Tips For Traveling Healthy

December 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The last thing you want to do while traveling is get sick. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overexert yourself on the road, depleting your body’s natural defenses.

Plus, when you’re focused on the sights and sounds of a new destination, you often forego healthy practices such as getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet.

Fear not, brave traveler. Here are some tips for staying healthy away from home:

Keep Your Hands Clean: Wash your hands often. And not only before eating, but after you’ve touched common items (like laptops, phones, iPods, etc.) which are breeding grounds for germs and viruses. Also use hand sanitizer and wet wipes regularly, especially if you’re unsure of the quality of the water.

Stay Hydrated: You not only expend more energy (which is dehydrating) when traveling, the airline’s pressurized cabins dry you out. Therefore, it’s critical that you drink enough water (bottled preferably) to replace the fluids your body is losing. Also, go easy on both alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which are diuretics and make you put out more than you take in.

Get Enough Rest: Despite the adrenaline rush, don’t ignore you body’s need to replenish itself with sleep. This can be difficult early in your trip due to jet lag (when you travel across multiple time zones, your body’s internal clock is not in sync with the destination time zone, making it difficult to sleep). Adapt to the local schedule immediately by eating meals and going to bed at the appropriate times.

Eat Properly: With the number of calories you burn while traveling, it’s important to get enough nutrients. But, be selective about what you consume, especially when traveling overseas.  Though the food you eat abroad isn’t necessarily unsafe, your body isn’t accustomed to it. This gastric unfamiliarity combined with the use of natural fertilizers abroad can lead to digestive difficulties.

Research your destination’s most popular restaurants through Trip Advisor, making sure to study the reader reviews closely. If praise for a given eatery is universal, chances are that international travelers aren’t getting sick from the entrees.

To minimize your risk of contracting any food-borne illnesses, be sure to:

  • Drink only bottled water, and avoid ice, unpasteurized milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Don’t eat raw or unpeeled foods. The foreign traveler’s rule of thumb is “Cook it, wash it, peel it, or forget it.”
  • Only eat condiments that come in sealed packages.
  • Order entrees “well done”, and send them back if they’re not served hot.
  • Use caution when ordering seafood, and steer clear of clams, mussels and oysters.

Don’t leave common sense at home when you travel. Your health depends on it.

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