When it comes to traveling, there are often a ton of little details to take care of when planning a trip. Needless to say, staying healthy while traveling is not always an easy thing. Between booking your flights and hotels, choosing your excursions, and figuring out what the heck to pack, something seemingly obvious like thinking about your health can quickly fall by the wayside. In the moment, those extra few hours of sleep may seem pointless and that street food may look delicious, but you'll be kicking yourself when you're feeling under the weather on tomorrow's tour bus. If you're someone who has gotten sick while traveling, you're not alone.
A national travel survey found that 63 percent of people get sick while on vacation, and the majority of these illnesses were totally preventable. Nothing is worse than having to miss out on wherever you are traveling, not to mention the extra money spent on stocking up on medicine or seeing a local doctor. Talk about the ultimate FOMO. Luckily, dooming yourself to illness is not a given, and if you take the right steps before and during your trip, you can enjoy a healthy and energetic vacation without worry. To help you stay as healthy as possible, we've consulted with various doctors and travel experts who gave their top tips for staying well while traveling.
1. Bring single-serving packets
"I love to bring single serving packets of my favorite protein powders, organic wheat grass powder, matcha tea powder, and Emergen-C drink powder packets," says fitness expert Adrienne Harvey. Single packets are easy to travel with and will help boost your immunity when your body is worn down. Stick them in your purse for easy 24/7 access.
2. Take magnesium supplements
"Magnesium is known as the anti-stress, anti-anxiety mineral," says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. Studies have found that taking magnesium supplements can help reduce anxiety, so if the thought of planes or being in a new place freaks you out, magnesium might be a great natural remedy. "Over 75 percent of Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance of this mineral," says Dean.
3. Keep your hands clean
Yes, it sounds like kindergarten advice, but keeping your hands clean when traveling can help prevent your chances of contracting a virus or bacteria. Wash your hands before eating and after being in communal spaces, and carry hand sanitizer around when a bathroom isn't available.
4. Bring your own neck-pillows and blankets
Having a blanket can definitely help with sleeping on the plane, but you may not feel as comforted when you find out that airline blankets are not washed after every use. "Although airliners sanitize these, there is often pesky bacteria that lingers," says Dr. Lise Alschuler. Bringing your own small travel blanket (or blanket scarf) will not only keep you germ-free, but will allow you to relax and get that much-needed sleep.
5. While flying, make a point to stand up and walk up and down the aisle at least once every hour.
"Ever notice your feet getting cold mid-flight? It's quite possible that's a result of poor circulation," says fitness expert Obi Obadike. "Combat that by moving around as much as you can."
6. Stock up on essential oils
"Bring small bottle of peppermint and lavender essential oils with you," says health and wellness coast Sydelle Hoffman. "Use peppermint for extra energy, headaches, and energy boost, and use lavender to help sleep and de-itch mosquito bites." Peppermint oil is also a great remedy for digestive problems and can help break up coughs, so having some on hand can come in handy for a variety of sticky situations.
7. Look into travelers insurance
"If you happen to get into an accident or become deathly ill in a foreign land, your travelers insurance is going to come in quite handy," says Dr. Matthew Brennecke, MS, ND. Travelers insurance is usually inexpensive, and it can make all the difference when paying your medical bills should you get sick or need to cancel your trip.
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