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December 17, 2021
December 17, 2021
5 min. read

6 Quick Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling

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Whether you’re headed on a quick weekend trip or an international getaway, traveling can really shake up your daily routine—which is kind of the point, right? But there’s a fine line between embracing spontaneity and throwing your well-being off-balance. Not to mention that in the midst of a global pandemic, taking extra precautions while traveling is paramount.

The good news is that no matter where you’re traveling to, it is possible to keep up some, if not all of your healthy habits—you just might have to get a little creative. In fact, taking care of your health and wellbeing might just make your trip that much more fun. Take a look at our top traveling tips below to stay safe and healthy—wherever you’re headed.

travel safely

Make sure your medical needs are covered

If you have specific concerns about the place you’re traveling, you can always book a pre-travel consultation with your provider or a travel medicine specialist. With them, you can make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date, discuss necessary immunizations, risks associated with specific destinations, the implications of traveling with underlying conditions, and ensure there are no disruptions to any ongoing medication.

The CDC recommends seeing a specialist for anyone with a complicated health history, special risks (such as traveling at high altitudes or working in refugee camps), or exotic or complicated itineraries. And if you take any prescription medication, make sure you’ll have enough for the duration of your trip as well.

Take COVID precautions

According to the CDC, you should delay traveling domestically until you are fully vaccinated or have been exposed to COVID-19, are sick, or have tested positive for the virus. You may even want to double-check your destination’s COVID-19 situation before you begin your trip. Of course, once on board you’ll want to wear a mask over your nose and mouth, and consider getting tested both before and after your trip as well.

jetlag tips

Stay one step ahead of jetlag

Nothing can prevent you from getting enough sleep quite like stepping on a plane, especially if you’re traveling a few time zones away. To get a leg up on jetlag, it’s a good idea to adjust your sleep schedule gradually. For example, begin moving your bedtime an hour earlier (or later, as appropriate) than you normally would three days before you’re scheduled to travel, adding another hour the second evening, and a third hour on the third day.

Try to sync up with the local schedule if you’re staying for more than two days. A quick tip for adjusting to a new time zone? Go for a walk during daylight hours. Also, avoid caffeine at night and—if you can—alcohol until your body adjusts.

travel food prep

Do your food prep

If you’ve got food allergies, it’s a good idea to bring along a food allergy ID card. If you’re travelling to a foreign country, make sure your allergies are indicated in both English and in the language(s) of the places to which you are travelling. You can also do a little homework beforehand, finding restaurants and grocery stores that will be amenable to your dietary restrictions and healthy eating.

If you’re staying at a hotel, ask the concierge about places that will be accommodating to your allergies, too. Just in case, pack some healthy snacks you love, like fresh fruits or veggies.

travel safely

Squeeze in some exercise

Keeping up with your exercise routine can be especially hard when you’re travelling. Our advice is to find a few ten-minute workouts you can squeeze in at the beginning of the day, when you’re more likely to follow-through. Chances are, you’ll be too busy or distracted later in the day to want to get your sweat on. Alternatively, explore your surroundings by taking some long walks. You never know—you may just find a few hidden gems. Just make sure you hydrate and keep drinking water, too.

Bring a first-aid kit

In the off chance that you get sick while travelling, it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible. We suggest putting together a small first-aid kit so that—should a fall or stomach bug happen to you—you can take care of it on your own. Wondering what to include in your kit?

Here are our suggestions:

  • Bandages of varying sizes
  • An antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin
  • A fever and pain reducer
  • A motion sickness remedy
  • Thermometer
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Medicine for allergic reactions
  • Stomach ache medicine
  • Cold and flu relief medication
  • Rehydration tablets in case of diarrhea
  • Choose your seat wisely

If you’re getting on a plane to get to your next destination, consider avoiding the aisle seat. A 2008 study showed that those seated near the aisle are more likely to be exposed to an outbreak virus, likely because they are closer to others walking up and down the aisle, touching headrests and armrests.

safe sitting airplane

Wherever you sit, make sure to wash your hands and carry around some hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes. And while the air on airplanes is recirculated and practically germ-free— it's filtered to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses— the air is usually also very dry, so maybe pack a water bottle and make sure you hydrate.

Travelling safely means more than just getting to your destination in one piece. It also means taking care of your health and wellbeing before, during, and after your trip—whether you’re travelling close to home or far, far, away. Take the proper steps towards maintaining healthy habits while you’re away, and you’re sure to have a trip to remember.

Resources: 1. 6 Tips for Better Sleep When You Travel. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2. Choy, M., & Salbu, R. L. (2011). Jet lag: current and potential therapies. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 36(4), 221–231. 3. Food allergy - Symptoms and causes. (2019, November 2). Mayo Clinic. 4. Chen, H. H. N. L. S. (n.d.). The Pretravel Consultation - Chapter 2 - 2020 Yellow Book | Travelers’ Health | CDC. CDC.Gov. 5. Dietrich, W. L. (2021, April 22). Laboratory Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Exposure Reduction Through. . . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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