Travel is thrilling. It’s an eye-opening experience. You make memories that last a lifetime. Once you’ve bought that plane ticket, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget all about travel safety. But to fully enjoy your vacation, you need to stay healthy while you’re away from home. I know you’re ready to see the world, but first, here are my 25 tips to stay healthy when you’re traveling overseas. Let’s dive right in.
Things to Do Before Your Trip
#1 Get Your Shots
If you’re traveling to exotic locations, they might have critters that you’re not used to and your system is not used to. So, make sure you have vaccines and shots up to date. Check out the CDC website for information on the shots required for the countries you’re visiting. Make sure you’re up-to-date on your routine vaccinations. Remember, you’ll need to get vaccinated at least a month before you jet off because it takes time to build immunity. You may also need multiple doses of a vaccine, spaced a few weeks apart.
#2 Bring Your Medications
Make sure to bring your medication and supplements for the entire trip and remember to take them. If you get motion sick, bring something like Bonine. Buying medicines at your destination, even cold & flu medicine, should be your last resort because they may not meet US quality standards. But it’s a good idea to have a copy of your prescription in case you need to buy a medicine overseas. Me, I always bring some vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, and probiotics. These items will keep you healthy while traveling.
#3 Bring a First Aid Kit
Minor cuts and bruises are not uncommon when you’re out and about. Bring a first aid kit with antiseptic, sterile dressings, Bandaids, Neosporin, aspirin/ibuprofen, things like that. Imodium and activated charcoal are not a bad idea, as well as water purification tablets if you’re going to an exotic location. Melatonin can help you sleep on flights and overcome jetlag. And don’t forget bug spray and anti itch cream. I carry a Swiss army knife in my first aid kit. It’s saved me in many, let’s call them, situations.
#4 Buy Tavel Insurance
It’s really important. You don’t think you need it until you actually do. I recommend World Nomads.
#5 Get Medjet
Also related to travel insurance, this is a unique company that will fly you from anywhere in the world back to the hospital of your choice in your hometown. It’s called Medjet. This service is not provided by most regular travel insurances.
Things to Stay Healthy at Your Destination
#6 Stay Hydrated
It’s very important to stay hydrated because you tend to walk more and need more water while on vacation. Water also helps with your digestion. Water is said to even prevent blood clots in your legs and lungs. And it also makes you look better while you’re traveling. Remember to drink water regularly even if you’re not thirsty. I would recommend drinking 3 times as much water as you do at home.
#7 Eat Healthy
If you’re going to countries where the food is very different from what you eat at home, then by all means try the local cuisine, but remember to eat healthy, including fresh fruits and vegetables (make sure they are washed thoroughly). They contain many essential vitamins and minerals that boost your immunity. It’s also a good idea to bring healthy snacks. Avoid eating just bread and cheese and fast food, which is what we tend to do while traveling.
#8 Cook at Your Airbnb
Another tip is to actually cook while you’re traveling. It’s a great way to discover the culinary culture of the place. Buy local, fresh produce and look up some recipes online. Get an Airbnb & cook delicious meals rather than going out to eat every day. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is. And you’ll save money on restaurants meals.
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#9 Limit Alcohol
Alcohol is a great way to relax and I do drink on my trips, but I limit how much I drink. One, it’s a safety issue. You don’t want to lose your wits by drinking too much while out there. Two, alcohol wears your body down, and inhibits your immune system.
#10 Limit Sugar
Vacations are a time for indulgence, but don’t go overboard. You do want to fit into the same pair of jeans on the flight back home! We all like those desserts, but I suggest you limit the sugar. It may not sound like fun, but it’s important to eat healthy and limit your sugar. Sorry guys, but you’ll thank me in the end.
#11 Wash Your Hands Often
We should practice it all the time at home, but especially while we’re travelling. Remember, safety is 20 seconds of washing your hands before your rinse off the soap. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer when you’re traveling even if your hands don’t look or feel dirty. That’s because you touch surfaces like handrails, doorknobs, and elevator buttons in public places.
#12 Sanitize Your Phone and Computer
#13 Don’t Touch Your Face
When you’re travelling, the less you touch your face, the less likely you’re going to get sick. That’s because the germs you pick up on your hands from various surfaces get transferred to your eyes, nose, and mouth when you touch your face. From there, they make their way into your respiratory and digestive systems, giving you all types of maladies from the flu to an upset stomach.
