Staying Healthy While Traveling

Staying healthy while traveling can be a challenge. It doesn’t seem to matter if you rarely get sick at home, even when the weather changes. When traveling, you are exposed to new environments, allergens and sometimes sicknesses which your body is ill-equipped with fending off. So, how do you avoid getting sick in new places?

  • Prepare

    • Preparing your body for new environments can make a world of difference. Prepping your gut with probiotics and live culture foods can help to set your digestive tract to an optimum level of healthy gut bacteria.
    • Drink lots of water and take a multi-vitamin if you don’t already.
    • Do a little bit of research on the areas you will be in. Is it suggested not to drink the water if you aren’t local? Are there foods which may have a less than  desired impact on your gut? Knowing what to expect and planning accordingly can make a world of difference in your travel experiences.
  • Plan Ahead

    • Make sure you pack some medications just in case you end up ill.
      • Decongestant
      • Day-time cold medication
      • Heartburn medication
      • Headache/fever reducer/inflammation medication
        • I like to pack both Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
      • Anti-Gas medication
      • Anti diarrhea & Anti- constipation/stool softener medications
      • Cough drops/ throat lozenges
  • Pack the Extras070716_handsanitizer_THUMB_LARGE

    • Handkerchief/Bandana works great as a hand towel when in public toilets
    • Hand sanitizer is a MUST.
    • Antibacterial hand lotion is another layer of protection to pack. Especially with all the hand washing you will be doing, moisturizing is important too.
    • Soap flakes/sheets from a travel/hiking supply (Amazon carries them too) are great as well.
      • These can be purchased or made by grating a soap bar. This way, if you are in a restroom and find that there isn’t any soap available, you can still wash your hands.
    • Facial Tissues/Kleenex
      • Travel packs of tissues are a great backup for toilet paper as well as for your nose.
      • They double as a great way to open a door without touching a handle as well.
    • Travel Toilet Seat Covers
      • Years ago my grandmother gave me a small packet that held 3 toilet seat covers. I kind of laughed about it because I always saw them provided in public toilets, then I moved to the midwest and realized they weren’t always available. This has also been pretty common on our travels. We don’t always see that they are available, so having a couple small packets of them, just in case has been helpful.  They don’t take up much space, they are inexpensive and are just another added barrier against germs.
    • Alcohol towelettes 
      • These are often found in first aid kits. I use these on toilet seats, door handles, public toilet latches, etc. They are also a great way to clean my fingers, shopping carts and anything else I may come in contact with. When I travel in flu or cold season, I will sometimes discretely wipe off silverware in a restaurant as well, just as an added precaution.
    • Facial Masks
      • These are quite popular in Asia and when I lived in Japan, it wasn’t uncommon to sport one during the flu and cold seasons. In some places you might look a little strange, but not spending half your trip or the week after returning sick is worth it. Toss a couple in your suitcase just in case. They can be found in both disposable and washable options.
  • Lay off the junk food

    • This can be a hard one. You want to try all the snacks and different treats that are found along your travels, but these do nothing to support your immune system and overall health. Finding that happy balance can be difficult. You don’t have to avoid it all together, but make sure the bulk of your diet is comprised of whole foods, not processed, ready-to-eat-from-the-package foods. We like to pick up a couple snacks/processed treats to try and mainly take them home with us to share with family and friends.
  • Get enough rest

    • It is tempting to cram as much as you can into every waking hour, but this. can drain your body of much needed energy, resulting in a weakened immune system. Know your body and how much rest you need to stay healthy and try to get that most nights.
  • Dress for the weather

    • While going outside in the cold will not make you sick, not being prepared for the weather can result in your body using energy to stay warm, not to fight off any sickness that you may be exposed to. Research the weather where you are going, know what to expect, and pack accordingly.  Function over Style! (You can still look good, just default to function if you have to choose one over the other.)

So there you have it, some of the ways we stay healthy while traveling. Remember, a little planning and research can go a long way. If you wouldn’t skip washing your hands. with soap and water at home, don’t skip it while on the go!

“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often, for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee

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