Nothing puts a damper on your long-anticipated vacation like getting sick. How quickly all those well-laid plans seem to go to waste when you’re stuck inside your hotel room feeling ill while everyone else has all the fun. Thankfully, there are simple ways to stay healthy while away from home. From hand washing and hydrating to regular sleeping and routine snacking, here are our favorite tips for remaining healthy while you travel.
1. Beat Jet Lag
What may very well feel like a cold coming on could just be a standard case of jet lag. Once you’ve arrived in your destination, beat the day-night disorientation by going for a walk in the daylight, taking a short daytime nap (aim for 20-30 minutes), and staying awake until a modest bedtime hour. Sunlight and exercise are typically no match for the jet-lag blues and will coerce your body into transitioning to the local time zone.
2. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue, and if your trip has even a fair amount of walking, not staying hydrated will limit what you can enjoyably accomplish in a day. Stay happier and more alert by drinking plenty of water—aim for two cups at the start of the day and keep a water bottle in your daypack, refilling wherever you have the chance.
3. Be Proactive About the Foods You Need to Avoid
It can be daunting to travel abroad if you have food allergies or dietary restrictions. Consider carrying a food allergy ID card with your allergies listed in both English and the primary language(s) of your destination(s). Your tour guide or hotel concierge will likely be able to point you in the direction of allergy-safe dining options. Some folks even carry a card with photos of what they can’t or choose not to eat, bridging the language gap in a simplistic and understandable manner.
4. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
You’ll likely be on the go a lot, trying to milk every last sightseeing moment you can, but don’t skip a healthy breakfast. Focus on whole gains, lean proteins, and fruit or vegetables—perhaps a bowl of oatmeal with fresh berries and Greek yogurt or scrambled eggs with spinach and whole-wheat toast. If your hotel has limited options, see what nearby restaurants offer a variety of breakfast items. Stay fueled throughout the day with snacks brought from home or purchased at a local grocery. Think nuts, jerky, apples, pretzels and hummus, baby carrots, cheese sticks, granola bars, and other small items you can fit in your daypack.
5. Stay Active
We all know there are a myriad of health and immunity-boosting benefits gained from regular exercise. Even if your tour doesn’t involve a lot of walking, biking or hiking, you can still visit the hotel or cruise ship’s fitness center, do some yoga in your room, or take a walk. Consider downloading a couple of fitness routines you can do right in your room with no equipment necessary. Check out the options on sites like Fitness Blender and YouTube.
6. Set a Reasonable Pace
While it’s understandable that you want to see and do as much as possible, remember to be kind to your body and pace yourself. Prioritize what you’d most like to see the most, and if you’re on a tour, be sure to communicate with your guide about the pace you need. When traveling on your own, plan to stay a bit longer in your destination if you can. This will make it less of a rush. No matter how long you have, be sure to build in breaks throughout the day—there’s value in just sitting with the locals at a coffee shop and watching a new destination come to life!
7. Wash Your Hands Often
Last, but certainly not least, wash those hands. You should also carry hand sanitizer or wipes with you.
Here’s to a happy and healthy vacation!