Staying Healthy During Travel

The following is a guest post by Michelle Smallegan.

While most of us enjoy traveling to some extent, it can sometimes be a challenge to stay healthy and comfortable when away from home. Whether you have plans this summer for a long distance road trip, family camping adventure, or a lengthy journey involving air travel, there are a few simple things you can do to maximize your chances of feeling good while out and about.

Rest

One of the best favors you can do for your body when traveling is to get plenty of rest. Even when taking a trip for pleasure, you might still find that it can be slightly stressful and taxing to your body. With long days in the sun, frequent excitement, or possibly more foot travel than normal, you are likely to be pretty exhausted at the end of each day. By getting enough rest at night (and taking relaxing breaks during the day if necessary), you can avoid overexerting yourself and be ready for a fresh start each morning.

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

Hydration

Staying hydrated during travel is absolutely crucial. Carrying a reusable water bottle daily is a great idea to make sure you always have something on hand to quench your thirst. Refill it frequently and drink up to avoid dehydration and even to help naturally counter the effects of jet lag (as well as another unpleasant problem you’ll see below!).

Dining

Searching out the best quality and healthiest foods available is also critical to feeling good during travel. Stick to food sources from reliable vendors to help avoid illness and if possible, purchase organic options. Also, bringing along your own healthy snacks from home is a great idea. Healthy eats on the road can include everything from granola and crackers with nut butter to mini-burritos.

Staying as close as possible to the diet you are used to at home can also help to ensure good digestion. Remember that you’re body may already be going through potential climate and elevation changes- the less other changes you add, the better!

Lodging

If you will be staying in a hotel, try to request a room with a mini fridge so that you can stock up on a few cold items such as yogurt, cheese, pre-cut veggies, and 100% juice from a local grocery store. Having these healthy snacks on hand to munch on in the room or when heading out the door can be very convenient. Otherwise, if camping, fill a big cooler with plenty of items from home and add ice as necessary.

Staying Sanitary

Keeping hands clean, especially after being in public places like stores, restrooms, and airports is also very important to staying healthy during travel. Washing them regularly (and for at least 20 seconds) is a recommended and bringing along your own natural hand sanitizer for extra convenience is a good option, too.

Photo by Shamanic Shift

Exercise

Walking to your different local destinations for fresh air, to soak up some sunshine, and to get a little exercise when possible is a healthy option. If you are camping, you will likely have no choice but to do this, but if in a city, taking a walk instead of calling a cab during the day may be a healthy thing to do and save you money at the same time.

Bathroom Problem?

If you suffer from the dreaded vacation constipation (which is more common than you might think!), staying hydrated, increasing your fiber intake, eating only when hungry, and going to the bathroom when you feel the urge (instead of waiting until later) are all things may help the situation. Also, to prepare ahead, it’s recommended to avoid alcohol even a few days before the trip.

If you have any other tips for staying healthy when traveling, please feel free to share. We’d love to hear them!

Michelle Smallegan has a passion for natural health and green living. She enjoys sharing ideas for making both of these simple on her blog, openeyehealth.

Reading Time:

3 minutes

 

 

 

15 Comments

  1. Krisha@fireproofsafesshop.com

    Following these tips will surely make our trip worthwhile! Thank you for these wonderful tips. Bookmarked and saved your page for future references! 🙂

  2. Kara

    There are great tips. Ones that I follow every time I travel. 🙂

  3. Rachel @ The Travel Pen

    It just so happens that I had posted about this very topic today, as well. Must be on all of our minds as we get ready for summer travels! I might add the suggestions of setting (and sticking to) a travel budget and also indulging in all the delicious fresh, local fruits and veggies at a destination (instead of gorging oneself on over-sized, sugary desserts).

  4. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    These are great tips–the one I think is most important for myself and my family is staying as close to our normal diet as possible.

    At home, we don’t eat a lot of sugar or processed foods, and my kids don’t do well with dairy. On vacation the tendency (especially if we’re traveling with grandparents) is to “relax” and eat more indulgently, including baked goodies and desserts. But this results in cranky kids (and grown-ups) with hurting tummies and bathroom problems!

    For me, reviewing reminders like these in advance helps me stay on track on vacation. If I know what the downside looks like, I am much more motivated to keep everybody in healthy habits–even on vacation!

  5. Diane @ Longaberger Lifestyle

    Great stuff!
    I’ve found that hydration and eating lighter is key. I always pack veggies to snack on for traveling day….and often find that a meal isn’t necessary…and so we all feel better. It’s so easy to overeat on vacation…I love when I come home and find that I’ve lost a pound and am feeling great.

  6. Stacy

    Such great tips. I think the exercise and hydration are two of the more important things. They really make a difference to how you feel.

    My husband sometimes takes one of those hand exerciser, squeezy things (I don’t know the name of them) for long car rides when he is the passenger. It gives him something active to do while sitting.

    Exercise bands are also easy to pack in your bag since they don’t take up much room. They can be used instead of weights for a quick strength training session.

  7. Kourtney L.

    I agree that it’s a good idea to keep your body healthy when traveling. My college yoga teacher told us about her travel habit of doing yoga (stretching) and breathing exercises. I think some deep breaths are often underestimated.

    Taking a break is a good thing to do when you your are running through the airport or driving miles away from home.

    @ Stacy, I like the idea of exercise bands. Since it’s not always easy to get a workout in, bring small items to help is a good idea!

  8. Theresa Torres

    Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for sharing these tips! This is a timely reminder as I’m sure many are preparing for their summer travels.
    It can be easy to neglect our health when travelling because we want to soak up everything in one go and forget to rest.
    It’s also tempting to indulge in local goodies that may cause digestive problems later and I agree with Rachel that it’s better to indulge instead in fresh, local fruits and veggies.
    Let’s also not forget to bring our trusted over-the-counter medications for in case of emergencies.

  9. Staying Healthy

    Excellent article thank you for sharing…….

  10. Amy @ CreditDonkey

    Over fatigue will usually catch up with us when we don’t know how to listen to our body whispering. In our eagerness to explore new things and places, we tend to forget that we are not machines:) This is a time to be cautious since traveling for vacation is the fad and we have sometimes limited time to do all the stuff we promised ourselves. If we are not careful, we might just get the opposite of the purpose we have for the vacation.

  11. Ben

    I’m doing a lot of traveling right now, so thanks for the tips. I find it hard to get proper sleep and also to get enough exercise like you talked about. And I always seem to eat way too much fast food while traveling.

  12. Suzy

    Haha, the dreaded travelers dilemma! So many people get constipated on the road… it is an odd combination of stress/relaxation, being someplace out of your comfort zone, different foods, and definitely lack of proper hydration. It always seems like one of those things that you spend $10 a day on bottled water when you’re away from home! Your tip on bringing a reusable water container is a good one… maybe even invest in one that has a natural filter as part of it so your water is always tasty and pure.

  13. yaniv

    for camping i will ad a first-aid kit

  14. Daniel

    I usually got insomnia while traveling because I always feel excited and I also gained weight and most of the time i ate in a fast food chain so i’m thankful because your giving this tips which is very beneficial and helpful to me how to have healthy Travel

  15. Jordan

    Drink water – plain tap water. You can carry it with you in plastic bottles – the sort you buy water in (for a higher price than milk).

Join thousands of readers
& get Tsh’s free weekly email called
5 Quick Things,

where she shares stuff she either created herself or loved from others. (It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.)

It's part of Tsh's popular newsletter called Books & Crannies, where she shares thoughts about the intersection of stories & travel, work & play, faith & questions, and more.