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#14 Brush Teeth Often
The next one may sound obvious, but it is also logical. Make sure to brush your teeth often. The mouth is where germs start and incubate. A healthy mouth ensures a healthy body; you might want to bring some hydrogen peroxide and gargle with a mixture of H2O2 and water. That will kill some of those germs in the mouth and throat. I know, it sounds basic, but it’s worth doing when you’re traveling.
#15 Practice Safe Sex
I gotta say it. Use protection. You should be practicing safe sex when you’re at home, but especially when you’re traveling. Enough said about that.
#16 Walk 10 Minutes in the Morning
It’s important to exercise every single day, including when you’re on vacation. Get up and do 10 min exercise in the am. Perhaps a little yoga, or maybe step outside and go for a walk. You never know where it will lead you and what you might discover. Walking is the best way to get under the skin of a place and experience it like a local. So, get out there and walk.
#17 Ground Yourself
Find some gorgeous grass, then take your shoes off and walk around; it’s called grounding. It’s really important for your health and your nervous system to ground. And that’s what happens when you put your feet on the ground. I actually like to do a few yoga poses out on a lawn or in a park. That way my hands are actually on the ground as well as my feet. I also enjoy doing a few exercises laying down with my shoulders and my lower legs are touching the earth so my entire body is being grounded. (Grounding is a great thing to do to relieve jetlag after a long flight.)
#18 Swim in Salt Water
One of my favorite things to stay healthy while traveling is to swim in salt water. The chlorine in swimming pools is harsh on the skin. But salt water is so good for you. It’s also a natural exfoliant for your skin. Salt water is, “good for what ails you and takes away your sins”.
#19 Get Sunlight
Make sure you spend some time outdoors and get some sun. Sunlight is extremely important for your mood as well as the vitamin D. But remember your sunscreen and your hat.
#20 Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a great way to relax. Watch a YouTube video on your phone and do some deep belly breaths. It will help your immune system stay strong; the more oxygen you give your body, the healthier your body will remain.
Stress reducers while traveling
Travel is a chance to step outside of normal life and experience something new. For many of us, the whole reason we travel is to escape the stressors of daily life. But travel, especially overseas, can be stressful. Here are my tips for stress-free travel.
#21 Digital Detox
When you’re lost in your gadgets, you’re missing out on many sights and experiences at your destination. Put your phone away and limit digital exposure. Go enjoy something outside; just relax and treat yourself. Stop checking that email; stop checking Facebook, and stop checking Instagram. Even for 24 hours is good for your body. And don’t go overboard taking selfies and photos. Enjoy the experiences is as important as creating memories.
#22 Don’t Overbook Your Trip
To reduce stress, avoid booking every single minute that you’re going to be gone. You need to pace yourself & give yourself down time. Perhaps if you have a busy morning, then plan a slow afternoon without anything on the agenda. And make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Every trip I take, I leave at least one full day with nothing to do.
#23 Give Yourself Plenty of Time
The risk of missing a flight or train in a foreign country can be very stressful. When you’re traveling between different cities, definitely give yourself enough time before and after to make your connections. You never know what’s going to happen with delays or timetables. Also make sure you are on the correct local time.
Don’t plan every minute of your trip. Book some excursions, but also go with the flow part of the time. Read a book on a beach; lay around, take a siesta, or enjoy a slow walk in a park. Give your brain and your body some downtime. Remember, you don’t have to see and do everything on this trip; you can come back to this vacation spot again.
#25 Enjoy Yourself!
Keep an open mind & remember you are the foreigner in the country you’re visiting. It’s different from back home. Wasn’t that the whole idea of traveling? We tend to forget this and sometimes get stressed by the small things. Remember, there are likely different customs, different processes, and different speeds for getting things done. So, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Bonus Tips for Staying Healthy on the Plane
Travelling overseas means you may need to take long flights. Wear compression socks to prevent swollen legs. Wear socks in general (if you take your shoes off for comfort) – plane floors are dirty! Sanitize your seat with antibacterial wet wipes. Don’t forget to clean the wall if you sit at window seats. Drink 10 oz water every hour or 4x as much water as you normally drink. Limit alcohol, limit caffeine, both are dehydrating.
I hope you enjoyed my 25 tips on how to stay healthy while traveling the big wide world that’s out there. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I will see you on the next adventure.
How do you stay healthy while traveling? Let me know in the comments below!
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