Now that the world is (gradually) recovering from the global Covid-19 pandemic, travel restrictions are being eased as well. That means you can now plan your next vacation and take a much-needed break from the real world.
However, much like a lot else in life, traveling has also changed in the new normal. So before you pack your bags and head out, consider the following tips to stay healthy while traveling.
Keep Up With Your Vaccinations
Traveling in the new normal has made staying up to date with your vaccinations even more important. Many countries in the world have put strict rules in place whereby you won’t be allowed to enter the country unless you have gotten vaccinated against Covid-19.
But apart from the Covid-19 vaccination, it is also important to stay updated on routine vaccinations required to travel to your destination. Browse the recommended vaccinations for different countries according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before traveling.
It is also a good idea to get a routine check-up before you travel to make sure you and your family are in top health. A compromised immune system makes you more susceptible to viruses and other diseases. So take good care of your health even before you travel.
Catch Up on Your Sleep
Call it travel fatigue, nervous flyer syndrome, or simply too much excitement, but lack of sleep is one of the main consequences of travel. If you’re going to be taking a plane ride to your destination but suffer from flying anxiety, it is always a good idea to either catch enough sleep before you start traveling or take a mild sedative that helps with the nerves as well.
Carrying a compact inflatable travel pillow, a sleeping mask, and noise-canceling headphones is also a good idea to catch some ZZZs while on the plane, bus, train, or even car ride to your destination.
You might suffer from jet lag or travel fatigue once you’re done traveling. This is especially true if you’re traveling to a place in a completely different time zone. Lack of sleep can make you tired, groggy, and generally irritable, ruining your entire vacation. So it is always a good idea to take a rest day after you reach your destination to recharge your energy.
Sleep Foundation has some really good tips on how you can overcome sleep disruptions caused by travel.
Pack a Travel First-Aid-Kit
Whether you are traveling alone or with family, it is always a good idea to have a compact first-aid kit on hand. A basic first-aid kit should have some bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, pain relief meds, a small pair of scissors, tweezers, and surgical tape.
You can add things to the kit based on your predispositions as well as the different challenges you might face at your destination or while traveling. For example, if you’re traveling to a tropical island make sure to pack some antihistamine cream to take care of insect bites and bumps. If you have a sensitive stomach, keep some Loperamide (or Imodium) tablets handy for quick relief.
Be Careful About What You Eat
Speaking of a sensitive stomach, if you have one, don’t take risks with the kind (and quantity) of food you eat while traveling. A good rule of thumb is to eat light but eat often. That way you’re not overwhelming your digestive system but still staying full.
Pack nutritious snacks for the plane (or any other kind of journey) like veggies, single-ingredient protein powder bars, nuts, and more.
It may seem tempting to try out all kinds of dishes and drinks while traveling but overindulgence can cause you to become sluggish, bloated, and uncomfortable, ruining your journey and vacation.
Make sure that the food you consume is properly cooked and hygienically prepared. This is especially important if you’re indulging in street food or exotic cuisines.
Keeping track of how much water you drink every day becomes difficult while you’re traveling. To make sure you are staying hydrated, always keep a bottle of water handy. You can also use a reusable water bottle and keep it filled with water so you don’t have to worry about buying a new bottle every time, plus it's better for the environment.
Stretch and Exercise
Traveling can make your muscles get stiff and sore causing problems like swollen ankles, backaches, neck pains, and more. So it is important to stretch and move around so your muscles remain pliant.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and carry compression socks on the plane, especially on long flights. Get up and walk along the aisle after a few hours to get your blood flowing. Some simple stretches can also do the trick.
If you’re traveling by train or car, take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch your legs.
Incorporate some light exercise and stretches while you’re on vacation as well. You don’t need to hit the gym if you want to relax, try walking or riding a bike instead.
Keep a Hand Sanitizer Handy
Keeping your hands clean is the best way to make sure you aren’t ingesting any toxins or viruses. The best way to clean your hands is to wash them with water and soap. But a hand sanitizer is a close second in case clean water isn’t readily available.
Pack a hand sanitizer in your carry-on luggage, your purse, briefcase, backpack, or even in your pocket to make sure it is easily accessible. It is always a good idea to sanitize your hands before eating anything and after touching objects or surfaces that are open to public access like door handles.
Take Your Vitamins
Keeping your immunity up while traveling can be a challenge. Your eating and drinking habits are disrupted and you might end up exerting yourself a lot more than usual. An effective way to make sure your immune system isn’t compromised while traveling is to take your favorite multivitamins along and take them regularly.
Make sure you choose vitamin combinations that are good for boosting immunity like Vit C and Vit E.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Taking care of your mental health is as important as paying attention to your physical wellbeing while you’re traveling. If you’re someone who gets easily stressed out or you suffer from any kind of travel anxiety, equip yourself with the best tools to stay calm and relaxed.
Make sure you have a travel companion, practice relaxation techniques, download your favorite meditation app or calming music on your phone, exercise before you travel, and keep reminding yourself why you are traveling plus other positive affirmations. Figure out what works best for you and practice it before you start traveling.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Taking care of your skin is very important when you’re traveling. After all, you don’t want a scary sunburn to ruin all your vacay photos. Make sure you carry a high-quality sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to keep the sun’s UVA and UVB rays at bay.
The idea of traveling after the world was in a literal lockdown may seem really tempting. While there isn’t anything wrong with indulging in your wish to travel, it is important to take care of your health (and others) first. Make sure you are properly tested and vaccinated before you make any travel plans. It is also a good idea to plan for contingencies and keep your plans fluid considering the current global situation.