Getting sick or injured can ruin a vacation, whether you’re planning a different adventure every day or lounging by the pool and relaxing. When you plan a fun trip—where to stay, what to eat, what to do—make sure you also know how to stay healthy while traveling. Here are some travel tips that will keep your health in good condition, no matter where you go, no matter the reason.
Why Is It Important?
Although it’s important to stay on top of your health in general, it’s just as important to follow the same health tips while traveling, if not more. Getting sick at home is bad enough, but you don’t want an illness to ruin your vacation, especially because you’re not in the comfort of your own home. Make sure to take extra precautions when you’re on the go to protect your physical—and mental—health. Here are 10 tips to guide you on how to stay healthy while traveling.
Physical Health Tips
Tip #1: Stay Hydrated
No matter the time of year or the temperature, always make sure you have water with you when you’re out and about. When you’re out doing activities, you may not think about stopping to buy water and by the time you’re noticeably thirsty enough to do so, your body may have already started to dehydrate, especially if it’s warm outside (x). Avoid dehydration altogether and carry water with you all day instead. Pack a reusable water bottle in your luggage so that you can carry it around with you and refill it when you need to.
Tip #2: Protect Your Skin
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you need to protect your skin from the sun any time you’re out during the day, whether it’s summer or winter, sunny or cloudy (x). The ADA recommends a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Apply it to any area that your clothing doesn’t cover and reapply it about every two hours.
You can also protect your skin with clothing. Even a light jacket can do wonders to prevent sunburn or other forms of damage from too much sun exposure. If you want to be fashionable while keeping the sun away, you can sport your favorite wide-brimmed hat or sports cap.
Tip #3: First Aid & Immunity
Beyond anything, use proper first-aid practices and boost your immunity to protect yourself from getting sick. Use hand sanitizers on the go to get rid of germs from doors and other frequently touched surfaces. Make sure to wash your hands before and after you eat and after using the restroom and keep your clothes clean.
Also, take caution if you’re traveling to a location with insects that can cause disease, such as mosquitos or ticks. Make sure you understand the risks for any diseases that may be common in specific areas and how to avoid them. For example, bring bug spray or bed nets to protect yourself from mosquitoes or other pests—especially while you sleep—and wear protective clothing to protect yourself from ticks while walking or hiking (x, x).
Mental Health Tips
Tip #4: Stress Management & Mindfulness
Stress management is a necessary skill, whether you’re on vacation or not. Traveling can be stressful if there are a lot of moving parts or if you’re constantly moving at a fast pace. But remember that a vacation is supposed to be a vacation, so take opportunities to relax and be mindful during your travels to avoid stress. Try to be in the present moment and enjoy your vacation. Begin each day with a short walk, practicing meditation or stating a few things you’re grateful for.
Tip #5: Digital Detox
Going along with being mindful, taking a digital detox from your electronics might also do the trick. Try to really be present and enjoy your surroundings, rather than attaching yourself to your phone or social media. Instead of taking a stream of pictures and videos of your activities, try to focus on actually doing those activities.
Don’t neglect your mental health when you’re guiding yourself on how to stay healthy while traveling. However you choose to relax, find a few quiet moments each day to recenter yourself and truly take in your day.
Tips for Energy & Exercise
Tip #6: Sleep
We all know it’s important, but why is sleep so important for traveling? Shouldn’t you spend all your time on the go, experiencing new things and places? Besides, you can sleep when you get back home, right?
The short answer is that sleep is the key to keeping our bodies charged. You’ll need energy to do everything you want to do and the best way to do it is to make sure you’re getting enough rest.
However, it can be harder to sleep on vacation, especially if you’re traveling through time zones. Make sure to plan for time changes to keep up with your regular sleeping schedule. Here are some tips to improve your sleep:
Tip #7: Exercise Whenever You Can
Getting exercise will not only help you sleep better, but it might also give you an extra energy boost during your day. You might not even have to hit the gym every day. Sometimes you exercise on vacation without even realizing it, especially if you’re spending the time walking around a new city.
Another good way to get moving on your vacation is to walk from place to place if you can. You’ll get your steps in and it’s cheaper than taking public transportation, too. Take walking tours or biking tours to explore the city you’re in or take advantage of any local exercise classes free to the public, such as yoga.
Tip #8: Create an Exercise Routine
Or maybe you do want to create a conscious workout routine to learn how to stay healthy while traveling. You might be on vacation, but you can still exercise and stay fit if you choose to adapt your routine to your new location. If your hotel has a gym, take advantage of it. Try out local hiking trails or beaches. That way you’re having fun exploring the city and staying healthy.
Tip #9: Make Nutrition a Priority
While it may be tempting to eat nothing but junk on vacation, you don’t have to take a vacation from healthy eating. You should have fun trying new types of foods and restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all the healthy eating habits that you practice at home. If you have the resources, make your own healthy meals sometimes instead of eating out. Pack healthy snacks and portable meals to take on the go if you can. There are plenty of healthy and portable snacks perfect for traveling—nuts, trail mix, dried fruits, granola bars.
This way you can control what goes into your body, especially if you have any food allergies or restrictions. Of course it’s important to be healthy, but make sure you’re still enjoying yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You are on vacation, after all. But make sure you’re doing it in a way that’s right for you.
Tip #10: Take Your Vitamins
The easiest and most convenient way to boost your energy, immunity, sleep and overall mood while traveling is to take supplements or vitamins. If your diet isn’t the healthiest while you’re on vacation or if you’re feeling a little jet-lagged from a flight, supplements may be able to give you the extra boost your body needs. Plus it’s easy to bring them with you. Knowing what vitamins and supplements to take will save you a little stress in planning your trip.
Vitamins for Energy
- CoQ10 is a coenzyme family responsible for synthesizing molecules that the cells use as energy.
- Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin found in meat, dairy and fish and the supplement may help maintain metabolic function and provide energy.
- Creatine is a natural compound that helps the body recycle ATP in muscle and brain tissue and creatine supplements may help boost strength and increase energy.
Vitamins for Immunity
- Vitamin C is an essential vitamin in a wide variety of fruits and it’s most popular for its potential to fortify the immune system.
- Vitamin D is produced in response to sun exposure and also naturally supports the immune system, so the supplement may do the same.
- Vitamin E contains many antioxidant properties and the supplement may naturally promote heart health and the endocrine system for healthy immune function.
Vitamins for Healthy Sleep
- Melatonin is a hormone that the pineal gland makes that helps maintain the sleep cycle, but can also support a healthy immune function and improve mood.
- GABA is a neurotransmitter that assists in controlling nerve impulses in the central nervous system and may help improve mental focus, manage stress, promote sleep and a healthy mood.
- Chamomile is a plant, often steeped in teas, that contains antioxidants that may help promote healthy digestion, ease anxiety and support healthy sleep.
No matter which vitamins you take, always make sure you consult a doctor for approval before trying any supplements.
Traveling is always fun, but there’s nothing worse than cutting a vacation short due to an illness. But you can avoid that by knowing how to stay healthy while traveling. That includes protecting your skin, eating healthy foods, keeping your immune system strong and getting your exercise in. Maintaining your health is the first step to enjoying a fulfilling vacation.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.