Friday, April 8, 2016

Travel Essentials: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy on the Road

Grand Canyon North Rim, Vivian Lee, Miss Happy Feet
Grand Canyon, Arizona. IG: @littlemisshappyfeet

Traveling takes us out of our comfort zones, exposing us to new experiences, new cultures and tons of positive vibes. However, we’d appreciate to have our health remained IN the “Comfort Zone”. It is indeed a fact that some of our travel schedules are pretty hectic, making it way too easy to overlook our health. Here is a list of 10 methods to help you stay healthy on the road. Happy travels!  

1. Always bring a face mask

You can’t always keep a distance from sick people, especially in planes or other places with closed circulation. You thought you were safe for sitting 3 rows away from the sick passenger, but this is not the case. According to studies, an airborne virus can spread 8 rows away. Thus, always keep some face masks in your bag, just in case if you can’t avoid them, at least you can do something to protect yourself. 

2. Get TSA Pre-Check 

Citizens of the US, rejoice! Complete the 2-step sign-up for TSA Pre-Check (applying then fingerprinting), and you will get a “known traveler ID” after approval. I think the best thing about this is, you don’t have to take off your shoes when passing through security, minimizing the risk of potential fungal infection… or any microbes that your bare feet might pick up, which will eventually end up in your digestive track.  

3. Personal hygiene

Do you have these 2 crucial items in your bag? Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes! I think we all know too well that the door handles, dining trays, poles, straps on buses and armrests are hot spots for germs. Touching them exposes you to higher risk of viral infection, especially through fecal-oral route. In places where faucets are available, wash hands with soap and warm water, scrubbing every surface of your hands clean.  

4. Only wear contact lenses when you need them. 

I agree that glasses make you look nerdy in photos, but wearing contact lenses from 9 to 5 or even longer can dry up your eyes, increase irritability and that makes them more susceptible to microbes. 

Chicago. IG: @littlemisshappyfeet

5. Stay hydrated

Every “What is in my bag” video by travel bloggers have one thing in common: a water bottle. I do not need to tell you how important is staying hydrated while traveling. However, in order to avoid spending more than you should in certain touristy sites, you can always bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up whenever you see a water fountain. Please be aware that you should not do this in developing countries troubled by Cholera outbreaks or any waterborne disease. Buying a bottle of water or two is your best bet while traveling in such countries. 

Brooklyn Bridge, New York. IG: @littlemisshappyfeet

6. Exercise Routine

“How can I exercise while traveling?” Well, you don’t always have to hit the gym. Simply think of it this way: Isn’t it cool to do yoga in the Grand Canyon or have an early morning jog, passing by the Eiffel Tower? You get to stay healthy and see the major landmarks before them being “bombarded” by tourists during midday.

7. Stay active

Travels actually make you healthier, IF you are doing it the right way. However, we don’t get to hike the Alps, do white water-rafting or swim in beautiful lakes every day. There are times when we are stuck in a plane, in a bus, and everywhere in between. Nevertheless, stay active! During long haul flights or bus trips, stand up once in a while or do some stretches to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Learning some foot exercises from YouTube helps you go a long way. Also, always try to explore a new city on foot, as walking is budget friendlier, and it allows a traveler to experience more by passing through various neighbourhoods! When you are sick of walking, rent a city bike! 

Bangkok street food. 

8. Eat healthily 

How many times you’ve heard friends saying that they need to go on a diet after an indulgent trip to Thailand or Malaysia? And how often have you seen backpackers munching those extra crackers or muffins they grabbed from the hostel’s breakfast table, for dinner? I understand that, I’ve gone through both. But neither over-eating or being undernourished are good. While traveling, practicing balanced diet is a must. Eat more fibers, fruits and if a public kitchen is available, buy some fresh ingredients from the local markets and cook up a good meal for yourself! Also, load your handbags with healthy snacks like cereal bars, macadamia nuts and dark chocolates, which will give you an instant boost when you are hangry (hunger leads to anger! )

9. Take enough rest

This is especially crucial for extreme backpackers. When I was backpacking through USA on a shoestring budget, I allowed myself to book bus trips that leave at 1am and reach a destination at 5am. The result? Sleep deprivation! So after a few malicious cycles of stress-inducing bus trips, I finally settled with having a nice bed every 3 days at least. It does make a huge difference when you are well-rested: You will be more aware of your surroundings, handle stress better and be able to enjoy to the fullest. It also helps when you meditate 20 minutes per day! Let’s face it, everyone in this modern world needs a ZEN retreat right now.  

10. Bring essential medicines with you, always!

Sure, you can get those from any drug stores in the city, but despite what you may think, looking at the maps desperately searching for a pharmacy joint while having diarrhea is no fun. And how about if you are sick in a rural area or let’s make it sound worse, in the wilderness?  Note: most diarrhea is self-limiting, but if you see blood in your stool, consult a doctor immediately.

Mirror Lake Yosemite, Yosemite National Park, Vivian Lee, Miss Happy Feet
Yosemite National Park, California. IG: @littlemisshappyfeet

Thank you for reading! 
Do you have something to add? Comment below!


Voyager Diaries said...

Great tips all, especially important is to stay hydrated and ensure that you eat healthily, we also ensure we do not binge eat while travelling, that is something to do while at home :)

Roar Loud said...

Great tips, I say as I now have a cold after travelling:)

eem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enni Maria - Denia Hania said...

These were nice tips! I think the most important thing is to stay hydrated especially when visiting hot places! I once got badly dehydrated in Morocco and ended up in a hospital for 3 nights which was one of the worst moments of my life. A hand sanitizer is a must because many countries have restaurants where there is no possibility to wash your hands prior the meal. It's always good to think your health so you can enjoy your travels with a full heart :) -

Nika said...

nice summary! I mostly struggle with eating healthy when I travel... especially when visiting an expensive country (like Norway) where I cannot afford the same quality food as I enjoy back home (Czech Republic). Any tips on how to handle/ improve eating habits more on a budget in more expensive destinations?
Thank you