Taking a trip can mean having to take health care precautions based on your destination that can range from simple ones like getting sunscreen and body moisturizers for a Florida vacay to the more complex like getting a slew of vaccinations for a journey to South Africa. In addition to location-specific safeguards, there are some basic preventative measures that you should always follow everywhere you go to reduce your chances of getting sick. These simple, common practices can help you defend against anything from the common cold to even a flu-like virus such as COVID-19. And while we all may know them, they can be challenging to practice when you’re on the road. So, we’re here to remind you to be vigilant and to provide you with a little fun, adventurous advice about them!
Even if you’re lucky enough to be traveling on one of the great flight deals to Bali where bathing in the holy spring water at the beautiful Tirta Empul temple will not only cleanse your body for this life but your soul for the next, you’re going to have to be riding along with plenty of people. And naturally, this increases your chances of picking up some kind of bug. You can wear a tight, well-fitting mask to help protect you from inhaling airborne germs, but one of the best ways to guard against germs is to frequently wash your hands and sanitize the things you use on your trip like airplane video screens, trays, magazines, armrests – anything that other people may have used. While masks worn by us, as opposed to health professionals who undergo extensive testing to make sure they fit, may offer some protection from inhaling microbes, they can also be a protective barrier that keeps us from directly touching our nose and mouth.
Think of it this way: Germs lead a hand-to-mouth existence. (As in our hands to our mouth!)
While you’re on the road, it can be difficult to get to a sink to wash as much as you’d like to so make sure to bring disinfecting wipes and travel-sized bottles of hand sanitizer. If you bring a travel-size bar of antibacterial soap and a small towel, you can, in a pinch, use bottled water to wash as well.
Tip: Children might not like the rubbing alcohol scent of standard hand sanitizer. Make the experience more pleasant for them (and for you!) by picking up a bottle of scented sanitizer. And if you spot cuts or scrapes on their hands, make sure they’re properly bandaged before you apply the hand sanitizer. For very young kids, opt for gentle wipes. And remember, drying well is just as important as washing as germs thrive in moist, damp places.
Water, water everywhere except you can’t drink it where you’re traveling to? If you’re going to a desert city like Dubai, you can only drink bottled water, which costs a small fortune at hotels and restaurants (most people drink it because the sea-derived tap water is too salty), even as the city teases you with lavish public displays of water like it was rich in the potable stuff. Or if you’r going to Mexico City, which isn’t a desert city yet, you’re also advised to drink bottled water, which is much cheaper than in Dubai, instead of tap. Such constraints can make getting in the recommended 15.5 cups of water if you’re a man or 11.5 cups if you’re a woman difficult. While staying hydrated is always important, it’s especially so when you go away since you lose a lot of water and electrolytes as you tour around, especially in the heat and humidity. Without sufficient water, it’s harder for your body to cleanse itself, to be well-lubricated in the joints, and harder for you to maintain a high level of energy.
Tip: Supplement whatever bottled water you’re able to drink on the plane and at your destination with foods that have either high water and/or electrolyte content like chopped cucumbers, watermelon slices, avocado, bananas, oranges, nuts that aren’t shelled, and regular plain yogurt (which is over 85 percent water). Be aware that in many foreign countries, it’s better to eat fruits and vegetables like these that you can peel, but then again only after you’ve thoroughly cleansed them – even with a bactericide. These guilt-free foods won’t leave you feeling bloated and will give your immune system a needed boost. And we toast to your health with one more tip: Stay away from drinks with ice in them as the cubes can come from tap water that could make you sick.
Unthaw Your ‘Popsicle Toes’ at the Beach & Not the Airport!
As we approach warmer weather, we know what you’re thinking: “I just gotta unthaw those Popsicle toes of mine.” Hey, we’re totally with you. But jumping barefoot into your sandals (which is the only way to ever jump into them – please don’t ever wear socks) and beginning the defrosting process at the airport on the way to a sunny beach is just not putting the right foot forward in this matter. When you go through security, the TSA will ask you to, yes, kick off those sandals. And guess what, you’ll be barefoot in the germ-ridden tracks of the whole traveling world! You don’t, you just don’t want bacteria to thaw those sweet Popsicle toes of yours! Can we shake feet on that? (You know we’re not shakin’ hands!)
Tip: So, you ignored our advise and you went to the airport barefoot in sandals like it was going to be a walk in the park. Like the TSA would see your toes for what they really are – those cute, cool little Popsicle toes. And then they asked you take off your sandals, despite your protests of foot fetish, just like we said. And now you’re feelin’ like those Popsicles are thawin’ a might too fast for your likin’ right? Well, before you take another step towards your gate, sit right down by that inspection table, get your disinfectant wipes out, and clean your feet. Wipe them right off!
Avoid Sitting in the Aisle Seat (Especially if You’re Flying to Paris)
Even today when airlines are cramming more and more seats into their plane cabins, making air travel feel as pedestrian as a bus, you can, if you’re optimistic like us, find something to like about almost any seat you take, something to enjoy on the brighter side of a seat’s trade offs. While the aisle seat enables you to get up and go to the bathroom or walk around the cabin anytime you want without having to disturb your neighbor, it’s not the ideal seat if you’re trying to travel as healthy as possible. Instead it’s a good way to “meet” what seems like everyone on the plane (multiple times), whether you want to or not (and unless you’re super gregarious you probably don’t), from the healthy ones to the sneezers, the coughers, and the pawers. (Aachoo!) It’s just common sense to avoid the aisle. So, don’t even look at that recent scientific study by the National Academy of Sciences that proves the point.
Tip: Book the window not only because you’ve got a better chance of avoiding germs, but for that unforgettable early morning view of the Eiffel tower as you fly into Paris in spring! Incroyable! If you’ve booked the aisle seat though, ask the flight attendant if you can move to an available window seat. If you can’t, make sure you go over your aisle seat – its tray, armrests, and video monitor -extra carefully with your disinfectant wipes (multiple times for you and all “your guests”).
We all enjoy traveling, but let’s face it it does come with some stress to your body and mind, from dealing with jet lag to worrying about getting a cold or worse, to wondering about whether you’ll have some fun, even though you know you always do, to even thinking if you’ll wake up on the day of your trip, after all your preparations and worry, to find your flight canceled due to the coronavirus. So, stop worrying, get a good night’s sleep, take your vitamins, be extra dutiful about your hygiene, and when you’re up in the air just unwind – after you disinfect your space of course.
Tip: By the time you get to your hotel room, you’ll need a little love. So pamper yourself. Give yourself some love on top of love. Some lovey dovey lovey dovey all the time love. Hey, you’ve made it there healthy (you’re alive! ) so smell the roses!
So you’ve taken some of our tips for staying healthy while traveling. How about sharing a few of your own in the comments section below?