Traveling can be stressful and derailing – time zones, business meetings, and sightseeing can all interrupt your usual routine (and mess with your body clock). As incredibly rewarding as travel experiences can be – whether for business or leisure – it’s easy to give your health a back seat as you take in the newness and excitement of this new locale.
But we have 9 (ridiculously simple) health tips for travelers, so you know exactly how to stay healthy while traveling.
1. Keep boosting your immune system
Over and above any regular medication you take, make sure you’re getting a daily dose of vitamins and supplements to keep your immune system as strong as possible. Planes, trains, and taxis aren’t the most germ-free of places, and you’ll want to be armed for any bacteria or virus you might pick up during your travels.
2. Take time to de-stress
According to the Anxiety Centre, prolonged periods of stress can bring on flu-like symptoms. Make sure you take some time out to manage general stress; even if this is a work trip, you can block out time to re-charge your batteries and keep stress levels under control. If the hotel you’re staying at has a spa, why not go for a well-deserved massage after a long day out and about?
3. Keep healthy snacks on hand
If you’re a snacker, it’s tricky to find healthy snacks on the go (especially if you’re in a foreign destination), but with a little planning, you can make sure that when those cravings kick in, you’re munching on something healthier. Take a few minutes to pop into a nearby supermarket to pick up some healthier snack options like freshly cut fruit or unsalted nuts. Avoid vending machines and quick café bites.
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4. Go easy on the complimentary food
Who doesn’t love free food? That’s what all-inclusive buffet-style breakfasts are made for, right? Complimentary muffins in conference rooms, airplane meals, or even compliments in your hotel room are all nice-to-have, but they’re not exactly the healthiest. This is where those healthy snacks come in. You can still indulge in freebies, but be mindful of how much junk you pile on your plate.
5. Think twice when eating out
You’re in a foreign place; of course, you’re going to go out on the town and get a taste of the local restaurant and bar scene. But you can still do it healthily. Another one of our go-to health tips for travelers is to aim for the most nutritious options available on the menu – even if it’s not the perfect option. Opt for baked over fried, salads over fries, and avoid creamy sauces. You can even go one step further and review the restaurant’s menu before you head out so you have an idea of what you can order.
6. Stay hydrated
This has to be one of the most important health tips for travelers. Whether you’ve just stepped off a flight in the Maldives, or you’re on day three of your vacation in Hawaii, staying hydrated is going to ensure your body is to make a world of difference. Avoid reaching for energy drinks, and keep your caffeine intake to a moderate amount, and you’ll be living your best (most hydrated) life.
7. Walk as much as possible
Whether you take the stairs as much as possible, take a leisurely stroll to that nearby restaurant, or even take a walking tour – try to walk as much as you can during your stay. That way even if you can’t fit in a workout at the hotel gym, you’re still getting in some steps.
8. Exercise in your room
If you’re not in the mood to go to the hotel gym (or your accommodation doesn’t have one), then a classic at-home exercise routine will do just fine. Every little bit of physical activity counts, whether you do a quick guided yoga class on YouTube to doing some quick intervals of squats and crunches. Even if you’re feeling lazy, 15 minutes of light stretching will get your heart rate up and some endorphins pumping.
9. Do treat yourself
Life is all about balance. And being healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself – especially not when you’re in a new, exotic place. So plan an after-work drink or treat yourself to an indulgent meal at that charming little cafe you’ve been eyeing since you arrived. Planning it means you can look forward to it and enjoy yourself without overdoing it.
We hope these travel health tips will make a difference to your upcoming trips.
Efrat Marmur is the VP of Marketing at Air Doctor. Air Doctor is a startup that connects travelers to a global network of 20,000 local medical doctors through an easy-to-use app, to receive appropriate medical care from anywhere in the world.