When I travelled, I mostly thought about what I needed to take with me on the trip in terms of clothes and toiletries, the items I wanted to purchase on the trip and the fun things I wanted to do but rarely did I think specifically about travel health and how to stay healthy on my trip. One of the most surprising things when I experienced travel as an adult was to see people exercising while on holiday. It was my first time on a luxury cruise ship, The Royal Caribbean, and I was surprised to see the track around the ship and persons breaking a sweat running on the track. I don’t know why it baffled me so much to see people exercising while on holiday….maybe it’s because I figured my holiday was a break from my normal routine and a time to unwind and relax as much as I wanted.
I almost always end up fighting for space in my suitcase on my flight back home so I never thought to add a pair of weighty sneakers to my luggage unless I bought them on a shopping spree. To further add to my surprise was the fact that I mostly see empty hotel gyms in my location so I never thought that people actually go on vacation with exercise in mind. I love exercising so I could never say it’s a bad thing to do while on holiday but…I just never thought to do it. When on holiday my only form of exercise came from walking around the shopping mall, walking long distances to attractions or walking to long distance through the airport.
Even though as a traveler, I have never thought to exercise on vacation, I do recognize that it may be important to maintaining health and wellness while on your trip. Here are a few other things to think about health wise while still enjoying your break from reality:
- Drink lots of water. Sometimes if you are going somewhere that you have never been before it is hard to adequately prepare because you don’t know what to expect. The image is mostly that of warmth and great fun but in fact it could be extremely hot, exhausting and less glamourous than depicted. Drinking water keeps you hydrated, energetic and functioning. If it’s a long bus journey to your next destination, be sure to ask about the time to the next bathroom break and take advantage.
- Eat Fruit and Nut Snacks. Healthy Fruits and nuts are better to snack on then the sweet sugary snacks which are more readily available and can leave you a sugar-rushed, unsatisfied and a little drained. Fruit and nuts keep you hydrated, full and adds to your energy levels.
- Wear comfortable shoes that you’ve worn before. Even if they look comfortable or are basic sandals, shoes that you have never worn before nor taken the time to “break in” will hurt your feet on first use. Breaking in shoes takes some time so you don’t want to waste the first few days of your trip in pain and agony for any reason. International airports and the distances that you have to walk at some tourist attractions are extremely long with even longer lines to wait for entry so it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Wear Sunscreen and Bug Repellant. By now, most people have experienced blazing hot sun. Mosquitos and bugs are also a problem so don’t think they will disappear just because you are on vacation. You therefore need to pack your essential sunscreen and bug repellant to prevent annoying itches and even life-threatening illnesses.
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- Eat Wisely. For me, my travels are a time to try new and exotic foods that I probably won’t have at home and will likely never try again. Even though I relax for a bit and enjoy more than I probably should I still believe that moderation is important. There’s no point in eating too much and going back home sick. Chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension don’t go on vacation but they go with you on your vacation so if you have them …be mindful of what you eat and how much.
- Walk with your medicine. If you rely on any medication for any reason, you should take enough supply with you for your trip plus some extra in case you experience any delays for any reason. Some flights get cancelled or you may miss your connecting flight for any number of reasons. If you are travelling alone, you may consider taking along a medical note, extra prescription or contact information for your doctor at home in case something happens to you and God Forbid you’re unresponsive and in need of medical attention. I’m no expert but I assume that not every doctor in every location may know of your particular ailment.
- Buy Condoms. There’s actually nothing wrong with an unplanned pregnancy if you don’t mind it. Since time away can be ultra relaxing and you can drop your guard, be sure to pick up a pack if you know you’re done making your family. If you have had too much to drink or seem to have fallen in love with a random person on your trip, then protecting yourself in this way is still important to prevent any life changing diseases.
- Take a magazine. Reading can be calming for people who don’t like flying. If you are a nervous flyer and you think you have read all the magazines on the plane already then be sure to take along the latest edition of your favorite magazine and try to relax on your next flight. Kindles or other E-readers are also valid options.
- It’s ok to Sanitize. If you want to clean the hotel tv remotes and light switches to feel better go right ahead. Feel free to blast the showers, tub and jacuzzi with hot water too. You’re not over thinking and you only have to do it once for your own peace of mind. Keep a pack of wipes and sanitizer for your hands while on the go too.
- Relax and have fun. Now that you’ve done all that you can do to keep well on your trip, you can relax and have fun.
Our list is not exhaustive but hopefully it’s enough that you can stay safe, healthy and enjoy your trip without getting sick.
Note: This was written before major medical outbreaks/topics such as Monkey Pox or Polio. If you want more information on these, read our general blog or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for detailed information.