You’ve been looking forward to this vacation for months. You’ve saved your PTO, eaten ramen, and stayed home while your friends enjoyed happy hour all to be able to enjoy your first trip in over a year. This is going to be the best vacation of your life. Until, that is, you get sick and find yourself bedridden and miserable.
Don’t let this happen to you. Follow our top 11 tips on how to avoid getting sick while traveling, and allow yourself to truly take advantage of your time off.
You may be too excited to sleep the night before your first taste of freedom in what feels like forever, but this is one of the most important things you should do. Not only will adequate sleep help to keep your immune system healthy, it will also keep you from feeling lethargic and missing out on fun activities because you’re too tired.
It’s easy to disregard your water intake while keeping up with a busy itinerary. Pair that with your freedom from responsibilities and the ability to indulge in foreign cocktails, and hydration can quickly become a thing of the past. If you don’t want to feel lethargic and sick, make water a top priority. Once you arrive to your destination, stock up on bottled water and consistently check in with yourself to make sure you’re regularly hydrating. But, if you can, avoid drinking local tap water as the purity cannot be guaranteed (this also applies to ice).
If you’re used to multiple cups of coffee on the daily, cutting yourself off cold turkey may cause your body to enter withdrawal and you may not feel well. On the other hand, if you don’t usually drink caffeine and suddenly start in an effort to stay awake for more fun, you may feel uncomfortable and even ill.
While on vacation, try to maintain your normal caffeine routine and save the experimentation for when you return home.
We know, we know, vacations are the time to indulge and let loose with the calorie counting and meal prep. While you’re obviously going to order that pasta, also try to eat some fruits and veggies throughout the day. This will not only help keep your immune system strong, but it may also support your digestive system.
This is probably one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Wash your hands after using the restroom, before and after eating, and after being on the airplane and in the airport. If you’re on group tours and find yourself shaking the hands of your fellow travelers, or are traveling through areas with little civilization, try to carry some hand sanitizer around with you so that you can take preventative measures.
In addition to regularly washing up, try not to touch your face. Bringing your hands into contact with your eyes, mouth, and nose can transfer germs to vulnerable areas of your body that make easy points of entry for bacteria.
Sure, you don’t expect the food on your flight to be anything noteworthy, but our reason for declining it comes from biology. Your sense of taste and smell are dulled when flying at 36,000 feet, so airlines often pack in extra salt and fat to make your food taste good. Those meals were also prepared hours, even days, before flight, so it’s a wonder how those slices of “fresh” fruit look as if they were just chopped.
Sunburn can put you out of commission and put an end to outdoor activities. You don’t want to miss out on that snorkel adventure, do you? Before you leave the house, whether it’s sunny or not, take a few minutes to put on sunscreen. You never know how the weather will turn, and you don’t want to suffer the consequences of neglecting sun protection.
No, you don’t need to find a gym and smooth talk your way into a contract-free membership. Riding bikes, taking walks, and even doing body weight exercises in your hotel room can keep you strong and healthy. This will also help keep your energy levels up so that you can spend less time in bed, and more time sightseeing.
You know those hotel room remote controls that you practically sleep with? Imagine how many people have also slept with them. Gross, right? Bringing a pack of sanitation wipes with you and giving your room a light clean will help ensure you aren’t the recipient of the last visitor’s illness. You can also do this on the airplane for extra protection.
Depending on where you’re traveling to, you may need to prepare with a vaccination. These are usually required at least 4-6 weeks before your trip, so do your research and set your appointment early so you’re not frantically struggling to find a doctor who can squeeze you in a week before you leave.
Now that you know how to help protect yourself from getting sick while traveling, don’t sabotage yourself by ignoring the facts. Remember, you’ve worked hard for this time off and want to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Applying SPF, washing your hands, and eating a few vegetables will only make your trip better. Trust us; we had to learn the hard way.