Traveling should be like medicine for your mind, body, and soul… but it doesn’t always work out that way. As anyone who’s caught a bug while on vacation can tell you, stress, germs, bumps, and bruises are an inevitable part of the adventure. Whether you’re backpacking in the mountains, flying to the other side of the world, or taking a road trip across the country, leaving the comforts of home can present a challenge to your health. But thankfully, we’ve spoken to certified wellness and nutrition coach Julia Baum from MBSF, and she offered up her 11 favorite tips for staying healthy while traveling.
- Make Yoga Part of Your Travel Routine
“There are few things that keep your mind, body, and soul more balanced than yoga,” says Julia, “and it’s super easy to do while traveling.” You can pack an ultra-thin yoga matt in your suitcase and stream a yoga class right to your hotel room on your phone or laptop. Even better, find a free yoga class in a local park and make it part of your travel experience. Yoga is excellent for your circulation, which can really suffer when you’re spending a lot of time sitting in the car or on a plane, and it will help you sleep better, too.
- Hiking and Walking Make a Great Travel Workout
It’s usually pretty easy to find a hiking trail or a beautiful place to walk, no matter where you’re traveling to. And, there’s no better way to explore a new city or get some fresh air and take in a breathtaking view. Just be sure to bring along the right shoes, and you’re good to go. Not only will it give you some good exercise, but it’s also a great way to clear your mind and de-stress while you’re traveling.
- Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
According to Julia, getting enough sleep is one of the most important aspects of staying healthy while traveling. If your body gets run down from lack of sleep, you’re much more likely to pick up a bug or just feel unwell in general. If you have trouble sleeping in a strange place, try bringing along some earplugs or soothing music, a sleep mask, and your favorite pillow from home. You can also try taking a melatonin supplement about a half-hour before bedtime. Melatonin is a natural hormone that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep.
- Pay Attention to What You’re Eating
So many travel-related health issues can be stopped in their tracks, or at least minimized, by simply eating a healthy diet. Yes, it’s going to some extra discipline, especially when you’re on vacation, but it’s worth it if you want to stay healthy. Scope out local farmer’s markets for healthy foods you can take back to your hotel room. Focus on eating nutritious foods like lean protein, lots of veggies, and complex carbs. Bring healthy snacks with you from home, such as nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars. It’s okay to indulge in something not so healthy once in a while, but it should be a special treat, not the norm.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
It sounds so simple, but so many people forget to drink water, especially when they’re on vacation. There’s nothing worse than getting dehydrated after being in the sun all day seeing the sights. Carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it regularly. If you’re traveling in a country where you’re unsure about the water, bring along some water purification tablets. No matter what, make sure you drink plenty of H2O!
- Don’t Overdo It With Alcohol
Yes, you’re on vacation and enjoying a local brew or sipping on a fruity cocktail is part of the fun. But, try to limit yourself to one or two drinks each night. Alcohol wreaks havoc on your immune system, makes your liver work overtime, and just makes you feel like crap, in general.
- Don’t Overdo It In General
“A lot of people try to do too much when they’re traveling and wind up spending their whole trip feeling overwhelmed and stressed out,” says Julia. Make sure you allow yourself time to just chill out by the pool or in your hotel room. You don’t have to be on the go every minute, and you don’t have to see every single sight or do every single thing. Prioritize what’s really important to you and let the rest go. Otherwise, you’ll just end up burned out, and your health will suffer because of it.
- Fight the Nasties
Germs are an inevitable part of traveling, and in some countries, sanitation is a luxury. No matter what part of the world you’re in, you’ll keep yourself healthier if you wash your hands often, choose your drinking water carefully, and avoid eating questionable food. Keep some hand sanitizer with you and take steps to fight the nasties that can ruin your trip in a hurry.
- Be Alert and Stay Safe
Safety is not a given in many destinations and countries. Be alert about what’s going on around you, know your environment, and take the necessary precautions. Don’t get caught off guard. Part of staying healthy and safe while traveling is using common sense and remaining vigilant.
- 10.Protect Your Skin
Nothing ruins a good time faster than a bad sunburn. After all, you can’t hoist on that backpack or put on that strappy sundress if your back and shoulders are covered in red blisters. Wear sunscreen on all exposed skin every time you go out and reapply regularly if you’re sweating or in the water. We all want to come home from vacation with a sexy tan, but too much sun leads to a nasty sunburn or possibly even skin cancer, and that’s not sexy at all!
- Keep Your Immune System Strong
Let’s face it. You’re on vacation. You’re probably not always going to remember to eat right, you’re probably going to drink too much, and you probably won’t get enough sleep. The best thing you can do to keep your energy levels up and your immune system strong is to take your vitamins every day. Julia recommends finding a supplement that works for you and taking it every day, not just when you’re traveling, to keep your immune system working like a well-oiled machine.
Traveling can be a wonderful experience, or it can be horrible. Following these tips will help you stay healthy, so you come home feeling rested, relaxed, and recharged. After all, what’s the point of going on vacation if you have to spend days recovering from it when it’s time to return to your regular routine?