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Navigating Healthy Travel: Tips for Staying Well on Your Next Adventure



So many people pack their bags, hop on a plane and arrive at their dream destination only to discover they've caught a cold or are so fatigued by their everyday life, that they just want to nap the vacation away. Napping is great and everyone gets the occasional cold, but I'd prefer to do both of those things at home and not while I'm supposed to be making lifelong memories in an incredible place.


Cooper and I have traveled all over the world from Sri Lanka to Guatemala and Greece to Ireland. We travel out of the country every year on vacation and we've yet to get sick on a vacation (although we did get sick upon arriving home from Paris last month). Traveling is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures, offering opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration. However, amidst the excitement of exploring new destinations, it's essential to prioritize your health and well-being, otherwise you end up enjoying your vacation from the hotel bed. Whether you're embarking on a weekend getaway or a month-long expedition, incorporating healthy habits into your travel routine can enhance your overall experience and allow you to enjoy your trip, rather than fall prey to viruses on the road. Here are some valuable tips for staying healthy while adventuring.


Plan Ahead


Before setting off on your journey, take some time to plan ahead. Research the destination's climate, local cuisine, and available amenities to prepare accordingly. Packing essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, and any necessary medications ensures you're ready for whatever the trip may bring. We were so thankful to have packed some ibuprofen for our most recent trip to France. It certainly came in handy! Additionally, familiarize yourself with medical facilities and emergency contacts in case of unexpected health issues.


Stay Hydrated


Traveling often involves long hours of sitting in planes, trains, or cars, which can lead to dehydration. Make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water throughout your journey to stay hydrated. Bring a refillable water bottle and aim to consume fluids regularly, especially in hot or dry climates. This can be tricky in cultures where coffee or wine are consumed more frequently than water, but it's worth the extra effort and the odd glances! A pro tip is to google if the local tap water is potable. If so, fill up every chance you get! Also, avoid excessive consumption of sugary or caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.



Prioritize Nutrition


Maintaining a balanced diet while traveling can be challenging, especially when faced with tempting street foods and indulgent restaurant menus. However, making mindful food choices is key to supporting your overall health. Healthy eating provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and support optimal bodily function, thus reducing the risk of illness and enhancing resilience during travel. Additionally, consuming balanced meals rich in whole foods ensures sustained energy levels, allowing travelers to explore new destinations with vitality and enthusiasm. By making mindful food choices and seeking out nutritious options, travelers can nourish their bodies, support their well-being, and fully immerse themselves in the joys of travel. When traveling, we seek out local markets and grocery stores to stock up on fresh fruits, and herbal teas. Aim to incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich foods into your meals, and indulge in moderation when sampling local delicacies.


Practice Good Sleep Hygiene


Quality sleep is essential for feeling refreshed and energized while traveling. However, changes in time zones, unfamiliar sleeping environments, and hectic schedules can disrupt your sleep patterns. Establishing a bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment can help promote restful sleep. Avoid caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime, and consider using earplugs or a sleep mask to block out noise and light disturbances. We used the app Timeshifter for our most recent trip (not a sponsor) and we were really surprised by how much less jet lag we experienced. 




Stay Active


Physical activity is crucial for both physical and mental well-being, even while traveling. Look for opportunities to incorporate movement into your daily routine, whether it's exploring a new city on foot, taking a scenic hike, or practicing yoga in the hotel room before bed. Many hotels offer fitness centers or swimming pools, making it easy to squeeze in a workout during your stay. Alternatively, opt for active excursions such as biking tours or water sports to keep your body moving. Need another benefit of staying active? As my travel hero, Rick Steves, always says "Jet lag hates bright lights and walking". 


Practice Mindfulness


Traveling can be a whirlwind of sights, sounds, and experiences, making it easy to feel overwhelmed or stressed. Incorporating mindfulness practices into your travel routine can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Take time to pause and appreciate the present moment, whether it's savoring a delicious meal, soaking in a breathtaking view, or simply taking a few deep breaths to center yourself.


Manage your stress


Nothing can tank an immune system like arriving out of a state of chronic stress in daily life to lay on the beach for two weeks. Your immune system is often impaired by chronic stress, but if it's been running on high alert due to frequent incidents of acute stress it can down-regulate when things seem "safe" leaving you defenseless against any viruses. The flip side of that is also true; if you're always stressed and you go on vacation and mix in more stress, less sleep and novel viruses, you end up very vulnerable. The key is to maintain a similar level of activity and stimulation as at home. Restful vacations are wonderful, but finding a balance between movement, adventure and rest is actually best for maintaining an alert and active immune system. 


Traveling offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration, but it's essential to prioritize your health and well-being along the way so you can enjoy yourself! Embark on your next travel adventure with these healthy habits in mind, and return home feeling refreshed, re-energized, and ready for whatever the world has in store. Safe travels!

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