to protect you against annoying colds or flu while on the road.

• Carry a multivitamin. If you find yourself in an area of the world that doesn’t cater to your dietary needs – like my poor vegetarian companion in Eastern Europe – make sure to take a multivitamin to make up for some of the nutrients you are not getting.

• If you have a food allergy, make sure to learn a few words in the local language to avoid certain death.

• Try to maintain a regular sleep cycle. Even if you find yourself going to bed at 4am and waking at noon, try to make your sleeping hours regular. If you are constantly sleeping at different hours of the day, and for varying lengths of time, you will find that you never feel fully rested and it can leave you sluggish throughout the day.

Maintain a regimen of exercise that fits into your on the road lifestyle. Yoga and Tai Chi are the easy and popular options. However, sometimes you might need something a little more intense than these two practices. Especially if, like me, your off the road lifestyle is remarkably active. Take up jogging. Cardio exercise is essential to good health, so get fit while seeing the countryside on your morning jog. Your racing about the town in sneakers may seem bizarre in some cultures, but it’s sure to be a fail proof conversation starter – especially with the local children who will tag along after you howling with laughter.

• Be sure to check the CDC for information on travel related health risks, or essential vaccinations for the region where you will be traveling.

(Photo credit: Scienceblogs.com)

Posted by | Comments (7)  | March 1, 2010
Category: Lifestyle Design, On The Road, Travel Health, Vagabonding Advice, Vagabonding Life

7 Responses to “Quick easy tips for travel health”

  1. Mei Says:

    excellent advice. I find if one is traveling in south east asia, the Imodium (diarrhea pills) are a must, just in case and also bring along some oral hydration salts! 5 tablet of Azithromycin helps too.. I’ve been doubled over by the Dehli belly and it was not a pretty sight. These simple preventative measures really save the traveler a lot of grief later on!

  2. Rebecca Travel-Writers-Exchange Says:

    Great advice on how to stay healthy. Eating well on your travels is another tip. It’s all right to indulge but maintaining a healthy diet is important as well.

  3. DG Says:

    *Brush your teeth and floss

    *Get your flu shots

    *Perhaps most importantly–when you’re sick, don’t be reluctant to visit a doctor

  4. Catia | Vagabond Roots Says:

    One thing I’d add to this list is sunscreen and a hat, especially in sunny climates. I’ve seen many painful sunburns that almost ruined the trip for a while for some people.

  5. Melanie Haiken Says:

    This is a great list of tips, Colleen. Love the reminder about food allergies and the language barrier! I write about this subject frequently, and have a couple to add from recent posts on my blog, http://www.Health-Conscious-Travel.com.
    • Carry disinfectant wipes, and wipe down any surface you’ll be touching a lot, such as the tray table and seatback pocket in front of you on flights.
    • Put away your laptop and turn off the TV at least an hour before you want to fall asleep; the light from the screens actually confuses your body’s natural circadian rhythms and keeps you from falling deeply asleep.
    More tips for safe, healthy flying are here: https://www.health-conscious-travel.com/2009/12/germs-on-plane-5-myths-and-truths-about.html

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