It’s easy for your health and wellbeing to be neglected when traveling for work or leisure. Between the chaos of planning itineraries, booking accommodation and flights, and packing your luggage, personal health is often pushed to the side.
We tend to forget that to travel, we need our bodies to work for us at optimal capacity. As such, prioritizing our wellbeing is key to ensuring a safe and pleasant trip. Here are five steps to take to stay healthy while traveling.
Consult a Medical Doctor or a Travel Clinic
The first stop in any long-distance journey should be at the physician’s office or a clinic where travel-specific vaccinations can be administered. A doctor will ask for your itinerary and assess your health, especially any chronic conditions that may affect travel. What follows is a discussion on safety, required vaccinations, dietary precautions, and insect-related disease avoidance.
Medical doctors suggest that you make your visit at least 30 to 45 days before your trip. The timeframe may seem extreme, but some vaccines require more than one dose or a certain period to develop immunity..
Consider Food Safety and Allergies
Food and water-borne illnesses are common when traveling. Before you leave, it’s wise to research the local cuisine safety and the H2O quality (ice included) of your destination. Avoid drinking unfiltered fluids and stick to bottled beverages only, especially if your travel location is part of the developing world.
It’s also best to refrain from eating raw and uncooked food and only consume fully-cooked and hot meals.
That said, dry perishables and snacks such as bread, chips, and cookies are generally safe to eat. Factors like the length of time food has been standing and improperly or uncooked meals can put you at risk of poisoning.
If you have any food sensitivities, we recommend traveling with an ID card that indicates your allergies in English. If your destination is in a foreign-speaking country, the details should be specified in the local language.
Getting sick while traveling is arguably one of the worst things that can happen. It’s wise to pack a first aid kit for possible ailments and minor injuries.
Ensure you include the following items:
- Fever and pain medicine
- Anti-nausea drugs
- A thermometer
- Anti-itch cream
- Allergic reaction medicine
- Stomach ache remedies
- Colds and flu meds
- Rehydration solutions
Additionally, if you’re on any chronic medication, make sure you have enough for the duration of your journey and a prescription just in case. We also recommend travel cover. Consider your options and make sure you get the right health insurance that meets all of your needs, especially if your trip includes leaving the country.s.
This is a protective measure in case you experience an illness that requires a hospital visit. Insurance mitigates travel risks and unexpected medical costs that you’d usually pay out of pocket.
Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining your health when traveling. The excitement of a trip, drinking copious amounts of coffee for energy, and even alcohol can make you lose track of how much H2O you’ve consumed.
If you’re not drinking enough water, you could put yourself at risk of dehydration, which not only makes you feel listless and dizzy but also exaggerates jetlag.
Moreover, when traveling by airplane, the air in the cabin can dry your nasal passages, making you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Keep bottled water with you wherever you go and drink two full glasses of it in the morning for optimal hydration.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough rest maintains the strength of your immune system and reduces your chances of falling ill. Insufficient sleep causes impaired judgment and brain fogginess, symptoms you need to avoid when traveling to a new destination. Make sure to get proper shut-eye during travel and listen to your body when it asks for a nap.
The Bottom Line
Traveling may be exciting but it takes a toll on your mind and body. That’s why it’s crucial to look after yourself throughout your journey. See a doctor beforehand, consider food safety and allergies, and be prepared. Additionally, stay hydrated and get enough sleep to maintain optimal health.