Getting sick while you’re traveling totally sucks.
Or perhaps you’ve gotten sick as soon as you’ve come home from a fabulous trip.
Both of these have happened to me.
And I hate being sick.
So I thought I’d share a few quick tips with you for staying healthy as you travel.
And to keep you healthy once you return home.
Drink lots of water.
We hear this all the time.
But water flushes out all the nastiness from our bodies.
So drinking water is important every day for us to stay healthy.
But it’s even more important as we travel as we are typically eating and drinking differently.
Drink water on the plane.
And carry a bottle (take a hard plastic one from home, like a Nalgene) with you when you are out and about.
If you are in another country, be sure the water is safe to drink.
Most European countries have safe water.
But elsewhere you may have to buy bottled water.
The most important thing is to be sure you drink plenty of water.
You are not a pretty sight when you are dehydrated.
Wash your hands
This is another piece of advice we hear a lot especially during flu season.
But it’s important in staying healthy as you travel.
When you are out and about it’s easy to forget.
However you should wash your hands any time you have the chance.
Even if you don’t need to use the bathroom at least go wash your hands with warm water and soap.
And carry hand sanitizer with you for those times when you aren’t able to wash with soap and water.
This is the best way to avoid picking up and spreading germs.
You’re on vacation.
You’re on holiday.
And you want to enjoy yourself with some dessert or a little extra of the local tasty specialty.
I’m not here to rain on your parade.
Please enjoy yourself.
But I would stress to do so in moderation.
Don’t eat so much that you have tummy issues or feel lethargic.
Moderation is the key.
And try to eat natural, locally sourced food.
If you eat healthy you’ll have more energy to do what you want on your vacation.
And the local, natural food is so tasty!
Also if a food looks sketchy — maybe meat that doesn’t look to be cooked through — then don’t eat it.
It’s not worth the risk.
My biggest advice is to eat what’s in season.
And be sure to have water with those meals!
Moderate alcohol intake
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer.
So I’m not telling you to not have any alcohol.
I’m just advising you to not go overboard.
Remember that alcohol does suppress the immune system.
So if you’re feeling a bit rundown then maybe stay away from adult beverages.
However I’m a firm believer that imbibing the local drink is part of the travel experience.
And I encourage you to do so — in moderation.
Having a couple of drinks is fine.
Getting totally shit faced so you are hung over the next day and can’t enjoy yourself is not the way to go.
And it’s no way to represent your country when you’re abroad.
As a solo female traveler I’m always cautious about my alcohol intake.
I typically don’t have more than one or 2 drinks per day.
Although there was that one time…
And I did pay for it the next day!
Get some exercise
I hear you grumbling, “But I’m walking everywhere!”
And if you are in a big city in Europe like London or Rome you may very well be doing a lot of walking.
But if you are a regular exerciser at home — maybe you hit the gym a few times a week or walk or run a few times a week — you should try to maintain a bit of this routine as you travel.
I’m a 3 time a week runner.
And I walk the other days.
I’m also an avid hiker and lift weights a couple of days per week.
I may take a yoga class every now and again.
So for me I’ll still try to run or walk for a good 30 minutes a few times per week even if I know I’ll be doing some walking around a city or town.
I’ll find places to take short hikes.
I carry a resistance band with me so I can get some muscle toning work.
And I stretch before I go to bed at night to keep my body from being sore.
It keeps me healthy as I travel.
Don’t throw your exercise routine out the window with the whole “I’m on vacation” thing.
Do just a little bit.
I guarantee you’ll feel better for doing so.
And you won’t be starting from square one when you get back home.
Get plenty of sleep
Sometimes as we travel we tend to stay out later.
Or maybe we’re up and about earlier than usual.
Often times we are in beds that just aren’t what we’re used to.
Or perhaps the noises of a place keep us from getting a solid night’s sleep.
Earplugs and eye masks are 2 accessories that can be helpful in getting good sleep at night.
But maybe you need to turn in a bit earlier one night.
Or simply sleep in a bit one morning.
Naps can even be beneficial so don’t be afraid to “miss” something by taking a little siesta before going out to dinner.
Take care to get the sleep you need so you are well rested to enjoy your journey.
No one likes a cranky traveler.
One of the hardest things to do is to slow down if you are feeling less than healthy.
It might be your first trip to Paris and you want to see and do it all.
But if you begin to feel a bit tired or run down then you need to SLOW DOWN.
Take a day off from running around sightseeing.
Stay at your B&B and read a book and drink tea.
Sit at a nearby cafe and have a big glass of juice or a fruit smoothie and people watch.
Stay in bed if you need to and watch local TV or read a book about the local history.
Nap if you need to.
And go to bed at 8pm if you feel like it.
Remember that when your body feels like this it is telling you that you are pushing it.
I’ve been there with catching colds as I’ve traveled.
It’s not fun.
So be sure to listen to your body.
So are you ready to stay fit and healthy as you travel?
I promise that you’ll still enjoy yourself as you explore.
And I think you’ll stay healthy once you get home.
And eating locally sourced, natural food is a great way to enjoy and immerse yourself in the culture.